Monthly Archives: October 2011

Exhibitions against Little People

As college basketball teams get ready to start the season they take the court in exhibition games against feebler opponents. These opponents are generally small schools who will get paid well for the game. Players on the teams are talented but not nearly as good as the big schools. They specifically lack height. On the basketball court you often see exhibition teams sending out teams of little people when compared to bigger schools. You feel bad for the exhibition teams who trot out their 6’8″ centers against the seven footers of bigger schools. I’d compare it to watching your buddy approach a super hot girl at a bar to try and get her number. You know it’s a mistake, you’ll know he’ll be met with catastrophic failure, but you root for him because he’s the eternal underdog. As he walks across the bar you see he’s nervous, he even knows he’s going to fail, but he’s accompanied by a desperate sort of confidence. He has nothing to lose. If he tries and fails then life continues as normal, but if he tries and succeeds then he has achieved greatness.

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Thoughts from the UNC-Pembroke Exhibition

In what is essentially a glorified practice, it’s hard to draw too many concrete conclusions about what lies ahead for the season. So I’ll try to ignore the big-picture things (e.g., Carolina’s sluggish start, 14-0 run fueled by freshmen + Bullock, etc.) and just post a few observations:

Roy Williams: In observing Roy’s substitution pattern, I was surprised by how closely it resembled his pattern for a typical regular-season game. I thought there might be more experimental line-ups and even more scorer’s-table chaos than usual. Really, though, it was a tight 9-man rotation for most of the game’s first 30 minutes. Bullock replaced Strickland at the 2 around the under-16 timeout, then Strickland replaced Marshall at the 1 near the under-12 timeout. I’d expect that rotation pattern to be rather consistent. The starting 5 played 12.9 minutes as a unit (in which they led 34-23)– a total that’s in line with how they’re used in the regular season. As McAdoo gains seasoning, he’ll be the first frontcourt reserve (it was Watts-for-Henson vs. Pembroke). And the starters will play more total minutes in close games, of course. But already, Roy seems to have a very good handle on how he wants to utilize his personnel this season.

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Optipessimism Week 9: UNC – Wake Forest

There are many things I don’t understand in this world. How they get peanut butter into Reese’s peanut butter cups. Why Diet Coke, a drink consisting mostly of toxic chemicals and poisonous gas, tastes so amazingly good. How announcers Dan Hawkins and Pam Ward are even hirable, much less employed. But maybe the most vexing part of football I can’t figure out is why the replay system has to take so long.

It doesn’t help that there are two entirely different sets of rules for replay between the pros and college. It doesn’t much matter what system is used, though; the process takes entirely too long. This really wouldn’t bother anyone if the decisions being made were earthshaking, championship-implication close calls at the end of games that could easily be wrong if they weren’t scrutinized 20 times from every angle. It shouldn’t bother anyone when an obviously wrong call gets challenged. But I take issue with a system that results in a referee taking seven minutes to determine something that a casual fan eating Cheez-Its in front of his TV can figure out in five seconds without even squinting. I think I counted 5 or 6 reviews in the Carolina-Wake rout. Not one of them was remotely contentious. Not one took less than 90 seconds. Not one took me, or my intermittently-napping father, more than 9.

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The Triangle Prophets, Week 9

Every Friday, a group of fearless webmasters and sports fanatics from around the Triangle will gather to predict five college football games against the spread. Every Duke, Carolina, and N.C. State game will be featured, along with a smattering of high profile non-Triangle games. As the season goes along, we’ll keep the standings updated and see who emerges as the one true prophet. Make your predictions in the comment section. Each week, we’ll feature any and all commenters who pick all 5 games correctly.

Current Standings

1. John Watson, The Devil’s Den – 22.5 points
Nate Friedman, UNC football correspondent22.5 points

3. Me – 21.5 points

4. Tar Heel Fan Blog – 20.5 points

5. The Devil Wolf, TRB – 18.5 points
5. William Earnhardt, Site Designer – 18.5 points

7. Jim Young, Editor, – 17.5 points
James Henderson, Publisher, Pack Pride – 17.5 points

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Duke takes its first Erwin Cup lead! (Sorta)

With last night’s 1-0 win over N.C. State, the Duke women’s soccer team won the regular season ACC championship (only the second in program history, and the first since 1994) and earned four points for the Devils in the Erwin Cup.

Technically, that gives Duke a 6.5-4.5 lead, as you see on the scoreboard to your right.

