Thursday, February 14, 2013

Good effort, but...

Well, last night's game was fun while it lasted.  The Heels came out with superior effort and took the game to the Devils.  Unfortunately, they didn't shoot very well from anywhere on the floor (including the free throw line).  dook didn't either for awhile, but you aren't going to keep them down for a full 40 minutes.  Eventually, they got their legs under them, and the UNC lead wasn't big enough to withstand their eventual run.

This game felt a lot like the 2011 game in Cameron, except the Heels' lead didn't grow quite as big and the officiating was more one-sided.  But, both games had the feeling that a young UNC team needed to hang onto a lead to keep the dookies from setting into their groove.  Unfortunately, it was the same outcome in both games.

Still, I'm very proud of the guys' effort.  If they bring that effort in the rematch - along with some more intelligent play and more timely shooting - then I like our chances in that one.

GO HEELS!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

I've been away for awhile, and I apologize.  The way I see it, this basketball season hasn't quite been up to par with previous seasons - and not just because the Heels are having an up-and-down year.  There just don't seem to be any great teams in college basketball anymore.

That said, I'm back... and I'm all-in tonight.

dook is certainly the favorite, as they should be.  They're the more experienced team, and they have the homecourt advantage.

I do think the Heels have a chance.  On a neutral court, I actually think this UNC team matches up fairly well with dook.  I would still give dook the advantage, but the Heels definitely match up better with dook than, say, Miami or Indiana.

The difference may be Cameron.  What might be a close game on a neutral floor or at the Dean Dome may well turn into a romp tonight in Cameron.  This UNC team just hasn't shown the ability or propensity to play well in tough road environments.  I hope I am wrong and the Heels come out tonight on fire.

Go Heels!  BEAT DOOK!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The rivalry extends to football... and so does the flopping

Well, I guess UNC and dook have a rivalry in football now, too.

For the first time since 2003, dook finally got a win against the Heels.  They played a more inspired game and definitely deserved to win.  Congrats to the dook players, coaches, and long-suffering fans.
Now that that's out of the way, let's focus on the story that's lingering after the game:

UNC's Shakeel Rashad has been suspended for one game by the ACC for this incident where he bumped dook's Conner Vernon while racing onto the field to get into position before the next play started.  Rashad says it was unintentional, so let's see if that claim makes sense.

Starting at the 0:44 mark of that clip, you can see Rashad running at a close angle to Vernon, but it doesn't appear he's at an angle to totally blindside Vernon, especially because Vernon is shifting to the left and slightly forward.  However, by the 0:46 mark, Vernon stops shifting and suddenly sets himself in position for the play while also stepping back with his plant foot.  The collision happens at the 0:47 mark as Rashad appears to trip on Vernon's plant foot and stumble forward into Vernon.  Even after losing his balance and bumping Vernon, it still doesn't look like much contact, particularly compared to the hits Vernon probably takes at full speed throughout the game.

So, why was Rashad suspended for such minor and seemingly unintentional contact?  It seems to me it was for two reasons:  1) Vernon flopped in a way that only dook basketball players could appreciate, and 2) dook's Coach Cutcliffe whined to the ACC office about the supposed "cheap shot."  Because the incident was so strange and because Vernon appeared to be in immense pain after the contact, the league office bought into the "cheap shot" theory.  That's a shame because by all indications, Rashad is a great kid who wouldn't dare cheap-shot another player.  But, the ACC didn't even asked him what happened on the play.

Lost in the story is the fact that Vernon only sat out one play, and he went on to have a fantastic rest of the game, showing no ill effects from the apparent "cheap shot" that had him writhing on the ground in supposed pain.

Also lost is the fact that there was a true cheap shot in this game, but it wasn't committed by a UNC player.  It was a cut block carried out by dook's Brian Moore on UNC's Tim Jackson two plays after the Rashad incident, coincidentally the next play after Conner Vernon came back into the game from dook's sideline.  As you can see, Moore is engaging Jackson around his shoulder pads well away from the play.  At the 0:08 mark, he suddenly disengages (as Jackson has his back turned to him) and then goes low and cuts Jackson as he starts to turn around.

Unlike Vernon, Jackson actually was injured on this play.  He'll be out at least 2-3 weeks due to this incident.  However, the ACC has yet to hand down any suspension for this, probably because UNC's Coach Fedora has taken the high road when speaking about the incident publicly instead of calling out Moore.

It's a shame that the squeaky wheel always gets the grease, but that's how it usually is with dook.  Isn't that right, Coach K?

Friday, March 16, 2012

Lehigh says: "Us too!"

Well, I didn't see this one coming.

Our favorite team to hate became only the sixth #2 seed to lose to a #15 seed, falling to Lehigh tonight in Greensboro.  They didn't go down without a fight, and by "without a fight," I mean they pulled out every cheap tactic down the stretch to try to stay in the game.  Curry fell down on a three to draw a foul.  Rivers jumped into a defender on a three to draw a foul.  They did everything they could, but it still wasn't enough to beat the Mountain Hawks.  And, how sweet it is.

