NC STATE BASKETBALL
Mark Thomas (WRALSportsfan.com)
Pack ready for postseason
Leslie remains wild card
State’s three McDonaldâ€™s All-Americans will have solid college careers, and you could say that they are at least more gifted than the outgoing seniors. But they are still freshmen.
For NC State to improve, the core of Lorenzo Brown, C.J. Leslie, Richard Howell and Scott Wood have to get better from season to season.
Howell has seen the biggest improvement this season. He went from 10.8 points a game to 12.7, and his rebound average has gone from 9.2 to 10.6. Howell has also been more consistent from the foul line while cutting his fouls down tremendously.
Brown and Wood have been consistent from last year to this in almost every statistical category. But itâ€™s easy to see that when Brown missed time games in the middle of the year with injuries, the Pack struggled.
Leslie has been the wildcard of the returning players. The junior from Raleigh committed more turnovers this season. Some of them at crucial times have cost the Pack. But when he is good, heâ€™s really good. The Pack is going to need a complete performance from Leslie if they want to take it farther than they did a year ago.
Gottfriedâ€™s bunch is heading to Greensboro this Thursday hoping to improve on a season ago. They can do it with an improved ball club as well as an improved attitude. They are ready to go. I expect they are going to playing for the ACC Championship on Sunday. The nay-sayers can look at the season and say what they will.
nc state was picked to win the ACC by the media in the preseason, featured the Preseason POTY (C.J. Leslie) and the ROTY (T.J. Warren, another stud state freshman, is the one who will likely win it). And while they are #28 in the RPI and all but a lock for the Big Dance, they struggled to an 11-7 ACC regular season record. It was partially due to PG Lorenzo Brown missing a few games due to injury, and it is partially due to the fact that they are nc state and always seem to underachieve. You donâ€™t build a team around a guy like C.J. â€œDerrick Coleman, Jr.â€ Leslie. I could also call him 50-cent, as in he only plays hard 50% of the time. He ended up just 3rd Team All ACC.
For the Hokies, I say we go for broke and do everything we can to win this game with no regard for Friday. Forget saving guys for the long haul of back-to-back-to-back-to-back games in the ACC-T format. I say we do everything we can to survive this one, especially considering we will be huge underdogs and likely wonâ€™t survive to live another day. Iâ€™d like to see Coach JJ, fresh off his first ever technical foul, implement the things he wants to do next year, like the full court press. Iâ€™d use it from the get-go. He wants to run it next year, so why not put it in during practice the next three days and go for broke with it Thursday. state has no depth (they really only play 7 guys), so picking up the tempo could wear them out in the 2nd half. That said, nc state has a very good offense (12th most productive/efficient in the nation out of 347 teams), so this could backfire, they could shred the press and hit a dozen alley-oop dunks and win by 40â€¦ So what? We are huge underdogs and expected to lose. Iâ€™d like to see us try something different and start to look to the future in terms of JJâ€™s â€œsystemâ€. Why not? Thatâ€™s my 2 cents.
Andrew Carter (N&O)
ESPN documentary chronicles NC Stateâ€™s 1983 championship run
Valvano and his team proved that they can, though. Hock â€“ who knew Whittenburg from when he coached at Fordham â€“ wanted to do the film as soon as Whittenburg pitched the idea. The two were planning a meeting about it early on when Charles died in a bus accident on Interstate 40 in June 2011.
The film opens with Whittenburg in a hotel room, ironing his pants and getting dressed to attend Charlesâ€™ funeral.
â€œWeâ€™ll be linked together forever,â€ Whittenburg says of Charles at the funeral. It was Charles who turned Whittenburgâ€™s airball into that game-winning dunk against Houston.
The film isnâ€™t just about N.C. Stateâ€™s late-season run, but also about the playersâ€™ relationships now, and how tragedy has shaped them. At one point, Whittenburg talks of telling his teammates they need to spend more time together â€“ how if they donâ€™t, theyâ€™ll only be coming together for their funerals. The film also details Valvanoâ€™s turmoil-filled final days at N.C. State, and the end of coaching career.
Valvanoâ€™s fight against cancer is another central theme, with the film alternating scenes depicting N.C. Stateâ€™s run in â€™83 and Valvano fighting for his life 10 years later. He died in April 1993, but not before founding the Jimmy V Foundation for cancer research.
