March 6, 2012
NC STATE BASKETBALL
Gottfried: “I’m Proud Of Our Team”
When I guess you had a chance to get the first-round bye, can you talk about the pros and cons of being able to play that first game, that extra game on Thursday, if that has any impact on your big picture goals, impacting that path to get there?
Well, I don’t know. You know, I guess whichever situation you’re in, you’ve got to make the most of it.
If you’re in the four-seed, you’re excited about not having to play on Thursday. If you’re the five, then you’ve got to look at it from a different perspective and say, it gives us an opportunity to play. And if you’re fortunate enough to win, do you have a game under your belt, it’s a chance to advance at that point.
But you know, however that shakes out, how far it sits when you get on the plane to go over there, you’ve got to be ready to tackle it, and that’s what we are doing.
As one of the eight teams facing the — well, you’ve got to win four games in four days to win the tournament. When you were in the SEC, that actually happened once when you were there maybe and that happened in the BIG EAST last year. It’s never happened in this tournament. What are the kinds of things that have to go right for you to be able to pull that off?
Well, obviously when it’s tournament time at the end of the year, different teams begin to play at different levels sometimes, and no one can figure out why. You look at UCONN, you mentioned them, a team that was 9-9 in the BIG EAST and struggling and next thing you know they win five in a row in that league.
So sometimes you don’t all know why a team may play at a high level. I’ve always felt that especially in this tournament, four-day tournament, if you can make it to Sunday, I think by then, everything is equal, because one team is on their fourth day but the other team is on their third day. I don’t think much difference is then.
I’ve always thought it was the Saturday where one team is playing two — they are only for their second day, and then the teams that had to play Thursday are now playing on their third. I’ve always felt like Saturday was more of a make-or-break day than Sunday.
As someone whose resumé has been up for question, have you guys been able to watch or even pay attention to the scores of some of these smaller tournaments?
Oh, yeah, we do. Oh, I’m living and dying with all of them. I’m pulling for the favorites in all of the mid-major leagues.
You know, I hope that in our case, we have an opportunity to go to Atlanta and win a conference tournament, like everybody in America, but I hope that we sit here at 9-7, having chosen to play one of the toughest non-conference schedules in the country. I hope there’s a reward for that. Because that’s what the committee has asked all of us in the country to do.
And there are teams that are 9-7 or 8-8 in their particular conference that have played very poor RPI strength of schedules. So I hope there’s a reward for our team for that.
Joe Lunardi (espn.com)
Jerry Palm (cbssports.com)
An evening of thrilling championship games put four more teams into the bracket. St. Mary’s, Davidson, Loyola (Md.) and last year’s tournament darling, VCU, are all into the field. Gonzaga’s season is over, but they won’t be sweating selection Sunday. Drexel, however, will have to play the waiting game. The CAA regular-season champs don’t have a resume that stacks up at the moment.
Last four in: South Florida, California, Colorado State, Miami (FL)
First four out: Texas, North Carolina State, Oregon, Mississippi
Jerry Palm (cbssports.com)
RPI Rankings (1-68)
Men’s College Basketball RPI Rankings
Shawn Siegel (CollegeHoops.net)
Bracketology: Tennessee In, VCU and 11 Seed, Drexel Out
Riddick and Reynolds
R&R Podcast: Episode 41
Another good one in the books.
Cliff Crawford joins us in the first segment to discuss the past week’s games and sticks around for segment two to accompany The News & Observer’s Joe Giglio–my old sports editor back in the day–to talk ACC Tournament prospects, NCAA bid hopes and the methodology of selecting the ACC’s Coach of the Year.
