ACC Basketball Update(2/22)

Welcome back to the pack Duke.

Duke and UNC are tied: Anyone see that one coming? Well perhaps the first loss to Wake Forest which in turn really setup the second loss. Such the travails of the ACC schedule where unlike other conferences there are no nights off. Miami ran Duke for 30 minutes then made every effort to blow the game assuring us that there will never, ever be a basketball IQ discussion during a Miami game. The loss dropped Duke back to 10-2 and tied with UNC who beat NCSU like the red headed little brother they are. The Devils now find relief in the schedule with their annual beatdown of St. Johns but larger questions remain such as discussed by Stewart Mandel in this excellent article at  The basic premise is Duke gets overvalued during the first three months of the season due to a weak schedule and then in February they basically begin buckling due in part to the rigors of the ACC schedule.  Mandel also points out that while Duke is stocked with considerable talent it is not necessarily NBA talent which tends to be a tell-tell sign of national title viability.   So Duke is looking at a historical trend which does not bode well for them moving forward here.

NCSU Has No Heart: The other side of the UNC win on Wednesday is the complete surrender of the Wolfpack in the second half in a game which should have inspired their most passionate performance.  The seminal moment in the game came with around six minutes left when Marcus Ginyard dribbled around a Tyler Hansbrough screen near midcourt and found a wide open lane all the way to the basket.  Ginyard went in completely untouched without much movement from the Wolfpack defenders.  I am not sure what Sidney Lowe can do to change this team’s attitude but it sends a cold shiver down my spine to think what Roy would have done to the five players on the floor had they allowed an opposing player to come off a screen and drive 40 feet to the hoop for a dunk.  I am not sure they could check the blue team in fast enough to satiate his rage over a lapse in effort of the magnitude.  The problem for Lowe is I am not sure Roy’s system of justice would matter.  NCSU players strike me as passive in nature which is really not surprising considering Herb Sendek recruited most of them.

Clemson and Maryland Apparently Missed the Point:  Both teams had a chance to either stay on pace or if the other one loss gain control of third place with a buffer between them and the rest of the ACC.  Instead MD and Clemson fall back could end up battling with Wake Forest and Virginia Tech for spots 3-6.

Miami Looking to Validate the 14-1 Start: Miami was left for dead a few weeks back but with the win over Duke they regained confidence and viability for the NCAA Tournament, especially with the RPI at 28.  For the Hurricanes the schedule breaks down this way: Maryland, at Clemson, UVa, BC and at FSU.  3-2 in the stretch is doable and 4-1 even more so if they can win at home versus Maryland.  The former would give Miami an 8-8 mark in the ACC and full bubble residency.  If they get to 9-7 in the ACC and manage a couple of wins in the ACC Tournament, the Hurricanes might dance as well.

When It Rains: They cancel games.  A leaky roof in Atlanta forced the game to be postponed for a latter date.  Both teams are out of the NCAA Tournament picture so in many ways I am trying to figure out in anyone cares what these teams do.


55 Responses to ACC Basketball Update(2/22)

  1. C. Michael says:

    Methinks Roy would be in jail if the aforementioned breakdown ever happened to UNC…

  2. 52BigGameJames says:

    I read the article, but I disagree. I don’t believe in using wholesale trends as evidence for your theorem. Each team and each year are vastly different. Mandel didn’t mention Scheyer in the NBA discussion which casts doubt in my mind. Just as UNC’s glaring deficiencies over the last few weeks didn’t insure their demise, a couple of losses for Duke doesn’t negate their viability in the Dance. It’s a process for each team. We still have to work out a couple of kinks, but I like our trajectory.

  3. C. Michael says:

    BTW, speaking of NCSU… not only does their team not have any heart, apparently, their bloggers don’t have any brains. Check out StateFans Nation… biased much?

  4. C. Michael says:

    Also, if true, this deserves a, “wow!”

  5. Tar Heel Fan says:

    That does deserve a “wow” if for no other reason than some of the similarity with the Doherty situation except in reverse. It is interesting to note that these 18-22 year old kids say things like this because they like most young people operate with a limited view of how things work and what impact certain decisions have in the big picture. Undoubtedly they love their coach and in their world they want him to stay. But in the grand scheme there is no way Sampson can be allowed to remain. I would wager that letting him stay and fighting the NCAA will do more damage to the program than these players quitting.

