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Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Ex-RailHawks update: Fusilier training in Charleston; Coggins and Lemons signed by Charlotte

Posted By on Tue, Mar 31, 2009 at 11:18 PM

Well, there are only four  players listed on the RailHawks roster who remain from the 2008 edition—assuming that reports of Steven Curfman's exit are accurate.  But that doesn't mean life doesn't go on for departed players.  Today, the USL-2 powerhouse Charlotte Eagles announced the signings of Chris Lemons and Jacob Coggins. Lemons, a midfielder, appeared in 21 games for the ’Hawks last year, while forward Coggins scored once in 10 league appearances (but only 208 minutes). Both players are returning to a program where they achieved great success. Coggins was a two-time USL-2 MVP with the Eagles and won the...

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SWakeSports: Curfman gone from RailHawks

Posted By on Tue, Mar 31, 2009 at 7:04 PM

Midfielder and free-kick specialist Steven Curfman has parted ways with the RailHawks, according to Mike Blake of the N&O's SWakeSports blog. Although Curfman's name is still on the roster as of 7 p.m., Blake's sources assure him that the one-year veteran and Wake Forest grad has been dropped from the squad. It's not a surprising development in light of Curfman's scarcity on the pitch thus far this preseason and the continuing surplus of players still on trial. However, combined with the departure of Santiago Fusilier, the RailHawks have now cut off nearly all of their hometown links. Only Raleigh native and...

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Monday, March 30, 2009

Tar Heels oust Sooners, advance to Final Four

Posted By on Mon, Mar 30, 2009 at 4:01 PM

TV/ CBS—It was billed as a clash of the titans between former and present national players of the year Tyler Hansbrough and Blake Griffin, but it was North Carolina's team that proved dominant. In Sunday's Elite Eight mach-up against Oklahoma, the Tar Heels ran out to an early lead and never looked back, beating the Sooners 72-60 and advancing to their second consecutive Final Four....

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Sunday, March 29, 2009

Liberty's Seth Curry to Duke

Posted By on Sun, Mar 29, 2009 at 8:05 PM

While Duke fans grimaced at another season with UNC in the Final Four and the Blue Devils sulking in Durham, they might have just gotten some very important news. Seth Curry, the brother of Cinderella, err ... I mean Davidson, star Stephen Curry and son of NBA legend and Charlotte Hornet standout Dell Curry, decided to transfer to Duke. Curry accepted a scholarship Sunday and will be eligible to play for the Blue Devils in the 2010-2011 season due to transfer rules. Curry, a freshman guard for the Liberty Flames, averaged over 20 points this season, including a 35-point performance...

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UNC vs. Oklahoma: Four Factor Preview

Posted By on Sun, Mar 29, 2009 at 12:48 AM

The North Carolina Tar Heels advanced to the Elite Eight for the third consecutive year Friday by beating the Gonzaga Bulldogs 98-77.  In the Elite Eight the Tar Heels draw a very different team than the Bulldogs, the Oklahoma Sooners.  While Gonzaga was a balanced team Oklahoma plays much more like North Carolina; efficient offense first and defense as needed.   In fact the Oklahoma Sooners have the lowest raw and adjusted defensive efficiencies (points allowed per possession) of any of the remaining eight teams. The Sooners are as unbalanced across the four factors as they are between offense...

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Saturday, March 28, 2009

RailHawks outplay CD Olimpia but lose 1:2

Posted By on Sat, Mar 28, 2009 at 10:34 AM

WAKEMED SOCCER PARK/ CARY—If the March 14 victory over the "major league" New England Revolution was an occasion for a little well-deserved breast-beating, the loss to the definitely major league CD Olimpia was the occasion for—well, first, a dry towel. A downpour worthy of a Sri Lankan monsoon at times threatened to obscure the action, and the slippery field was more or less responsible for defensive miscues that led to goals for each team. The 1:1 deadlock was broken in the 63rd minute when Jaime Rosales rocketed a very major league free kick that went over and around the...

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Friday, March 27, 2009

UNC vs. Gonzaga: Four Factor Preview

Posted By on Fri, Mar 27, 2009 at 11:14 AM

Yesterday I previewed a game that displayed two balanced teams. Duke and Villanova were similar in both personnel and in the Four Factors. The ACC's second Sweet Sixteen contest has matching skin-deep similarities. Both Gonzaga and North Carolina have skilled big men, silky smooth shooters and lightening quick point guards. However, looking past the lineup similarities, the Gonzaga Bulldogs go about winning games in different ways than the Tar Heels do....

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Duke's campaign ends: morning open thread

Posted By on Fri, Mar 27, 2009 at 7:57 AM

Wow. What a dispiriting way for the Blue Devils to end their season, with a 77-54 blowout loss to Villanova that featured their worst shooting performance of the season—even worse than the Clemson game. Veteran Duke-watchers knew the end was inevitable—the team was simply too dependent on its perimeter offense. To wit: Gerald Henderson shot 1-14 and Jon Scheyer mustered 3-18. Kyle Singler was 5-13. Ryan Campbell emailed me this morning with an interesting point: I realized earlier that Duke has fallen at least a round short of their seed expectation in each of the last five tournaments. Even...