Brett Friedlander (starnewsonline.com)
BEYOND THE ARC: Wrapping up the regular season
4. Different breed of Wolf: Instead of stumbling to the finish like previous N.C. State teams might have done, this Wolfpack rallied from a four-game losing streak to win twice in the final week of the regular-season and keep its NCAA tournament hopes alive. Its 70-58 win at Virginia Tech on Sunday was their fifth on the road in the ACC this season.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK
“Every coach stands on their soapbox. I hope we’re in the discussion, and if you look at what we did in the non-conference and who we played, our non-conference strength of schedule is as high as it is, we’ve done what the committee asks you to do. No question. We’‘ve got a lot going in our favor. Now we’ve got to go to Atlanta and keep putting ourselves in a better position. That’s the plan for our team.” N.C. State coach Mark Gottfried after Sunday’s win at Virginia Tech.
Luke DeCock (N&O)
ACC coaches find ways to get points across
Andrew Skwara (accsports.com)
ACC Hoops Power Rankings, March 5
4. Virginia (22-7, 9-7)
In his last regular-season game, Mike Scott delivered the best game of his life, racking up a career-high 35 points and 11 rebounds in the Cavaliers’ much-needed overtime win over Maryland on Sunday. Giving up a 11-point lead and falling on a last-second shot to Florida State three days earlier stings, but beating the Terps earned the Cavs a first-round bye in the ACC Tournament and likely wrapped up an NCAA bid too.
Next Game: Friday vs N.C. State/Boston College winner, 2 pm (estimated)
Previous Rank: No. 4
5. N.C. State (20-11, 9-7)
Finishing the regular season with a home win over Miami (whom the Wolfpack swept in the regular season) and a road win over Virginia Tech has Mark Gottfried’s team back on the NCAA tournament bubble and its stock on the rise again. But with a resume that lacks any wins over an NCAA Tournament lock, the Wolfpack has plenty of work left in order to feel good on Selection Sunday.
Next Game: Thursday vs Boston College, 2 pm (estimated)
Previous Rank: No. 7
6. Miami (18-11, 9-7)
It may take two wins in the ACC Tournament for the Hurricanes to lock up an NCAA at-large bid. That will require beating Georgia Tech on its home court (well, sort of) and getting past Florida State. The good news is the Hurricanes beat FSU by 18 in their last meeting, less than two weeks ago.
Next Game: Thursday vs Georgia Tech, 9 pm (estimated)
Previous Rank: No. 5
7. Clemson (16-14, 8-8)
Brad Brownell’s team deserves credit for a late turnaround. After losing three straight and dipping to 3-6 in ACC play, the Tigers rebounded by winning five of their next seven and finishing with a .500 league record.
Next Game: Thursday vs Virginia Tech, 7 pm
Previous Rank: 6
Robbi Pickeral (espn.com)
Conference Power Rankings: ACC
4. Virginia: It took overtime against Maryland, but the Cavs clinched the No. 4 seed — and first-day bye — in this week’s ACC tournament. Mike Scott’s career-high 35 points in his regular-season finale also gave voters one last fantastic performance to think about in the ACC POY race. (Votes were due at 11 p.m. ET Sunday).
5. Miami: Going 1-1 last week — even with center Reggie Johnson’s eligibility restored — didn’t help Miami’s NCAA tournament chances. It’s going to have to better inflate its postseason bubble with a strong ACC tournament.
6. N.C. State: After closing out the season with two straight wins (and nine overall in ACC play), Wolfpack coach Mark Gottfried said, according to The (Raleigh) News & Observer, that he thinks there are six league teams that should be in the NCAA tournament — and his is one of them. State will try to better push its case as the fifth seed in the conference tournament.
7. Clemson: The Tigers allowed 49 points in the first half on Sunday to Florida State, a team known a whole lot more for defense than points. Clemson finished the season by winning three of four games, but Brad Brownell couldn’t have been happy after his team gave up the most points in a half since he’s been coach.
Stephen Schramm (FayObserver.com)
The Rebound: Bring on March edition
The word for the week is: Prognosticate
The next few weeks will be a whirlwind for the teams that are able to hang on. New foes, new cities and the possibility of building lasting legacies are all out there. I’m not big on making predictions, but here are a few things I think we’ll see:
N.C. State is not done with its black uniforms. I feel like the Wolfpack will be in position to try and summon some magic before this thing is done.
