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Friday, April 12, 2013

Duke, UNC women's hoops fly high; big changes leave Wolfpack a mystery

Posted By on Fri, Apr 12, 2013 at 2:25 PM

So the college women’s basketball season is now behind us, and now that all the shouting was over Connecticut is once again the champion — taking out two future ACC members by impressive margins in the Final Four. Don’t worry. It will end someday. I lived in ACC country for the entire Wooden era. Blue Devils primed for a runDuke may very well be preseason No. 2 heading into next season. No more Brittney Griner to worry about, no more Skylar Diggins. Duke has that No. 1 recruiting class now rising seniors and a No. 2 class coming in as...

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Monday, April 8, 2013

Mr. Wuf: Wes Moore takes reins as State women's hoop coach

Posted By on Mon, Apr 8, 2013 at 3:42 PM

CARTER-FINLEY STADIUM/RALEIGH N.C. State held its press conference to introduce Wes Moore as its new head women’s basketball coach on Monday. Moore, 55, is the first male head women’s basketball coach at an ACC school in the Triangle. He had spent the previous nine seasons at Tennessee-Chattanooga where he had the Mocs in the NCAA Tournament in nine of his 15 seasons. He was an assistant coach at State under the late Kay Yow, for whom the Reynolds Coliseum court is named, from 1993-95. Moore has 558 career wins (with 169 losses) including 29 this season. The former Francis Marion...

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Friday, April 5, 2013

Final Four thoughts

Posted By on Fri, Apr 5, 2013 at 11:29 AM

File photo by D.L. AndersonIs ACC basketball as we knew it over? Here, Duke and UNC players scrap over a loose ball in March 2010.Fooled you—these are NOT thoughts about the Final Four this weekend in Atlanta. Rather, these are my final four thoughts about the state of ACC and college basketball as the curtain closes on the 2012-13 season of basketball and basketball blogging for Triangle Offense. 1. Talk that the failure of an ACC team to reach the Final Four since 2010 is a sign of a weak conference is a bit overblown, for two reasons. First, the...

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Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Duke fights hard, but Diggins leads Irish to big second half in 11-point win

Posted By on Tue, Apr 2, 2013 at 11:27 PM

CONSTANT CENTER/NORFOLK, Va. It’s Go Time for Duke in women’s basketball. For the fourth time in as many years the Blue Devils are playing for an NCAA Regional title, and although they’ll be underdogs against Notre Dame the odds aren’t prohibitive. ACC champion Duke (33-2) is seeded No. 2 and the Big East champion Irish (34-1) — who will join the ACC for next season — No. 1. Notre Dame has a national marquee player in senior point guard Skylar Diggins, who was named a first-team AP All-American earlier in the day. Duke’s Chelsea Gray, out for the season since...

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Sunday, March 31, 2013

Duke grinds the Corn, fourth straight regional final Tuesday

Posted By on Sun, Mar 31, 2013 at 6:20 PM

CONSTANT CENTER/NORFOLK, Va. Duke will be a solid favorite coming into its regional semifinal game against Nebraska, and the Blue Devils have been great in this game in recent seasons. No. 2 seed Duke (32-2) has won three straight times in Round-of-16 games before being eliminated in the Elite Eight. Photo courtesy Duke athleticsDuke center Elizabeth WilliamsAnd they’ll look to take out the No. 6 seed Cornhuskers (25-8), hoping for a Tuesday night championship matchup with top-seeded future ACC member Notre Dame. The No. 2-ranked Irish (34-1) annihilated Kansas 93-63 in the other first-round matchup on Sunday. It’s the first...

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Friday, March 29, 2013

The never-ending game: the travesty of TV timeouts in the NCAA tourney

Posted By on Fri, Mar 29, 2013 at 11:48 AM

File photo by Jeremy M. LangeBrad Cook, musician, basketball fan and one-time Indy modelWell, sports fans, we are down to the final 12 teams standing in the NCAA men's basketball tournament. Only one ACC team remains standing, Duke, and few outside Durham expect the Blue Devils to advance past this weekend. Syracuse and Louisville are also in the hunt, but no, they don't count as ACC teams yet. As the games wind down, unfortunately, the necessity for viewers to actually watch the TV timeouts goes up. No more will there be four games on a time to skip between; instead,...

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Thursday, March 28, 2013

No tournament run for Tar Heels, but what about an NBA run?

