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Friday, February 16, 2018

The INDY’s Daytona 500 Preview Spectacular, Part 1: Can Defending Monster Cup Champ Martin Truex Jr. Repeat?

Posted By on Fri, Feb 16, 2018 at 4:12 PM

Over of the past three weeks, the INDY'S resident NASCAR fanatic Mike V. has previewed his favorites to be this year's Cup Champion. On the occasion of this weekend's Great American Race, he makes his final pick and takes us on a sentimental journey with defending champion Martin Truex Jr. It's part 1 of the INDY's Daytona 500 Preview Spectacular!  ———— Often he chokes back tears during his post-race interviews in Victory Lane. He has a now-signature pause, a look into whatever is beyond the throngs of the exultant pit crew, familiar well-wishers, NASCAR hangers-on, scantily-clad Monster Energy drink girls, and whoever...

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The INDY’s Daytona 500 Preview Spectacular, Part 2: A Brief Chat with North Carolina’s Own Ryan Blaney

Posted By on Fri, Feb 16, 2018 at 2:17 PM

Over of the past three weeks, the INDY'S resident NASCAR fanatic Mike V. has previewed his favorites to be this year's Cup Champion. On the occasion of this weekend's Great American Race, he had a brief chat with North Carolina's own star-in-the-making, Ryan Blaney. It's part 2 of the INDY's Daytona 500 Preview Spectacular!  INDY: Talk to me about your roots in North Carolina. Blaney: Well I was born in Ohio but moved to North Carolina when I was about four or five, when my dad started racing in NASCAR. Growing up around the sport and watching it all work at an early...

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Wednesday, February 14, 2018

After a Loss at the Dean Dome, the Blue Devils’ Season Is in the Balance: The Week in Duke Hoops

Posted By on Wed, Feb 14, 2018 at 5:26 PM

The Skinny An ugly stretch got uglier for the Blue Devils on Thursday, as the team lost again in their first start since a stunning defeat at St. John’s, this time to the suddenly surging UNC at the Dean Dome. A crisp early pace and a visible advantage in natural playmakers seemed to foretell a Duke victory, and Blue Devils held a 45–42 advantage following a freewheeling first half. All of that changed after the Tar Heels began the second frame with a blistering 16–2 run, eventually holding on for an 82–78 win on the strength of Kenny Williams’s...

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Exhausted Olympics, Vol. 2: So Where's MY Medal? Seventy-two Hours of Fear, Anticipation, Fatherhood, and the XIII Olympiad.

Posted By on Wed, Feb 14, 2018 at 5:20 PM

As part of our ongoing, comprehensive coverage of the 2018 Winter Olympics, we have assigned chronic insomniac Elizabeth Nelson and brand-new, first-time father Mike V. to turn on the TV and share their reflections whenever they might happen to remember to do so. The INDY's Exhausted Olympics Coverage™ is the sole property of the INDY, and in the event of a legal dispute, the party that loses must pay the winning party's court costs. For our current installment, Mike V. brings new life into the world, suggests potential Olympic improvements, and consigns his new son to a career in curling....

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Monday, February 12, 2018

Down Go the Blue Devils! And the Pack! A Good Week in UNC Hoops.

Posted By on Mon, Feb 12, 2018 at 2:28 PM

The Skinny The loud hum of airborne helicopters passing overhead late Thursday night could only mean one thing: that the fires burned on Franklin Street, that Chapel Hill was in a communal state of exaltation, that the Heels had beaten the Blue Devils. At the Smith Center on Thursday, the Tar Heels put together arguably their most complete game since the onset of conference play, capping the night off with an emphatic dunk from the revelatory-of-late Theo Pinson, who once again brought a furious brand of play and was everywhere for the majority of the night. That the Heels...

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The Diary of an Insomniac Olympics Junkie, Vol. 1

Posted By on Mon, Feb 12, 2018 at 2:17 PM

As part of our ongoing, comprehensive coverage of the 2018 Winter Olympics, we have assigned chronic insomniac Elizabeth Nelson and brand-new, first-time father Mike V. to turn on the TV and share their reflections whenever they might happen to remember to do so, something we’re calling the INDY’s Exhausted Olympics Coverage™. For our current installment, we transcribe Elizabeth’s first weekend journals, dropped off at the offices early this morning in a breadbox-sized valise. Friday 10:50 PM EST I’ve just awoken at an irregular hour. My days have become a permeable thing, confusedly perched between sunlight and darkness. Attribute it to...