â€œWe tried to sort of conflate the experience of Jimmy V fighting cancer with fighting for survival in the basketball sense during the final nine-game run through the ACC tournament and the NCAA tournament,â€ Hock said. â€œâ€¦ To go through that march of nine games, nine unbelievable games, knowing that the coach is doomed.
â€œAnd the guy whoâ€™s going to make the winning basket is doomed. It does change it. But the things that he used to keep them believing were the very same things he used to keep fighting cancer. And of course, thatâ€™s his great victory.â€
Laura Keeley (N&O)
Duke, UNC, NC State combine for 13 on all-ACC basketball teams
The Triangle schools were well-represented on the mediaâ€™s All-ACC teams released Monday. Duke, North Carolina and N.C. State combined for 13 representatives on the first, second, third, honorable mention and rookie teams as selected by the 77 voters of Atlantic Coast Sports Media Association.
Dukeâ€™s Mason Plumlee led all players with 226 points and 73 out of a possible 77 first-place votes. Plumlee finished the regular season second in the league in scoring (17.3 points per game), rebounding (10.3 boards per game) and field goal percentage (58.9 percent). He led the ACC with 17 double-doubles. Duke has had a first-team All-ACC selection in six straight seasons.
N.C. Stateâ€™s Richard Howell was also a first-team selection with 192 points and 46 first-place votes. Howell and Plumlee were the only two players to average a double-double in league play, and the N.C. State senior led the league in rebounding with an average of 10.6 per game.
â€œHeâ€™s one of the most unique players in the country, Howell,â€ Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said after the Wolfpackâ€™s Jan. 12 win over Duke. â€œHeâ€™s a kid that every team would want and start and would be so easy to play with. He doesnâ€™t need the ball long, he plays with amazing maturity, and he rebounds the heck out of the ball.â€
Brett Friedlander (starnewsonline.com)
BEYOND THE ARC: Finishing the regular season with a bang
1. Bye bye, bye: N.C. Stateâ€™s chances at winning this weekâ€™s ACC tournament took a major hit Saturday when the Wolfpack squandered an eight-point second-half lead and lost at Florida State â€“ thanks in no small measure to yet another mental no-show by star C.J. Leslie. State would have gotten a first-round ACC bye with a win. Now it faces the difficult task of having to play four games in four days with a very short bench to win the title.
2. Senior Night-mare: UNCâ€™s Roy Williams had never lost a Senior Night game in 24 seasons as a head coach and 10 as an assistant to Dean Smith before Saturday night. That streak ended with a thud, as the Tar Heels shot 33 percent and went 1 of 14 from 3-point range in a 14-point loss to Duke â€“ leading to a somber postgame ceremony for upperclassmen Dexter Strickland and walkon Frank Tanner.
3. Reversed roles: Youâ€™ve heard the story about the tortoise and the hare. Well, this time, it was the tortoise (or in this case, the Terrapin) that jumped out to the early lead, then relaxed to allow its opponent (Virginia) to catch up and pass it and win in overtime. The loss was Marylandâ€™s fourth in its last six games, all but bursting its NCAA bubble hopes.
4. Oh for the road: Wake Forestâ€™s loss at N.C State on Wednesday wrapped up an 0-9 ACC record away from Joel Coliseum this season. The Deacons were the only team in the league to go winless on the road, but that should come as no surprise. In three seasons under coach Jeff Bzdelik, Wake is a combined 1-24 on the road in ACC games, with the only win coming on Jan. 21, 2012 at Boston College.
5. Toothless Tigers: Clemson dropped both of its games last week to run its losing streak to six. The Tigers have lost nine of their last 10 to fall to 13-17 overall and 5-13 in the ACC, thus assuring Brad Brownell his first sub-.500 finish in 11 years as a head coach at Clemson, Wright State and UNC Wilmington.
Bret Strelow (fayobserver.com)
Coach taking careful approach to ACC tournament
“We want to do a great job in Greensboro,” Krzyzewski said, “but we have to be careful how we bring our team along so we’re fresh the following week.”
Being fresh for the NCAA tournament is of utmost importance, and Duke (27-4) is a national championship contender at full strength.
