Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes

One of Duke Basketball’s traditions is for the Blue Devil to ride a surfboard on top of members of the pep band, who roll to propel him across the court. In Duke’s win over Georgia Tech, however, the stunt went horribly wrong (thanks to Awful Announcing for the video):

Granted, it’s just a knee sprain and he’ll be okay, but…watching the felt representative of all that is evil in the universe hold his knee in pain with such gusto…it is one of the many small joys that makes the world a better place.

Duke Loses Two In a Row, Lets UNC Back Into ACC Race

Stewart Mandel says we should have seen this coming, but you still have to make sure you’re awake before you realize that Duke has just lost two straight ACC games to the teams that finished 11th and 12 last year, respectively.

More importantly, however, it’s an excuse to post these, courtesy of one of the greatest forums in internet history:

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Not taken from Duke’s loss, but still thoroughly enjoyable. See you Friday.

UNC vs. NC State Live Blog: Second Half

Carolina finished on a 9-0 run to end the First. Will they continue their momentum in the second half, rather than play the way they played for the first 15 minutes? The end of the lunar eclipse could point to yes. Yes, that’s irrational, but since when is college basketball fandom supposed to be rational?

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8:02 pm: 36-31, UNC. Hansbrough opens the second half with the turnaround baseline jumper.

8:03 pm: 38-33, UNC. Hansbrough gets an easy one inside, but Thompson does a not-so-great job on the defensive end.

8:04 pm: 40-33, UNC. Qiuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu…

8:04 pm: 40-36, UNC. Another three-pointer for the Pack. This time it’s Costner.

8:07 pm: 42-36, UNC. Ellington draws a foul and hits two free throws.

At this point, the Pack seem to be letting Hansbrough catch the ball in the lane at will.

8:08 pm: 46-38, UNC. Hickson finally gets a nice shot inside, but Hansbrough hits another easy basket in the lane.

8:09 pm: 48-38, UNC. Q hits an outside shot. Believe me, that’s a big deal. Carolina has the game’s first double-digit lead.

8:15 pm: 52-38, UNC. Ellington gets a layup in transition. The Pack are starting to let this game get away from them. In part, that’s because our defense is finally clamping down.

8:17 pm: 56-38, UNC. Uh-oh. This could get ugly. Ginyard gets a dunk inside, and Hansbourgh gets the steal and dunk on the ensuing possession.

8:17 pm: 56-40, UNC. The Pack finally stop the bleeding.

8:19 pm: Ellington is called for the offensive foul.

8:23 pm: 56-41, UNC. Just for the hell of it:

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8:26 pm: 59-42, UNC. Ellington hits another three. He has 16 for the game.

8:27 pm: 59-44, UNC. You know you’re in the country when the big sign below the scorers table reads: “Enjoy North Carolina Peanuts”.

8:28 pm: 63-46, UNC. Carolina’s transition is revving up in the second half. meanwhile, Deon Thompson’s defense is still iffy (perhaps his knee is still not 100%).

8:30 pm: 66-49, UNC. Ellington’s on fire tonight!

8:31 pm: 68-52, UNC. The Wolfpack finally hit a three. If they have anything left in the tank, Sidney Lowe’s team needs to use it now.

8:34 pm: 70-52, UNC. Hansbrough (28 points) finally takes a breather.

8:36 pm: 72-53, UNC. QIUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU!!!

8:38 pm: 72-58, UNC. Looking for something nice to say…well, Sidney Lowe really knows how to whistle.

8:39 pm: 75-58, UNC. J.J. Hickson has not been a factor in this game.

8:40 pm: 78-58, UNC. It’s one thing to be up against a better team, but it looks like the Wolfpack have just given up. They just let Ginyard drive and dunk from the top of the key. It was awesome, but it shows that Carolina is putting a lot more effort into this game than their opponent.

8:44 pm: 80-60, UNC. Green with the reverse layup.

8:45 pm: 80-62, UNC. Oh, sure. NOW Hickson makes his presence felt in the paint.

8:47 pm: 82-64, UNC. After that nice little shot that hung on the back iron before falling in, it just occured to me: Carolina has completely shut down Gavin Grant in the second half, after he was the leading scorer for the Pack in the first half.