  6. John says:


    I wouldn’t sweat the anti-Carolina stuff going on at SFN. They’re dealing with a bad home loss in particular and basketball irrelevance in general. No doubt they’ll appear more lucid during spring football practice. 😉

    I’ve always been a Doherty defender (for how he was treated by Moesser and Baddour as one of the “Carolina Family”), and my sense is that the ‘Pack is about to enter a Doherty/ Bunting phase where they ultimately eat one of their own. Unfortunately for them, I doubt it will be as short as our Doherty phase.

  7. Josh Bowling says:

    Sydney is still running a Syndek program. Lowe’s recruit is doing quite well. 3 more years guys, and State could be in the thick of things.

  8. My only evidence is anecdotal (isn’t that the best kind?), but I am of the opinion that K’s insistence on a short bench during the meat of the season has long-term (if not in-game) effects on the endurance of his players. By the end of February, they’re just exhuasted.

    That, and they suck. 😉

  9. John says:


    We shall see. We shall see.

    Also, is there a “y” thing I’m not getting, or is it just your “favoryte” letter.

  10. Johnny says:

    I definitely agree with Born and Bred Ed. Capel, Reddick and others key Dookies have had common problems late in the season: tired legs and an inability to create their own shot.

  11. Josh Bowling says:

    I’m sorry John. Sidney not Sydney. That is the only mis-spellyng in my post! My only one in this one is mis-spelling.

  12. Josh Bowling says:

    Johnm, I also think you may have mistaken me for a State fan, which I am not. I am a Duke fan.

  13. John says:


    You also spelled Sendek with a “y.” I would’ve let one typo slip. With two, I saw a trend.

    A Duke fan? Yikes!

  14. Josh Bowling says:

    I don’t blame you for pointing out my errors John. When anyone on this site has a propensity to have favorable adjectives towards State or Duke, it’s a must to illustrate their imperfections. Job well done! BTW, I have nothing nice to say about Duke, Heels all the way!

  15. John says:


    I would only point out spelling errors on a friend’s resume, or in the DTH (which can keep me busy). The Internet, and ‘blogs should be held to a lower standard. Like I said, when you put a “y” in both names, I wondered if it was some way to show disrespect that everyone knew about but me. I was about to troll over to SFN and see if they spelled Roy’s last name “Wylliams,” or maybe took it further and spelled Hansbrough’s first name “Tiler.”

    Finally, I’d rather poke holes in a Duke or State fans argument than their spelling and/or use of grammar, and I think THF is that same way.

  16. MinnyTarHeelFan says:

    I think Coach Lowe’s problems are trying to integrate his guys with Coach Sendek’s. Not an easy task. I think if NCSU has some patience, it’s a good choice.

    Interesting take on Duke wearing down, as I’m little concerned this could happen with UNC with the rash of injuries. I think Duke just lacks that stud or two that its title teams had. Lots of very good players, but no great players. That’s the point of the article, and I don’t see any NBA “stars” on their team now. I see possibly a NBA starter or two (Henderson and Singler) but no all-stars. I think anyone that thinks Scheyer can play at the next level is dillusional. Think recently of the really good Carolina guards that didn’t do much in the NBA (Shammond Williams, Donald Williams, etc.). They were much better than Scheyer in my opinion, and I don’t think he has the physical gifts to succeed at the next level. Very good college player, not a NBA player, though.

    BTW, ESPN’s Andy Katz is reporting that the CBS story is bunk, according to the IU athletic director. I would find it hard to believe the team would quit. They have a legit shot at a Final Four.

  17. Tar Heel Fan says:


    That is the general schitck over at SFN which is criticizing UNC seemingly more so than they talk about their on team at times. I do find it curious though that in light of their team’s struggles they choose to write at length on that issue in particular. I choose operate differently which is to focus in UNC 90-95% of the time while mixing in some of the ACC and rivals for the rest. I do know that had UNC played the way NCSU did on Wednesday that most of my content would be raising hell about that not worrying about some sign the baseball team had.