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Thursday, March 26, 2009

David Price: It's Official

Posted By on Thu, Mar 26, 2009 at 10:38 AM

David Price will be in Durham to start the season. Attention shoppers: Hurry to the DBAP. This special Price demotion will be offered for a very limited time only. The rest of the Bulls' roster continues to take shape. The Rays also optioned four other players to Durham yesterday: highly regarded shortstop Reid Brignac (who is looking for a breakout season after struggling a bit last year), catcher John Jaso, and a pair of well-known faces in infielder Elliot Johnson and outfielder Justin Ruggiano. Don't be surprised if Ruggiano is quickly recalled to Tampa to help keep B. J. Upton's...

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Duke vs. Villanova: Four Factor Preview

Posted By on Thu, Mar 26, 2009 at 7:48 AM

To say that Duke and Villanova are similar is something of an understatement. It has been noted several places on the internet this week that the two teams have several things in common. For starters they're both guard-oriented teams with NBA-caliber backcourts. Alongside strong guard play they each have a 6-foot-8 swing man (Kyle Singler/Dante Cumingham) masquerading as a post presence, both who ironically have practically identical rebounding rates. Beneath the basic skin-deep similarities lie the four factors....

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Wednesday, March 25, 2009

'Canes continue Sens-ational play with 2-1 win over Ottawa

Posted By on Wed, Mar 25, 2009 at 10:32 PM

Normal 0 false false false MicrosoftInternetExplorer4 --> RBC CENTER/ RALEIGH—What happens when you put two red-hot teams together on a sheet of ice? Apparently, they cool each other off. After two periods without a score, the Ottawa Senators finally got a goal and the Hurricanes answered twice en route to a 2-1 win. Although they are well out of the top eight, the Senators came in having won five in a row and nine of 10. After a coaching change almost two months ago, they have not been the same team. However, the ‘Canes reminded them how to lose...

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Santiago Fusilier dropped from RailHawks roster in advance of CD Olimpia friendly

Posted By on Wed, Mar 25, 2009 at 6:55 PM

Santiago Fusilier, the tough, tenacious Argentine winger who provided more than his share of highlights on last year's sluggish team, has dropped off the RailHawks roster.   His departure comes in a week when the team announced the signings of two veteran performers, Sierra Leone international Mustapha Sama and Turks and Caicos Island international Gavin Glinton. (Glinton, however, has a green card, which means his presence on the roster doesn't count against the league limit of seven international players. The RailHawks presently have six internationals. See comment thread here.) A spokesman for the team declined to comment on Fusilier....

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So You Can Put A Price on Durham (and, Oh, No, Fernando!)

Posted By on Wed, Mar 25, 2009 at 1:02 AM

First there was a teasing hint on the Durham Bulls' Web site. And today the ESPN.com columnist Jayson Stark more or less announced that David Price will start the season in Durham. There's no official word yet from the Tampa front office, but if they're letting the nation's leading sports news outlet bruit this rumor about, it's hard to think it isn't true. There are several reasons for the decision, and each of them contains a modicum of sensible (or at least expedient) thinking. Taken together, they almost add up to a good idea....

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Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Is Cary the new Casablanca for world soccer?

Posted By on Tue, Mar 24, 2009 at 9:38 PM

You'll recall that in Casablanca, Humphrey Bogart ran a club that was a refuge for a polyglot collection of refugees from the Nazi menace. Things aren't quite so dire in Cary (but with this economy, one never knows). Still, the RailHawks are showing a penchant for picking up veteran players from the farthest reaches of the globe....

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Ty Lawson: Straw or Drink?

Posted By on Tue, Mar 24, 2009 at 8:35 AM

You don't have to watch a North Carolina basketball game on television long to hear an announcer opine that Tywon Lawson is "the straw that stirs the drink," "the gas pedal" or some other descriptive metaphor for the role that Lawson plays in the speedy, efficient Tar Heel offense. However, Ty Lawson is much more than that. ...

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Sunday, March 22, 2009

Heels ride Lawson to Sweet 16

Posted By on Sun, Mar 22, 2009 at 10:07 PM

TV/CBS — For everyone who has been annoyed by the continuous reporting of the Ty Lawson toe injury, Saturday served as your reminder why his presence is so important to Carolina's basketball team. The Tar Heels, pushed hard by LSU in the second round of the NCAA Tournament, needed the hobbled Lawson to carry them to an 84-70 victory — and the final 16 — in arguably the finest performance of Lawson's career....

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Saturday, March 21, 2009

'Canes' defense overwhelms the Capitals

Posted By on Sat, Mar 21, 2009 at 10:49 PM

Normal 0 false false false MicrosoftInternetExplorer4 --> RBC CENTER/ RALEIGH—The Carolina Hurricanes won their eighth in a row on home ice and third in a row overall against the Washington Capitals, 4-1. This time, Carolina was the tired team, having beaten the Islanders 5-4 at home last night. The Carolina defense came alive in the third to break a 1-1 tie with three goals. The ‘Canes evened the six-game series against the Caps in the teams’ final regular season meeting, and if the season ended right now, the two teams would be facing each other in the playoffs. More...