Krzyzewski and UNC’s Roy Williams go to the ACC tournament each March with the same goal of winning it, but Coach K sees more value or significance in doing so. He has led the Blue Devils to four national titles, directing postseason sweeps in 1992, 2001 and 2010.
Williams’ famous “cocktail party” quote rings true about the ACC tournament. Krzyzewski takes more of a business-after-hours approach.
There’s a big-picture benefit to attending, although it varies from year to year. This week, Krzyzewski hopes to strike a balance between getting better and getting healthier.
“You don’t want to stereotype and say, ‘This is what you do each year,’ ” he said. “You try at this time to get a feel for where your team is at and what they need and use this week accordingly.”
Lauren Brownlow (accsports.com)
Three To Look Back At/Three To Look Forward To, March 11
Looking Ahead – The ACC Tournament
No. 4 Virginia vs. No. 5 N.C. State/No. 12 Virginia Tech, Friday, 2:00 p.m.
No matter which team wins the 5/12 matchup, this game will be interesting. Virginia likely still has to win games to make the NCAA Tournament. If the Cavaliers face N.C. State, a win would almost guarantee an NCAA berth while an N.C. State loss might make things interesting on Selection Sunday for the Wolfpack yet again. If N.C. State loses to Virginia Tech – and if UVa follows suit in the quarters? Um â€¦ yeah, Iâ€™d just suggest not doing that.
Player to watch: Mike Tobey
The freshman was out for awhile with mono, and itâ€™s taken him some time to get back into game shape. Well, he seems to be back in it now. He had 13 points in the win over Maryland (in 26 minutes, his most since December 30) and added six rebounds. He kept Virginia in it in the first half, scoring six of his points in just nine-first half minutes, but he had just two field goals the rest of the way. Still, his two baskets were the game-tying bucket with five seconds left and then a tip-in in overtime to give Virginia the lead for good. Oh look, Joe Harris and Akil Mitchell have a teammate helping them out! And Virginia won as a result! Iâ€™m not expert, but I think the two are related.
Aaron Schoonmaker (WRALSportsfan.com)
ACC tourney seeds set; where do advantages lie?
1 â€“ Miami (24-6, 15-3 ACC)
Storylines: Miami has arguably the best point guard in the league in Shane Larkin. They have the inevitable Coach of the Year in Jim Larranaga. And they are experienced with six seniors on their roster â€“ five of which average at least 20 minutes per game.
Longest win streak in ACC: 13 Games
Home in ACC: 8-1
Road in ACC: 7-2
Record vs. Top 4 ACC seeds: 4-1
On Neutral Courts in 2012-13 Season: 0-2
2 â€“ Duke (27-4, 14-4 ACC)
Storylines: Duke has Ryan Kelly back and they are undefeated this season with him in the lineup. Duke spent five weeks this season as the No. 1 team in the nation. The Blue Devils have won 3 of the last 4 and 5 of the last 8 ACC tournaments. They are playing for a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. Oh, and did I mention they have Ryan Kelly back?
Longest win streak in ACC: 6 Games
Home in ACC: 9-0
Road in ACC: 5-4
Record vs. Top 4 ACC seeds: 3-2
On Neutral Courts in 2012-13 Season: 6-0
3 â€“ North Carolina (22-9, 12-6 ACC)
Storylines: They have gone small and they are still 13th in the nation in rebounding. The Tar Heels are also 3rd in the nation in assists per game. With players learning to play their roles, and Roy Williams swallowing some pride to find creative ways to win over sexy ways to win, UNC is a real threat.
Longest win streak in ACC: 6 Games
Home in ACC: 7-2
Road in ACC 5-4
Record vs. Top 4 ACC seeds: 1-5
On Neutral Courts in 2012-13 Season: 1-1
4 â€“ Virginia (21-10, 11-7 ACC )
Storylines: They have been on the NCAA bubble for a month. Every win streak seems to come with a pair of losses but they managed to earn a first-round bye in the ACC Tournament with an OT win against Maryland. When Virginia is on, they are good. For a team that likes to control the tempo, they exceeded 70 points seven times in conference play. The biggest knock is they donâ€™t rebound – ranked in the 280â€™s nationally. Oh, and they donâ€™t win on the road.
