Columnist Caulton Tudor and UNC beat writer Andrew Carter held a live chat at noon todays about tonight's Duke-UNC matchup. Read a transcript of that chat here.
The Hoops 4 Hope basketball game to honor the life of legendary N.C. State Women's Basketball Coach Kay Yow and raise money for the Kay Yow Cancer Fund is this Sunday.
And I've got two tickets to give away to the game.
In addition to the tickets, one reader will win a prize pack that includes:
- a $15 gift card to Goodnights Comedy Club
- a Nike Kay Yow tote bag
- a Kay Yow Love t-shirt
- a breast cancer awareness band
- and a Play4Kay cup.
Oh, and did I mention that American Idol singer Scotty McCreery is scheduled to sing at the game?
WINSTON-SALEM — Following his team’s less-than-aesthetically-pleasing 68-53 victory against Wake Forest, North Carolina coach Roy Williams began his postgame press conference with the kind of smooth execution his team lacked here on Tuesday night.
“You guys smell something burning?” Williams asked.
Someone mumbled that maybe it was popcorn. After a pause, Williams said, “I knew it wasn’t the nets.”
Williams insisted he wasn’t trying to be his own “set-up man” but his one-liner fit after a game in which both teams missed, on average, seven of every 10 shots they took.
Along with Mason Plumlee, Michael Snaer, Harrison Barnes and C.J. Leslie, one of the most pivotal players in this ACC season is Karl Hicks. Karl Hicks?
Hicks is the ACC associate commissioner in charge of men’s basketball operations and one of his duties is to construct the annual men’s basketball schedule. Hicks doesn’t much like the term “unbalanced schedule,” explaining that it “balances every three-year cycle,” but no matter how you define it, each season ACC teams do not face equal competition. Don’t blame Hicks. The games each team plays and the sites where those games are played are all predetermined by the aforementioned three-year cycle, and Hicks works for months to figure out the fairest sequence for those games to be played, but the bottom line is that an unbalanced schedule is never fair to everybody.
Updated 7:54 p.m.
DURHAM -- In the dying seconds of Duke’s 76-73 loss to Florida State on Saturday, Austin Rivers drove to the basket on an isolation play and made one the biggest baskets of his fledgling college career to tie the score.
The Duke freshman had the chance to enjoy his heroics for all of 4.9 seconds.
“You hit a shot like that, and then …” Rivers said, reminiscing for a sweet half-second before catching himself.
“Someone got open.”
Michael Snaer was that someone.
BLACKSBURG, Va. -- After North Carolina’s 82-68 victory here against Virginia Tech on Thursday night, Tar Heels junior guard Dexter Strickland walked on his own around the locker room. He did so with a slight limp, and he was hoping the right knee injury he suffered wouldn’t be as serious as he first thought it might be.
Strickland left the game with 16:44 remaining after attempting to drive to the basket. He fell to the court near the baseline, grabbed the back of his right knee and spent about 30 seconds wincing in obvious pain.
Updated 10:42 p.m.
DURHAM – From Ryan Kelly’s free throws against Georgia Tech to the frantic end-of-game sequence against Virginia to Andre Dawkins’ jumpers against Clemson, just about every play meant something in Duke’s previous ACC games.
That wasn’t the case in the Blue Devils’ 91-73 win over Wake Forest on Thursday night at Cameron Indoor Stadium.
Using strong outings by Dawkins and Austin Rivers as springboards, the fourth-ranked Blue Devils (16-2, 4-0) walloped the Demon Deacons, building a commanding 20-point lead early in the second half to cruise to their most lopsided victory in three weeks.
Clemson was in the midst of making Duke’s life uncomfortable, having cut what was a 13-point Blue Devils lead to six points with a little less than 2 minutes remaining when Austin Rivers threw up a difficult 3-pointer with some 15 seconds left on the shot clock.
Rivers’ 3-point attempt missed badly, and the Tigers came down the court and scored on a jumper by K.J. McDaniels to close within four points.
Duke went on to win Sunday’s game 73-66, of course, but Rivers’ attempt provides insight into the freshman’s mindset.
DURHAM – Virginia had two chances to send Thursday’s game against Duke to overtime, missing two open 3-pointers in the final seconds to allow the Blue Devils to hold on for a 61-58 victory at Cameron Indoor Stadium.
With the way the Blue Devils clamped down on the Cavaliers over the previous 19:50 of the second half and asserted itself on the defensive end, maybe it was fate’s way of winking at the oft-maligned Duke defense for a job well done.
The Blue Devils may not have challenged Virginia’s final two opportunities the way they wanted, but they did hold the Cavaliers to 29.4 percent shooting after halftime while forcing Virginia to miss all 11 of its 3-point attempts.