Preview: A Big Day in Tar Heel Mania (UNC vs. Kentucky, and ACC Championship)

Today I will try to cover two games that will overlap: UNC vs. Kentucky (basketball, tip-off 12:00 pm) and the ACC Championship Game between Wake Forest vs. Georgia Tech (football, kickoff 1:00 pm). It may be hard trying to juggle the two games for about an hour, but if I didn’t have challenges, live blogging wouldn’t be any fun.

While Kentucky is a formidable opponent, the Wildcats don’t have as much talent as Ohio State. In particular, they have struggled on offense this year, averaging 71.8 pointa per game. If the Wildcats are going to win, they will likely do so from behind the arc. While it isn’t Kentucky’s strongsuit, it’s UNC’s greatest defensive weakness, and the Heels are last in the ACC in 3-point defense, allowing opponents an insane 41.1% from downtown. Throughout their games, Sacred Heart, Winthrop, Gonzaga and Ohio State were hitting threes like they were going out of style. Combine this with an NBA-caliber talent in Randolph Morris going up against Hansbough and we’ve got a game on our hands, folks. That is, of course, until you factor in the crowd. If the UNC fans are as loud as we were against the Buckeyes, Kentucky stands no chance.

Meanwhile in football, if you predicted the Wake Forest-Maryland game last week would decide the ACC Atlantic Division, you’re lying. Honestly, who could have predicted that we would get Wake Forest vs. Georgia Tech today in Jacksonville to decide who goes to the Orange Bowl? Jim Grobe has to be coach of the year for leading the Deacons to a 10-2 record without their starting quarterback or starting running back. Their strength is the defense, allowing only 15 points per game and become the first team in 32 years to shut out Florida State in Tallahassee. They will go up against a Georgia Tech team that ran away with the weak ACC Coastal division. Calvin Johnson is the best athlete in the entire conference, and Reggie Ball will need to get the ball to him to win this game. The Yellow Jackets have a great defense in their own right, led by defensive coordinator and former Tar Heel Jon Tenuta and known for its blitzing and aggresive style of play. This game will most likely come down to which defense plays better, and whether the Deacons can keep Calvin Johnson out of the end zone.

Live Diary: UNC vs Kentucky, ACC Championship game, and other stuff

12:07 pm: Game just started. Brendan Wright looks good early, getting the tipoff and putting the first points on the board with a dunk in transition. 2-0, UNC.

12:10 pm: WAYNE’S WORLD! WAYNE’S WORLD! PARTY TIME! EXCELLENT! WHOOO! (guitar riff) Ellington hits a sweet three. I will now use Wayne’s World whenever he hits a three. 5-3, UNC.

12:11 pm: Randolph Morris hits a shot in the paint, but then Ty Lawson penetrates the paint and gives to Terry for a wide open 3. 10-7, UNC. This game is playing at a very fast pace. This favors the Tar Heels; Kentucky needs to slow the game down to expose UNC’s weaknesses.

12:15 pm: Kentucky has tried to shoot the three, but is failing. If they can’t hit shots from downtown, they could be in for a long day.

12:18 pm: So far UNC has only one rebound and Hansbrough has yet to take a shot. I don’t know if this is bad strategy by UNC or good strategy by Kentucky. My guess in the latter; the Wildcats have now slowed the game considerably, and #50 always has a huge target on his back.

12:20 pm: Morris ties the game at 10 with a three point play. He’s a powerful inside presence.

12:22 pm: Tyler’s fouled and hits 1 of 2 from the line. 11-10, UNC. UNC is playing good defense, but they have got to prevent rebounds by the Wildcats. We aren’t boxing out well at all.

12:25 pm: UNC goes into the TV time out with authority by means of a steal and Brendan Wright dunk. That is one athletic dude. UNC is playing at a faster pace now, which will heavily favor them.

12:27 pm: Kentucky really seems out of their element versus UNC’s disruptive, fast-paced style. I think Tubby Smith has added about 50 gray hairs in the last 10 minutes.

