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Friday, November 30, 2012

Could Wake Forest be the biggest loser in new, expanded ACC?

Posted By on Fri, Nov 30, 2012 at 9:19 AM

File photo by D.L. AndersonWake Forest soccer player Julian Valentin, after the Demon Deacons won the 2007 College Cup in Cary's WakeMed Soccer Park. As expected, the ACC moved swiftly in the past week to replace Maryland. Louisville is in, and conference presidents almost certainly made the right choice in picking the Cardinals over UConn and Cincinnati. But UConn and Cincy need not despair entirely. The league is now at 15 schools for basketball and 14 for football, and logic might dictate an eventual move to an even 16. On the other hand, logic doesn’t seem to play much of...

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Thursday, November 29, 2012

Wolfpack can't challenge Spartans in ACC/Big Ten

Posted By on Thu, Nov 29, 2012 at 10:49 PM

REYNOLDS COLISEUM/RALEIGH N.C. State will play its biggest home game so far this season as the Wolfpack hosts Michigan State in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. Photo courtesy NCSU athleticsWolfpack coach Kellie HarperThe standings in the current event are 4-4, with both Duke and UNC victorious in their games Wednesday night. The Wolfpack is coming off a 1-2 finish in its tournament in Las Vegas over the weekend, with losses to Florida and Northern Iowa sandwiched around a victory over Arizona State. Kellie Harper’s 5-2 club also has a victory over Auburn. MSU is allowing only 37.4 points per game and...

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Harsh comparisons pester Tar Heels after devastating losses

Posted By on Thu, Nov 29, 2012 at 8:45 AM

File photo by Jeremy M. LangeThree guards, three outcomes from 2010-11 season. Only Dexter Strickland, center, remains with the Tar Heels.North Carolina’s 5-2 record looks okay on paper. The Tar Heels finished 2-1 at the Maui Invitational and, as expected, fell to No. 1 Indiana on the road. The squad returns to Chapel Hill for five of its next six games, enabling them to pad their record further in preparation for the ACC schedule. But the two defeats left the fan base shaken. First was Butler, which restricted the Heels to just 18 points in the first half en route...

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How to beat the devil: Lessons from Duke's 73-68 gutsy win over Ohio State

Posted By on Thu, Nov 29, 2012 at 1:39 AM

RSA FILMSCAMERON INDOOR STADIUM/ DURHAM—The well-ballyhooed Duke-OSU game began with an excellent entry pass to Mason Plumlee, who scorched his man one-on-one for the first Duke basket of the game. Shortly thereafter, he was summarily evicted from the key by large red-clad men for the remainder of the half. Children were born, marriages failed, and fall turned into winter while Duke went 10 minutes without a field goal. The score at halftime was 31-23, visitors, and the Blue Devils’ fundamental weaknesses seemed clear. Rebounding does not interest them. Quick fouls on Ryan Kelly expose their lack of depth inside. Seth...

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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Ruffin-Pratt's big minute lifts Tar Heels over Buckeyes in Challenge

Posted By on Wed, Nov 28, 2012 at 10:23 PM

CARMICHAEL ARENA/CHAPEL HILL UNC plays its biggest game so far this season tonight. Photo courtesy UNC athleticsUNC guard Tierra Ruffin-PrattThe No. 22 Tar Heels will put their undefeated mark on the line against No. 15 Ohio State in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge, an event which may have a little extra overall juice since the Big Ten poached ACC charter member Maryland last week. UNC has already gotten one nice win over a Big Ten team this season, winning 77-64 at Iowa in the championship game of the Preseason WNIT. The Buckeyes’ only loss was in their opener, a 57-51 defeat...

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Carolina RailHawks exercise options on 12 players from 2012 roster

Posted By on Wed, Nov 28, 2012 at 6:52 PM

Today, the Carolina RailHawks announced that it was exercising club options on the contracts for 12 members of the 2012 roster for the 2013 NASL season. The players are defenders Austen King and Justin Willis; midfielders Austin da Luz, Floyd Franks, Breiner Ortiz, Tiyi Shipalane, Nick Zimmerman, Nick Millington and Jake Beckford; and forwards Brian Ackley, Brian Shriver, and Zack Schilawski. Nine of the returnees were frequent starters for last season’s RailHawks, including Zimmerman, whose 15 goals was the second-most in the NASL, and Shipalane, whose late-game heroics included at least five game-winning or tying goals in all competitions. This...

