CARMICHAEL ARENA/CHAPEL HILL UNC hosts archrival N.C. State in the Tar Heels’ annual Play 4 Kay game, and there’s an odd visual effect as the contest starts.
The Tar Heels are unranked this week for the first time this season, and need to win this one both for a shot to get back in and also to begin nailing down a spot in the NCAA Tournament. (The first and second rounds will be here March 17 and 19.)
The Wolfpack’s next win would assure State a winning season and almost certainly a spot in the WNIT barring a run through the ACC Tournament.
UNC freshman guard Danielle Butts is out for her second straight game with a concussion.
The Tar Heels do what they need to do, holding off their rivals 68-59 and moving to within a game of the magic 20-win mark.
Cause (n.): 1. anything producing an effect or result
2. a person or thing acting voluntarily or involuntarily as the agent that brings about an effect or result
3. a reason, motive, or ground for some action, feeling, etc.: esp., sufficient reason
Webster's New World College Dictionary Copyright © 2010 by Wiley Publishing, Inc., Cleveland, Ohio. Used by arrangement with John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Less than 48 hours after snatching defeat from the jaws of sweet victory at Cameron Indoor Stadium, N.C. State faced the second in their three-game ACC gauntlet as Florida State brought their league-leading squad to Raleigh. The result—a 76-62 demolition by the Seminoles that wasn’t even as close as the score suggests—was the sorry consequence of an event that continues to bedevil the Wolfpack, even as they attempt to rebrand it. It was also an occasion for another referee-related incident that, although titillating for both fans and media, is already a red herring diverting attention from the game’s more imperative and ominous lessons.
Honestly, we're still sifting through the rubble here at Triangle Offense.
Our friend, co-worker and co-spectator Bob Geary is usually too busy with real journalism and tracking the movements of redistricted Democrats to tell us the awesome things he knows about basketball, but even he had to send a note so full of lividity, this computer is shaking:
State fans are pretty steamed—there's talk of leaving the ACC, or rather, the ACC left us.
UNC-Duke are everything now. Time to look at the SEC or Big "East"??
The officiating in the ACC is horrendous, has been for a long time. It isn't just anti-State, it's anti-road team combined with random ticky-tack fouls by guys who can't run with the players or see what's happening.
We were going to write a little bit about Jeremy Lin this week, but we'll save our deepest, most original thoughts about the meaning of this February phenomenon for another edition.
Instead, and after the jump, Neil Morris stops writing about soccer long enough to take up the banner of crying foul over the treatment of N.C. State's basketball team and the remotest possibility that the ACC's referees are intimidated by the
screaming lunatics teachers on the sidelines. (Perhaps it serves those Raleigh kids right: Didn't anyone tell them of Durham's reputation for depravity and crime? "Never go to Durham," generations of Raleigh real estate agents have told new arrivals to the state.)
After Neil, we'll move to a few things that were learned by Adam Sobsey, Rob Harrington and Mike Potter.
I assume that the vast majority of you reading this saw the game. Extremes tell their own story. As Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski summed up, the Wolfpack thoroughly outplayed Duke for 29 minutes, and Duke thoroughly outplayed the Wolfpack for 11. Really all of the things that needed to be said, that you'd expect to be said, someone said. Ryan Kelly: "We can't keep doing this." North Carolina State head coach Mark Gottfried: The story of the game was his team's foul trouble, which hamstrung them throughout the second half on both ends of the floor. Krzyzewski, contrarily: "I don't think it had anything to do with foul trouble." Kelly: these flat first-half performances are "one of the things that's holding us back from being great." Krzyzewski: "It was one of the more amazing games I've ever been a part of."
And also, weirdly, in its own way, not amazing at all. It was actually quite clear to me that Duke was going to win this game long before momentum became so gravitational that Duke could do nothing but win. It was at the 8:14 mark of the second half, when Seth Curry—who had what Krzyzewski called a "heroic" game, scoring 26 points on what appeared to be an ankle sprain in the game's first minute—hit his second layup in a 30-second span, two of his 21 second-half points. That made the score 63-54, N.C. State, and Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski called his second timeout in less than two minutes.
The reasons why Duke's win was, at that moment, assured, plus 1,500 additional words, follow.
It’s a big opportunity for a team that needs to generate a lot of positive attention to get on the board for an NCAA at-large berth.
State (15-11, 4-8 ACC) will be a solid underdog against No. 6 Miami (22-3, 11-1), which is chasing Duke for the ACC championship and still has a shot a No. 1 seed in an NCAA regional.
Miami, coach by Duke alumna Katie Meier, won the teams’ first meeting 78-68 on Jan. 5 in Coral Gables.
The one positive for the Wolfpack, which would probably need one win to lock up a WNIT bid, is that Miami has never won at Reynolds Coliseum.
It’s “Beach Night,” with fans encouraged to wear tropical attire.
Maybe the beach wear helps the favored Hurricanes feel at home, as they fight off a spirited Wolfpack effort to win 73-61.
Gazing out a hospitality suite at WakeMed Soccer Park, Jason Garey suddenly stops mid-sentence. “I remember scoring two goals on that goal down there,” he says, gesturing towards the south end of the main stadium.
“Just being here is funny.”
It wasn’t just any two goals, of course, but the two goals in 15 seconds that Garey scored for the University of Maryland during the semifinals of the 2005 College Cup against Southern Methodist University.
