#1 UNC vs. #5 Duke Live Blog

No pressure, dude. No pressure at all…

No speedos. For the love of God, no speedos.

9:01 pm: A very touching moment of silence for Eve Carson.

9:02 pm: No speedos. For the love of God, no speedos.

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9:03 pm: Quentin Thomas will start tonight ahead of Ty Lawson.

9:06 pm: 3-0, Duke. 20 seconds in and already Duke hits an open three. Did Carolina learn nothing from their last matchup?

9:07 pm: 4-3, UNC. Ellington and Hansbrough each hit tough baskets, and Carolina takes the early lead.

9:08 pm: Q!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! gets a block on Lance Thomas.

6-3, UNC. That may have been goaltending on Thompson, but we’ll take it.

9:10 pm: Lawson comes in and immediately makes a great assist to Green.

Carolina is also honoring Eve Carson with black “EVE” patches on their right shoulder. Everyone in the stadium is wearing a light blue ribbon in her honor as well.

9:11 pm: 10-5, UNC. Scheyer with the basket, but he doesn’t get back on defense. Ginyard makes him pay with a huge dunk.

First TV timeout. A nice pace, if a bit inconsistent, and the speed favors Carolina right now.

9:15 pm: 10-7, UNC. Zoubek is in the game for Duke. We’ll see what kind of effect it has on Hansbrough.

9:17 pm: 10-9, UNC. Duke’s bench players seem to be playing better offense than the starters. The same might not be said of the defense, as Zoubek picks up two quick fouls.

9:18 pm: That was a cheap foul. Danny should know better.

This game is starting to get a little sloppy on both sides.

9:19 pm: Scheyerface is playing point. Cue the obligatory photoshop:

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13-9, UNC. Green hits the three off the Ginyard assist.

9:24 pm: Taylor King is left WIDE OPEN for three. Fortunately for us, he misses. Duke’s been pretty cold from the perimeter so far this game.

9:25 pm: The line so far: The two teams are a combined 10-35 shooting. Ugh.

9:27 pm: The exact opposite of Ugh: Only 2 turnovers for Carolina. Green hits another shot to make it 17-9, UNC.

9:28 pm: 20-9, UNC. Q saves a bad pass, and Green is open for three again! Carolina brings the lead to double digits.

9:30 pm: 22-11, UNC. Hansbrough scores inside. Kyle Singler had no chance.

24-11, UNC. There’s the Ty Lawson we know and love.

9:31 pm: 24-13, UNC. I think Scheyer makes a face even when he shoots free throws.

9:35 pm: 24-15, UNC. Henderson may be only Dukie playing well thus far in the game.

9:36 pm: Uh-oh…Speedo guy. I liked the old Speedo guy better.

9:38 pm: 27-15, UNC. Hansbrough gets another offensive rebound, and he scores on the putback.

9:41 pm: 29-18, UNC. Paulus hits the three with a hand in his face. I wonder why he hasn’t been getting the ball in the perimeter.

9:42 pm: 29-21, UNC. NO!!! You can’t leave Paulus open like that!

9:44 pm: 31-23, UNC. Danny Green stops the bleeding, but the Cameron Crazies are back in this game.

9:45 38-26, UNC. The Carolina fastbreak. Or for Duke fans: the buzzkill to end all buzzkills.

9:50 pm: 40-31, UNC. It’s a bad sign for your defense when you know your opponent’s shot is going in before he even catches the pass.

9:52 pm: 42-31, UNC. Ty Lawson gets an easy layup inside off a nice pass.

9:53 pm: That’s the end of the first half, and Carolina leads 42-31. The Tar Heels have had a good game on defense, forcing Duke’s lowest-scoring first half this season. Carolina can win the way they have been playing thus far, provided three extra factors: 1) they don’t go cold from the line, 2) Duke doesn’t storm out of the locker room (a very strong possibly), and 3) the defense doesn’t let Greg Paulus continue to light it up from beyond the arc.

10:11 pm: As the second half begins, it appears that Duke is outhustling Carolina in the opening possession. Duke had more offensive rebounds in one possession than in the entire first half.

10:12 pm: 44-35, UNC. I don’t care who’s driving inside, and if they’re about to dunk. NO ONE can be left open on the perimeter.

10:14 pm: 44-37, UNC. Carolina has seven blocks in this game, but I have yet to see them box out effectively in the second half. Duke is outhustling us to every rebound.