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Friday, February 9, 2018

As Long as Kyle Larson’s 42 Car Is on the Track, He’s Got a Fighting Chance to Win

Posted By on Fri, Feb 9, 2018 at 4:49 PM

In advance of the Daytona 500 on February 18, the INDY’s in-house NASCAR aficionado, Mike V, has been previewing drivers he predicts will emerge as the primary contenders for this year’s cup championship. In the previous editions, he caught us up on the charismatic North Carolinian Ryan Blaney and one of racing’s greatest heels in Kyle Busch. This week, he dishes on one of NASCAR’s best wheelmen—and his choice to take the checkered flag at The Great American Race. Kyle Larson has what it takes to be one of the best drivers in the history of NASCAR. He’s a unicorn...

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Thursday, February 8, 2018

Losing to the Unranked St. John’s? Damn: The Week in Duke Hoops

Posted By on Thu, Feb 8, 2018 at 2:34 PM

The Skinny In a season that’s seen the young Blue Devils make progress in fits and starts, this past Saturday's shocking loss at St. John's represents a nadir for this powerfully gifted, maddeningly inconsistent team to overcome. How did this happen? Duke had looked sharp in its previous start against Notre Dame, and a loss at the Garden to a struggling Red Storm team on an eleven-game losing streak seemed one step removed from impossible. That occurrence appeared no more likely after the Blue Devils took a seven-point lead into the half, but if you looked closely, the signs...

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Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Welcome to the INDY's Exhausted Coverage of the XXIII Olympic Winter Games™

Posted By on Wed, Feb 7, 2018 at 4:42 PM

With the Winter Olympics set to open in two days—though you can catch the first event, doubles curling, at eleven p.m. tonight on NBCSN—we bring you the INDY's official Exhausted Coverage of the XXIII Olympic Winter Games™, in which newly minted first-time father Michael Venutolo-Mantovani and committed insomniac Elizabeth Nelson attempt to make sense of the games from Pyeongchang, South Korea, while mostly or entirely asleep. With the games taking place God only knows what hour of the day and featuring events ranging from the familiar to the narrowly comprehensible, these two intrepid writers have promised semi-regular updates on the XXIII...

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Three Conference Losses, a Sloppy Win (and No Biscuits), Some Days Off, Now Duke: The Week in UNC Hoops

Posted By on Wed, Feb 7, 2018 at 11:40 AM

The Skinny Three straight conference losses hadn’t befallen the University of North Carolina Tar Heels men’s basketball team since 2014, yet the Heels came back from South Carolina after last Tuesday’s defeat at Clemson matching that dubious streak. Clemson’s early onslaught of three-pointers left the Heels in such a deep hole that they couldn’t ride the wave of Cameron Johnson’s career-high thirty-two-point night to a comeback against the Tigers. A running theme for Carolina seems to be that they can’t get more than two guys hot at a time. Whether it’s Theo Pinson and Luke Maye, Johnson and Joel...

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Friday, February 2, 2018

Sorry, Haters, but the New England Patriots Are Going to Win Super Bowl LII

Posted By on Fri, Feb 2, 2018 at 3:28 PM

I've watched every Super Bowl for the past thirty years and I can't remember a single one I had a stranger feeling about beforehand. I've made predictions, I've been right, I've been wrong, but rarely have I been so confused. There's a lot of weird stuff happening around this game. It's weird, the Nick Foles of it all. Is Nick Foles good? If Nick Foles is good, why was he buried on the Rams’ depth chart two years ago? Why couldn't he find a starting job in the NFL after his breakout 2013 season, when he threw for a frankly...

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Thursday, February 1, 2018

Why the Eagles Are Going to Win the Super Bowl

Posted By on Thu, Feb 1, 2018 at 2:04 PM

In basketball, baseball, and hockey championships are determined via seven-game series. Those series are built, in theory, so that the better team will win. There are statistical arguments to the contrary, but at its core, that’s the idea. The one-and-done, on the other hand, is made for chaos, which is why many people regard the NCAA basketball tournament, the World Cup, and the NFL playoffs as the heights of sports excitement. After all, David only has to topple Goliath once. That both conferences’ top seeds advanced to Super Bowl LII is not extraordinary. What might be, however, is that this...

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Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Kyle Busch Might Be a Jerk, But He’s Also One of NASCAR’s Best Drivers

Posted By on Wed, Jan 31, 2018 at 5:32 PM

Editor’s note: In advance of February’s Daytona 500, our in-house NASCAR aficionado Mike V has been previewing drivers he predicts will emerge as the primary contenders for this year’s Cup Championship. In the previous edition, he caught us up on the charismatic North Carolinian Ryan Blaney. Here he acquaints us with one of racing’s great antiheroes. Last week, I told you about a young driver who is as savvy behind a microphone as he is behind the wheel. This week’s driver, however, couldn’t be more different. Kyle Busch can be best described off the track as salty, ornery, grouchy, cantankerous,...