Twenty minutes into the game and I saw empty seats in the third and fourth row. This is nothing short of blasphemy.

12:30 pm: Kentucky is using zone defense to slow the game down. This is how Gonzaga beat us, by using zone and collapsing on Hansbrough. Just as I say this, Lawson hits a three from NBA range. 18-12, UNC.

12:32 pm: 18-14, UNC. Morris in 4-4 for the Wildcats. Hansbrough was just triple teamed. He needs to learn to kick the ball out in those situations, but his teammates need to help by giving him a place to pass it.

12:35 pm: 20-16, UNC. The Beatles now have a remix album. If I ever hear the Beatles again, my head is going to explode. I’m not kidding. Give me Skynyrd any day.

12:38 pm: 22-16, UNC. The Heels have basically their second team out there, but you wouldn’t know it. We are finally getting rebounds, and Deion Thompson is another solid post player.

12:40 pm: I just saw this stat: Kentucky has 9 turnover and UNC has only 2. The Wildcats are really having a hard time on offense. They only have 18 points on the board through 15 minutes, while Ohio State had nearly 40. 24-18, UNC.

Bizarre ad alert: Rolling Rock’s apology.

12:46 pm: 27-20, UNC. Marcus Ginyard was just on the free throw line. Has anyone else noticed he’s going to start balding in the front soon?

12:48 pm: The refs are calling the game very tightly today. I seen at least five offensive fouls called at this point.

12:49 pm: Hansbrough has finally seemed to start dominating near the end of the half. As Cesar Millan would put it, he is clearly ‘the pack liiiderrr’. 29-24, UNC.

12:52 pm: Brendan Wright may be an excellent player, but damn, his face is ugly.

The first half ends with UNC leading 31-24. Considering our depth and the way we plaed on defense we should be up much more. However, our offense seems out of sync. i don’t know whether it’s the Kentucky defense, our constant substitutions or a combination of the two that’s disrupting our offense.

12:58 pm: I found it: the ad Rolling Rock is “apologizing” for.

mors bizzare ads: when taking avodart (a male prostate medication), swelling of the breasts can occur as a side effect. In a related story, millions of women are now demanding Avodart.

1:06 pm: Don’t forget that I’m still covering Wake Forset vs. Georgia Tech.

1:10 pm: The second half has started. Brendan Wright has a sweet baby hook shot, but Kentucky finally hits a three. 33-29, UNC.


1:12 pm: 38-33, UNC. Morris is 6-6 now. The section behind the Kentucky bench is completely empty. I have no idea what this means.

Roy just substituted all five players. You have to love this team’s depth, but he’s trying to send a message to his starters. Let’s hope they get the message before Kentucky gets a lead.

1:17 pm, Football: The ACC Championship just started. Ga. Tech has driven all the way to the 10 yard line. Wake is really starting to clamp down in the red zone, forcing the Jackets to work for every inch.

1:20 pm, Football: Calvin Johnson is the most dangerous man on the field. Two questions:

  • Why is Wake giving him single coverage? That’s pretty bold, if not stupid.
  • Why isn’t Ga. Tech throwing it to him?

Either way, Tech is forced to settle for a field goal. 3-0, GT.

1:22, Basketball: Reyshawn Terry hits two straight threes, and the crowd goes insane! 44-35, UNC.

1:24, Football: Great tidbit: Ga. Tech has a kicer whose last name is Yadayawi. I laughed for over a minute, they way announcer Brad Nessler pronounced it.

Holy crap, WF quarterback Riley Skinner has a 67% completion percentage, and he’s just a freshman!

The tight end (#84) drops a pass for a 3-and out. You can’t drop those critical passes and expect to win.

1:27, Basketball: 49-37, UNC. The Tar Heels seem to be pulling away at this point.

Bizarre ad alert:, so easy a therapist can do it.

1:30, Football: Calvin Johnson fools the defender so badly the corner has to draw a pass interference call to prevent a touchdown.