Longest win streak in ACC: 4 Games
Home in ACC: 9-0
Road in ACC 2-7
Record vs. Top 4 ACC seeds: 2-2
On Neutral Courts in 2012-13 Season: 0-1
5 â€“NC State (22-9, 11-7 ACC)
Storylines: The preseason hype was there. The talent still is. The results have not been. NC State has the ability to go deep into March and they proved last year that all it takes is getting hot. With Lorenzo Brown running the point, they are in more control. With Richard Howell staying out of foul trouble, they are unstoppable. Does Calvin or CJ show up in Greensboro?
Longest win streak in ACC: 3 Games
Home in ACC: 8-1
Road in ACC 3-6
Record vs. Top 4 ACC seeds: 2-4
On Neutral Courts in 2012-13 Season: 3-1
12 â€“ Virginia Tech (13-18, 4-14 ACC)
Storylines: Erick Green.
Longest win streak in ACC: 1 Game
Home in ACC: 3-6
Road in ACC 1-8
Record vs. Top 4 ACC seeds: 0-7
On Neutral Courts in 2012-13 Season: 1-1
Andrew Jones (FoxSportsCarolinas.com)
ACC Power Rankings: Duke back to No. 1
1. Duke (27-4, 14-4)
The Blue Devils are complete now that Ryan Kelly is back, and they are coming off a great performance in clobbering North Carolina at the Dean Dome. Miami losing helped move Duke up to the top spot, but letâ€™s be honest, other than Indiana, who else in the nation is Dukeâ€™s equal right now?
2. Miami (24-6, 15-3)
Maybe the Hurricanes have peaked, after all. No way they should have lost at home to Georgia Tech after leading by 11, and beating Clemson means very little. The â€˜Canes are still dangerous, and maybe getting to the postseason is good for this team. Miami played its best basketball in January. Can the Hurricanes regain that form?
3. North Carolina (22-9, 12-6)
The Tar Heels looked like what weâ€™ve come to expect from North Carolina over the last five decades in a win at Maryland last week, but had absolutely no answers for Duke at home Saturday night. How UNC responds to the ugly performance will be interesting.
4. Virginia (21-10, 11-7)
Tony Bennettâ€™s team overcame a 17-point deficit at home to beat Maryland in overtime on Sunday night, keeping alive their hopes of getting into the NCAA Tournament. Joe Harris wasnâ€™t strong, but Akil Mitchell was. Virginia should get into the dance.
5. N.C. State (22-9, 11-7)
It truly is amazing how C.J. Leslie impacts this team, and too often this season heâ€™s been disengaged to where it cost the Wolfpack. That was again the case in Saturdayâ€™s loss at Florida State. As talented as N.C. State is, which makes it so dangerous, the Wolfpack just may never get pas Leslieâ€™s roller-coaster efforts.
12. Virginia Tech (13-18, 4-14)
The Hokies played some of their best ball during the ACC schedule late, but they still finished in last place after dropping 16 of 20 games dating back to Christmas. At least we get to see Erick Green play one more time.
Jay Coleman, Mike DuMond, & Allen Lynch
NCAA Tournament “Dance Card”
Below are rankings of all NCAA Division I men’s basketball teams through the games of Sunday, March 10, 2013, according to the “Dance Card” formula developed by Jay Coleman of the University of North Florida, Mike DuMond of Charles River Associates, and Allen Lynch of Mercer University.