10:15 pm: 46-37, UNC. Another game, another double-double for Hansbrough.

46-40, UNC. Paulus can’t miss right now!

10:16 pm: 46-42, UNC. For God’s sake, Carolina, FIGHT FOR A REBOUND!

10:18 pm: 51-44, UNC. Ellington hits a three to help quiet the crowd.

51-46, UNC. It;s a tale of two halves so far. Duke is playing like their lives depend on it this hald, while Carolina has looked mostly flat. Zoubek is consistently outhustling Hansbrough on the boards.

10:22 pm: 53-48, UNC. Ty Lawson is the only Carolina player who seems to be playing with any sense of urgency right now.

10:23 pm: 55-48, UNC. Ellington with a nice jumper.

10:25 pm: WARNING: Side effects of Cameron Indoor Stadium include gayness. Exhibit A: Dick Vitale.

10:26 pm: 57-54, UNC. Lawson has been key in the second half, but I have yet to see Hansbrough make a difference since he came out of the locker room. Meanwhile, Scheyer hits his first three of the game. Cue the Scheyerface:

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10:31 pm: Hansbrough needs to get to the line in the second half.

DANNY GREEN, WHAT KIND OF A PASS WAS THAT!

10:32 pm: Carolina is committing the two worst acts of fundamental offensive basketball right now. First, they are taking rushed, low-percentage shots. Second, they are not getting in the paint fighting for rebounds. Most importantly however, I have yet to see Hansbrough get a meaningful touch in the second half, and we’re more than halfway through.

10:34 pm: 57-57. For the last time, STOP FALLING FOR THE KICKOUT!!!

10:35 pm: 60-60. Do my eyes deceive me? did Quentin Thomas just hit a three pointer? WHOOOOO!

10:36 pm: 62-62. Hansborugh finally gets a basket, but Lance Thomas answers on the other end.

10:37 pm: Hansbrough now stands at 1,999 points for his career. One more and he will be the first player in school history to score 2,000 points before his senior year.

10:39 pm: 66-64, UNC. Alex Stepheson get the tip-in.

This is the back-and-forth game we expected to see.

10:40 pm: 66-66. How did Ellington’s shot not go in?

Q…control thyself.

10:44 pm: 68-66, Duke. No…Scheyer for the lead!

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10:46 pm: 68-66, Duke, 3:36 left. Less than four minutes left to decide the ACC regular season championship, and the difference is two points. Carolina will have the ball. It doesn’t more nerve-racking than this.

68-68, 3:00 left. Ellington ties the game.

70-68, 1:58 left. Carolina takes back the lead thanks on an offensive rebound and putback by–guess who?–Tyler Hansbrough. With that shot he eclipses the 2,000 point mark for his career.

1:48 left. Paulus finally misses, and it’s Carolina basketball.

72-68, 1:25 left. Lawson hits his free throws.

1:07 left. Duke gets the ball after a UNC turnover.

44.2 left. Lawson steals the ball, Green scores off the tip, and Carolina leads 74-68. The Heels have stepped up big in final minutes, and time is running out for the Dukies.

22.7 left, 76-68, UNC. Carolina gets the ball, Duke doesn’t foul and Green gets the HUGE dunk! My rational side says it may be impossible for Duke to comeback now. My irrational side says ITS OVER! ITS OVER!!! ITS OOOOOOOOOOOOVEEERRRRRRRRRR!!!

FINAL: 76-68, UNC. CAROLINA IS THE ACC CHAMPION!!!

It’s actually an extraordinary win considering the Hansbrough shot zero free throws tonight. Give tremendous credit to the Carolina backcourt who came up big after a lackluster performance in the first Duke game. Ellington, Lawson, Thomas, Ginyard and Green made the big plays when they absolutely needed to make them, and Duke missed their last eleven shots when they mattered most. But it’s worth repeating…congratulations to UNC on the ACC regular season championship.

 

 

 

 

Coach K and the Blue Devils Team Address The Media About the Accusations of Flopping

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 Photo from Mr. Tar Heel

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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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.

“Ultimate Duke House” Under Construction

It appears Duke basketball will finally be rewarded for their success with a house that they can call their own.

It was revealed this week by coach Mike Krzyzewski and President Richard Broadhead that upperclassmen from the Duke University basketball team will now live in an off-campus house to increase camaraderie and security for the players, secluded from on-campus fans. Already dubbed “the Ultimate Duke House” by students, the house (pictured below) will have five bedrooms, where seniors will have individual bedrooms and any extra juniors will share rooms. Walk-on upperclassmen will sleep on the couch. The house is expected to be complete by the fall semester.