Unfortunately, what I didn’t realize is that the ACC field hockey season has come to an end, and the UNC women are champions. So…when those points go up, UNC will be back in the lead, 7.5-6.5.

But until William fixes the score…GO DEVILS!

Edit: I’ve fixed the scoreboard. GO HEELS! – William

The game in Raleigh was great last night. State smartly played a very defensive game, double- and triple-teaming Kelly Cobb up front and basically taking her out of the game. Continue reading

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Carolina’s Greatest Players of the ACC Era: 40-31

The first 60 selections on the list can be found here: 100-91 (+ methodology), 90-81, 80-71, 70-61, 60-51, and 50-41.

Picking back up with #40.

40. Derrick Phelps: 1991-94, PG, 6’3″, 180, Pleasantville, NY

  • Peak season (1993): 8.1 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 5.4 apg, 2.3 spg, 45.7 FG%, 67.5 FT%, 31.3 3Pt%, 51.9 TS%, 3.32 WORP / 35 games
  • Career averages (4 years): 7.3 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 4.8 apg, 1.9 spg, 44.8 FG%, 71.8 FT%, 32.2 3Pt%, 53.2 TS%, 9.19 Career WORP, 2.84 WORP/ 1,000 minutes
  • Accolades: one 2nd-team All-ACC, one All-ACC Tournament team, starter on one Final Four/national championship team, reserve on one Final Four team

Phelps was one of the truly elite defenders in Carolina history, winning three straight Carmichael-Cobb awards from ’92-’94 (no easy task with George Lynch, also a top-notch defender, on the roster for two of those years). Like Cota (passing), Phelps (defense) had one truly extraordinary talent. He gets the (slight) nod due to the rest of his game being slightly better than the rest of Cota’s game. After backing up King Rice as a freshman in ’91 (and playing about 10 MPG during UNC’s Final Four run), Phelps moved into the starting line-up permanently in ’92. In February of that season, he set a UNC record with 9 steals against Georgia Tech. He also added 11 assists in that game, demonstrating how profoundly he could affect the outcome on both ends without scoring (he scored just 5 points on 5 FGAs in that game). Phelps steered the Heels to a title in ’93 in his typical fashion– no gaudy stats, just game-changing contributions on both ends (like locking down Cincinnati’s Nick Van Exel in the 2nd half of the Elite 8 contest). As a senior, Phelps made 2nd-team All-ACC, then All-ACC Tournament team by averaging 10.3 points, 4.7 rebounds, 6.3 assists, and 3.0 steals in three UNC wins. His career ended in a disappointing manner as he suffered a concussion after a flagrant foul by BC’s Danya Abrams. Phelps played just 14 minutes in that Round of 32 loss before being injured.
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Quick Post – Duke Women’s Soccer and the ACC Title

Just a quick one to note that the Duke women (7-1-1) are going for their first ACC title since 1994 and only their second overall tonight in Raleigh against N.C. State (1-6-2 in conference). These are nearly uncharted waters for Duke, who were led by Laura Weinberg’s two goals to a crucial 2-0 win over Wake Forest last week. For her play, Weinberg was named the ACC Player of the Week. They followed that with a 3-1 win on Senior Day against Maryland. Freshman standout Kelly Cobb was healthy again, and you can see highlights here:

With a win or a draw tonight, Duke will secure the title and the #1 seed going into the ACC Tournament, which they’ve never won. As I’ve mentioned before, I’m covering the team for a feature story, and I’ll be there in Raleigh this evening.

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Tar Heel Tip-off

Due to distribution problems at Maple Street Press, the fifth edition of Tar Heel Tip-off will not be available in a print version this season. I have chosen to make my Tip-off content available to read/download (for free!) at, though. This includes a 2011-12 season preview article, as well as four-page player profiles for each of the eight returning rotation players.

If you can’t see it above, check it out at

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Coach K or Roy Williams

Coach Williams and Coach K

Two of the best coaches in the NCAA

You’re seventeen years old.  You’re the best basketball player in the nation and you can go to any school you want.  Both Duke and North Carolina have come calling and Coach K and Roy Williams are throwing their best recruiting techniques at you.  You decide to go through a list of pros and cons comparing the two coaches to make your decision.

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Predicting the Plumlees

Reading through various preseason reports and articles I’ve noticed a pattern has begun to emerge regarding the Plumlees and their potential contributions to this years Duke Blue Devils.  Instead of relying solely on words to describe the play of the Plumlees I will show you what they will bring to the table.

Miles will be doing a lot of this:

Miles Plumlee

Miles with the jump hook from 10 feet

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