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Of mai tais and men: The battle 4 college home hoops

Posted By on Wed, Nov 28, 2012 at 10:00 AM

Atlantis might be rediscovered, but major non-conference home hoops is going extinctIt’s the 28th of November, nearly three weeks since the tipoff of the 2012-13 NCAA basketball season, and North Carolina has played more game in Hawaii than Chapel Hill, N.C. State more in Puerto Rico than PNC Arena, and tonight’s game at Cameron Indoor Stadium will even up the times Duke has played in Durham with those at a casino resort in the Bahamas. Welcome to the world of NCAA Bylaw 17.3.5.1.1, aka the Qualifying Regular-Season Multi-Team Event (MTE). While early-season and holiday tournaments are as venerable as college...

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Heels strike familiar and unwelcome pose in embarrassing defeat to Indiana

Posted By on Wed, Nov 28, 2012 at 12:27 AM

For one of the few occasions in recent memory, North Carolina entered its game tonight as a double-digit underdog. Traveling to Indiana to face the top-ranked Hoosiers, the Heels actually proved the oddsmakers far too generous. Carolina hung around early but performed disastrously in the second half, ultimately losing 83-59 and failing to compete effectively in any area of the contest. Just three seasons ago the Heels suffered through a shockingly poor campaign that resulted in their missing the NCAA Tournament; tonight's outing versus IU very much resembled some of that 2010 squad's various collapses. The Tar Heels lost to...

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Tuesday, November 27, 2012

NASL tabs sport exec and former NFL Europe chief Bill Peterson as new commissioner

Posted By on Tue, Nov 27, 2012 at 6:15 PM

NASL.comNew NASL Commissioner Bill PetersonDuring an afternoon media teleconference, the North American Soccer League (NASL) introduced Bill Peterson as the league’s second commissioner, replacing the outgoing David Downs, who announced his resignation in early October. Peterson, who was born in Smithfield, N.C. and currently resides in Florida, is a career sports executive who comes to the NASL following a two-year stint as president of the board of directors for USA Cycling. He is also managing director of Solve4, a sports advisory firm he founded last November. Peterson worked for NFL Europe from 1991-2000 in various capacities, including general manager of...

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Monday, November 26, 2012

The greatness of Quinn Cook's face

Posted By on Mon, Nov 26, 2012 at 12:01 AM

Photo by D.L. AndersonQuinn Cook drives during a game earlier this season against Florida Gulf Coast University.“The main thing that Quinn has done is that he hasn’t shown any weakness. He has a great face, a great demeanor and he’s in incredible shape.” — Coach K on Duke point guard and Battle4Atlantis MVP Quinn Cook Over the extended Thanksgiving weekend, Duke beat three defensive-minded teams in three days to win the dumb-sounding Battle4Atlantis tournament, held in a converted ballroom of a Bahamas’ resort. Minnesota fell first and looked kind of terrible, especially on offense. Then came Virginia Commonwealth University, who...

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Sunday, November 25, 2012

No slow start this time as Tar Heels crush UNCA

Posted By on Sun, Nov 25, 2012 at 5:10 PM

CARMICHAEL ARENA/CHAPEL HILL UNC puts its No. 25 national ranking on the line again with its second game in as many days. Photo courtesy Duke athleticsUNC guard Megan BucklandThe Heels had a slow start Saturday before pulling away for a 30-point romp over LaSalle, and would make Coach Sylvia Hatchell happy with a much faster start today. The opponent is UNC Asheville, which has made four previous trips to Carmichael and always come up dry. The Bulldogs are coming off a home-court win over Montreat, but are 0-3 against Division I opposition this season. UNCA has one local product on...

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Maryland, Tom O'Brien gone: Is loyalty just a thing of the past?

Posted By on Sun, Nov 25, 2012 at 2:53 PM

File photo by Al DragoTom O'Brien in 2011There once was a Duke football coach who had back-to-back winning seasons and then got fired, apparently for not winning quite enough to make his athletic director happy. That was one Shirley “Red” Wilson, whose accomplishments at Winston-Salem’s Reynolds High and Elon College had been enough to earn him a spot in the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame. Wilson was fired the night after beating UNC at Wallace Wade Stadium to conclude the 1982 and finishing 6-5 for the second straight year. (Incidentally, Duke has had back-to-back winning football seasons exactly one...