8:50 pm: 82-67, UNC. Oh God, no. Plese tell me Mike Patrick did not just do that, Tell me he did not just compare Hansbrough to Wojo. I know what you’re trying to say, Mike, but that’s the last comparison we need.

8:52 pm: The game goes final: UNC wins, 84-70. An impressive victory for the Heels, who dominated the second half. Hansbrough delivers another spectacular performance, with 32 points, 12 rebounds, and 5 steals. Ellington has 21 points, and Thomas has 10. Carolina is now 25-2, and will next face Dino Gaudio’s red-hot Wake Forest team in Chapel Hill.

 

UNC vs. NC State Live Blog: First Half

I’ll admit it, I’m a bit scared about this game. The Wolfpack are a dangerous team for three reasons:

1. They need a win tonight to keep any hopes of a tournament bid alive.

2. They want to avenge their embarrassing loss in Chapel Hill, where they scored 13 first half points.

3. It’s an ACC road game, and Ty Lawson is still on the bench.

7:04 pm: 2-2. The Pack draw first blood, but Hansbrough responds.

7:05 pm: UNC fans: Whoooo!!!

NCSU fans: FLOP!!!

7:06 pm: 4-4. Qiuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu…

7:07 pm: 6-6. Tyler cannot afford to get pickpocketed on the top of the key like that.

8-6, UNC. Ellington gets his first basket of the game, a tough baseline shot.

7:09 pm: 10-10, NCSU. Just after a wide open layup by Courtney Fells, Ellington ties it at 10.

7:11 pm: No caption necessary…

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7:15 pm: 13-10, NCSU. Gavin Grant beats Green and Ginyard for the basket and the foul. With 12:38 left in the first half, they’ve already matched the 1st half total from the last meeting.

7:17 pm: 13-11, NCSU. Hansbrough comes back into the game to a hearty chorus of boos.

7:21 pm: 15-11, NCSU. Carolina has missed 8 of their last 9 shots. In none of those instances did Tyler touch the ball in the lane.

7:22 pm: 15-15. Q comes back into the game, and Carolina scores two quick baskets to tie the game, including a Ginyard steal and dunk.

7:24 pm: 18-17, NCSU. Gavin Grant his an open three to take the lead.

7:25 pm: 19-18, UNC. Tyler gets muscled out of the piant, is forced to take an off-balance shot…and he still drains it.

7:26 pm: 21-19, NCSU. Javier Gonzalez is left wide open for a three. He’s a 24% three point shooter for the season.

7:27 pm: 21-21. Stepheson gets an easy one inside. This game is shaping up to be exciting one.

7:30 pm: 23-22, NCSU. Hickson is knocked down by hansbrough in the lane, but no foul is called.

7:32 pm: 26-25, NCSU. The bad news: we’re allowing Pack guards to drive the lane almost at will. The good news: Hansbrough and Ellington are a combined 8-10 shooting.

7:33 pm: 31-25, NCSU: Gonzalez can’t miss from outside! This is so rare, you’d think this was some lunar eclipse of something.

Wait…oh. Well, we’re screwed.

7:35 pm: 31-27, NCSU. Deon Thompson with his first bucket of the game.

7:39 pm: 31-28, NCSU. Tyler hits his 220th free throw of the year. That is insane.

7:41 pm: Tyler gets away with a foul, but Ginyard throws the ball away on the other end.

7:42 pm: It’s not a conference basketball game without a few healthy anti-referee chants.

7:44 pm: 31-31. If it wasn’t Tyler, there’s no way I would believe anyone made that shot and the foul.

7:45 pm, Halftime. Ellington hits a open 3-pointer with three seconds left to give Carolina a 34-31 lead at the end of the first half.

Carolina plays well and catches a few breaks for a 9-0 run to end the half. To win in the second half, the Heels need to respect the kick-out pass while preventing easy drives through the lane on defense, and outrebound the Wolfpack on both sides of the court. .

The Legend of Quentin Thomas Grows By the Day

UNC 92, Virginia Tech 53, blah blah blah. Q dunked! TWICE!

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Keep this in mind: Quentin Thomas has run the point for Carolina’s last five games, all in conference play. The Heels have been 4-1 in those games, with the sole loss coming against Duke, when Ellington and Green’s shooting went completely cold.