Posted By on Thu, Mar 28, 2013 at 4:26 PM

File photo by Chris BairdHairston may possess the most long-term potential From a program perspective, the 2012-13 Tar Heels won’t earn any nooks at the prestigious UNC basketball museum. These guys failed to win any titles, regular or postseason, and they went 1-3 versus rivals Duke and N.C. State — including a pair of blowout defeats. Despite second-half improvement after Roy Williams moved sophomore P.J. Hairston into the starting lineup, the Heels’ realistic Sweet 16 hopes ended when the tournament selection committee deemed them a No. 8 seed that would face nemesis — and top-seeded — Kansas in the round...

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Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Seeing Harper's Wolfpack tenure end isn't much fun

Posted By on Wed, Mar 27, 2013 at 12:47 PM

Such decisions are much easier in the world of pro sports. If the coach didn’t win yesterday and probably won’t win tomorrow, he’s out. No matter how hard the team has played through injuries, no matter if everybody on the planet thinks a bad call took them out of the playoffs too early the year before, and no matter if he donated a kidney to the pre-teen daughter of a season-ticket holder in the off-season. Indy file photoHarper posed for this cover photo a few days before her inaugural season at State.But at the college level, it goes a little...

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Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Duke fights off pesky Cowgirls to earn another regional trip

Posted By on Tue, Mar 26, 2013 at 11:55 PM

CAMERON INDOOR STADIUM/DURHAM Duke has made a habit of getting to the NCAA’s Sweet 16 in recent years, failing to get there just once since 1997. Photo courtesy Duke athleticsDuke forward Haley PetersAnd tonight the No. 2 Blue Devils (31-2) will try to punch their ticket again. The opponent is No. 7 seed Oklahoma State (22-10), which will try to stop the Blue Devils from a date with No. 6 seed Nebraska on Sunday in Norfolk, Va. It’s not an easy assignment for the fifth-ranked Blue Devils, since the Cowgirls play in the tough Big XII and are used to...

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Monday, March 25, 2013

Duke hosts Oklahoma State on Tuesday night in scrap to get to Sweet 16

Posted By on Mon, Mar 25, 2013 at 3:11 PM

CAMERON INDOOR STADIUM/DURHAM One last time to protect the home court, then on to brighter lights. That’s what Duke hopes to get accomplished on Tuesday night at 7 (ESPNU), when Oklahoma State visits for the second round of the NCAA Women’s Tournament. File photo by Chris Baird.Duke forward Richa Jackson fights for possession in the first-round win over Hampton. Blue Devil center Elizabeth Williams (1) is in the background.Duke, which brings in a flashy 31-2 record and is ranked No. 5 nationally, will carries the No. 2 seed against the No. 7 seed Cowgirls (22-10). The winner advances to Sunday’s...

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Sunday, March 24, 2013

Tar Heels succumb to Kansas in NCAA Tournament

Posted By on Sun, Mar 24, 2013 at 10:07 PM

North Carolina didn't defeat an elite team during the regular season, and the Tar Heels didn't defeat one in the postseason, either. No. 8 seed UNC squared off against top-seeded Kansas — in Kansas City — this evening, and this year's pattern once again replicated as the Jayhawks prevailed 70-58. Carolina actually led 30-21 at halftime, and both teams deserved to get blown out after such a miserable display. But Kansas demonstrated its superior talent and experience in the second frame, winning that half 49-28 and delivering yet another embarrassing defeat to a UNC team that suffered several of them...

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Duke gets by tough Hampton, hosts Oklahoma State next

Posted By on Sun, Mar 24, 2013 at 6:01 PM

CAMERON INDOOR STADIUM/DURHAM Duke begins another quest today. After three straight NCAA Tournaments in which a great Blue Devil team ended its run in the Elite Eight, perhaps this team is good enough to make a Final Four.Photo by Chris BairdTricia Liston drives to the hoop against Hampton’s Keiara Avant (13) and Olivia Allen (24). Duke’s No. 24 is Haley Peters. Of course no NCAA Tournament run will ever be easy, although at least Joanne P. McCallie’s club gets to start at home. Today’s opponent for the No. 5 Blue Devils (30-2), seeded No. 2 in the Norfolk Region behind...