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Saturday, November 24, 2012

Tar Heels outscore Terps to complete solid 8-4 season

Posted By on Sat, Nov 24, 2012 at 8:38 PM

Photo by Chris BairdUNC's Gio Bernard runs in the open field.KENAN STADIUM/CHAPEL HILL Welcome to Bizarro World, I guess. UNC will host its season football finale against Maryland on a sunny, cool late afternoon. The Tar Heels knew coming into the season they wouldn’t be heading to a bowl because of NCAA sanctions. And if they can hold off the underdog Terps, Larry Fedora’s first season will be a decent one that with a few different bounces could have been a lot better. With a win, the Tar Heels can finish 8-4 and with their best victory mark since the...

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Tar Heels use huge second half to repel pesky LaSalle

Posted By on Sat, Nov 24, 2012 at 3:06 PM

CARMICHAEL ARENA/CHAPEL HILL UNC returns to the floor for the first time in six days, ranked No. 25 and flying high after winning the Preseason WNIT. Photo by Chris BairdDanielle Butts scores on a breakaway layup for the Tar Heels.Today’s opponent is Atlantic 10 Conference member LaSalle, which is 1-3 after winning 49-48 Tuesday night at Lehigh. The teams will be meeting for the first time. The Tar Heels are playing a back-to-back this weekend, as UNC Asheville will come calling on Sunday. And today’s game is at noon, so as not to conflict with the home football game against...

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Friday, November 23, 2012

ESPN, the force that makes all that is solid melt into air

Posted By on Fri, Nov 23, 2012 at 6:19 PM

This week ESPN announced that it has won bidding rights to the four-team NCAA football “playoff” scheduled to begin in 2014. That’s a $5.6 billion deal over 12 years. Is it any coincidence that this week also revealed a significant difference between how print media and ESPN personalities covered the Maryland-to-Big Ten story? Take for instance, the Washington Post. Contrary to some claims this week, Maryland sports are given significant attention in the D.C. sports landscape—far more than, say, Boston College gets in Boston. At Maryland-Carolina games in College Park, it is longstanding tradition for the heavy hitters of DC...

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Triangle ACC football teams can accomplish lots in home season finales

Posted By on Fri, Nov 23, 2012 at 12:15 PM

File photo by Chris BairdUNC’s Bryn Renner fights for yardage against Duke’s David Helton (47) as Austin Gamble (45) prepares to help.It’s the final week of the regular season in ACC football, and with either winning seasons or bowl bids secured all three Triangle teams are at home Saturday. At 12:30 p.m., Duke (6-5, 3-4 ACC), with Coach David Cutcliffe just having received a contract extension, will take on Miami (6-5, 4-3), which has given the NCAA a start on upcoming sanctions by saying it won’t go to a bowl this season. The contest will be shown on WRAL. Both...

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Tar Heels forge divergent identity through early games

Posted By on Fri, Nov 23, 2012 at 11:24 AM

File photo by D.L. AndersonReggie Bullock is one of UNC's few experienced players.Fans hoping to watch anything resembling typical Carolina basketball may want to entrench themselves at ACC or NCAA Vault. The 2012-13 edition of the Tar Heels are recovering from personnel from a team last season that included four stars: Tyler Zeller, Kendall Marshall, John Henson and Harrison Barnes. Naturally, then, the fresh faces on this year’s squad can’t be expected to pick up where that injury-riddled, Elite Eight club left off. But through the first six games, the Heels not only are younger and less potent: They’re playing...

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Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Heels brutalize Maui host in consolation game

Posted By on Wed, Nov 21, 2012 at 11:47 PM

Prior to this week's Maui Invitational, most realistic Carolina fans would have greeted a 2-1 mark as a positive sign for this season's young Tar Heels. But after Butler dealt UNC an emphatic defeat in the semifinal round, and after host Chaminade defeated Texas on day one, the Heels' bounce-back effort led them away from a major-conference program and to an inconclusive finale. The Heels dominated from the opening tip versus the Silverswords, creating a wide margin early and winning 112-70. One question took center stage during the game: How the hell did Chaminade defeat Texas on day one? After...

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Will the Wolfpack avoid generational divide?

Posted By on Wed, Nov 21, 2012 at 12:32 PM

File photo by Al DragoAfter winning the 1993 NCAA national championship, the North Carolina Tar Heels entered the 1993-94 campaign with one of their most talented squads in school history. Gone was senior leader George Lynch, but joining four returning starters from the national championship team were highly touted freshmen Jerry Stackhouse, Rasheed Wallace and Jeff McInnis. However, it’s said that friction between the decorated upperclassmen and the brash newcomers brought dissension to the locker room. The team lost more games than the previous season and, shockingly, were knocked out in the second round of the NCAA tournament by Boston...