1:32, Basketball: Ellington gets a great steal and drwas an intentional foul. With the free throws, UNC is now up 54-39.

UK has only hit two 3-pointers. I said before the game the Wildcats would be doomed of they couldn’t hit the 3. At this point the Wildcats are an endangered species.

1:36 pm: Huge dunk by Brendan Wright. It looked like Kentucky’s defense was as bad as the smell of my armpit on that play. They now have 19 turnovers. 56-42, UNC.

1:39, Football: Georgia Tech seems to be dictating the pace of the game. Every time a Wake player has the ball, there are 3 GT players to tackle him. Just as I say that, Wake makes a huge 3rd down conversion.

Georgia Tech is wearing alternate black jerseys. I think they’re quite stylish.

1:42 pm, 56-44 UNC: This is the first game in a while that I’ve seen UNC dominating the game without Hansbrough being much of a factor.

1:44 pm, 3-0 GT: Joe Anoai gets a sack for GT to force a punt. Jon Tenuta’s nickname for him: “Book ’em Dan-O.”

1:45 pm, 59-44 UNC: Brendan Wright is for real. If Tyler’s not careful, he might lose his center spot (wink, wink).

1:48 pm, 3-0 GT: Calvin Johnson has been contained very well by the Wake defense.

1:50 pm, 59-47 UNC: Tyler’s really struggling today, and I don’t know why. I have to give credit to Kentucky, they haven’t quit, and Morris is having a pretty good day.

1:53 pm, 3-0 GT: In Jackson, it’s rainy, it’s cold, it’s humid, and the quarterback can’t throw spirals to save their souls. In other words, it’s the perfect conditions for football.

1:58 pm, 61-51 UNC: I’m kind of disappointed in the fans at the Dean Dome today. Maybe it’s just the difference between being in the stands and watching the game on TV, but the fans don’t sound very vocal at all.

WAYNE’S WORLD! WAYNE’S WORLD! PARTY TIME! EXCELLENT! WHOOOO! guitar riff… Ellington has 17 points today. 66-55, UNC.

2:04 pm, 66-57 UNC: Inside of two minutes, there was about a 1:15 span where UNC had the ball and UK didn’t foul anyone. Game over.

2:06 pm, 68-59 UNC: I’m watchin ghtis game on TV, but even I can tell fans are leaving. I hope that red-haired girl is in the student section to stop them. But then again, this crowd is so quiet I probably would have heard her by now.

2:09 pm, 3-0 GT: Sam Swank does both the kicking and punting duties for Wake, and he does a very good job. Just as I say this, he shanks a 45 yard FG and GT keeps the lead.

The game goes final: UNC 75, Kentucky 63. The scoreboard might not say so, but UNC looked a lot better in the Ohio State game that today against Kentucky. Expect a lot of defenses to use the zone against the Tar Heels.

2:21 pm, 3-0 GT: Coming into this drive, Wake had only one yard on the ground. This game is clearly dictated by defense. Unfortunately, most casual fans don’t find this exciting.

A bad personal foul call just got called against GT. I’m all for protecting players, but clearly the refs aren’t letting these guys play football. This is the case in both college and the NFL right now.

2:25 pm: Sam Swank kicks an easy field goal to tie the game at 3.

2:45 pm: BONUS COVERAGE-NCAA NATIONAL WOMEN’S SOCCER CHAMPIONSHIP: UCLA 0, UNC 0. UCLA has had a few good opportunities, but have so far failed to take advantage.

2:50 pm: BONUS BONUS COVERAGE: Tar Heel fan David Compton wins $60,000 throwing footballs at a giant soda can!

2:55 pm: ABC put Phil McGuire next to the main camera instead of the sidelines or booth. The good news is that he always has a nice view of the game. The bad news is that he has to put up with this “football weather”. Great if you’re on the field, bad if you’re in the stands.

3:04 pm: The Wake forest offense continues to struggle in these conditions against the fast, aggressive Yellow Jacket defense.

