NC STATE BASKETBALL
Brett Friedlander (starnewsonline.com)
State freshman star Purvis finally has something to smile about
The first thing you notice about Rodney Purvis is his smile. It’s infectious and genuine. And these days, as he approaches the start of his first preseason practice as a member of the N.C. State basketball team, he has reason to show it frequently.
But it wasn’t always that way.
For 44 long days this summer, a number he recalls off the top of his head without hesitation, the star freshman was ruled ineligible while the NCAA performed what it called an “extended review” of his high school credentials.
It was an ordeal that forced Purvis to miss the Wolfpack’s summer exhibition tour of Spain and the Canary Islands, and led to the creation of the social media hashtag #freerodneypurvis – a movement of which even coach Mark Gottfried became involved.
But while the 6-foot-3 McDonald’s All-America did his best to stay positive throughout the process both publicly and privately, he admits there we times when it wasn’t as easy to muster his trademark smile as it is now.
“It was really a hard time for me and my mom,” Purvis said Monday at State’s annual media day event. “We cried a lot together and tried to keep each other up.”
Caulton Tudor (N&O)
College basketball season likely to open with no solid national favorite
When the first Associated Press basketball poll of the season is released later this month, there may not be overwhelming support for any team to start off as No. 1.
If that is the case, it’ll be a rarity for the nation’s most prestigious preseason ranking. The media voters on the AP’s annual panel don’t always correctly identify the eventual national champion, but they normally are convinced a prohibitive favorite exists.
Last season that team was North Carolina, which got 62 of 65 preseason votes for No. 1.
Kentucky, which was ranked No. 2 in preseason but without a vote for the top spot, went on to win the title.
In six of the past eight seasons, the Tar Heels, Duke, Kansas or Florida have opened the season with what was perceived as a significant edge over the field.
The 2012-13 preseason poll is expected to be more like the beginning of the 2004-05 and 2007-08 seasons, when three or more teams almost split the No. 1 votes evenly.
Indiana, with several returnees from a 27-9 team that ended last season at No. 16 nationally, probably will start as No. 1 in the AP and most other polls, for that matter.
NC STATE FOOTBALL
Andrea Adelson and Heather Dinich (ESPN.com)
Take 2: Will NC State win the Atlantic?
Andrea says: Not so fast my friends!
Tom O’Brien pulled a page out of his Upset 101 Handbook against the Seminoles last Saturday night. He refers to that book about once a year, right folks? But here is the thing about NC State: The Wolfpack have been unable to beat both Florida State AND Clemson in the same season since 2002.
That stat is one O’Brien pointed to several times during ACC media day earlier this summer. If his team can figure out a way to pull the upset against Clemson next month, then it will be in great shape. But I am not buying just yet. First of all, FSU coach Jimbo Fisher called way too conservative a game. I am not taking anything away from the plays Mike Glennon made to win the game for the Wolfpack. I give him and his teammates major credit for the comeback win.
But as EJ Manuel told reporters Monday, he thought the Seminoles would throw it more on what had proven to be a very inconsistent secondary. You can all but guarantee that Clemson is not going to go all conservative against the Wolfpack. If Miami receiver Phillip Dorsett had nearly 200 yards receiving on that secondary, well you can pretty much bet DeAndre Hopkins and Sammy Watkins will have their way. Yes, Clemson is not great on defense. But the Tigers are better than Miami. NC State may not be able to win a shootout.
Secondly, NC State still has injury concerns on the offensive line. Its receivers have been inconsistent. All-American cornerback David Amerson is not having a great year. This team has got big improvements to make.
Are they capable? Yes. Heather is right when she says this team has talent and potential.
But we have only seen one good game against a bona fide FBS opponent this season. I am going to need more than that to truly believe the Wolfpack are championship material.
Sharon Katz, ESPN Stats & Info (ESPN.com)
NC State blitz drives upset of Seminoles
Manuel struggles against pressure
With its pass defense eroding, Florida State’s offense struggled on the other side of the ball as EJ Manuel couldn’t handle NC State’s pressure in the second half.
NC State sent five or more pass rushers at a similar rate in the second half as it did in the first half, but Manuel failed to complete a pass against the added pressure after halftime.
All four of Manuel’s sacks occurred when the Wolfpack sent a blitz, most notably his fourth-quarter sack on third-and-two with around 10 minutes to go.
Coming into the game, Manuel had been able to handle pressure. He completed 73 percent of his passes with two touchdowns and no interceptions against five or more pass rushers in the Seminoles’ first five games.