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Saturday, March 23, 2013

Duke hosts hot MEAC champions in first-round NCAA clash

Posted By on Sat, Mar 23, 2013 at 3:38 PM

CAMERON INDOOR STADIUM/DURHAM Duke begins its quest for post-season glory on Sunday afternoon against an opponent that didn’t have a long way to travel. Photo courtesy Duke athleticsDuke coach Joanne P. McCallieThe first-round opponent for the No. 5 Blue Devils (30-2), who have the No. 2 seed in the Norfolk Region, is No. 15 seed and MEAC champion Hampton (28-5). Game time is 12:05, followed by the other first-round matchup between No. 7 seed Oklahoma State (21-10) and No. 10 seed DePaul (21-11).David Six’ Pirates, who are riding a flashy 19-game winning streak after their fourth straight conference title, lost...

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Friday, March 22, 2013

Heels to Nova: We don't need no stinking rebounds

Posted By on Fri, Mar 22, 2013 at 11:05 PM

If you're a North Carolina fan, there's almost no way you could have enjoyed the final 30 minutes of tonight's NCAA Tournament contest. A No. 8 seed matched against No. 9 Villanova, the Tar Heels burst to a quick 20-point first half lead and then gradually and painfully collapsed thereafter, actually falling behind during the second half before hitting just enough key shots to defeat the Wildcats 78-71. This season's Heels haven't achieved much easily, and tonight proved no different. Villanova out-rebounded Carolina 35-23, and the Wildcats also forced 17 UNC turnovers. But during this season's latter half, this Carolina...

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Thursday, March 21, 2013

Wolfpack rallies in last four minutes, ousts Richmond from WNIT

Posted By on Thu, Mar 21, 2013 at 11:03 PM

REYNOLDS COLISEUM/RALEIGH N.C. State will try to finish its season on a good note with some success in the WNIT, but the Wolfpack’s first-round assignment isn’t an easy one. Photo courtesy NCSU athleticsState center Markeisha GatlingState (16-16) will take on Richmond (16-15), which ripped the Wolfpack 72-58 early last season. The Wolfpack of course needs victories to assure its second straight winning season as charismatic senior guard Marissa Kastanek ends her college career, playing tonight in her school-record 132nd game. Richmond has a couple of locals on its roster. Junior guard Amber Nichols (Broughton) is a reserve while sophomore forward...

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Monday, March 18, 2013

Duke gets No. 2 seed, UNC No. 3; Pack in state-line WNIT squabble

Posted By on Mon, Mar 18, 2013 at 11:35 PM

Duke is exactly in the spot most people expected for the NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament opening this weekend. And maybe UNC got a nice surprise. The Blue Devils and Tar Heels were the only teams from North Carolina in the field when the 64-team bracket was announced Monday night.File photo by Chris BairdDuke's freshman Alexis Jones and UNC senior Krista Gross hope to lead their teams to post-season glory. But a half-dozen North State teams got come consolation a few hours later, as N.C. State received a bid to the WNIT along with East Carolina, North Carolina A&T, Davidson, UNC...

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Mysteries of the brackets: North Carolina schools face tough draws

Posted By on Mon, Mar 18, 2013 at 9:02 AM

The state of North Carolina has placed five schools in the 68-team men's NCAA basketball tournament: Davidson, Duke, North Carolina, North Carolina A&T and North Carolina State. The NCAA committee didn't exactly hand any of these schools a break. A&T has been forced to participate in what used to be known as the "play-in" game, now rebranded the "First Four." The First Four consists of four games, two involving teams like A&T that didn't win their league regular season but snuck in the field by winning their conference tournament, and two games involving the final four at-large teams admitted. The...

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Sunday, March 17, 2013

Heels fall to Hurricanes in ACC Final

Posted By on Sun, Mar 17, 2013 at 4:50 PM

Anytime you hear North Carolina fans say, “We lost, but I’m proud of our effort,” you know the Tar Heels must have played very well. A fanbase with extraordinarily high expectations typically doesn’t absorb losses gracefully, but today UNC earned praise from even its most irrational supporters despite dropping the ACC Tournament final to Miami 87-77. The Hurricanes defeated UNC three times this season and beat them in historic fashion during the game at Miami. Carolina thus regained its pride this afternoon, earning a slim second half lead before tiring at the end and failing at any point to stop...

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Heels set to represent Triangle in ACC finale

Posted By on Sun, Mar 17, 2013 at 2:20 AM

North Carolina survived a determined effort from Maryland this afternoon at the ACC Tournament, fending off the Terrapins 79-76 to win the season series 3-0. The Tar Heels didn't shoot as well as they did versus Florida State on Friday, but Reggie Bullock and Marcus Paige hit key shots late to fend off a squad desperate to earn a berth into the NCAA Tournament. N.C. State failed to make Sunday's championship tilt an All-Triangle affair. The Wolfpack battled gamely versus top seeded Miami, but the Hurricanes created sufficient separation to fend off their challenger 81-71. Miami's starting backcourt dominated the...