"LEHIGH" has suddenly become a battle cry for many ACC fans....

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Sweet, sweet redemption

Last night was the best sort of vindication for this year's Heels.  They outplayed dook in the first meeting, but because of some freak plays and bad calls, dook was able to pull out the victory in Chapel Hill.

A dook win last night would have given the Devils a sweep in a year when they were clearly the inferior team, and that could have been devastating to this UNC team.  Knowing the sort of advantage dook gets in Cameron - both from their fans and from the officiating - I was worried that even if they outplayed dook again, the Heels might still end up behind on the scoreboard.

Boy was I wrong.  The Heels came out as the aggressors, and they imposed their will on the dookies from the start.  You could tell from the beginning that this team meant business.  Meanwhile, dook continued with their approach of jacking up the first quick 3 they could, which turned out to be disastrous.

The game was all but over by halftime, when the Heels had built up a 24-point advantage.  I knew a dook run would come in the second half, and it did.  They actually had a few runs, and believe it or not they enjoyed the most success on the offensive end by going inside to the Plumlees.  I really don't think the Plumlees are as bad as they often seem to be, but they just don't get enough looks from their trigger-happy teammates.  If it weren't for the Plumlees last night, dook might have lost by 40.

That said, the Plumlees and the rest of their teammates had nothing on Zeller, Henson, Barnes, Bullock, and Marshall, who I thought were the five best players on the court last night.  Even McAdoo and Hairston had their moments, including a couple of thunderous follow-dunks.  It seems that every Tar Heel knew their role and executed it to perfection.  I just don't think this team was going to be beaten last night.

That said, the refs tried their hardest to keep dook in the game.  We saw the patented three-point flop from Curry during a crucial moment in the second half, and the replay showed that Harrison Barnes was only guilty of putting a hand up to give a token defensive effort.  If there was any contact at all on that play, it was with Curry's follow-through slightly brushing Barnes' hand.  Then again, Curry certainly wasn't reacting to that "contact" as he crumpled to floor like he'd been shot in the knee.  Of course, the officials fell for this ploy as they always do.

Austin Rivers was up to his usual antics.  Someone posted a sobering video compilation of Rivers' travels in the game, and it really hit home how blatantly he uses a stutter-step to freeze the defender before he drives to the basket.  Of course, the stutter-step (which is a travel by itself) is made even worse after adding in the 3-4 steps Rivers takes when catching the ball and squaring to the basket.  Also, Rivers was able to draw his usual number of foul calls by driving directly into a defender and flailing his arms like he'd been stripped of the ball.  This happened a couple of times where I watched the play over and over and couldn't tell what the defender had done wrong to constitute a foul.  It only got called that way because it looked like a foul, which is due to Rivers' acting.  As an aside, if Rivers doesn't go pro after this year, we'll be looking at these antics over and over again in the future, and Rivers will likely get lauded as a superstar by the media.  It will be sickening.

I could go on and on about the refereeing, but there's no need for that since the Heels took care of business.  They made it apparent that no amount of bad calls or flops or lucky shots were going to decide this game.  And, for that, I couldn't be prouder.

ACC regular season champs.  How sweet it is!

Friday, February 24, 2012

the three-point flop

In the days leading up to the next UNC-dook game, I'm going to focus on the different cheap tactics/antics that dook basketball employs to win games.  Today's lesson is on the three-point flop.

If you watched the dook-FSU game last night, you saw this in full force.  ESPN didn't do a great job of showing replays of these "fouls," but I do remember one in particular that occurred right in front of the dook bench.  That play consisted of the FSU player running at the dook player to get a hand up for the shot but stopping right in front of the dookie in question, who I believe was Andre Dawkins.  Dawkins did his usual flop and drew the foul call.

Plays like this are the reason a team that routinely shoots 25+ (and sometimes 30+) three-pointers a game still draws as many fouls as their opposition, if not more.  When officiated correctly, this offense should not be drawing the amount of fouls that it does.  Some have said that the three-point shot is a factor that helps bring about parity in college basketball, but there's a reason that the national champion each year is a team like North Carolina, Kansas, UConn, etc.  For the most part, mid-majors that shoot a lot of threes just can't sustain a high enough shooting percentage over six games to overcome the lack of fouls they draw inside.  When they get hot, they can upset any team, but when they go cold, there's often not much they can do to offset it.  This is also the case over a regular season for most mid-majors and teams that shoot a lot of threes.

Coach K has realized this and has somehow found a way to draw fouls that aren't there, and the three-point flop is one of his main tactics for that.  The genius of this ploy is that it punishes a defender for playing tight defense while rewarding the offensive player with the opportunity to gain three points, which is a huge reward.  Not only that, but the rest of the game the wing defender will become tentative about playing tight defense on the three-point shot.  So, dook wins again.

You can see how this really tips the scales of fairness in dook's favor.  At some point, this is going to have to become a point of emphasis in college basketball.  Until then, dook is going to continue to rack up extra points each game because of this ploy.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Some old history of the rivalry

 Here's some interesting history behind the rivalry that you won't hear about on ESPN anytime soon: