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Saturday, March 31, 2012

Top defense better than top offense as White team wins Duke spring game

Posted By on Sat, Mar 31, 2012 at 8:38 PM

Photo by Chris BairdEric Adams applies the stiff-arm to linebacker Britton Grier. WALLACE WADE STADIUM/DURHAM It might be time for the biggest basketball games of the year and the finish of playoff chases in hockey, and Major League Baseball is already running. But in the Triangle, it’s spring football time for the local ACC schools. Duke plays the first of the spring games today in a little bit of heat after some morning rains looked like they might soak everybody. David Cutcliffe’s squad is coming off a 3-9 season in which it was once again competitive and about three plays...

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Thursday, March 29, 2012

Why you should catch a Canes game this weekend

Posted By on Thu, Mar 29, 2012 at 6:03 PM

RALEIGH, NC—When a team is mathematically eliminated from the National Hockey League playoffs, newspapers put a lower-case “e” in front of the team’s name in the NHL standings. The Carolina Hurricanes don’t have their “e” yet, but somewhere a typesetter has taken it out of the drawer and polished its leaden face. The scarlet letter might be Hurricanes red, but there's still some hockey to be played this year.It’s just a matter of hours before the Canes join the Hester Prynne Division that has been accumulating members over the last week. Despite the fact that Carolina has posted one of...

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Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Diggins hits triple-double as Irish rip Maryland, end ACC hoop season

Posted By on Wed, Mar 28, 2012 at 1:23 AM

PNC ARENA/RALEIGH It’s supposed to be the best matchup in the NCAA Women’s Elite Eight this season. Photo courtesy Notre Dame athleticsNotre Dame guard Skylar DigginsNo. 1 seed and last season’s tournament runner-up Notre Dame (33-3) will take on No. 2 seed and ACC champion Maryland (31-4) for the championship of the Raleigh Regional and a spot in the Final Four beginning April 1 in Denver. Notre Dame’s semifinal contest on Sunday was a snoozer, a 79-35 romp over a St. Bonaventure team that didn’t seem ready for this level of prime time. And the Terps had eliminated defending tournament...

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Sunday, March 25, 2012

Promise Unmet: Heels fall to Kansas in Elite Eight

Posted By on Sun, Mar 25, 2012 at 8:48 PM

File photo by Arianna HoffmannWill any of these guys return to UNC next season? CBS — North Carolina fell to Kansas 80-67 in this evening’s national quarterfinal, but only the most irrational fan would hurl invective at the team. The preseason championship favorite fell in the round of eight for the second consecutive year, but bad luck delivered a fatal blow that ultimately will become this squad’s story. Kendall Marshall was unable to play for the second straight game after fracturing his wrist versus Creighton last weekend, and his absence doomed UNC’s offense during the second half versus the Jayhawks....

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Terps work a miracle, advance to another Elite Eight

Posted By on Sun, Mar 25, 2012 at 5:48 PM

PNC ARENA/RALEIGH Maryland will be carrying the ACC’s banner into the Raleigh Regional, and the Terps’ path to the Final Four is not an easy one. Photo courtesy Maryland athleticsMaryland guard Laurin MincyFirst up for the No. 2 seed ACC champions (30-4) is defending NCAA champion Texas A&M (23-10), which will being its No. 3 seed into the house as it plays in its last tournament as a member of the Big XII (or the number of the day) Conference. Of course if Brenda Frese’s Terps get through this one they’ll look to take their winning streak to 12 games...

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Saturday, March 24, 2012

N.C. State Wolfpack ends game NCAA run, loses to Kansas 60-57 in Sweet 16

Posted By on Sat, Mar 24, 2012 at 12:31 PM

TBS—One possession separated N.C. State from destiny: their first trip to the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament since 1986 and, more tantalizing for North Carolina sports fanatics, arguably the most significant basketball game between the Wolfpack and the North Carolina Tar Heels in the schools’ storied rivalry. In the end, N.C. State’s 60-57 loss to the Kansas Jayhawks at the Midwest Regionals in St. Louis unfolded like most Wolfpack games against ranked competition this season: shooting was poor, rebounding was strong, and turnovers were a bit high. And, like so many losses this season, the Pack squandered an early...