    That being said, they have way more traffic than I do and obviously it works for the readership so it is hard to argue with their results.

  18. william says:

    I am not sure why people keep insinuating that Herb Sendek is the problem at NC State. I seem to recall him taking them to the Sweet Sixteen in 2005 and generally having the Wolfpack in the mix of things during his tenure. He also seems to be doing fairly well with Arizona State.

    If people were willing to give Roy a pass his first year when we was unable to increase the team’s victory total from Doherty’s final year and lost many close games, well, Lowe already had his year one and this is year two and it is time for Lowe to stand up.

    State was picked to finish in the top twenty and third in the ACC. They started off reassonably well, beating Villanova and Davidson and then simply crashed. None of that has anything to do with Sendek.

  19. Tar Heel Fan says:

    There was general unhappiness with Sendek over the fact he did not consider the UNC game more important than other games. Many fans were disgruntled with the offense and the absence of any inclination to adapt to game situations. The blame right now falls on the fact that these are Sendek players and in some respects are incapable of playing at the level Lowe wants them at or according to the style of play he is looking for.

    I think there is some truth to that in respect to NCSU players being generally passive(like Sendek) which probably explains why they went to play for Sendek.

  20. John says:

    Readership numbers aside, I think your ratio is just about right. Ron Burgundy would be proud of you, THF. Hey, maybe you could end each post with, “You stay classy, Tar Heel Nation.” 😉

  21. Tar Heel Fan says:


    Thanks for that. I actually struggled with finding the right footing here. I always wanted to approach it as “biased but intellectually honest” which basically means I wear Carolina blue glasses but will not do things like say “Coach K sucks as a coach” since the facts seem to prove otherwise. If you go back and read the scary early days at I did do more of the “message board” level material and routinely took shots at Duke and NC State. When I made the move to WordPress I figured out I did not have time to write 1000 word missives on Duke bias in the media or making fun of NCSU fans for some of the things they think. So I started operating with more of an professional demeanor focusing on UNC almost exclusively unless something funny or comment worthy comes up. I guess you could say I followed Roy’s advice and “blog my own damn team.”

    I also think the response of you the readers validates the writing style and content. All of you like the good honest debate about these things and rarely do I see anything I think goes out of bounds in terms of taste, intellectually dishonesty or general stupidity. The readers here are classy and make great points but do not shy away from tossing shots at the rivals when necessary. I say that because it makes my job as moderator a lot easier to know that I do not necessarily have to be watching 24 hours a day to make sure one of you does not pop off with something offensive.

    The bottom line, what SFN does is more of a traffic magnet than what I do. And in their defense they also routinely criticize NCSU for their shortcomings and rightfully so. When they focus on the NCSU only issues, the write quality analysis as does RAWFS. On the flip side they tend give credence to the idea that “NCSU fans hate UNC more than they love themselves.” But as I said, they pull traffic doing it so it is hard to argue with it. I am just happy to see this blog growing and that we have a good slate of regular readers and commenters carrying the load here.

    So thanks again for what you all bring to the table.

  22. william says:

    I don’t know what you mean by passive. Was Julius Hodges passive? I think you are confusing State’s effective but boring offense with players’ personality traits. Did Sendek teach passive defense? I don’t think so. He learned his craft from Rick Pitino. Was State passive when they knocked out UConn in 2005? I don’t think so.

    The reason Sendek deemphasized the rivalry was a good one. State’s past success always came when Duke was down, particularly the early 70’s when Duke was the last team to integrate fully and was downright awful. NCSU cannot compete with Duke and Carolina year in and year out. If State’s measure of success is beating Carolina every year then their fans will never be happy because no one has done that since Norm Sloans’s streak of 9 in a row was broken in 1975.

  23. THF,

    I think the “biased but intellectually honest” mold works well here and for most Tar Heel fans, in general.

    If I may be so bold, it follows in the Woody Durham tradition.

  24. Tar Heel Fan says:


    I don’t know. With a few exceptions, like Hodge, NCSU players have always struck me as being a somewhat “even keel” I guess are the right words. And maybe I was not paying nearly as much attention to them as I should have been but I look at it like this. My point is they do not look like players who can be motivated very easily and tend to be not to high or too low in the way they approach the game. Which is similar to the way Sendek approached things.