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NCAA Second Round: Four Factor Preview

Posted By on Sat, Mar 21, 2009 at 10:10 AM

#7 Texas vs. #2 Duke Greensboro, NC 8:15 pm CBS Texas presents the Devils with a bit more of a challenge than their first-round opponent, Binghamton.  The Longhorns are a dangerous team, with some untapped potential as they were ranked in the top 10 in both preseason polls. The Blue Devils have by far a more balanced offense than the Longhorns.  Duke’s offense ranks in the top 50 on three of the four factors (Turnover percentage, Offensive Rebounding percentage, and Free Throw Rate) and in the top 100 on the fourth (effective Field Goal percentage).  The Longhorn offense relies much...

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Hurricanes squeak past Islanders, 5-4

Posted By on Sat, Mar 21, 2009 at 2:25 AM

Normal 0 false false false MicrosoftInternetExplorer4 --> RBC CENTER/ RALEIGH— During a day full of outrageous upsets, it looked like the RBC Center inhabitant that might be going places this spring might fall prey to the _ New York Islanders. Though the Islanders have settled firmly into last place in the league, the team has gone 4-1-1 in its last six and has beaten the likes of Chicago, New Jersey, and Montreal. The Carolina Hurricanes looked as though they might be the next to join that list after a lethargic second period, but the second line of Ray Whitney,...

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Friday, March 20, 2009

Sans Lawson, Heels dump Radford

Posted By on Fri, Mar 20, 2009 at 2:43 PM

TV/CBS — We may never know for certain whether Roy Williams was sandbagging the extent of Ty Lawson's toe injury, the continuation of which has caused great consternation throughout the North Carolina fanbase. But if the Hall of Fame coach made a calculated decision to hold Lawson out for one more game due to his belief that the Tar Heels could handle Radford without its star point guard, he guessed correctly....

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Wednesday, March 18, 2009

From Russia, With Love: Babchuk's big night lifts 'Canes over Devils, 4-2

Posted By on Wed, Mar 18, 2009 at 10:35 PM

Normal 0 false false false MicrosoftInternetExplorer4 --> RBC CENTER/ RALEIGH—The Carolina Hurricanes took advantage of a tired, Brodeur-less Devils team and cushioned themselves a bit in the standings. Carolina's special teams went to work and scored three power play goals, including two by defenseman Anton Babchuk. The 'Canes won the contest 4-2. Those in attendance let out a collective, relieved exhale when they learned that Martin Brodeur, who took over first place in all-time NHL wins last night against Chicago, would be benched in favor of familiar face Kevin Weekes. Brodeur broke Patrick Roy’s record last night and became...

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Triangle Offense March Madness Picks

Posted By on Wed, Mar 18, 2009 at 8:22 PM

Here's a look at what some of Triangle Offense's contributors are thinking about the bracket's Final Four, champion, possible sleepers and disappointments. Rob Harrington Final Four:  Louisville, Connecticut, Pittsburgh and North Carolina More so than most seasons, this year most of the national contenders excel either on offense or defense, but not both. Last season, Kansas and Memphis were exceptional at both facets of the game, but no team has demonstrated that kind of dominance this season. So, I hedged. UNC and Pittsburgh are Nos. 1 and 2 on offense according to Pomeroy statistics, and Louisville and UConn are Nos....

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Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Just a thought...

Posted By on Tue, Mar 17, 2009 at 11:43 AM

Noted without comment ... UPDATE: Here's someone else's commentary, published on Huffington Post. Turns out that TARP money is being showered widely over the sports biz. Some think it's not such a bad thing. And, I didn't know Bank of America sponsored Liverpool (but not on the jersey). That gives last weekend's game, a 4:1 thrashing of the Mancunians by the Merseysiders, a whole new dimension: Bank of America>AIG....

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Sunday, March 15, 2009

No NIT for Pack

Posted By on Sun, Mar 15, 2009 at 10:54 PM

Tonight, the National Invitation Tournament unveiled their 2009 men's basketball brackets, and, unfortunately, N.C. State was not among those chosen for the post-season tournament. The ACC teams selected were Virginia Tech and Miami, whose NCAA bubbles burst earlier this evening. Davidson also made the NIT and will open the tournament at South Carolina on Tuesday, March 17. N.C. State (16-14) is surely disappointed, but, in reviewing the NIT brackets, the Wolfpack have little to quibble about. Only five teams with as many total losses as the Wolfpack were selected: Va Tech, Notre Dame, Georgetown, Baylor, and Washington State (who has...

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March madness, bracket battiness open thread

Posted By on Sun, Mar 15, 2009 at 4:40 PM

Will seven ACC teams get in? We'll find out shortly who's in and who's out. UPDATE: Yep, seven ACC teams, as forecast. The No. 1 seeds are: Louisville (Midwest), Pittsburgh (East), UNC (South) and UConn (West) And the six other ACC teams invited are: Wake Forest (No. 4 in Midwest) Boston College (No. 7 in Midwest) Maryland (No. 10 in West) Florida St. (No. 5 in East) Duke (No. 2 in East) Clemson (No. 7 in South)...

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