TWO DUKIES PICK THE ACC
Volume XIII, Episode 48
March 23, 2010
Mattís comments in blue.
duhomme's comments in red.
(4ST) NORTH CAROLINA-CHAPEL HILL (18-16, 5-11) @ (2ST) ALABAMA, BIRMINGHAM (25-8, 11-5 Conference USA)
Birmingham, Ala. (AP) Ė
The truth can now be told.
Roy Williams wanted all along for his team to make the National Invitation Tournament, says the Chapel Hill, North Carolina directional school coach. Citing the easier competition, the chance to play home games in a real arena instead of an aircraft hangar named after a talent-wasting predecessor and filled with more stiffs than the Baltimore morgue after a busy Saturday, not to mention the extra chances to develop his prime freshman talent, Williams says he just couldnít resist. He sat down with our panel of experts to discuss the state of his team.
JAY BILAS: Coach, first of all, I want to congratulate you on all of your accomplishments this season, not to mention in your career. Winning two titles - - Iím not sure thatís ever even been done before. And letís just get this out of the way now - - if you could sign my 36x24 head shot of you wearing a black mock with a Kansas emblem on it, Iíd really appreciate it. Wow, thanks! I will hang that next to my UNC diploma. Now, first, itís obvious that losing 11 games in the ACC was part of a careful plan.
RRHOY: It was, Jay, it was. These dadgum kids and certain of my digits [displays them] couldnít take the pressure of competing at the highest level. Iíve been at that highest level myself, and choked many times. That was before I got a job where [chuckles] a bad used car salesman can make one phone call and five-star recruits line up to play for you. Shucks. So we decided, hey. Letís lose a bunch of games and see where it takes us.
KENNY SMITH: Coach! I love you, man! Weíre gonna win! Weíre gonna win! [cackles] [incoherent babbling] . . . ?
HORSEFACE: Well, Kenny [voice breaking], I couldnít understand a word you said, but if I could have, you would have torn my heart right out of its chest. I love you too.
JIMMY DYKES: Your Eminence, lemme ask you about John Henson. Semen in practice, looks to me like the young man is ready for the NBA. Heís got the talent, heís got that touch at the foul liiiine, and he just has that NBA body that I love.
ROID: Jimmy, aw man . . . dayum. You got me. I donít even know who you mean. Thereís no such young man on my team of student-athletes.
BILAS: The telephone pole.
CHOKER: Oh, him. He needs years of work, and guys, I mean . . . wow [wipes glasses] . . . thereís just so much that he has to learn before I can successfully replace him.
DIGGER PHELPS: Coach Williams, I have to say that for me, it all comes down to Will Graves. When you talk about Graves, Iím a Digger. [laughs]
FORMER JAYHICK TALENT SQUANDERER: [laughs]
PHELPS: But seriously, Roy, when you look at a guy like Dexter Strickland, I see a guy who can really play ball and can threaten the open court on the fastbreak with those halfcourt sets. Tell me how you break down the game of a kid like that who can do so much to make sure that he does it all.
LE CHEF DES TOOLS: Digger, Strickland is usually the last guy to arrive at practice and the first guy to leave. I sold him a bill of goods and he bought it. Heíll never amount to anything and his family hates me. And I tell you what else, guys [tears well up] . . . he canít get any worse.
ANDY KATZ: Coach, my sources out of Sacramento, which are the only sources I have, traveled down to Los Angeles this weekend, and they informed me that UCLA is taking a hard look at Larry Drew II. And they see a guy who can hit that dagger shot against Mississippi State, a team that had Kentucky beaten twice, but withered and died. And they think he can carry the water at UCLA, and Iím told they mean that literally. Can you comment?
ENCYCLOPEDIA SALESMAN: Andy, as a human being, I donít know how you can ask me that question. I know you have a job to do and all that, but gol durn it. I donít give a s**t about Larry Drew right now.
BRAD NESSLER [via satellite from Atlanta]: Coach, Brad Nessler. Whatís the status of those Smith Center renovations?
BUS-UNDERTHROWER: Brad, thanks for asking. Theyíre actually doing a lot of things right now. First, they added barriers like they have in, yíknow, ice hockey, just to protect our great fans from Johnís free throws and from all those passes into the third row that we expect weíll get out of Kendall Marshall. They also made it easier for me to identify anyone saying goshdarn things that just arenít very nice about our players, and special trap doors have been installed where the campus police can corner those sorts of people and move them on top of one of them, and then it opens and takes them straight to hell. And thatís where those folks belong, Brad [sniffles]. I wish I didnít have to say it but dadgum itís true. Next, they named the court after Bobby Cremins. And I think they have to paint that and get the lettering just right.