His stats for those five games: 36 points, 19 rebounds, 32 assists, 18 turnovers, 1.8 A/TO ratio. Greivis Vasquez, the ACC’s best healthy point guard right now, has an A/TO ratio of 1.7 over the same five game span. When you consider that Q was Roy’s third string point guard to begin the year, that’s pretty impressive.

We are about to leave one of the biggest injury storms to hit the Tar Heels in recent memory. As the clouds begin to clear up, this hobbling team is still 24-2, in the top 5, and in position to take a #1 seed in the NCAA tournament. And we have managed to do it one-deep at point guard, basketball’s most crucial position.

If this season ends with the Tar Heels at the top, we all have Quentin Thomas to thank for helping them get there.

Ty Lawson Continues to Set Records for Minutes on Bench With Look of Disappointment

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Best of luck to Ty Lawson and his recovery, because we really, really, really need him. But I can’t get over the look on his face whenever the camera shows him. Meanwhile, Carolina comes away with yet another narrow conference victory, this time 75-74 on the road against Virginia.

An (Ir)rational Assessment of That UNC-Duke Loss

Perhaps I can be rational about the result of this game at some point. But not yet.

First things first, let’s get this out of the way: Quentin Thomas did not lose this game. It may have been a completely different offense without Lawson on the floor, there were several stretches in which he struggled. However, there were many other points of failure points in that game, any of which could have won the game had they been corrected.

For example: Wayne Ellington and Danny Green combined to shoot 2 for 153. The statisticians began to feel sorry for them and stopped tracking their misses, only writing down “2-24″. True story. Below, a visual representation of Wayne and Danny’s shooting nights, respectively.

 

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It was expected that without Lawson on the floor, Carolina could not play their transition game. When forced into a halfcourt team against a halfcourt press, running effective screens becomes crucial. I did not see the Heels run effective screens against Duke, which I think led to a lot of turnovers and low-percentage shots.

Deon Thompson played like a beast for the first five minutes of the game. Then he seemed to become unfocused and devolved into the human fouling machine, fouling out after just 18 minutes. For lack of a better expression, he was the black Shavlik Randolph.

Duke is very effective in playing with the human psyche. When you see a Duke player driving he lane. a defender’s first instinct is always to help out. This plays right into their game, as this leaves plenty of Blue Devils open for threes. Coach K has been using this strategy for years, yet few teams are ever disciplined enough to override their instincts and and defend the perimeter no matter what happens inside. Carolina was no exception on Wednesday night. Credit is due to Duke for running a system so well, but Carolina needs to get better on defense.

This bears repeating: when Marcus Ginyard and Quentin Thomas account for 1/3rd of your offense, you’re in trouble.

There is absolutely no need to panic about the result of this game. Remember this: Duke played perhaps their best game all year, and Carolina obviously played a bad game, severely shorthanded at basketball most crucial position…and yet it was a two possession game after 39 minutes and 5 seconds. I don’t know what that says about Duke, but it shows that, with Lawson in the lineup, this team is still a national championship contender. Unless, of course, we lose to Clemson on Sunday. I would hate for this to be the team that ended the streak.

And finally: I don’t care what you think, this is funny.

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Tar Heel Fans to Wear VCU Shirts Tonight

For tonight’s Duke game, the Dean Dome should be as raucous as you will see it for quite some time. But you may see a few fans in the stands wearing neither Carolina nor Duke blue, but a strange yellow.

From what I have heard, someone thought it would be a very personal touch to the Dookies for Carolina students to wear Virginia Commonwealth shirts for tonight’s game, and it appears that a few thousand will be wearing them.  Why, you ask?

Ah, yes. Duke agony: it heals the soul.

No live blog tonight, as I will have the fortune of being in attendance. I’ll provide a full report on the game tomorrow.

Coach K Professes His Love to Marcia Clark

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…Through song. It’s the kind of forbidden love about which no one wants to know…because frankly, we’re all disgusted by the thought of it.

We Interrupt Coverage of Wednesdy’s UNC-Duke Game…

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…for coverage of Monday’s UNC-Duke game.

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