Ben Swain (accsports.com)
ACCross The Web, October 10
N.C. State picked up its signature win of the season, upsetting Florida State with a touchdown drive in the final minute of the game and saving Coach Tom O’Brien from the hot se … oh, see? There’s the trap I was talking about. For a fan base which never forgets anything that could possibly be perceived as a slight against the Wolfpack, State fans surely forgot about the “Fire TOB” movement pretty quickly. What’s worse, they don’t have a game this weekend to knock them back into reality – and I’m not saying they’d lose if they did have a game, but two weeks worth of evaluation based on one result pretty much ruins any chance at a reasonable reaction to the end of the season. May God help Tom O’Brien should he lose to UNC this year with the team that was good enough to beat Florida State. Alright, that’s it. I can’t talk about N.C. State anymore. DUKE/UNC IN PRIMETIME NEXT WEEKEND!
In all seriousness, next Saturday could be a truly unique event that isn’t so much about putting Tobacco Road on the football map, it’s about finally bringing football to Tobacco Road. N.C. State has built a pretty solid football culture, but to the casual Duke and UNC fans who were chased away by scandal and just plain old fashioned embarrassing futility, this is all fairly foreign. Next Saturday night in Wallace Wade will likely bring representation from all three fan bases together (N.C. State fans would never pass up an opportunity to cheer against UNC), and could really build a foundation for a level of excitement for football that could eventually reach the intensity only felt during basketball season.
Losing The Press Conference
Jimbo. Dude. Maybe the Twitter ban wasn’t such a hot idea, because Jimbo FIsher put on a perfect display of what it looks like when a coach is completely disconnected from his fan base. All he had to do was walk into the press conference, look dejected, take responsibility, make vague promises to institute immediate knee-jerk changes in the play-calling, and then move on to the Boston College game. But, man. “How many undefeated seasons have there been around here?” Sure, it’s everyone else’s fault for setting unreasonable expectations. Just wait until the fans find out that they’re not going to the Big 12 now.
Heather Dinich (ESPN.com)
2012 ACC bowl watch: Coastal Division
Wins needed to go bowling: 1
Games remaining: at Virginia Tech, North Carolina, at Florida State, Clemson, at Georgia Tech, Miami
Projected path: The Blue Devils could earn their sixth win against the Hokies in Blacksburg this weekend, but if they don’t, they’ll manage it in a home upset of North Carolina or on the road at Georgia Tech on Nov. 17. Duke just isn’t good enough yet to beat Florida State or Clemson, but the rest of the Coastal Division is weak enough that no team should overlook the Blue Devils.
Team: North Carolina
Wins needed to go bowling: Ineligible
Games remaining: at Miami, at Duke, NC State, Georgia Tech, at Virginia, Maryland
Projected path: The Tar Heels can’t play in the postseason, but they can and will play the role of spoiler and finish atop the division standings. UNC is the most complete team in the division, and the toughest game remaining on its schedule is against rival NC State. UNC should finish the regular season with at least eight wins.
Andrea Adelson (ESPN.com)
2012 ACC bowl watch: Atlantic Division
Wins needed to go bowling: three.
Games remaining: at Virginia; NC State; at Boston College; Georgia Tech; at Clemson; Florida State; at North Carolina.
Projected path: Maryland has one of the better defenses in the ACC, so that group should keep the Terps in most every game the rest of the way. The big question is whether their offense can keep up with some of the heavy hitters remaining on the schedule. Maryland will end up being very close to bowl eligibility. Virginia and Boston College are winnable games; out of the remaining four, can Maryland eek out a win? Perhaps against a reeling Georgia Tech team. That one could end up being a huge key down the stretch.
Team: NC State
Wins needed to go bowling: two.
Games remaining: at Maryland; at North Carolina; Virginia; Wake Forest; at Clemson; Boston College.
Projected path: The Wolfpack should not have a problem becoming bowl eligible. But can they win the Atlantic and play in the ACC championship game? Major tests await this team, with games remaining against the rival Tar Heels and Clemson. Maryland won’t be an easy out, either. The last time NC State played the Terps in College Park in 2010, Maryland pulled the upset and denied NC State a spot in the ACC title game.
Luke Decock (N&O)
Time for trustees to take closer look at college athletics
Among those on the AGB’s athletics advisory committee, which oversaw the report, is University of North Carolina system president Tom Ross. Perhaps on no campus has this debate played out more poignantly than at UNC-Chapel Hill, where the pursuit of athletic excellence has spawned a series of academic scandals that continue to unfold.
Ross, who took over for Erskine Bowles in the middle of the NCAA’s investigation into the UNC football program, pointed to the system’s 2011 task force on athletics and academics – which addressed all 17 campuses, not just UNC-CH, in response – as the kind of undertaking the study encourages.