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Here’s what some in the world of college basketball, mostly current and former Duke players, had to say about the Duke House…

Mike Krzyzewski: “This is a milestone for our program. Finally, a place where I can visit, hang out informally with my players, invite recruits, have Wojo over and I don’t have to worry about the wife spy–um, I think I’ve said too much.”

Johnny Dawkins: “The inspiration for this house was the pink locker rooms at the University of Iowa. There’s some Hayden Fry reverse psychology s— goin’ on up in here.”

Gerald Henderson: You see that? You see that s—? That’s why I committed to Duke.

Josh McRoberts: You see that? You see that s—? That’s why I declared for the NBA.

Kyle Singler: Must…feast…on…blood…and…flesh…of…the…living…

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Dick Vitale: (genitalia explodes from sheer joy)

Jon Scheyer: AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA

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Christian Laettner: “Ya wanna battle, bitch? You little street news reporter? Let’s battle, ‘cuz I battle any sex or any race, you beating me is like Billy Crystal playing Scarface! I can’t see it, I’m blind to the eyes, I came up in your face OOPS POW SURPRISE! OHHHHHHHHHHH!!!”

Cherokee Parks: “Is that all you got, fool? It is so ON. gimme the mic! Church. Tabernacle. Titty one, titty two. Prophet Eli. My mental gymnastics will flip you, like an Aunt Jemima flapjack. Now how ’bout that?”

Prince: (playing basketball) “Good. (swish) In your face, Christian Laettner.” (drives lane uncontested, dunks) “Game…blouses.”

Greg Paulus: (falls down, reporter is charged with an offensive foul)

J.J. Redick:

Wojo: This is architectural masterpiece! ARE YOU LISTENING?!?! QUIT CRYING AND LISTEN TO ME! (slaps the floor) ASIDE FROM ME, THIS IS THE GREATEST THING TO EVER HAPPEN IN THE HISTORY OF THIS PROGRAM. EVER.

McRoberts: (sobs uncontrollably in towel)

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Sidney Lowe: Not bad, but it could use a little shag carpeting. And chrome window frames. And females. Lots and lots of females.

Scheyer: AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA

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Roy Williams: “Wow…I didn’t think that a basketball team could feel so…pretty…hahahahahah…. HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! (breathes deeply) HAAAAAAAA HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Oh God! Make it sta-ha-hop! HAHAhahahahah haa….ha…..haaaaa. I’m very happy for Duke and their upperclassmen. They deserve this wonderfuhlahahahah HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAHH!

“Ummmmm…you’ve got this off the record, right? No? Crap.”

Tyler Hansbrough: Mi mimimi mi mimimimiMI…mimimi.

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Coach K Has Just Been Informed That The UNC-Duke Game Will Be Officiated Fairly

Steve Wojciechowski Enjoying Offseason As a Part Time Veterinarian

As an alum and a die-hard fan of North Carolina, I will blindly root against any of Duke’s on-court or on-field activities. But even I have to admit, the Dookies are model citizens off the court.

Take the example of Duke assistant coach and former point guard Steve Wojciechowski. After the Blue Devil’s down year and early exit from the tournament, I would have forgiven him if went to the film room, poring over game films to find out what went wrong. He could have gone on the recruiting trail to find new players to rebuild his proud program. Hell, he could have vented his frustrations out smashing an inanimate object. But being the model citizen that he is, Wojo decided to begin his offseason by giving back to his community. Less than a week after the heartbreaking loss to VCU, Wojo was in a veterinary clinic for exotic pets in Raleigh, North Carolina, working several shifts and taking care of various animals rarely seen on Earth. We have manged to obtain two photos of his volunteer work.

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Here, we see Steve Wojciechowski providing a routine checkup to Rodrigo, a young bull. Since the vet staff complained of his constipation, Wojo is checking for colon polyps. Rodrigo doesn’t seem to mind.

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In this picture, Wojo is in the middle of a delicate procedure, using sterile plastic tweezers to remove a brain tumor from the head of a giant parrot. The parrot has been briefly incapacitated by watching a “Flavor of Love” marathon while Wojciechowski removes the tumor without causing any pain.

In an era of cynicism toward athletes, it’s nice to see when an sports figure has a direct positive impact on others. Even if it’s a Dookie.