WOODY DURHAM: Coach, thanks for taking the time to sit above us while we genuflect in front of you. I can barely see you from the glow, but I know youíre there and it comforts me.
OLí ROY: Thanks, Woody, I appreciate that. Gee.
MIKE PATRICK: Well, Coach, weíve got to WIND THIS UP, and I know you have A LOT TO DO to prepare for those Blayyyyzers from U-Ay-B. Better not let Phil Ford do the driving. [chuckles]
RRHOID: Darn it, Mike, and all you great guys, thanks. I know that Coach Davis will have his kids ready to play and weíre going to just go in there and try to keep it close and see if we can make a few adjustments and maybe score some points. If we donít, it wonít be my fault, itíll be the fault of our kids, mostly Drew.
BILAS: Thanks, Coach. Duane Simpkins kept feeding coins in the meter for you, so youíre all set. Best of luck and we really appreciate the thrill ride.
It remains to be seen whether Coach Williams can keep his cunning strategy going in the face of an actual sold-out crowd of 8,500 fans at one of college basketballís louder venues, facing a team that rebounds very well, is the #25 team in Division I in defensive efficiency, holds opponents to low shooting percentages and does an excellent job of getting to the line. Whatever happens, one thingís for sure - - Williams will claim victory.
ďI just love myself, and Iím a winner no matter what these dadgum kids do,Ē he sobbed.
Alabama-Birmingham 79, North Carolina-Chapel Hill 72.
Going into Monday evening, the national portion of the postseason is just a week old and there are exactly three teams from the ACC who are not clearing out lockers, turning in uniforms and Ö uh Ö doing whatever college basketball players do when their season has ended. Two of the teams are in the NIT, the Hoots and the Turkeys (although the Blacksburg Bizarro is currently sending wave after wave of chain- and broken bottle-wielding soldiers to counter the numerous button-men brought in by visiting You, Con!) So, that number could change, but the point is that ACC teams fared somewhat better in the NIT than they did in the event broadcast by CBS.
Does that mean some of the NCAA losers should have been sent to the NIT? Not based on the relative success rate, but because several simply didnít deserve to be there. Duke and Maryland both deserved to get in, even though the Terra-Pens got spanked most of the afternoon by the Spartans, before somehow coming back at the end. However, that was a tough second-round draw. I donít care what the regular season results were; facing Tom Izzo is something you want to avoid. Florida State? I could go either way on whether they deserved an invitation, other than to say the last time Lame Lamilton had any kind of success in this tournament was more than a decade ago when he was running things at Miami. Georgia Tech played their way in, and might have pulled it off without getting to the championship game. But the loss against Ohio State was effectively over three minutes into the second half. Some effort from Lawal and Favors might have helped. Clemson should be put on a probationary basis: get tossed in the first round one more time and, for the next three seasons, you donít get a look unless you win the ACC-T.
Have I missed anyone? Oh, goodness me, yes. Wake Forest should be banned from the NCAAs, from all post-season play, from regular-season ACC play and, actually, forcibly sent to the NAIA until they hire a head coach. Because, allowing the director of the pep band to don a suit and attempt to fill in on the sidelines just ainít getting it done.
On the other hand, the Hoots, despite all wishes from the authors of this website, are getting it done, albeit in a tournament no one, including their fans, cares about. Matt mentioned how the first game was relocated to Carmichael Auditorium due to renovations at the Dean Dome. Many of us suspected the subterfuge was designed to avoid skull-splitting echoes for every one of Gravesí misdirected shots, but it turns out to be true. Stadium officials have decided to install, in each seat, airbags the size and shape of your average UNC fan. The equipment will be synced up with the ticket scanners used at the gates, so the system will know how many thousands of seats are going to be unoccupied. Moments before a T.V. broadcast begins, a tech activates the software, hits ďenterĒ and POOF!!!! A full house! They did a darn fine job too; here are a couple of samples of the balloon fans. Word is they may test a prototype that Roy Williams can activate via hand-held device that will incinerate any fan of the opposing team who does not take an oath of fealty upon entering the building.
Anyway, for the next game, against Mississippi State, Carmichael was unavailable because maintenance needed to replace the toilet paper rolls, and had trouble concentrating due to the mumbles of support from the 12 attendees who watched the first-round game. Thus, the second round was moved to Roy Williamsí driveway, but the neighbors complained that Thumbsonís rim-warping shots were setting off car alarms up to three blocks away.
