Hello Nation (StatefansNation, that is).Â As anyone who isn’t living under the proverbial rock knows by now, there is once again a Wolfpack on the hunt in the NCAA Tournament.Â When the Pack is hungry, prey would do well to stay out of the Pack’s path lest they become dinner.
So with all due respect (and sincerest apologies) to Stephen Colbert, I give you….
Wag of the Tail, Tip of the Tooth
NCAA Tournament Sweet Sixteen Edition
Â Wag of the Tail to….Baylor sophomore Brady Heslip, who sank nine 3-pointers to help lift the Bears to victory over Colorado. His 27 points ties a school NCAA tournament game record. For the past five games (3 Big 12 Tourney, 2 NCAA Tourney), Heslip is 24/43 from beyond the arc (55.8%). Heslip had originally signed an LOI to play at Boston College, but was granted his release when head coach Al Skinner was let go after the ’09-’10 season. We’re very happy that Heslip had a career night against Colorado….instead of against us.
Â Tip of the Tooth to….the Missouri Tigers, who lost in their opening round contest to the Norfolk State Spartans, 86-84. Now, I know the Spartans are actually a pretty darned good ballclub, but you were the number two seed Mizzou! I mean c’mon. A first round scare? Fine. Not covering the spread? It could happen to anybody. But a first round loss? I hope you realize you busted the crap outta my bracket.
Â Wag of the Tail to….the Syracuse Orange, who have advanced to the sweet sixteen with relative ease despite losing star center Fab Melo for undisclosed academic reasons the day before the team’s NCAA tournament opener. Betting lines shifted and office prognosticators everywhere raced to change their brackets before the deadline. Bad for them. Syracuse has played good team ball so far and are looking every bit the number one seed, even without their big man anchoring things in the paint. This bodes well for the Orange….when they get to the ACC, they’re going to need to be accustomed to playing without their big men for long stretches. Just ask Richard Howell.
Â Tip of the tooth to….Gregg Marshall and his Wichita State Shockers. Not because they lost to a 12 seed, but because they lost to VCU. The Rams are a fine ballclub, but I’m just tired of hearing about Shaka Smart. I got enough of that last year. Thanks to the Indiana Hoosiers for ending the suffering.
Â Wag of the tail to….the Creighton Blue Jays. Despite being eliminated by the North Carolina Tar Heels, the Jays put up a valiant effort Sunday night, not backing down and playing hard throughout. Their aggressive defense, including daring to make physical contact with John Henson’s wrist, frustrated Henson and caused him to lose his composure and draw a technical foul. While it wasn’t nearly enough to turn the tide in the Jays’ favor, it did showcase to a national audience what we ACC fans already knew. Henson is a crybaby who expects preferential treatment. It’s called making a play on the ball, John, and if you’re going to play you need to expect it. If you can’t take it then…..well just sack up already, dude.
Â Tip of the tooth to….the Duke Blue Devils, Austin Rivers (sorta) and Jay Bilas. See Missouri above. Also, flopping isn’t defense guys, no matter what Messrs Clougherty and Swofford would have you believe. And while Austin Rivers probably should have dialed down his comments a bit in the post game presser after his team’s loss to the Lehigh Mountain Hawks in the first round (keep that stuff behind closed doors in the locker room, Austin), he was correct when he said they got outworked and implied his teammates had no heart. Duke alumnus, analyst extraordinaire and perennial pain in the ass Jay Bilas had opined that the spontaneous NC State celebration which erupted upon the team learning it had received an 11 seed in the NCAA tournament, could very well mean they might be just happy to be there. Instead, it was Duke which looked complacent and uncaring, though not very happy at all to be there.
Â Wag of the tail to…..Hubert Davis. One of the few Tar Heels I can truly stomach (past or present). Plus I think he’s one of the more knowledgeable analysts in the business today. Hubert has had the Pack’s back at every turn so far during the NCAA Tournament, picking them as winners in both games thus far. He has already picked us over Kansas on Friday, and has even said he thinks we have the talent and team chemistry now to make the final four. Whether he’s right or not, to pick us in spite of a probable would-be regional final tilt against his own alma mater says a lot.
Â Tip of the tooth to….Karl Hess (you knew it was coming). Not content with the fifteen minutes of fame he received from giving Chris Corchiani and Tom Gugliotta the boot, Herr Karl attempted to overrule another official’s call from the opposite side of the court during the Syracuse/K-State game. His attempted overrule was promptly overruled by his officiating crew mate, who reportedly told him, â€œDon’t you ever overrule me from the other side of the court againâ€.Â Small wag of the tail for the ref who put his foot down. When asked to comment, John Swofford reportedly said that while Hess was well within his duties to try to overrule a call he couldn’t see clearly, he did not follow the proper procedure to do so. And don’t be too hard on yourself, Karl. We all have off days and it can get depressing sometimes when it seems as if everyone dislikes you. If you need a therapist, I know a guy.
Â And last but by no means least….
A BIG Wag of the Tail to….Athletics Director Debbie Yow, Coach Mark Gottfried and the ’11-’12 NC State Wolfpack. I think I speak for nearly everyone when I say that we’re all proud of you. In the face of yet another adverse coaching search, Dr. Yow followed her own plan, and her gut. No matter the opinion one might hold of the search or the professionalism thereof, one cannot argue with the results thus far. All things considered, Coach Gottfried and staff have done a masterful job at bringing this team and program along even more quickly than even the most optimistic of us thought possible. And not to be outdone, the players have bought into their new coaches and the program, have become mentally tough and have gelled as a team before our very eyes over the past three weeks. There are no easy games on our horizon, but as a very wise man recently said…..They gotta guard us too!
Good luck against the Jayhawks, gentlemen.
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