  25. Josh Bowling says:

    I see Les Robinson & Heb Sindek as necessary evils for the State program. I mean, they did have to clean up their image after the early-mid 80’s brand. I think they did so. Although I don’t know if hiring a coach with the first name of Herb is going to help that (public opinion) out too much, although I thought it was fine. But their program seems clean, and if I were a State fan I would be satisfied with their (Les & Herb)efforts in doing so. Now it is the Lowe era. I have a merciful desire to allow a coach a grace period after inception just to have time to implement their style. To me, he has two years left to do so, just as Roy had.

  26. Wilson says:

    Let them have their traffic, we’ll have good, even-keeled and smart commentary on ACC sports. If I wanted to throw around insults at State and Duke all day, I’d just go to the free board at IC, PackPride or The Devils Den.

    That’s the reason I started reading (and responding to) this blog. Job well done THF! I’ll buy you a beer on Franklin St. one day if I have the chance.

  27. 52BigGameJames says:

    whatever Minny—–right now JS is the most consistent player for K, and many echo that opinion. He’s only a Soph, so there’s two more developmental years. Considered to be one of the best ever out of the state of Ill, and once lit up HS for 52. There’s always a role in the NBA for a quick, long, rangy, good-defender/smart player–Shammond and Donald aren’t comparable, like em as I may, but maybe I’m “dillusional”. Time will tell on both this version of the Devils and the next level prospects for Scheyer, but if Mandel is telling me to hedge my bets on this years Dookies going deep in the tourney, based on previous versions (which is how I read it), then I’ll take that bet. I think there’s a good chance these teams will meet somewhere deep in the brackets this year. I welcome it, as I think we’ve got the edge when we’re at full strength.

  28. kavita says:

    come on john. unnecessary jab at the dth! I watched the national championship in 05 from that office so I can get defensive. Best night “working” ever, btw.

  29. Steve says:

    I think you have struck the right balance wrt blogging your own team and talking about your rivals. From my perspective, SFN has lots more traffic because (in no particular order):

    1) One of the main writers has been actively blogging for a LONG time. I was on his “infopack” email list in the early-mid 90’s. So he’s had a lot longer than, say, 2 years to build up a following.

    2) There are multiple contributors to the blog.

    3) The already strong following blew up into a huge following during the Sendek replacement search. Since it dragged out so long, there was a snowball effect with traffic.

    4) The writers are all well tuned to the various neuroses of the fan base – the sensational stuff gets attention, just as in the mainstream media.

    5) As you alluded to, they do some very good analysis/criticism when they focus on their own team.

    I find them over the top sometimes, but usually worth reading. Of course, I’m a State fan, so I’m biased. That said, I would prefer something more like what you’ve done here or what Alpha Wolf does at RAWFS, i.e., more signal, less noise.

    It seems like there’s been an increase in traffic here this basketball season, which could be due to the fact that, well, it’s basketball season and this is a UNC blog. But I think it has something to do with the way you’re doing things – good job!

  30. MinnyTarHeelFan says:

    BGJ- We’ll just have to agree to disagree on the Scheyer argument. I just don’t see JS projecting into the NBA. Maybe in the right system, but I seem him more in a Kyle Korver/John Paxson role (which I think is being generous), at best. Solid in right system. Right now, he’s option #5 on his current team.

    With that said, I don’t think I ever said Duke can’t make a run in the tourney. Yes, that’s what Mandel says, but I think if the Dookies can just shoot average from three over a couple of weekends, they’ll be a very tough out. And while I detest Coach K to a certain degree, he obviously knows how to coach in the tourney. They played so well at Chapel Hill, and it wasn’t just a lucky night. I thought they executed really well and offensively did a good job guarding our perimeter guys. I think these last two losses might help them figure out their weaknesses and shore them up, just like UNC’s loss to Duke did.

  31. Tar Heel Fan says:

    So basically what Steve said was had I been blogging during the Doh years I would be golden right now.

  32. william says:

    The problem with that argument regarding Sendek, THF, is that the State fans were happy with the job Lowe did last year with Herb’s players.

