SMITH CENTER/CHAPEL HILL -- You have to hand it to North Carolina. The Tar Heels make the sorts of mistakes in games that should cost them a chance to win, but they enter late February with a sterling 24-2 record and a 10-2 mark within the ACC.
On Wednesday night, Carolina allowed N.C. State to shoot 54 percent from the field and a stunning 55 percent (11-20) on three-pointers yet still managed to win comfortably 89-80 in a game that was less competitive than the final margin indicates.
The Carolina RailHawks signed yet another of Martin Rennie's old Cleveland City Stars. Officials announced today that Sallieu Bundu, a 2nd-team All-USL-2 selection in 2008, had agreed to terms with the Cary-based team.
The Sierra Leone native is a striker and scored 11 goals last season for the Stars in league and non-league play. In August, he scored the winning goal in the USL-2 championship game.
The signing of Bundu, who had already been training with the team, means the RailHawks will have a deadly African duo up top—the other is Hamed Diallo of Ivory Coast, who returns to Cary after a fine half-season last year. The third forward on the roster, as it happens, is African-American: Aaron King.
Still no news of forward Dan Antoniuk, the major remaining question mark from last year's squad.
The 25-year-old Bundu comes to Cary with a compelling back story: When he was 15, his family was forced to flee its home when civil war broke out. He, his siblings and his mother made it to Guinea; his father was murdered. Several years ago, Bundu received a green card and settled in Twinsburg, Ohio. After trying out with the Columbus Crew, he caught Martin Rennie's eye at Cleveland.
The complete announcement comes after the jump:
The Carolina Hurricanes confirmed this morning that a bus carrying players and staff of their minor league affiliate, the Albany River Rats, crashed early this morning. River Rats that Hurricanes fans might recognize, due either to recent call-ups or strong training camp performances, are Bryan Rodney, Brett Carson, Casey Borer, Jakub Petruzalek, and Harrison Reed.
The bus reportedly slipped due to slippery conditions, hit a guardrail and flipped onto its side around 3 a.m. on the Massachusetts Turnpike in Becket. The team was traveling back from Lowell, Massachusetts, where it lost to the Lowell Devils, 3-2, earlier that night.
Accounts are varying, but most of those on the bus were transported to a local hospital and somewhere between three and five players and coaches were seriously injured. They will remain in the hospital while the team travels on.
The team is scheduled to play the Bridgeport Sound Tigers at home tomorrow night, but head coach Jeff Daniels said the game will probably be canceled.
Until the players’ and coaches’ families have been notified, the team will not release the names of those still in the hospital. Defenseman Tim Conboy, whom the Hurricanes called up earlier today (presumably to fill in for the injured Niclas Wallin) was not involved in the bus accident.
Here are two of the more informative articles on the crash:
I happened to be listening on the radio to the postgame of UNC's win over N.C. State last night, and when UNC head coach Roy Williams was asked why why his team wasn't doing a good job executing a full-court trap defense (and hence rarely using it), Williams responded that "If I knew the answer to that, we wouldn't still be fuckin' stinkin'."
At first I wasn't sure I'd heard what I knew I'd heard. These press conferences are broadcast live—as Williams knows—and one isn't prepared for profanity.
(I was reminded of the time I saw an owl sitting on a tow-away-zone sign in the University Mall parking lot; just couldn't process it for a moment or two.)
General twittering laughter ensued, and even Williams acknowledged what he had said. He apologized and followed with a lengthy digression on his golf game: the last time he used the f-word in public, he claimed, was when he shot a 22 (yes, a 22) on the final hole of a round of golf. Everyone in the room seemed to be having a whale of a good time at this point, even (especially?) Roy. But he regained his punctilio and finished his press conference with yet another, this time very formal apology for his expletive.
