We've Moved!

We've Moved!
Click here to head to riddickandreynolds.wordpress.com!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Look At All Those Pretty Green Numbers (KenPom.com)


Particularly in the defensive column. (Don't even THINK about trying to make a free throw against this team, beech!)

On another note, State's 309th in tempo. Northwestern is 326th. Tomorrow's night game will make the Herb Sendek years look like the UNLV Runnin' Rebs of the 90s.

View the complete entry of "Look At All Those Pretty Green Numbers (KenPom.com)"

Bold, Completely Baseless Prediction (From Aug. 17th)


(This post originally appeared on August 17th...not saying, just saying...maybe @Mix96NC is on to something...)

I'm going to throw something out there, based on nothing more than a hunch, fueled by a ton of buzz to the contrary:

Russell Wilson will NOT miss a start this season.

There, I said it.

It's just a hunch, and trust me, I've already knocked on wood, crossed my fingers, walked backwards under a ladder while carrying a black cat, etc, so we should be good. Don't come pointing fingers at me if it doesn't come to fruition.

Something tells me, with ALL the talk about how fragile Wilson is, how State's season rests on his remaining healthy, and how much the coaching staff has stressed the importance of Wilson protecting himself, Russell "Jesus Obama" Wilson will manage to start all 12 (and the 13th, assuming seven wins during the regular season) games this year.

I'm not saying he won't get dinged...it's foolish to predict ANY player won't miss a single snap. But I predict that any injuries sustained will be minor and Wilson starts all 12 games this year.

View the complete entry of "Bold, Completely Baseless Prediction (From Aug. 17th)"

Hey! Basketball! State 69, UNO 52


Against UNO on Sunday afternoon, Tracy Smith played like a man with a handful of Skips and Wild Cards, dropping 20 on the Privateers to help push State to a 69-52 win over New Orleans.

Some notes on the game:
  • State did well playing defense without fouling. The Pack only committed nine fouls for the entire game, limiting UNO to just four free throw attempts (they made three). Conversely, State went to the line 25 times and hit 19 of them. That 16 differential in made FTs was nearly the margin of the game itself.

  • State blocked an amazing 14 shots. Dennis Horner had four, Tracy Smith had three and Jordan Vandenberg added another three in limited minutes. State's 14 blocks doubled their block total for the season to that point (14 over four games).

  • The Pack's guards protected the ball well. State finished with only 13 turnovers, and four of those came from the usually-sure-handed Tracy Smith. Javy Gonzalez finished with but two against eight assists--fantastic numbers.

  • The Pack has a quick turnaround to get ready for the Princeton-style offense of Northwestern as part of the ACC-Big 10 Challenge tomorrow night. A convincing win in that game would go a long way to serving notice that this "new look" N.C. State team is a threat and not a team to take lightly.

View the complete entry of "Hey! Basketball! State 69, UNO 52"

Tom O'Brien Has A Message For Anyone Cutting Up During The Alma Mater


View the complete entry of "Tom O'Brien Has A Message For Anyone Cutting Up During The Alma Mater"

Saturday, November 28, 2009

State 28, UNC 27



Wow. Allow me to pat myself on the back for a moment...I predicted that if State went without a turnover and protected the ball they would win this game, and they did.

Carolina's greatest scoring threat coming into this game was their defense, not their offense. By protecting the ball, State nullified their greatest threat.

But State's defense and special teams gets credit for stepping up when they needed it. They blocked a potential go-ahead FG attempt and then intercepted T.J. Yates to seal the deal. Awesome.

It's not an asswhooping like last year, but this one may be sweeter than the previous season. It was at home, it was the third in a row in the series and it came when State had nothing to play for and Carolina had everything to lose.

And they did. :)

View the complete entry of "State 28, UNC 27"

Bold Prediciton (That Will Hopefully Work Out Better Than That Clemson One)


Yeah, so my track record with predictions hasn't been the greatest of late, but I'll throw another one out there: If State finishes the game with zero turnovers, it will finish victorious.

Carolina has won of late on the backs of defensive scores. They scored two touchdowns on interception returns against Boston College last week and nearly scored a third. They would punch that return in from the one, so I'll give the defense that score, as well. That's 21 points off turnovers and was the difference in the game.

Protect the ball and keep Carolina's defense out of the endzone, and State will win today.

Mark it down. (Just do it in pencil this time.)

View the complete entry of "Bold Prediciton (That Will Hopefully Work Out Better Than That Clemson One)"

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Why I'm Pulling For Duke Tonight


Because the legend of Herb Sendek seems to grow each and every year.

Because the stream of Herb Sendek articles about how State screwed up in running him off to the desert of Arizona continue coming four years later.

Because folks from the national media refuse to take the time to look deeper into the history of our program to gain insight as to why we weren't satisfied with Sendek after 10 years.

So now I'm forced to pull FOR a bitter rival AGAINST a good man who represented this school well. I can't take another slam piece from Gary Parrish, Gregg Doyel or even a ride-the-fence piece like the one from Caulton Tudor today. The only way for the articles to end is for Arizona State to fall below State in prestige. If Herb loses the national media's belief that he's a great coach, then maybe--just maybe--the articles will cease.

For that to happen, they need to get stomped in games like this tonight. And so though I loathe Duke almost as much as I do Carolina, I hate articles like the ones mentioned above more. Because they paint my school, our basketball program and me and you as fans as a joke. And beyond the pangs of bruised pride reading these pieces, there are very real and tangible negative consequences on the recruiting trail that threaten to continue this cycle of suck we seem stuck on.