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Wounded Heels limp past Bobcats, face precarious future

Posted By on Sat, Mar 24, 2012 at 12:05 AM

File photo by Arianna HoffmannBullock's icy shooting kept UNC out of the morgue TBS — This isn’t the North Carolina team we expected to watch this season, before experienced shooter Leslie McDonald tore his ACL last summer. It isn’t the one we did see until Dexter Strickland suffered a season-ending knee injury in January. It’s also not the one we observed before John Henson sprained his wrist in the ACC Tournament and has hobbled him ever since. And it’s certainly not the one we saw dismantle Duke in Durham early this month, before Kendall Marshall fractured his wrist last weekend...

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Thursday, March 22, 2012

Canes won't go away, drop Panthers for fourth straight win

Posted By on Thu, Mar 22, 2012 at 4:02 AM

PNC ARENA, RALEIGH—I am skilled, as it turns out, at avoiding jinxes. In order to snap my team out of a bad stretch of play in a game, I can sense just when to change clothing or turn my jersey inside-out. To fend off a favorite player’s injury in his first game back after a long concussion absence, I recently ate a hard-boiled egg while doing a handstand, knowing that such an absurd act would prompt the hockey gods to protect his noggin from further harm. Photo by D.L. AndersonCalm and confident, Cam Ward just missed a shutout against the...

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Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Jackets get by Hoyas to earn date with loaded Baylor

Posted By on Wed, Mar 21, 2012 at 1:15 AM

CARMICHAEL ARENA/CHAPEL HILL It’s pretty sure to be a good battle when No. 4 seed Georgia Tech takes on No. 5 seed Georgetown in the second round of the NCAA Women’s Tournament on UNC’s home court. Photo courtesy Georgia Tech athleticsGeorgia Tech guard Sydney WallaceNever mind that whoever survives the championship game of the sub-regional pod will almost certainly be traveling to unbeaten Baylor for a Saturday contest in Des Moines. These programs are almost mirroring each other at the moment. Tech (25-8) has a senior class of five players that has the best four-year record in school history at...

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Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Hoop Cheese: UNC and N.C. State feel the agony and the ecstasy of the Sweet 16, and more

Posted By on Tue, Mar 20, 2012 at 3:43 PM

So distraught was Indyweek Sports editor David Fellerath over Duke University’s premature ouster from the NCAA Tournament last weekend in Greensboro that he decided to join a crisis response team and volunteer his services to help Duke with media management over the coming month. Or, maybe he’s actually taking some media classes at Duke for a few weeks … come to think of it, I never really asked. Nevertheless, the ACC beat writers for Indyweek Sports—which is what we’re calling ourselves nowadays; click and follow our new Google+ page for further proof—have been faithfully churning out copy. Adam Sobsey was...

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Monday, March 19, 2012

March Madness: on Marshall and the Media, Lehigh and Loss, Elton and the Boss

Posted By on Mon, Mar 19, 2012 at 2:59 PM

Photo by Al DragoKendall Marshall, before the fall. GREENSBORO COLISEUM/ GREENSBORO, N.C.—The thing is, North Carolina was really looking like the real deal. John Henson, back from his sprained wrist, brought energy and attitude back to the Tar Heels, a generally cool-customer team. He got into a little flap with Creighton's Grant Gibbs after he felt that Gibbs was intentionally hacking at his wrapped and taped left wrist down on the low block as Henson tried to get a shot up. Henson's jawing at Gibbs, who later flatly denied any injurious intent, earned him a technical foul about six minutes...

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Sunday, March 18, 2012

North Carolina men's basketball wins game, loses Kendall Marshall to wrist injury

Posted By on Sun, Mar 18, 2012 at 9:35 PM

Photo by Al DragoKendall Marshall tells reporters about his wrist injury after UNC's win over Creighton in the NCAA Tournament, March 18, 2012 GREENSBORO COLISEUM/ GREENSBORO, N.C.—The North Carolina Tar Heels took care of Creighton with relative ease tonight, 87-73, sparked by the high-energy return of John Henson to action after missing three games with a sprained wrist. Ironists will appreciate this: Kendall Marshall sustained a wrist injury of his own tonight with about 11 minutes to play. He was fouled while attempting a layup, went down hard and apparently broke his fall with his right hand—which is his non-shooting...

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Yellow Jackets, Hoyas advance in first-round games at UNC

Posted By on Sun, Mar 18, 2012 at 7:10 PM

CARMICHAEL ARENA/CHAPEL HILL Georgia Tech will go into the first round of the NCAA Women’s Tournament carrying the ACC’s banner in the Triangle — at least for now. Photo courtesy Georgia Tech athleticsGeorgia Tech guard Sydney WallaceAnd yes, we’ll rehash this again. The selection committee somehow figured the Yellow Jackets were the worst ACC team deserving of an at-large bid. Today the No. 4 seed Yellow Jackets (24-8) will take on No. 13 Sacred Heart (27-5), the champions of the Northeast Conference, in the first meeting between the schools. It’s not much of a contest as Tech is clearly the...