What's great about Roy Williams is that he isn't afraid to be a human being, and his idiosyncrasies are nearly always on full display. After the buttoned-down Dean Smith era, and then the dispiriting interregnums of Bill Guthridge and Matt Doherty, the Roy Williams age seems like a near perfect marriage of good-ol' Tar Heel tradition and devil-may-care ebullience. Given the workmanlike way that Carolina has of dismantling opponents (last night's game was nowhere near as close as its final score; the Wolfpack scored the final 10 points after UNC had quit caring), Williams's postgame soliloquies are freshets of fun.
N.C. State travels to Chapel Hill to face the No.3 North Carolina Tar Heels who have been on a tear winning their last nine games.
The resurgent Wolfpack looks to bolster its post-season resume with a marque win over the conference leader.
Here are a few subplots to watch for tonight:
“It’s a night that we’ll remember forever,” Wesley said.
Two of his former teams, the Bruins and the Hurricanes battled it out, with the Bruins winning the decision 5-1. Several of Wesley’s friends and former teammates wished him well on the Jumbotron throughout the game.
“It was a great night, a great ceremony, a bad result to the game,” Paul Maurice said after the game.
Matt Cullen opened the scoring with his No. 15 of the season, but the Bruins scored five unanswered goals to sweep the season series from the Hurricanes for the first time in both teams’ history. The win gave the season series an almost bizarre symmetry: the Hurricanes dropped the first two games by a score of 4-2 and the final two 5-1. Each pair included a home game and an away game.
A funny thing happened in the Bull City last night. Durham's mayor, Bill Bell, wore a UNC Tar Heels hoodie over his suit at a City Council meeting. Find out why in David Fellerath's Triangle Offense post (hint: it has to do with Duke losing), then check out the exclusive gameday photo, along with a meeting report (kind of like a recap) over at our sister blog, Triangulator.
The Hurricanes will retire Glen Wesley's No. 2 in a ceremony tonight preceding their last match-up with the formidable Boston Bruins. Wesley, a veteran of 728 games in a Hurricanes uniform and over 20 NHL seasons, played with only three franchises during his long and illustrious career, and two of those were Hartford/Carolina and Boston. Wesley was with the team for its downs (when the team had neither a home nor a permanent fan base in Greensboro) and its ups (two Stanley cup finals in four years.) He finally lifted the cup over his head in 2006, which was a moment 'Canes fans will never forget.
In addition, the Hurricanes will try avoid being swept in their season series against the Bruins. Neither team has swept the other since 1979, when Hartford joined the league. The Eastern Conference leading Bruins have decimated the 'Canes this season, winning all three contests 4-2, 4-2, and 5-1, respectively. The Hurricanes are trying to catch Buffalo and Florida, which are tied for the final two playoff spots in the east.
I will be LiveBlogging from the event starting at 6:30 EST, so if you're watching from home, please feel free to join in and share your opinion as we watch that loveable redhead's number rise up and join Ron Francis' in the RBC Center rafters.
This past weekend in ACC play, several of the conference’s top teams had trouble securing victories on the road. Dean Oliver’s four factors have plenty to say about Sunday’s upsets—and some upsetting trends for the cream of the ACC’s crop. But first, let’s look at how they did predicting how the Miami-North Carolina game would play out.
The Tar Heel offense, as it has every game this season, scored more than one point per possession (1.04). More surprisingly, the Tar Heel defense held the Hurricanes under one point per possession (.98).
Breaking it down into the four factors, the Tar Heels and Hurricanes had eerily similar games. The two teams had identical effective field goal percentages (eFG percent) of 43.6 and turnover rates (TORates) of 18.0.
The difference between the Heels and the Hurricanes, as predicted, came down to free throw rate (FTR) and offensive rebounding (OR). The Tar Heels had an 11.9 FTR while the Hurricanes only mustered a 2.9 FTR—two Jack McClinton free throws. In a game where possessions were at a premium, the 69-possession game was the slowest the Heels have played this season, offensive rebounds that lead to extra attempts were of extra importance. In this vital category the Tar Heels outperformed the Hurricanes, 39.0 to 34.8.
Even though the Heels came out on top, the most impressive player wasn’t wearing Carolina blue.