    Now, if Lowe was able to get good or rather, better than expected results last year, which means mostly in the post-season, why did the players revert back to being Herb’s guys this year. That makes no sense. State was highly touted in the pre-season with some saying that they could compete with Duke for second place. Now that they have fallen flat on their faces, they are Herb’s guys again, all while Herb’s ASU team exceeds expectations.

    I like Lowe. He seems like a good guy and always has but I don’t know if he is a coaching genius, which is a problem when your two big rivals have coaches who are. He got off to a late start because he had to finish off his credits from 25 years ago just to take the post and unlike Matt Doherty, who resurrected the Notre Dame basketball franchise (and probably wishes he had never left) Lowe has never been a successful coach anywhere. I am not sure that this is going to end happily for State. You already see many at SFN who realize that they were wrong about Sendek, who rarely lost both Carolina games by an average of 20 points like this year….

  33. Tar Heel Fan says:


    That is true and perhaps Engin Atsur is the most underestimated player in the history of NC State basketball. The funny thing about NCSU is everyone, myself included, forgot how bad the team was last season with Atsur out and also forgot they went 5-11 in the ACC. One of those wins were against UNC and they shot 76% in the second half to do it. Two more of the wins came versus VT. They did make a nice run and looked like they might be a strong team this season thinking the addition of Hickson would make up for the loss of Atsur somehow. That turned out to not be the case. NCSU also lacks cohesion and chemistry on the court. I don’t know how much of that is coaching, player or just the general cloud that is hanging over NC State in basketball since 1990.

  34. william says:

    With respect to SFN, that guy is a cretin with a type of reasoning that is surely less than that of the average State fan, at least I hope.

    He apparently did not even watch the Carolina-Duke game last year such is the manner in which he represents what actually occurred, in terms of Duke fouling and shooting three’s. A lesser sort would wish for something similar to happen to a State player next week against Duke, but I, of course, will not do so. I would suggest that you pull the link to his page as I feel the tone is inappropriate and low-brow.

  35. Steve says:

    THF, too bad you missed those years – I would have enjoyed the read :*)

    I don’t think there are many who “realize they were wrong about Sendek.” For all his good qualities, I think Sendek had reached his ceiling. I well remember his “best team” getting it’s collective butt handed to it by UNC in the RBC center in Herb’s 2nd to last year. What was his record against Roy Williams? I’m glad for Herb that he’s doing well at ASU. He has a couple pretty good players, and he’s abandoned the offense he used at State. I’ve also read that he’s making a real effort to reach out to students and fans, which is probably due to lessons learned in Raleigh. But trust me, not many State fans are wishing he would return somehow.

    Last year’s late success was due to a healthy Atsur – that team sucked without him playing point, just like this year’s team does. I don’t blame Sendek for this year’s troubles, but a lot of his leftover players are slow-footed plodders, which fit Herb’s system better than Lowe’s.

  36. John says:


    Don’t get me wrong, I loved reading the DTH as a student. Perhaps my comment was a bit gratuitous, but no less true IMHO. If you’d like to produce error percentages to compare the DTH versus the Technician or Chronicle, or MSM for-profit paper, I’d be happy to listen.

    Once upon a time, journalistic laziness on the part of a DTH reporter resulted in my entire department at UNC having to attend a “sexual harassment sensitivity” seminar. Definitely a couple hours of “fun” that could have been avoided had the reporter investigated the allegations made in the article. No doubt I was subconsciously thinking of that as I wrote my previous comment.

    What? Me bitter? 😉

  37. 52BigGameJames says:

    you’re right Minny-we’ll have to atd—JS is “right now” every bit the pro prospect that Ellington is, which is to say noone. While Duke did play well, it was without doubt one of our 3 or 4 worst games of the year, and it wasn’t a blowout (although it appeared to be at times). I wasn’t disappointed in the poor play as much as I was the effort, but hopefully pay-back is coming at Cameron!

  38. 52BigGameJames says:

    Steve: what is Atsur doing now? I always felt like he didn’t get the respect he deserved, and sure enough, he is sorely missed this year.

  39. Steve says:

    James, I think Atsur is in Europe. He signed with an Italian team last year.

  40. Wilson says:

    Wow, I hate to admit it, but I just read that entire article on SFN. I think we can write it in stone THF: “Most State fans hate UNC more than they love their own team.”