Boston College and Georgia Tech have 40 minutes of basketball left this season. Note I didn’t say the same about Wake Forest. True, the Deacs probably won’t make it to Friday, but I’m not 100 percent sure about that one.
Harrison Barnes will do something crazy. He was huge in last year’s ACC tournament and he’d love nothing more than to erase talk of his quiet end to the regular season with some more unforgettable performances.
Duke will regroup in a big way. Sure, Saturday night was not the Blue Devils’ finest hour, but nobody in college basketball is more adept at learning from setbacks than Mike Krzyzewski.
I’m betting by the end of this weekend, people will be talking about how nice a venue Philips Arena was for the ACC tournament. After the Georgia Dome’s acres of empty seats were a conversation topic last time, it’s not a high bar to reach.
Charles Robinson and Pat Forde (Yahoo! Sports)
Sources: Syracuse basketball program repeatedly violated internal drug policy
During a decade in which Syracuse basketball reached the pinnacle of national prominence, the program was awash in positive drug tests and, in many cases, failed to adhere to its internal drug policy while playing ineligible players, Yahoo! Sports has learned.
Over the course of a three-month investigation, four sources with intimate knowledge of the Syracuse men’s basketball program told Yahoo! Sports at least 10 players since 2001 have tested positive for a banned recreational substance or substances. The sources said all 10 of those players were allowed to practice and play at times when they should have been suspended by the athletic department, including instances when some players may not have known of their own ineligibility. The four sources said Syracuse violated its drug policy in at least two areas: failing to properly count positive tests; and playing ineligible players after they should have been subject to suspension.
A fifth source, a former Syracuse basketball player, told Yahoo! Sports he was questioned by the NCAA regarding the school’s drug testing policy. Syracuse officials released a statement Monday evening about two hours after Y! Sports’ report was published, saying the university has self-reported potential violations to the NCAA and the inquiry doesn’t involve current players. However, four sources said the breadth of potential violations could apply to Syracuse seasons as far back as 2001 and include the 2002-03 national championship season.
“We self-reported issues with drug testing to the NCAA, and there is currently an ongoing inquiry,” Syracuse said in the statement. “The inquiry does not involve any current SU student-athletes. To ensure the integrity of the ongoing process, we are unable to comment further at this time.”
The NCAA also released a statement Monday night confirming Syracuse “appropriately” self-reported the violations “several months ago.” The NCAA said its investigation is ongoing.
Hall of Fame coach Jim Boeheim, who has guided the current Syracuse team to a 30-1 record and No. 2 national record, had earlier declined to comment when contacted by Y! Sports.
“I don’t know anything about it,” Boeheim said. “I would not comment on anything like that. Good luck with your story.”
Dana O’Neil (espn.com)
Syracuse report sheds light on bigger issue
“It’s probably only marijuana.”
“It happens everywhere.”
“What’s the big deal?”
Those are the general responses on Twitter, social media and message boards to the Yahoo! Sports report that a number of former Syracuse basketball players were allowed to play despite repeatedly failing drug tests that should have rendered them ineligible by school policy.
Well, it is a big deal for one small reason and another bigger one.
The small one: Syracuse has a policy in place for athletes, a detailed punitive system for people who fail random drug tests. If there’s a policy, a team is expected to follow it. The lacrosse team should follow it. Ditto the field hockey team and the tennis team and, presumably, the men’s basketball team.
We can argue whether a college kid being busted for use of a recreational substance is silly in this day and age, but it is the policy.
It’s written down, in black and white, clear cut and easily interpreted. One would expect it to be enforced, no?
As for the “everyone is doing it,” let’s go back to kindergarten and remind everyone that doesn’t make it right. (And at the risk of being a middle-aged prude, even recreational is still illegal).