Rank… Team…….. Chance of Bid
2…… Duke…….. 100.00%
8â€¦â€¦ Miamiâ€¦.. 100.00%
10….. Michigan……. 100.00%
20â€¦.. Oklahoma Stâ€¦â€¦ 100.00%
28….. UNC……… 99.99%
31….. NC State…. 99.92%
50….. Kentucky……… 66.80%
THE BUBBLE BURST HERE
51….. Virginia… 57.62%
57….. Stanford…. 20.82%
64….. UMassâ€¦.. 0.59%
67….. Arizona State…. 0.11%
70….. Florida State…. 0.06%
N.C. State Wolfpack NCAA Tournament Bracketology Projection
Make Tournament: 99.1%
Prediction Seed: 8 (18.0%)
NCAA Tournament Odds To Advance By Round
Round of 32: 51.1%
Sweet 16: 19.6%
Elite 8: 8%
Final Four: 2.9%
Bracket Projections – Men’s Basketball (2012-2013)
Last update: 2013-03-11 11:44
Duke (1), Miami (1), UNC (5), NCSU (8)
The 2013 Bracket Matrix
Matrix Last Updated: 3/11/13 8:34 PM
Seed… Avg Seed… # of Brackets… Team
1……… 1.00………… 92……………… Duke
2……… 2.42………… 92……………… Michigan
3……… 2.54………… 92……………… Miami
4……… 4.38………… 92……………… Oklahoma State
7……… 7.18………… 92……………… North Carolina
8……… 8.00………… 92……………… NC State
OUT…….. 11.78……….. 27……………… Virginia
Anne Blythe and Dan Kane (N&O)
Unsealed warrants on UNC athletes show world of sports agents wooing college students with cash
Watsonâ€™s name came up many times as NCAA investigators conducted their probe into the UNC football program, according to documents obtained by The News & Observer, The Charlotte Observer and other media organizations that filed a public records lawsuit against the university.
In NCAA interviews in 2010, Austin and teammates Greg Little, Kendrick Burney and Charles Brown all told investigators they met Watson.
â€œI met him, uh, he contacted me via phone and we went out to eat and we talked or whatever,â€ Austin told NCAA investigators. â€œI paid for my meal. And, uh, that was really, really it.â€
Those transcripts from the NCAA investigation show that Austin said he talked with Watson â€œa coupleâ€ of times after that, but only about Brandon Spikes, a player the sports agent had signed.
But Austin offered a slightly different picture to special agents with the Secretary of State who interviewed him on several occasions in 2010 and 2011.
A.H. Jones, a special agent with the Secretary of State, said in an Oct. 23 search warrant application that Austin told him: â€œTerry Watson was a guy who gave me money.â€
Austin said that Willie Barley, a go-between in Miami, facilitated the sending of a FedEx package with $2,000 inside and a bogus name on the outside to the Chapel Hill home where Austin lived during his college years.
When asked whether a money order or check arrived, Jones contends that Austin said: â€œNo, it was green backs,â€ â€œcash.â€
The investigator with the Secretary of Stateâ€™s office also stated that Patrick Jones said â€œpackages containing cash had been sent to many other student athletes at schools other than UNC-CH. He could not recall how many packages he had sent to North Carolina student athletes, but he did know that others had received cash.â€
The documents contend that agents uncovered texts between Watson and other college athletes, including some to Chris Culliver, a Garner High School standout who played college football at the University of South Carolina and now plays as a cornerback for the San Francisco 49ers.
â€œSome of the text messages identified between Watson and various student-athletes contained references to what we believe are illegal wire transfers into bank accounts and packages to sent to deliver payments,â€ Jones stated in a Jan. 10 search warrant document.
Records collected by special agents in the Secretary of State probe show that a FedEx package was sent to an address where Jennifer Wiley, the UNC tutor identified as providing extra help to student-athletes, once lived. But it was unclear whether she lived at the address at the time or knew anything about the package. Wiley, according to records, paid for former UNC football player Littleâ€™s parking tickets and an airline flight.
On Memorial Day weekend in 2010, the Secretary of State search warrants state, Watson and Barley, the go-between, paid for hotel accommodations at the Doubletree Surfcomber in Miami Beach, Fla., for UNC players Robert Quinn and Jordan Nix.
The documents also state that Quinn, Nix, Michael McAdoo and Deunta Williams â€“ other UNC players singled out in the NCAA investigation â€“ got packages from Watson, too. But the documents did not say specifically whether they contained cash.
Austin told the special agent with the Secretary of State that Quinn and Nix told him that Watson was â€œa douche bagâ€ and complained to their teammates that the sports agent â€œhad failed to come through with promises made.â€
â€œAt some point, the institution has to move on,â€ Baddour said Monday during a panel discussion in Raleigh about access to public records that was sponsored by the North Carolina Open Government Coalition and N.C. State Student Media. When asked after the forum about the unsealed warrants, Baddour referred questions to UNC. A spokesman for Thorp referred questions to Cunningham.