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Saturday, March 17, 2012

Wolfpack season ends as Appalachian State gets its biggest victory

Posted By on Sat, Mar 17, 2012 at 8:55 PM

Photo by Chris BairdKody Burke fights for the ball with ASU's Ashleigh Kelly (left) and Anna Freeman.REYNOLDS COLISEUM/RALEIGH N.C. State is looking to put a good finish on its season with a strong run through the WNIT, and the Wolfpack has a chance to make a very good impression today. Kellie Harper’s club (19-15) looks for its second 20-win season in her three years at the helm when the Wolfpack hosts Appalachian State in a second-round contest. But to do it, the Wolfpack will have to beat ASU’s best team ever. The Wolfpack never trailed in scoring its season high...

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With Tar Heels missing, Ga. Tech carries ACC banner in Chapel Hill

Posted By on Sat, Mar 17, 2012 at 5:04 PM

CARMICHAEL ARENA/CHAPEL HILL “I bet you didn’t think you’d see us here!” Georgia Tech coach MaChelle Joseph said Saturday. And she was absolutely right. Photo courtesy Georgia Tech athleticsGeorgia Tech coach MaChelle JosephThe NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament puts host teams on their home courts — unless said host team isn’t in the field of 64. So with UNC’s exclusion from the field along with No. 2 seed Duke’s exile to the home court of No. 7 Vanderbilt in the Fresno Regional, the Yellow Jackets are the de facto home team for the four-team pod for games here on Sunday and...

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Carolina RailHawks take 1-0 scrimmage win over UNC-Greensboro

Posted By on Sat, Mar 17, 2012 at 4:16 PM

Neil MorrisBrian Shriver challenges during RailHawks 1-0 scrimmage win over UNC-GreensboroWAKEMED SOCCER PARK/CARY—The immaculate emerald turf of WakeMed Soccer Park was the perfect setting for a sunbathed St. Patrick’s Day scrimmage between the Carolina RailHawks and UNC-Greensboro Spartans. The RailHawks collected a 1-0 win, with an own goal off a botched Spartans clearance late in the first half accounting for the lone score. In truth, the greatest intrigue surrounding Field 3 was the conspicuous absence of green in the garb worn by RailHawks head coach and former Northern Ireland international Colin Clarke. Despite this apparent breach of tradition, however, no...

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NCAA Split Ticket: UNC men advance past Vermont; Duke shocked by Lehigh (bonus season postmortem)

Posted By on Sat, Mar 17, 2012 at 1:59 PM

GREENSBORO COLISEUM/ GREENSBORO, N.C.—Let me take the second part first, and via this very convenient (though unfortunate) metaphor. I was just getting to my truck to drive home to Durham from Greensboro last night, around 11:30 p.m., when I got a text from my fiancée. There had been a huge crash in the house, and when she went to investigate, with some trepidation, she discovered that the kitchen light fixture had mysteriously fallen off of its pendant and shattered on the floor. This particular light fixture was something of a pet piece of hardware for us, chosen and installed when...

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Friday, March 16, 2012

Hoop Cheese: Round 2 edition. Mighty Wolfpack. Greensboro. The Duke women minus Williams.

Posted By on Fri, Mar 16, 2012 at 7:38 PM

To be honest, we've been so busy with our new Google+ page (circle us now! Or click the magic badge above!) that we barely noticed that N.C. State won its opener in convincing fashion, knocking off San Diego State 79-65. They're even calling it an upset, as the lowly, lowly Wolfpack were a mere 11-seed (No. 50 on the RPI) while SDSU was a 6-seed (No. 27 RPI). Meanwhile, Adam Sobsey and Al Drago are acting as our eyes and tweeting fingers at the Greensboro Coliseum. UNC put away the Vermont Catamounts 77-58, wisely leaving long, tall John Henson...

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Thursday, March 15, 2012

Major League Soccer executives to visit Triangle on April 12

Posted By on Thu, Mar 15, 2012 at 10:22 PM

Executives for Major League Soccer will visit the Triangle next month to meet local fans, media and various business and civic leaders, according to Curt Johnson, president of the Carolina RailHawks. The all-day event will take place Thursday, April 12. Among those representing MLS will be President Mark Abbott and Will Kuhns, the league’s director of communications. Joining them will be various officials for the Carolina RailHawks, David Downs, commissioner for the North American Soccer League and Aaron Davidson, Vice President of Traffic Sports USA, the current owners of the RailHawks. According to Johnson, the day’s events will begin around...