3:09 pm: GT gets into field goal range in part because of a stupid hit that WF linebacker John Abbate made on QB Reggie Ball which got called for a personal foul. Tashard Choice runs the ball on third and long and comes just short of a first down.

3:13 pm: GT ruins a great drive by going for it and coming up short. After the Choice run they were looking for a measurement but didn’t get it, and GT was rushed. This is a huge mistake by GT for not taking a timeout or kicking a field goal.

3:15 pm: Fortunately for the Yellow Jackets, Wake goes 3-and-out, and the offensive struggles continue for both teams.

3:25 pm: Again GT goes for it on 4th down in Wake territory, and again Reggie Ball misses an opportunity and gives the ball back to Wake. I like the ACC very much, but if these are the two best teams in this conference, I would be open to giving the ACC’s BCS bid to the 11-1 Wisconsin Badgers.

3:37 pm: GT finally gets into the red zone thanks to a sideline catch by Calvin Johnson. They must have called this play 15 times today, but this is the first time it worked. And that’s how the third quarter ends. I had a hard time staying awake, and I’m a a die-hard football fan.

3:44 pm: Again Georgia Tech faced 4th down in Wake territory. Fortunately, they kick the field goal this time. 6-3, GT.

3:48 pm: GT just recorded its sixth sack on Riley Skinner. Passing has been non-existent in this game. I’m a fan of old-school football, three yard and a cloud of dust, but this is just ugly. Beyond ugly in fact, it’s fugly (a word for which the meaning cannot be be repeated in this blog).

3:50 pm: Speaking of ugly, the weather is so bad and the teams were so unexpected that the seats are only half full today. Wake is once again forced to punt. 6-3, GT.

3:54 pm: The Yellow Jackets promptly give the ball back to Wake after Reggie ball throws a ball off the hands of Calvin Johnson and into the hands of Wake cornerback Riley Swanson for an interception. You may not be familiar with the intricacies of GT’s play in the last few years, but this is vintage Reggie Ball.

4:00 pm: Wake tight end John Tereshinski makes a big sideline grab to get the Deacons into striking distance. Wait a minute, Tereshinski? He has to be a brother of Georgia QB and third generation Bulldog Joe Tereshinski III! Small world, isn’t it?

4:05 pm: Sam Swank kicks a field goal to tie the game at six. I thought this would be a low scoring game, but this is starting to test my fandom.

4:15 pm: BONUS BONUS COVERAGE: UNC Women’s Soccer Beats UCLA 2-1 to face Notre Dame in the National Championship game in Cary, NC.

BONUS BONUS BONUS COVERAGE: Appalachian State leads Montana State 7-0 in the Quarterfinals of the Div. 1-AA playoffs and the defense of their National Title.

4:17 pm: With 3 minutes left in the game, Wake drives down the field and Swank kick the potentially game-winning field goal to make it 9-6 Wake. Now It’s starting to get interesting.

This also means even the field goal was kicked with three minutes left, GT gets the ball with two and a half minutes to go. Have I mentioned how much I hate the ready to play rule?

4:20 pm: There are two quarterback in College football I don’t want running my two minute drills. One is Joe Dailey, the other is Reggie Ball.

4:24 pm: GT has a quick 3-and-out and is forced to punt. Ugh.

You know your conference sucks when your champion’s band main melody instrument is not the trumpet or trombone, but the xylophone. That’s exactly the case with Wake.


4:28 pm: Wake ironically seals the game with an end around for a first down. Wake is now throwing oranges onto the field, signifying the Orange Bowl berth for the ACC Champions. If I were an ACC coach I would motivate my players by having them drink orange juice on the sidelines instead of Gatorade. it’s healthier anyway.

The final gun sounds. Wake 9, Georgia Tech 6. The game was so cold and sloppy that just watching it makes me want to take a hot shower.

I leave you with one more bizarre commercial: the Zales commercial with that cheesy Vanessa Carlton music. It’s bizarre because I can never, ever hear that song without thinking of the movie White Chicks. Perhaps the funniest movie ever.