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Sure, the Blue Devils Lost to the Cavs. No, It Doesn’t Really Matter: The Week in Duke Hoops

Posted By on Wed, Jan 31, 2018 at 9:34 AM

The Skinny The No. 4 Blue Devils and the No. 2 Virginia Cavaliers finally crossed paths in Durham this past Saturday in arguably the most anticipated college game of the season to date. While by no means an instant classic, the battle for ACC supremacy evolved from an early showcase of the Cavs’ dominance into a down-to-the-wire tactical struggle, with UVA holding off the home team for a 65–63 victory. Nothing about the contest itself proved particularly revelatory—the two combatants entered the matchup as deep and gifted teams with a legitimate shot at the Final Four, and the events...

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Tuesday, January 30, 2018

The Tar Heels Dropped Two in a Row and Maybe Aren’t Actually All That Good This Year

Posted By on Tue, Jan 30, 2018 at 12:47 PM

The Skinny Carolina’s move back into the AP Top 10 lasted less than half a day, when mere hours after they were anointed once again as one of the nation’s ten best teams, they engaged in a maddening no-show at Virginia Tech. Unlike their last trip to our northern neighbor (a January 6 61-49 loss at UVA) the points were there in Blacksburg. The general effort and any sense of intensity, on the other hand, was left in Chapel Hill, which is a burgeoning theme as this season wears on. While the Heels have ground out some rather impressive...

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Monday, January 29, 2018

The Panthers Have Lost Their Second Defensive Coordinator in Two Years. Will It Matter This Fall?

Posted By on Mon, Jan 29, 2018 at 9:41 AM

An offseason of transition for the Carolina Panthers continued last week as the Arizona Cardinals hired away defensive coordinator Steve Wilks to be their head coach. The Wilks hire wasn’t a complete surprise—the longtime assistant has been considered an ascendant star in league circles for the past few years—but it also marks the second time in two years that the Panthers will need to replace their defensive coordinator and confers upon the team the unique off-season challenge of remaking coaching staffs on both the offensive and defensive sides of the ball. Wilks’s departure, following the hiring of Sean McDermott in...

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Wednesday, January 24, 2018

High Point Native Ryan Blaney Is Exactly the Kind of Driver NASCAR Needs Right Now

Posted By on Wed, Jan 24, 2018 at 5:20 PM

Last week, in preparation for the impending Super Bowl (of Motorsports), we covered the ins and outs of a NASCAR season, the convoluted and labyrinthine rules of racing’s playoff format, and how over the next four weeks I would be profiling each of the four drivers that I predict will be racing for the Monster Energy Cup championship come November. This week, we dive in, starting with a young driver whom NASCAR will hang a good chunk of its future hopes on. Luckily for NASCAR, Ryan Blaney has enough poise off the track—and plenty of moxie on it—to push through...

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Damn Good and Getting Better: The Week in Blue Devil Hoops

Posted By on Wed, Jan 24, 2018 at 5:11 PM

Stop The Presses! Next things first! Before we discuss the entirely viable national championship aspirations of this current iteration of the Blue Devils, I suppose we’d better have a little chat about Zion Williamson, the latest addition to the blockbuster, net-cutting, rim-rattling recruiting class that will take the floor next year at Cameron. When it was announced last week that the six foot seven Williamson—a Mack truck enforcer with elite scoring skills—was choosing Duke over Clemson and UNC, the earth briefly rocked on its axis. With his NBA-ready physique and highlight-reel athleticism, the Spartanburg native has already drawn not-fully-irrational...

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Tuesday, January 23, 2018

James “Bonecrusher” Smith Could Still Kick Your Ass

Posted By on Tue, Jan 23, 2018 at 2:11 PM

Over the course of a nearly two-decade-long career in professional boxing, Magnolia native James “Bonecrusher” Smith fought the cream of the heavyweight-division crop in the 1980s and ’90s, including the legendary figures Larry Holmes and Mike Tyson. In 1986, Smith became WBA heavyweight champion with a shocking first-round knockout of Tim Witherspoon (see above), the highlight of a storied career that also featured wins over such top-flight competitors as Frank Bruno, Mike Weaver, Rickey Parkey, and Jesse Ferguson. Since retiring in 1999, Smith has devoted himself to community service. An ordained minister, Smith founded the charitable organization Champion For...

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Underwhelming, Uneven, and (Mostly) Uninspired: The Week in UNC Hoops

Posted By on Tue, Jan 23, 2018 at 2:11 PM

The Skinny Carolina was taken to task this week by a few teams who, depending on whom you ask, either punched above their weight or are criminally underrated. Last Saturday’s game against Notre Dame found the Heels needing one of South Bend’s lynchpin players to miss not one but two buzzer beaters in order to walk away with their fourteenth win of the season. After Joel Berry canned a pair of free throws to put the Heels up one with seven seconds left, Carolina’s defense planted their heads firmly somewhere unmentionable and allowed T.J. Gibbs to dash the length...