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Monday, March 12, 2012

Duke hits the road for NCAA Tournament while committee sends UNC packing

Posted By on Mon, Mar 12, 2012 at 10:23 PM

Well, the NCAA Division I Women’s Tournament selection committee actually did it. Photo courtesy Duke athleticsDuke coach Joanne P. McCallieBy whatever alchemy the committee used to decide a conference with the Numbers 5, 6, 8 and 15 teams in the country deserved only those four teams in its field of 64, the committee released its bracket with only Maryland, Duke, Miami and Georgia Tech representing the ACC in the field. Not in the bracket is UNC (20-11), which would have been the playing host team for first- and second-round games in Chapel Hill Sunday and perhaps Tuesday. Neither is Virginia...

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Sunday, March 11, 2012

Tar Heels’ raging rally falls shy to Florida State in ACC finale

Posted By on Sun, Mar 11, 2012 at 4:18 PM

File photo by Arianna HoffmannMarshall's legs held up despite the grueling pace ESPN/ACC NETWORK — For one half, March looked a lot like January. North Carolina fell behind by 16 points to Florida State and approached blowout defeat territory, and of course no one has forgotten the 33-point whipping FSU applied to Carolina a couple months ago in Tallahassee. But the Heels battled gamely and ultimately missed a shot for the lead with seconds remaining, gracefully bowing to the Noles 85-82. Down one point, Kendall Marshall fired an open three-pointer that bounced off long — he’d made a far more...

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Pins and needling: Wolfpack awaits its NCAA Tourney fate

Posted By on Sun, Mar 11, 2012 at 12:18 PM

@PackPride If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then self-quotation is probably something best assessed using the guidance of Freud or Jung. That disclaimer aside, yesterday’s North Carolina-N.C. State matchup at the ACC Tournament recalled something I wrote on February 17, two days before Karl Hess gave birth to the inaugural Wolfpack Unlimited Award and nearly a month before a referee reportedly directed head coach Mark Gottfried to remain in his seat during yesterday’s ACC semifinal matchup against North Carolina using language normally seen in a Quentin Tarantino film: While blessed with more than 15 years of head coaching...

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Devil down, Heels up: Of dominance, Duke and Dulkys on ACC Championship Sunday

Posted By on Sun, Mar 11, 2012 at 11:42 AM

File photo by George A. Hoffman Jr.These friendly fellows officiated at an N.C. State preseason event, not yesterday in Atlanta.The most annoying thing about poor officiating is that it shoves basketball talk almost completely out of the picture. Some very dubious ref work in yesterday's semifinal between North Carolina and N.C. State has dominated the X's and O's, the whys and wherefores, the bracketing and bickering. Instead of talk of fame and fortune, we have the slings of infamy (or perhaps shame) and outrageous misfortune. My colleagues Rob Harrington and Neil Morris are all over the Tar Heels and the...

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Saturday, March 10, 2012

Tar Heels triple their pleasure against Pack amid controversy

Posted By on Sat, Mar 10, 2012 at 6:45 PM

File photo by Arianna HoffmannWatts' experience proved invaluable to UNC's win ESPN/ACC NETWORK — Probably 99 percent of the time, when fans argue that officiating robbed their team of a victory, it’s bullshit. But N.C. State fans can formulate a legitimate case after the Pack dropped a 69-67 heart-breaker to North Carolina this afternoon in the ACC Tournament semifinal, completing UNC's three-game sweep against NCSU this season. The Pack landed on the wrong end of several questionable calls, including the game-winning bucket when Kendall Marshall appeared to charge but earned a no-call from the referees. On the other hand, State...

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Hoop Cheese: Why you should see Joe Nocera Wednesday, and why all hell could break loose Monday

Posted By on Sat, Mar 10, 2012 at 11:50 AM

It's Saturday morning in March in North Carolina. Bradford pears are blooming, young people are in love and the ACC tournament in Atlanta is shaping up to be the most interesting and consequential it's been in years. It was an inauspicious beginning on Thursday. The referees got taken to task for their forlorn effort to express solidarity with the charming Karl Hess. If it hadn't been for the vigilance of bored, resentful reporters courtside, their act of defiance would have gone completely unnoticed by history. And yes, the Philips Arena was pretty much empty beyond a few family members and...

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This was a great read until we got to the World Cup part (who knows or cares, this is America) …

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