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Odds and Ends

Date: 3/9/2010

National News  
Posted By: Matt

March 9, 2010

From around the college basketball world . . . .
Of course, the all-ACC teams are out.  For the most part, the results of the voting (the result of 53 ballots - - which in my opinion is far too few) were sound.  It's too bad that Nolan was on the second team, but it's not like Delaney and Vasquez could be left off the first team, and Booker had an excellent case for being on the first team as well.  I imagine that some of the voters felt that Nolan would "get his chance" next season, too, justifying their decision to vote him on the second team.  Or maybe they just weren't paying much attention, which partially explains how Aminu finished ahead of Nolan in the balloting.  Scheyer, Azzkiz, and Delaney were unanimous selections (159 points for each, with three points for a first-team vote from each of the 53 voters.)  Singler probably sealed up first team honors with his February, which was pretty astonishing and has played, shall we say, a major role in Duke's success.  The only real atrocity was the inclusion of Landesberg, for the reasons discussed below.  Finally . . . no Tools on the 15-member "squad" for the first time, well, ever.  Yep, that's since 1953-1954.  Well, it was a hell of a run.  Props to Rrhoid for doing everything he could to bring that string to an end - - well-played.     

And then today, we have the individual honors - - Azzkiz as POY, Sweaty as COY, Favors as ROY and Singleton as DPOY.  I do not have a huge issue with any of these selections, except possibly Favors. 

In the POY balloting, if I had had a vote - - and don't count on that happening anytime soon - - I would have looked for a way to split it between Scheyer and Vasquez.  Jon had the better year overall, but the Clown of Caracas had a better ACC season, and Jon's February shooting slump probably killed his chances.  Plus, the margin (39-12-2), with the bloc of two votes going to Delaney, sure makes it look like the ACSMA voters, many of whom are naturally Tool sympathizers, rallied around Grievous and against Jon.  However, none of this means that Vasquez didn't deserve the award; he did.  I would be remiss if I didn't add that those lovable Twerp fans, possibly overtaking Illinois-Urbana-Champaign fans as the worst in college basketball (they're routinely tied) and pulling into Philadelphia Eagles/Phillies and New York Yankees (well . . . let's not go overboard) fan territory, are out on message boards taunting Duke and acting like this is a national championship.  (Vasquez's official reaction was entirely appropriate and classy.)  Is there some reason why everything Maryland does has to be measured against Duke's accomplishments, and involve displays of utter crassness and trash talk?  Ugh.  That team's fan base just outdoes itself again and again and again.  

Despite the above, the COY award isn't objectionable either.  We all know that this award unofficially means "the coach who did more with less," or "the coach whose team exceeded expectations more than any other," and under those criteria, Gary Williams (drink - - I used his real name! - - wait, actually, that would be the opposite of a good drinking game) is the obvious choice.  Krzyzewski never wins this award, leaving it to the Greenbergs of the world, and that's probably just the way he likes it - - and just how I like it too.  None of this is to say that Sweaty didn't deserve the award, though - - he did a great job with not a ton of talent surrounding Vazquez.  I will say that more sophisticated voters probably recognized all of the adjustments that K made to the Duke offense, particularly in February - - but if they did, it was still a blowout, 42-8-2 (Greenberg) -1 (Hamilton).  If you're wondering how the Bald Bastard of Blacksburg got two votes by eking out a 10-6 record for VPI against arguably the league's easiest schedule, well, so am I.  

By the way, I'd like to present the first official Dukies.com Award for Anti-Coach of the Year.  The winner of this award, hopefully to be presented annually, will recognize the ACC men's basketball coach who did the least with the most, and managed to fail to meet expectations in the most spectacular manner.  The voting this year was a tough battle, but in a narrow victory over the scarily-skilled Paul Hewitt, the first-ever Dukies.com ACOY Award goes to . . . this man.  Congratulations!     

The ROY (yikes, we need a new acronym for that) balloting was interesting.  Favors won because of his performance in the BugThugs' last few games, which didn't really help the team much, amusingly.  As the linked piece points out, Favors' o-board putback against the Twerps with three seconds left would have been the game-winning play - - and as the linked piece does not point out, would have decided the ACC regular season title race in favor of Duke - - but the Turtles naturally hit that game-winning three.  Actually, they did it twice, as you might remember, but the second time, Keith Booth didn't call a timeout before Cliff the Stiff's shot went in.  The balloting here was Favors 45, JoWilliams 6, Durand Scott 1, Rice 1.  The vote for Rice - - over his teammate Favors???? - - is utterly bizarre.  Durand Scott deserved many, many more votes than he got, as did Williams.  Favors probably had a case for this in a wide-open race, but the balloting should have been much closer.  I would have voted for Scott, who naturally got little action in the voting because he played for (a) the Hurryclowns and (b) a bad team.  You know, adding (b) there might have been unnecessary.    