As a forward for the Terrapins, who went on to win the national title, Garey was the biggest name on a star-studded roster that included Robbie Rogers, Maurice Edu, A.J. DeLaGarza, Chris Seitz and then-freshman Graham Zusi. Garey was named the tournament’s offensive MVP, capping a stellar college career in which he became the Terrapins’ all-time leader in points (140) and goals (60).
The player who first entered Maryland on a walk-on scholarship—“they’d basically pay for my books,” says Garey—finished as winner of the Hermann Trophy, the awards given annually to the nation's best collegiate male and female soccer players.
A little more than six years later, this is Garey’s first time back to the soccer facility since hoisting the NCAA championship trophy, so long ago the park still bore its original name, SAS Soccer Park. The occasion for Garey’s return, however, is to sign on as one of the newest members of the Carolina RailHawks.
But in the second half Harrison Barnes reprised his role from last spring, bringing the team back from an eight-point deficit to overtake the Hurricanes 73-64. He scored 23 points and added six rebounds and two assists, and he rediscovered his three-point stroke by burying 3-for-7 for deep.
This performance did not constitute a strong shooting effort, mind you. The Heels hit just 38 percent overall and 28 percent from behind the arc, but both Barnes and Reggie Bullock did help counter a slump that has ravaged the team during ACC play.
Barnes and Bullock were able to offset uncharacteristically inefficient production from Tyler Zeller and John Henson. Zeller, whose play has placed him among the favorites to win conference player of the year, shot just 4-for-13 against the Canes en route to nine points and eight rebounds. Henson didn’t fare much better, converting 6-for-15 field goals for 14 points and 11 boards.
Once again, Carolina’s rebounding effort proved to be the game’s decisive factor. Miami shot slightly better from the floor (40 percent) and made more of its threes, but UNC won the glass 42-33 and accumulated 15 more free throw attempts in the process.
The Blue Devils (21-3, 12-0 ACC) haven’t lost to anyone ranked lower than No. 8 nationally and the only home loss was to No. 2 Connecticut.
The Hokies (7-18, 3-9) are coming off a four-point home loss Monday night that assured lowly Boston College won’t finish with a winless conference record. Tech, in its first season under Dennis Wolff, did have one road miracle this season in a 75-69 win over No. 8 Maryland on Jan. 26, but that is the only result keeping the Hokies from being on a 10-game losing streak.
Duke has won 16 in a row in the series including a 61-34 romp Jan. 15 in Blacksburg.
It’s a “Play 4 Kay” game, so both teams are wearing pink something or another.
It takes a while for Duke to turn it into a runaway but it eventually happens, as the Blue Devils take a 67-45 victory to sweep the season series.
Despite those first-half shortcomings, Duke went to the locker room leading the Terrapins, 32-29—a world apart from the 14-point halftime deficit they dug themselves at home against Miami last Sunday—and so there was every reason to be optimistic about the Blue Devils' chances in the second half.
First, Duke came out disjointed and hazy to open the game, and as a fit metaphor, their new, specially designed "Hyper Elite Platinum" uniforms (courtesy of a well-known athletic wear concern) also looked disjointed and hazy. Perhaps the Blue Devils were still in the surreal psychic confetti of Wednesday's instant-legend comeback win over North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Duke scored just three points in the first 6:40 against Maryland—"I thought they played really well defensively against us throughout the first half," Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski would later say—and the Terrapins were driving to the basket with confidence. Duke woke up and outscored them 29-19 for the remainder of the half, and seemed to be gaining control of the game as the teams went to their clubhouses.
Second, you had to figure that a Blue Devil or two would get hot in the second stanza—maybe Andre Dawkins or Ryan Kelly, a combined 1-6 in the first half, with two fouls each. Third, there is no question that Duke is better than Maryland in terms of talent and depth, even more so than they were when they beat the Terps at Maryland on January 25: The day before yesterday's game, the news broke that starting Terrapin point guard Pe'Shon Howard was lost for the season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament.
Fourth, Duke was playing at home, and it was loudly tweeted about the land before the game that the student section at Cameron was full—of actual students, this time. There were more handmade signs to hold high; there was more noise; there was more body paint; during the pregame, the video board showed Austin Rivers' electrifying buzzer-beater that sunk the Tar Heels on Wednesday night, and the crowd went berserk. The Crazie-ness, in other words, was back.
And then, this: As Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski followed his team across the court and toward the clubhouse after the first half ended, he stopped in front of the Duke student section, most of the way down towards the visitor's baseline. Looking livid and furious, Krzyzewski screamed at them:
"WE DON'T SIT! WE DON'T SIT!"
Then he stalked off the court, leaving his audience in shock and awe.
CARMICHAEL ARENA/CHAPEL HILL UNC faces yet another must-win game to hold its spot in the Top 25, and again it’s not an easy assignment.
No typos there. The rankings and records are the same.
This contest is the first between same-ranked teams by The Associated Press in women’s basketball since Jan. 14, 2003, when No. 14 Mississippi State beat No. 14 Vanderbilt 78-75. STATS LLC does not have a record of a men’s game matching same-ranked teams.
It’s a battle for fourth place in the ACC standings and the inside track for an all-important bye in the first round of the conference tournament.
Georgia Tech comes in with three straight wins in the series, but has not beaten a ranked team all season.
This time the Tar Heels lose a heartbreaker, seeing a seven-point lead disappear in the late going and falling 56-54.