Tag Archives: Roy Williams

UNC Postseason Hopes: Free Fallin’

December 11th, 2012. UNC’s men’s basketball team is, according to Joe Lunardi of ESPN.com, going to be a 5th seed in the NCAA tournament.

Nearly a month, and a couple losses to the likes of Texas and the UVA “Good God could they please play any faster?” Cavaliers later, the Heels had fallen all the way down to a 10th seed. And this past Tuesday, they fell again to an 11th seed.

All things considered, it was one of the better bits of news regarding UNC basketball in the past few months.

For most of this season now, the specter of yet another NIT appearance has loomed over UNC. So to hear we aren’t a NIT team (yet) is reassuring.

Still, the mere fact that UNC is in danger of missing the NCAA tournament for the second time in four years indicates something is wrong with the program.[1] One bad season in college basketball is, well, just one bad season. But two in four years? That’s a trend, and an alarming one at that.

Of course, UNC could catch fire midway through the ACC season, end up winning the ACC tournament and make it all the way to the Final Four or close,[2] making this entire column seem ridiculous.

At this point, however, I think it’s clear that there’s something broken in this program, and Roy is going to have to make some changes, to his in-game strategy, his recruiting process, or both.[3]

Otherwise, UNC fans are going to be left with nothing to do but ironically chant “NIT! NIT!”[4] for the second time in four years.

[1] The fact that those two times will just so happen to have occurred during my four years as a student here is really just the cherry on top.

[2] Similar to what happened in the 2010-2011 season, although I don’t see any Kendall Marshall caliber players on UNC’s team this year just waiting to take over.

[3] The problem here is that changing strategies has never been a strong suit of Roy’s as a coach.

[4] Not that UNC fans don’t love doing things ironically.

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Interview with Steve Kirschner, Head of UNC Basketball PR

On Saturday at last year’s ACC tournament, my ride got a last-minute dinner invite, and I found myself up the creek. There was no bus from Greensboro back to Chapel Hill, and everyone I knew had already left. After the press conferences, out of sheer desperation, I approached Steve Kirschner. He’s the associate athletic director of communications at UNC, and he’s the chief PR rep for the men’s basketball team. He didn’t know me from Adam, but when I asked him if he knew where I could get a ride back to Chapel Hill, he offered without hesitation. We had a nice ride, and a nice chat, and he even refused to let me pay for a Cook-Out milkshake he bought on the way.

I emailed to thank him the next day, and he told me that he hadn’t known I was a Duke blogger, and that if I ever wanted to come in for an on-the-record interview, I could. I took him up on it last August, and now that basketball season is in full swing, I felt this would be a good time to run it. It was a fascinating hour-long chat, and we covered everything from the relationship between media and athletes to the the similarities between Psycho T and Harrison Barnes to the odyssey of keeping the major players around this year to Roy Williams’ method of dealing with the media to the changing nature of fan behavior. It’s long, but interesting enough, at least to me, to run in its entirety. I’ve split it into four loose segments if you want to skip around- the media, the players, the fans, and Psycho T. Enjoy. Continue reading

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Why #903 is Truly Historic

Let me start by offering congratulations to Mike Krzyzewski for win #903. Duke has been one of the top basketball programs in the country for three decades and Blue Devil fans everywhere have one man to thank for that. I may not agree with the people who think he’s a great man of integrity and class, but he can flat out coach college basketball. There is no denying that. While he’s had a plethora of talent in his 36 years at the helm, his teams win consistently because they are disciplined and play intelligent basketball. He’s figured out a formula for success in college basketball and executed and evolved it almost flawlessly for his entire career.

Are some records truly untouchable? These records certainly seem that way:

  • Joe DiMaggio’s 56 game hitting streak
  • Cal Ripken’s 2,632 consecutive game streak
  • Wayne Gretzky’s 2,857 career points
  • Pete Maravich’s 44.2pts/game college scoring average
  • Wilt Chamberlin’s 50.4pts/game in the 1951/52 NBA season

What are some others that you think will never be broken?

As a Carolina fan, I was of course saddened when Bobby Knight passed Coach Smith for first place all time in division 1 wins. What dissapointed me the most, however, was knowing that Coach K was also inevitably going to jump ahead of Coach Smith, and would eventually surge to number one on the list. That’s just the nature of sports, I suppose. Yet, seeing Krzyzewski get win #903 got me wondering. Is it possible that no one will be able to top him? After putting together such a long career of sustained success, will anyone be able to match that in today’s game? Is this one of those records that will go down as “unbreakable”?

I decided to do a comparison of the big name coaches around the country to see how likely it is that anyone will be able to pass Coach K in the coming years.  Continue reading

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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.

Continue reading

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Defensive Development in the Carolina System

New readers –

This is launch week on Tobacco Road Blues, the new site dedicated to Duke and UNC sports. This afternoon's post comes from Adrian Atkinson, a contributing writer. He'll be covering UNC sports, and basketball in particular. If you're interested in writing for TRB, follow the contact link to the right. Enjoy.



Quantitative Look at Defensive Development in the Carolina System

Conventional wisdom declares that experience matters in college basketball, especially on the defensive end of the court. While effective defense is a function of myriad physical traits—lateral quickness, length/wingspan, and strength, to name three—it is also heavily dependent on a player’s mental attributes. The ability to communicate with teammates, to make crisp and timely help rotations, and to execute the nuances of a complicated defensive scheme are all things that can be mastered irrespective of a player’s level of athleticism. But they can rarely be mastered without a healthy dose of experience. Shared court time with teammates—both on the practice floor and in game situations—is essential for developing the type of defensive IQ and chemistry that all championship-caliber teams have.

Moreover, there is an interaction effect between a player’s experience and his physical traits. By reacting instinctively rather than thinking, a defender can gain a half-step of quickness that might be the difference between a successful help rotation and an unsuccessful one. On the other hand, a player who is not yet acclimated with a defensive scheme can often look paralyzed with indecision on the court. This lack of experience and defensive understanding can erroneously manifest itself as a lack of quickness or effort.

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A Heartfelt Tribute to Psycho T

New readers –

This is launch week on Tobacco Road Blues, the new site dedicated to Duke and UNC sports. All week, we're going to be running two of the 'greatest hits' from Seth Curry Saves Duke!, our previous blog, every day. The new content begins on Monday the 15th.

Today's morning post was written on April 6th, 2009, the night of the UNC-Michigan State national title game. It was the sixth post ever written on the blog, and the first one to attract any attention. Oddly enough for a Duke basketball blog, it got the most positive feedback from UNC fans and some negative comments from Duke fans. I include it to prove right off the bat that I'm capable of shedding my bias for minutes at a time. Enjoy.


A Heartfelt Tribute to Psycho T

Friends of the blog, I don't have to tell you that I'm a Duke basketball fan. I'm tied to the school and the program for life. The relationship can be contentious at times, hopeless at others, and downright bitter at its worst. Sometimes I have fantasies about packing my things, changing my name, and taking the first plane west to become a fan of a school like San Diego State. But at the end of the day, my loyalties will always lie with the Devils. It's sort of like an arranged marriage you can never leave.

That being said, there are limits. Continue reading

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