Singleton's DPOY award was a pretty shrewd call, given that he led the league in steals and finished fifth in blocks.  He's a head case of sorts and really lacks polish to his offensive game, but his defense is very, very good.  Good selection here.  Oddly, the ACSMA does not release - - or at least, the ACC didn't cite - - individual balloting results for this nod.  Was it unanimous?  Or do we just assume that the voting for the all-defensive team was the same as that for the DPOY honor?  Weird.  I'd like to know if Lance got any votes - - he's a better on-ball defender than Singleton, although both are very good in that category. 

Next up, Tony Bennett threw Landesberg off the team for, effectively, flunking out of school - - or should I say "academic reasons."  First of all, this shows Bennett's true mettle.  Kicking your top scorer and by-a-mile best player off the team takes guts and shows true commitment to - - sit down for this one - - academic and educational values.  Incredible, isn't it?  Just take a second to imagine Hewitt or Greenberg doing anything like this.  Sure, sure, it's the end of the regular season and UVa was likely going to end its campaign on Thursday anyway, but as the article points out, this isn't the first action that the first-year pop crooner has taken to show that he actually - - and I really can't believe I'm typing this - - cares about things like attending class and such.  Wow.  I honestly can't say how much I admire this guy.  By the way, this puts Landesberg in an interesting bind.  He's not projected to be a high Neeba pick (by those who care and supposedly know about that sort of thing), and generally, pro teams aren't going to look favorably on a guy who finished his college career in such an ignominious manner anyway, at least not unless they're the next Kevin Durant or something.  So what does Sylven the Shelven - - and one has to wonder now whether the "thigh bruise" was just a fiction, hopefully not Bennett's idea if so - - do?  He can go overseas, he can try to transfer to, say, Kentucky (where academics are a mere incidental inconvenience), or he can actually come back for his junior year AND MEET THE ACADEMIC STANDARDS OF HIS COACH AND HIS UNIVERSITY.  Mad props to Tony Bennett.  We need more of this in college basketball.  

Nationally, St. John's blows out Connvicticut, two days before the real Big East contenders even start playing, ending the Huskies' NCAA Tournament hopes, one would think.  Bye, guys!  We were happy to destroy you earlier in the season and wish you the best of luck in what will really be quite the star-studded NIT field.  Calgoon, meanwhile, is denying retirement rumors, but this is clearly close to end of the line for the squirm-inducing reprobate.  A shame that I can't muster more sympathy for such a sainted figure.   

Hey, you're not going to believe this.  Taylor King is in hot water at Villanova!  That's amazing, because I heard that all of his issues at Duke were the fault of Mike Krzyzewski, and that King's defense-free, perimeter-anchored approach to the game was going to set the Wildcats program on fire.  To King's (cough) credit, he has been surprisingly smoking on the defensive glass this season, but this is clearly a maneuver by Jay Wright (ANOTHER coach with integrity - - this is amazing!) to weed out some bad behavior from his team.  Here's hoping that King gets his act back together. 

Two more ACC notes - - bracket clowns like Lunardi and actual bracket predictors with some credentials continue to project both VPI and GIT in the NCAAs.  Sadly, I think they're right about VPI, but how in the hell does Georgia Tech get a bid???  Is it their 4-6 record in their last ten games?  Their last three wins, all at home, over NCSU, UNC-CH, and Boston College??  Of course, the BugThugs were very, very lucky to draw the only team in the ACC that failed, relative to expectations, worse than they did as their opponent the first round of the ACC-T.     

Additionally, Duke had to be very happy to see all three of its conference losses on the other side of the ACC-T bracket.  What's more, of the five teams that Duke played twice, only one is on Duke's side of the field.  Regrettably, other than Maryland, that team - - Boston College - - may actually provide the toughest matchup for the Blue Devils of those five round-robiners.  More on that in Friday's material, assuming that the Nutcracker gets by the Landesberg-less Wahoids.  Still, I'm pretty happy with the way the bracket turned out for Duke.  We have the whole rundown coming your way on Thursday.  And Friday.  And . . . well, you get the idea.              