All of which explains why the Hoots are having to make a road trip (does the N.C. legislature allow for state funds to be used to fly a team that is in the NIT?) to Birmingham, Ala., to try on some Blazers.
Alabama, Birmingham 76, North Carolina-Chapel Hill 71.
(2BL) RHODE ISLAND (25-9, 9-7 Atlantic 10) @ (1BL) VIRGINIA TECH (25-8, 10-6)
The pauvre Bald Bastard of Blacksburg, who just gets no respect from his peers, still has support in many quarters - - like this message board full of imbeciles that I sometimes visit (just to feel at home, I guess), on which someone claimed that it wasnít Goonbergís fault if he ďscheduled a bunch of power conference teams who ended up having down seasons.Ē Wait, which teams were those? Not Temple, surely, particularly since the Owls beat the Hokies. Iowa? Georgia? Seton Hall??? Yeah, like everyone else, I had all of those squads in my preseason Final Four projections, along with VMI, Charleston Southern, UMBC, Longwood and NCCU. Itís true, itís true - - Uncle Fester canít be held responsible for the surprisingly bad performances of these stalwart foes.
What we can thank the disreputable grouch for is cleansing the postseason of Jim Calgoon and Connecticut, in a game that featured more cuts than a two-camera sitcom and, in an amazing upset, was still actually less thuggish than the Dayton @ Cincinnati tilt. (I know, I know, Cincinnati - - but Dayton playing Thugball? I was taken aback, anyway.) What a bummer of a season for that fantastic guy from Storrs/Hartford. Just makes all the folks in Bristol want to give him a big hug. Maybe Auriemma can give him a few tips.
Rhode Island was yet another A-10 school that had a pretty good season - - it now appears that the league wasnít quite the weak sister everyone thought relative to its perpetual comparator, the Big East. The Rams have a ton of size and two pretty good players in 6-8 senior Delroy James (13.0 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 1.4 spg, .428/.754/.326), who Bootsied Nevada with 34 in the second round and also played excellent defense on Luke Babbitt, and leading scorer and 6-4 senior Keith Cothran (14.3 ppg, 2.1 apg, 1.4 tpg, 1.8 spg, .427/689/.315), one of the better ballhawkers in the country. 6-6 senior Lamonte Ulmer (11.9 ppg, 7.4 rpg) grabs boards, 7-0 junior Will Martell (7.6 ppg, 4.9 rpg, 1.2 bpg) fills space and can send back shots, and 6-1 freshman Akeem Richmond (8.8 ppg, .396 3PFG) is the designated bomber from distance, while 6-1 junior Marquis Jones (5.7 ppg, 4.1 apg, 1.5 tpg, 1.3 spg) is a quiet but effective point guard. The Rams have some really interesting stats - - only three teams in Division I turned it over fewer than they did, they were #33 in offensive efficiency, and only one team in the land (suddenly coach-free Houston) allowed its opponents fewer steals, while just five teams allowed their enemies fewer blocked shots. Hmm. URI is terrible at getting to the line and has a ton of defensive deficiencies despite recording a bunch of blocks per possession (#51) and steals per possession (#40) of its own, but . . . I sense a very close game here, and one that VPI could easily lose, what with all the intellectual wattage it deploys on the hardwood and the sideline.
Virginia Tech 74, Rhode Island 72.
In a late breaking development, the EPA has just announced the college basketball post-season is now nearly completely cleaned of coaching scum, with Bozoman and Cal-goon removed from the system, while some trouble spots lie ahead with Calipari and Buggins. However, overall ineptness is down, as Hewitt has been neutralized, along with Thompson MXCIVIII, not to mention some goofy hillbilly from Chapel Hill, whoís managing his team in an event no one cares about. In addition, risks from molds and mildews have been greatly reduced since a high-pressure system is now being completely contained in the College Park area, along with skank-filled bars along the Del-Mar-Va Shore. Finally, groundwater conditions were greatly improved by the first-round exit of Montana head coach Wayne Tinkle.
Kind of long-winded way to say, Seth, old boy, Iíve had plenty of problems with the way you do things at a school I desperately want to pull for, but on this night, thank you, thank you, thank you, for sending the U-Conn Don one more step closer to being ďtaken care of.Ē
Virginia Tech 72, Rhode Island 68.
Guest (Al White) 3-1