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Saturday, March 16, 2013

Down goes Duke; Wolfpack, Tar Heels remain alive

Posted By on Sat, Mar 16, 2013 at 2:47 PM

File photo by Chris BairdThe Wolfpack need Scott Wood to deliver jump shotsPerhaps suffering from a letdown after last weekend’s deconstruction of North Carolina, Duke performed sluggishly on Friday night at the ACC Tournament and fell to Maryland 83-74 for the second time this season. Seeded No. 2 entering the weekend, the Devils shot just 4-for-25 on threes, forcing too many contested shots and failing to establish inside-outside balance. Maryland also pummeled them on the glass and enjoyed a lead ranging from 7-10 points for most of the second half. The big question pertains to NCAA Tournament seeding. Duke had...

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Friday, March 15, 2013

We do the math: The 14 greatest ACC Tournaments ever

Posted By on Fri, Mar 15, 2013 at 10:52 AM

Today is quarterfinal Friday of the ACC Tournament in Greensboro. The wheat has been sorted from the chaff and only the top eight teams remain, thanks to a no-upset first round on Thursday. It's a good time to indulge in some nostalgia, because this is the last iteration of the ACC Tournament in which the league's remaining seven original members constitute a majority of participants. After Maryland departs, only six of the original schools (the Big Four plus Virginia and Clemson) will remain, and there are expected to be three and perhaps four new members on board next year. But...

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Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Remember when people really cared about the ACC Tournament? Here's a proposal to restore the luster.

Posted By on Tue, Mar 12, 2013 at 8:53 AM

Will parity prove the elixir for this year’s ACC Men’s Basketball Tournament? Yes, top-seeded Miami and Duke are the odds-on favorites. But unlike the top-heavy tourneys of yore, at least five teams—including North Carolina, N.C. State and Virginia—enter this weekend with a realistic hope of winning the ACC conference crown. But no matter who cuts the nets down this Sunday, more ink will again be spilled chronicling and diagnosing the ongoing erosion of the college basketball conference tournament. Whenever articles are written on this subject, however, the true objects of lament are really the major conferences. Small and mid-major tournaments...

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Sunday, March 10, 2013

Jones takes MVP honors as Blue Devils roll to ACC title

Posted By on Sun, Mar 10, 2013 at 7:22 PM

GREENSBORO COLISEUM Whether or not it’s the greatest rivalry in college sports may be up for debate, but it’s the best rivalry in college basketball. Maybe in basketball, period. Photo courtesy Duke athleticsDuke guard Alexis JonesAnd for the second time in just a few hours there’s a “Battle of the Blues” between Duke and UNC. The Blue Devils won the men’s contest pretty easily last night at the Smith Center. Today the women’s squads are squaring off for the ACC championship, in — with thanks to Warren G. Harding — a return to normalcy after last year’s bizarre Maryland-Georgia Tech...

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Su casa es mi casa: Blue Devils torch UNC in Chapel Hill

Posted By on Sun, Mar 10, 2013 at 1:05 PM

File photo by Chris BairdCoach K has won seven of the past nine versus UNC Mike Krzyzewski sometimes refers to his West Point background when discussing his coaching philosophies, and last night fit under shock and awe. Duke marched into the Smith Center and calmly — and cruelly — scored the game’s first 14 points, instilling in UNC a sense of a panic from which the Tar Heels never recovered. Whatever other analysis you read elsewhere, one team took the court prepared to compete and the other simply did not. Carolina never made a serious run. The Tar Heels hobbled...

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Saturday, March 9, 2013

Coleman shocks everybody as UNC comeback stuns Terps

Posted By on Sat, Mar 9, 2013 at 8:20 PM

GREENSBORO COLISEUM By the time we get to the second Saturday semifinal, only the three teams that have ever won the ACC Women’s Tournament in Greensboro are still around. So one of the big teams has finally got to go. Photo courtesy UNC athleticsUNC guard Latifah ColemanNo. 3 seed UNC (27-5) will take on No. 2 seed Maryland (24-6) — which had won a coin flip for the higher seed. The teams split a pair of regular-season meetings, with the Tar Heels prevailing 60-57 on Jan. 3 in Chapel Hill and falling 85-59 on Jan. 24 in College Park. Both...

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