Finally, thanks to all of you who participated in the comments before and after the destruction of UNC-CH - - now THAT is the kind of comments thread that I'm after!  No one has to show up with a bag of money every morning - - and it's a good thing I *don't* require this - - to keep me fulfilled in maintaining this site.  It's all about the feedback.  Thanks to everyone who enjoyed duhomme's fantastic Fringe parody and "Heelin' in the Tears," which, amazingly, took me far less time to write than an ordinary Duke preview.  Hmmmm.  Maybe the whole site should be song parodies.  We'll commission a blue-ribbon study on that, but thanks again to those of you who enjoyed the material - - and TOLD US about it.  *Please* keep commenting.  Thank you very, very much!



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Posted by: Josh Date: 3/11/2010 12:06:22 PM  
Now this was an unexpected treat - nice recap of the ACC awards - thanks! I'm glad you showed some love to Tony Bennett. Being from WI, I have a soft spot for the Bennett clan (Dick's lack of offense nonwithstanding), so I was glad to see Tony had the stones to make that move, and glad to see that it's getting noticed.

Posted by: CDG Date: 3/11/2010 9:02:16 AM  
I know I am posting to a thread that has been surpassed but wanted to put this out there but alas my *real* job got in the way this week.

I want to echo KD's statement that we need to highlight more class acts in coaching and applaud them for making decisions like this that are often unpopular with their fans. It should be about teaching these kids on and off the court, not ensuring you have a good winning percentage.

Class acts indeed.

Posted by: Serious G Date: 3/10/2010 9:13:01 PM  
Thanks for breaking down the ACC awards. I like Singleton's game, even if his offense is little raw. If he sticks around, he may be a 1st team ACC guy by his sr. year.

Here's hoping for a weekend owned by Duke.

Posted by: duhomme Date: 3/10/2010 9:08:43 PM  
t. randall taylor:

i know many people who put wright at the top of their list of k replacements. his latest move is only going to increase interest.

Posted by: ClemsonGuest Date: 3/10/2010 6:17:36 PM  
Wow Matt, you were a whole lot nicer to Vasquez here than I expected. Greenbald Ö that's another matter.

I believe the Goats will put it all together and burst GT's bubble, giving the Two Dukies one more day of Whipping Roy material, before getting snapped by the Snappers.

Posted by: T. Randall Taylor Date: 3/10/2010 4:55:10 PM  
I don't think it would be the end of the world if Wright were considered for the Duke job when K retires. Just sayin".

Posted by: KD Date: 3/10/2010 1:49:18 PM  
Matt - thanks for calling out Bennett and Wright as class acts. They deserve the props and are an effort to counter-balance the increasingly depressing tide of questionable coaches (insert Calipari here). On a related front, Goonio was on a local sports talk show here this morning explaining how great Cleveland State was last year. Looking forward to another early exit by the Deacs this year.

Posted by: SanFranSoxFan Date: 3/10/2010 12:24:37 PM  
"That game at Charleston College didnít turn out like you planned "
- still cracking me up. Have you heard from D. Fagen/W. Becker yet? With their "call me Deacon blues" line, I somehow think they'd get a kick out of your revision.
As to POY - I'd rather a couple tourney MVP's from Master Scheyer over the next few weeks, thank you very much.

Posted by: Matt Date: 3/10/2010 11:18:25 AM  
Dave, I agree; the COY award has gotten rather silly. Krzyzewski last won it in 2000; clearly, he should have been the leading contender in 2001, 2004, and even 2005. Hell, how about last season? Of course, last year's award (which went to Hamilton) was as usual voted on and announced before the ACC-T, which doesn't make a ton of sense, at least not for the coaching award.

The most laughable COY awards are the Bald Bastard of Blacksburg (2005 and 2008), and Lameao in 2007. The absurdity of Lameao's award speaks for itself. Give me Sean Singletary, and I will do my level best to exceed expectations too. As for Goonberg . . . well . . . in neither of that outstanding coaching titan's award-winning seasons did VPI make the NCAAs.

Posted by: Dave Clark Date: 3/10/2010 10:23:15 AM  
"We all know that this award unofficially means "the coach who did more with less," or "the coach whose team exceeded expectations more than any other," and under those criteria, Gary Williams (drink - - I used his real name! - - wait, actually, that would be the opposite of a good drinking game) is the obvious choice. Krzyzewski never wins this award, leaving it to the Greenbergs of the world, and that's probably just the way he likes it - - and just how I like it too."

K didn't win it in 2001. Roy didn't win it in 2009. Billy Donovan didn't win SEC COY in either of his national championship seasons (he's never won it, not even in 2000).

Seth Greenberg won it more times than anyone in the 00s. Who-Cares Award, defined.

Posted by: Thomas Rutledge Date: 3/10/2010 8:41:13 AM  
"Heelin' in the tears" was the best parody ever! My family really wishes you had not written it, because I have been singing it way too much!

Keep up the good work! Thanks!

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