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Friday, January 19, 2018

The NFL Is Wrapping Up Its Worst Season in Decades. We Should Blame Fantasy Football.

Posted By on Fri, Jan 19, 2018 at 9:46 AM

Now that we have a full season of ratings to postulate on, you can prepare yourself for a slate of various think pieces on America’s interest (apparently waning) in professional football. While there are many reasons for the decline in overall interest or engagement—bad on-field product, games spread across three and sometimes four nights a week, the slow-and-getting-slower pace of play, the rising number of cord-cutting households—I have a theory that the NFL’s decline has its roots in the Faustian bargain it made roughly fifteen years ago with fantasy football. Tens of millions of Americans now play some sort of...

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Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Turn Left, Go Fast: A Racing Fan’s Guide to the New NASCAR Season

Posted By on Wed, Jan 17, 2018 at 9:00 AM

It’s almost racin’ season, baby! We’re mere weeks from the sixtieth running of the Daytona 500 and the official beginning of the NASCAR year. On February 18, the latest edition of The Great American Race will get underway beneath the benevolent Florida sun, as forty or so of the best drivers on the planet hurtle around Daytona International Speedway’s massively banked turns in excess of two hundred miles per hour, only inches from each other. Daytona is by far the most prestigious event in the sport—in racing, it’s like the Super Bowl multiplied by the Kentucky Derby. And unlike every...

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Friday, January 12, 2018

Norv Turner Could Be Exactly the QB Whisperer Cam Newton Needs—Or Not

Posted By on Fri, Jan 12, 2018 at 2:00 PM

Last Sunday, the Carolina Panthers season ended with a close playoff loss and a near-unanimous consensus that the team needs to find more help for their gifted, beleaguered superstar quarterback Cam Newton. That process began in earnest yesterday, as the team fired longtime offensive coordinator Mike Shula and quarterback coach Ken Dorsey and brought in the long-tenured NFL veteran Norv Turner to run the offensive show. Turner’s four-decade odyssey in the NFL has spanned multiple eras and sweeping changes within the sport. He has the unusual distinction of having been hired as a head coach three different times—in Washington, Oakland,...

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Thursday, January 11, 2018

An Open Letter to Roy Williams’s Haters

Posted By on Thu, Jan 11, 2018 at 2:25 PM

I overhear you at Sutton’s lunch counter and around the long communal table at Merritt’s. I read your interminable threads on social media, spewing your misinformed vitriol. I can’t avoid the grumblings of the disgruntled as we shuffle out of the Dean Dome in a post-loss haze. I hear you calling into the local sports talk shows, huffing and puffing about the changes that need to be made and fast. Your gripe: Roy Williams. Your solution: He needs to go. You present this resolution with such nonchalance, as if world-class college basketball coaches are just waiting around the payphone...

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Monday, January 8, 2018

Panthers Recap: For the Love of God, Give Cam Newton Some Help

Posted By on Mon, Jan 8, 2018 at 3:48 PM

With twelve seconds remaining in yesterday’s wild-card game, with Carolina trailing by five points and facing a 3rd-and-23 from the Saints’ 35-yard line, Cam Newton lofted a dangerous-looking pass into the New Orleans end zone. Devin Funchess, ostensibly the Panthers’ number one wide receiver, engaged in some hand fighting with Saints strong safety Vonn Bell and appeared for a second to be in position to snag the winning touchdown. Instead, he didn’t a play on the ball, and it fell uneventfully to the Superdome turf. This effectively concluded Newton’s and the Panthers’ near-miss attempt at an epic comeback in a...

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Twitter Activity

Most Recent Comments

The Week in Duke Hoops will come later this week.

by Jeffrey Billman on Down Go the Blue Devils! And the Pack! A Good Week in UNC Hoops. (Sports)

Yo- Indy Week- I thought you remained neutral on Carolina sports. This sounds like some Crony Tar Heel shilling to …

by Kyle Reece on Down Go the Blue Devils! And the Pack! A Good Week in UNC Hoops. (Sports)

Three years behind CB at Duke, I remember him well as a real pioneer. I would challenge his memory on …

by Gordon Jackson on C.B. Claiborne on being Duke's first black basketball player (Sports)

I will take Kyle Busch over the narcissistic, attention-seeking Ryan Blaney any day of the week and twice on race …

by Sophie Kopsar on Kyle Busch Might Be a Jerk, But He’s Also One of NASCAR’s Best Drivers (Sports)

Comments

The Week in Duke Hoops will come later this week.

by Jeffrey Billman on Down Go the Blue Devils! And the Pack! A Good Week in UNC Hoops. (Sports)

Yo- Indy Week- I thought you remained neutral on Carolina sports. This sounds like some Crony Tar Heel shilling to …

by Kyle Reece on Down Go the Blue Devils! And the Pack! A Good Week in UNC Hoops. (Sports)

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