“So I think we were actually a little ahead of the curve here, and we have, in fact, made some changes that are reflected in that (task force) report and my memo to the chancellors, which lays out what they need to do in terms of their own structure on campuses and how the reporting changes going forward,” Ross told The N&O’s Jane Stancill on Tuesday.
“I think what it does ask is that boards on campuses understand athletic policies, that they understand their fiduciary responsibility includes those athletic policies, that they are ultimately responsible for upholding the integrity of those programs and for their alignment with academics on the campus,” Ross said.
“Our concern is that if boards do not act to ensure an appropriate balance between athletics and academics in our higher education institutions, policymakers or others will do it for us,” one of the reports said.
UNC-Chapel Hill is just the latest high-profile academic institution to become embroiled in scandal. Others include Ohio State University, the University of Southern California and Penn State, all perennial sports powerhouses and feeder grounds for professional teams.
At UNC-CH, an NCAA investigation found that sports agents offered perks to football players and a tutor fixed their class work to help them remain eligible to play. Chancellor Holden Thorp fired football coach Butch Davis.
More scandals involving academic fraud and travel followed, however. Thorp, a highly regarded leader, announced last month that he would resign at the end of the school year and return to his former job as a chemistry professor.
One of the reports, prepared by researchers from UNC-CH, asked the leaders and coaches of all 342 NCAA Division I athletic departments to prioritize values, such as academic excellence, health, safety, honesty and sportsmanship.
“More than 500 coaches passionately defended the values and said that everyone walks the walk and strives to provide a phenomenal experience for the athletes,” said Erianne Weight, one of the authors and an assistant professor of sports administration.
Chris Duncan (AP)
NCAA imposes postseason bans for Texas Southern
The NCAA banned the Texas Southern football and men’s basketball teams from the postseason Tuesday, saying it came close to levying the so-called “death penalty” against the school for repeated rules violations and for lying about imposing sanctions on its own.
The Division I Infractions Committee said it found a lack of institutional control and outlined problems spanning 13 sports over a seven-year period, including booster-related recruiting violations, academic improprieties, the use of ineligible athletes and exceeding scholarship limits. The basketball team, currently coached by former Indiana coach Mike Davis, was banned from the 2012-13 postseason and the football team in both 2013 and 2014.
Other penalties include five years of probation, scholarship limitations in football and basketball, and the vacating of all team records from 2006-10 in all sports, as well as the 2010-11 records for football and women’s soccer. In 2010, Texas Southern won its first Southwestern Athletic Conference football championship since 1968.
The committee also deemed Texas Southern a “double repeat violator,” because the athletics program has either been on probation or had violations occurring on campus, or both, for 16 of the past 20 years. The school had said in the past that it was self-imposing sanctions, but the committee found that it had not – a factor in the severity of the new sanctions.
The most prominent violations involved former football coach Johnnie Cole and former basketball coach Tony Harvey. Cole was fired in April 2011, and Harvey resigned after the 2011-12 season. The committee noted “particularly serious violations” occurred when Cole “knowingly allowed a booster to recruit for the football program” and Harvey “provided false or misleading information during the investigation.”
Specifically, the report said that Cole and former assistants “were all aware that a booster was contacting potential transfers and their parents.” The booster also bought an airline ticket for a recruit’s girlfriend. The committee said Cole and his staff encouraged the booster’s efforts and failed to contact the NCAA about possible rules violations related to the booster’s activities.
The men’s basketball team, meanwhile, offered two scholarships that were unavailable after the program was penalized for poor academic performance. During the 2009-10 season, the team also did not adhere to restrictions on practice time, which were imposed after the team fell short on its academic progress report.
The committee also found that the university exceeded financial aid limits between 2008-11.
“Compounding the problems with oversight was that no squad lists were produced by the compliance office during the years the violations occurred,” the report said.
The committee concluded that Texas Southern “lacked institutional control” due to its failure to design safeguards to prevent violations, monitor academic standards and keep track of scholarships. The school “insufficiently investigated academic issues that involved 24 student-athletes and allowed 12 of the 24 student-athletes to receive unearned academic credit.”
Inside Wolfpack Sports
Men’s Head Basketball Coach Mark Gottfried sits down with Tony Haynes to discuss the recent facility upgrades to the Dail Basketball Center on NC State’s campus.
Gottfried talks expectations with Adam and Joe (audio)
Yahoo! Sports Radio
Tom O’Brien – Leader of the Wolf Pack
NC State Head Coach Tom O’Brien talks about leading the NC State Wolf Pack to victory against the Seminoles, and how he’s trying to reunite the alumni together to set examples for his current team ,
The Audible: Weekend sweep for ACC Triangle teams
Mark and Mike explain the importance of all three Triangle-area teams earning conference wins at home this Saturday on the latest edition of The Audible presented by Goodnight’s Comedy Club.