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Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Butler treats Tar Heels to Maui mauling, 82-71

Posted By on Tue, Nov 20, 2012 at 10:55 PM

Don't be fooled by the purported comeback. Yes, North Carolina enjoyed sustained success during the final 10 minutes versus Butler, but that's mostly because the Bulldogs had amassed a 29-point point lead and simply lost focus as the game's outcome already had been decided. The talented and experienced Bulldogs proved too tough for young, finesse UNC. The Tar Heels appeared shell-shocked when Butler attacked them physically, dominating the rebounding edge early and winning that margin 39-29 overall. Carolina's offense had clicked into place the day before, versus lowly Mississippi State, but Butler diligently eliminated open shot opportunities and forced the...

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Monday, November 19, 2012

UNC turns spiked leash inside out on Bulldogs

Posted By on Mon, Nov 19, 2012 at 11:01 PM

North Carolina faced its first major-conference opponent on Monday at the Maui Invitational, but you wouldn't have realized it watching the game. The Tar Heels jumped out to an immediate, impenetrable lead and coasted to a cringe-worthy 95-49 victory over Mississippi State. Prior to this contest, sophomore James Michael McAdoo had been Carolina's star. But after a quick beginning he recognized the Bulldogs' personnel issues — the club has been decimated by injuries — and happily deferred to his teammates. His comrades responded, as the Heels shot a blistering 15-32 on threes. UNC advances to Tuesday's semifinals, where it will...

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Maryland to ACC: Later

Posted By on Mon, Nov 19, 2012 at 2:33 PM

File photo by Al DragoMaryland fans during a women's basketball game last springConference expansion, it turns out, is a car than can turn in more than one direction. The ACC last contracted in 1971, when founding member South Carolina left in a dispute over academic standards. Since then, the ACC has only gotten bigger: Georgia Tech joined in 1978, followed by Florida State in 1991, then Miami, Virginia Tech and Boston College in 2005. That last expansion was supposed to secure the league’s future, by allowing for a two-division, twelve team football league with a championship game at season’s end....

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Late first-half surge leads Duke past pesky Florida Gulf Coast University

Posted By on Mon, Nov 19, 2012 at 12:10 AM

Photo by D.L. AndersonSeth Curry coaxes a shot toward the goal against Florida Gulf Coast University.CAMERON INDOOR STADIUM/ DURHAM—In just its second year of major college basketball, Florida Gulf Coast got a signature win last week by beating Miami. Emboldened, the Panthers came to Cameron Indoor Stadium and outscored Duke by one point in both the second half and the first 15 minutes of the first half. As for the final five minutes of the first half, well... On a night when N.C. State fell by 20 points to unranked Oklahoma State in Puerto Rico, the Blue Devils laid any...

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Sunday, November 18, 2012

Vernerey has career game, Williams very healthy as Duke rolls

Posted By on Sun, Nov 18, 2012 at 7:11 PM

CAMERON INDOOR STADIUM/DURHAM Duke takes the floor for its second game of the season 19 hours after the tipoff of its first game. Photo courtesy Duke athleticsDuke center Allison VernereyIt’s a situation they’ll face again Dec. 21 and 22 when they take on Cal State-Bakersfield and then Southern California in Los Angeles, and could also see in the ACC Tournament. The foe is MAAC member Iona, which is 2-1 after losing by nine at a good North Carolina A&T team Friday night. Duke is coming off a 49-point victory over Presbyterian. The Blue Devils still face injury questions, especially with...

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Saturday, November 17, 2012

Liston, Peters lead Duke to easy win in opener

Posted By on Sat, Nov 17, 2012 at 10:36 PM

CAMERON INDOOR STADIUM/DURHAM Duke will open its women’s basketball season a little late, with both of its ACC Triangle rivals already having three games under their belts. Photo courtesy Duke athleticsDuke guard Tricia ListonTonight’s opponent for the No. 3 Blue Devils, who have been to the NCAA Elite Eight each of the previous three seasons, is Presbyterian (1-1) in the first meeting between the two schools. The Blue Hose have already had a nice win this season, prevailing in a 49-46 shocker at Clemson six days ago. And Duke will be without the services of junior guard Chloe Wells (leg),...

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