  41. MinnyTarHeelFan says:

    Like the comparison to Ellington, According to ratings, they’re both pretty equal in terms of efficiency. Ellington is more productive (plays more minutes, shoots more but at slightly better percentage as JS). Ellington rates at 120.3 (86th) and Scheyer at 124.2 (35th) in offensive rating. Ellington actually leads in terms of all shooting percentages (surprising to me) in terms of FT, 3-pt FG% and 2-pt. FG%, albeit by small margins.

  42. CarolinaGirl says:

    Scheyer needs to hit the weight room if he wants to make the NBA. His arms look like limp noodles. That said, he’s a gamer, he’s improving his driving ability and he can sure as heck shoot some three’s. Still, unless he bulks up, he strikes me as more of a college player.

    THF, I know you are blog buddies with the SFN people (and Steve’s assessment of them was very good). But with that post they had up defending that sign about Tyler, I would take them off it were me. But it’s not, so obviously you can do what you want. It certainly was disappointing that they would write a piece like that.

  43. C. Michael says:

    BGJ, Minny:

    FYI, according to, which is usually a pretty accurate source, Ellington ranks as the number 16 sophomore, in terms of pro potential and projects as a late 1st – rounder after his junior season. Scheyer is listed as honorable mention, and by all accounts, is not a pro prospect.

  44. Tar Heel Fan says:


    I am acquainted with Alpha Wolf who runs RAWFS not the folks at SFN(though Alpha does administer the back end server for them.) I have never even as much as exchanged an email with those folks who do the writing there. I have recently dropped comments over there however.

  45. 52BigGameJames says:

    C.Michael–I know where you stand on Wayne (wink).

    CG–skinny? you mean like these guys?

  46. rbl says:

    I just read the “Signgate” article on SFN. Is there any doubt that State has the dumbest fans in the universe?

  47. MinnyTarHeelFan says:

    Umm, you didn’t just compare Scheyer to MJ or the Big Smooth, did you?

  48. 52BigGameJames says:

    lol, please–just pointing out that it’s easy to forget how rail-thin they both were in college. Perkins transformation from stick figure to relative stud by his late pro career was practically amazing.

  49. MinnyTarHeelFan says:

    Just couldn’t resist the barb. I watched the video THF posted of MJ and you forget how skinny he was the first season, and even into his junior year. Obviously very explosive, but still skinny. I guess we have to remember not every great player is chiseled like LeBron at 18. 🙂

  50. 52BigGameJames says:

    well, don’t look now, but Marcus is becoming a man among boys–(with one notable exception). If he ever decides to fully employ that bod, and assert himself offensively we’ll have a firecracker of a team.

  51. Josh Bowling says:

    MJ and Sam “Big Smooth” Perkins may have been thin in college, but they were very toned muscular athletes. I can’t say that about Scheyer. He is thin and un-toned. That is why you can’t guard his 3. A little body contact and he falls down.

  52. Josh Bowling says:

    And I think we should just worry about our “own dang size”.

  53. 52BigGameJames says:

    you do your thang, and I’ll do mine Josh. I think it lends credence to this site to not always be a “homer”. I appreciate good athleticism regardless of where it is in the ACC. How does it make you feel towards fellow ACC fans when you hear the rare “Tyler appreciation remark”, as opposed to the predictable air-head flame-throws? I know it makes me appreciate them as a balanced and credible poster, and I believe it benefits this site as a source of same, and helps make it distinctive in that regard. btw-Mugsy & Spud both were too short to play as we all know.

    william & other old-timers–fyi….

  54. kavita says:

    John, actually a class in the journalism school spent a semester studying errors in the DTH and doing a statistical analysis. This was in the past few years. The results showed the DTH on par if not better than the MSM. (it wasn’t just based on public corrections but students also checked facts and called sources.) Sorry I don’t remember the exact stats. Anyway, sorry about what happened in your case. It no doubt sucked and I don’t deny that the DTH makes mistakes, sometimes big ones. But I KNOW we’re better than the Technician or the Chronicle!

    Anyway, GO Heels!

  55. kavita says:

    And by we, I mean they. I don’t work there anymore!

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