So go Duke. Go K. Stomp the sh*t out of Herb's Sun Devils. A loss to ASU would only further these slam pieces and that can't happen.

View the complete entry of "Why I'm Pulling For Duke Tonight"

ACC Round Table: Rivalry Edition. This Week We're Hosting!


Well, it's the final week of the season, Rivalry Week, and it's also the final regular season edition of the ACC Round Table. I'm hosting this week and figured to toss out some rivalry-themed questions. I even managed to sneak in a barbecue question at the end with a rivalry twist.

My (yes, Brandon, insanely long) questions and their answers follow. You can find all of our Round Table contestants' entries here (yes, Block-C, I totally ripped your HTML).

From Old Virginia | College Game Balls | Gobbler Country
Jim Young, ACC Sports Journal | From the Rumble Seat | BCInterruption
Block-C | On the B.Rink

1) The ACC scheduling gods really did their best this year to ensure a true "rivalry" week to conclude the season. Here in North Carolina, the two large state schools (N.C. State and Carolina) and the two smaller private schools (Duke and Wake) face off against one another. Clemson, Georgia Tech, Florida State, Miami, Virginia and Virginia Tech all face off against in-state foes. Even the Boston College/Maryland game has a twinge of regional flavor to it, pitting the two northern-most schools of the ACC against one another. On paper, is this the best rivalry week lineup in recent memory?

The overwhelming consensus was that this year's rivalry week--while scheduled to set the table for some interesting matchups--pretty much arrives DOA.

Brian from BCInterruption pretty much sums up everyone's thoughts:
As for the rest of the conference, on paper this might be one of the best rivalry week lineups in recent memory. But on the field, these games leave a lot to be desired. I'm not sure anyone will care outside of each team's respective regions. No team is playing for bowl eligibility. Clemson and Georgia Tech are playing for nothing more than bragging rights. Only one of four NC teams is going bowling. Florida State is a three touchdown underdog to the Gators. Miami (Fla.)-South Florida isn't a rivalry game with only one game ever played between the two programs. And I'm sure Virginia Tech will take again take Virginia to the woodshed.

Nice attempt by the league's scheduling office, but much like this year's college football season, rivalry week seems to be a bit of a dud.
The rest of the questions and answers follow. Warning: Dial-up users, proceed with caution...massive text-age ahead.


2) Clemson and Georgia Tech will face one another in the ACC title game. Do you think both teams facing out-of-conference rivals the week prior will help or hurt either team's performance in the big game, depending on the outcomes of these rivalry games?

There wasn't quite the same consensus on this question as the first. Jim Young makes a case for these rivalry games being a negative the week prior to the title tilt:
I think it actually hurts their performances this week. It’s a weird situation. Whoever heard of a rivalry game as a potential “trap game”? Yet in the grand scheme of things, the games in Columbia and Atlanta don’t mean nearly as much as the one in Tampa.

Put it this way. Let’s say C.J. Spiller’s bum toe really starts acting up in the second quarter against the Gamecocks. Should Dabo Swinney rest him in the second half to make sure Spiller is ready to go the following week?

Ordinarily there’s no question about what Swinney should do. This week it’s at least debatable.
Gobbler Country takes a differing, more succinct look at it:
If you can't get up for a rivalry game you have no right to be in the conference title game. I vote that if they lose it should count as two ACC losses.
Winfield of From The Rumble Seat introduces math into the equation (which really hurts the brain on a Wednesday prior to Thanksgiving):
If we were only considering BCS championship games, the numbers don't really indicate much. Teams that lost their regular season finale are 6-8 all time in conference title games since the first SEC title game in 1992. Teams that lost the conference title game are 25-9 coming into the title game while teams that won the title game are 26-7-1 in their last regular season contest. I'm not jinxing GT or CU by any means because 18 out of 34 BCS conference title games were played by teams that both won their last regular season games. One game, the 1993 SEC title was played between two season finale losers - UF and Bammer.

To answer the question, yes, if either lose their finale, they'll lose the championship game. We're basing this thought on GT's demoralization in 2006 after a terrible loss to the dogs and eventual loss to the Demon Deacons (that, and Pat Nix). Clemson and GT don't deserve to play such pathetic SEC teams to finish the season but alas they are. If either gets upset, it'll be a pretty big blow to the ACC and the respective school's psyche going into the ACCCG.
Everyone seems to agree, however, that the potential for injuries is heightened in a rivalry game and that could have a big impact on the title game picture.

3) It's the tail end of the season and you know what that means: Coaching Carousel Time! I'm a firm believer in giving a coach five years to prove his worth before even considering a change...at least I was, until I saw how quickly Paul Johnson and Brian Kelly turned their respective programs into top-10 squads. With an ever-increasing desire from fanbases to WIN NOW, is five years still "industry standard," or can coaches legitimately be expected to show marked improvement in four years or less before finding a pink slip in their inbox? How bad would a situation have to be to fairly jettison a head coach before year five?

For this question, we turn first to From Old Virginia, the blogger representing the school with perhaps the most embattled head coach in the league in Al Groh.
I think it's perfectly fair to shorten that to three or four years. By year four, you've got all your guys in place and there's absolutely no excuses about learning a new system. You should be hitting your stride. Industry standard should be four, and if after three years the program is still foundering and there appears to be no reason to expect any improvement in the next season, then dropping the axe is also fair.
Jim Young of ACCSports.com weighs in with a broader perspective:
I still think five years is a good standard. Yes, Paul Johnson has made an immediate impact, but it also helps to make that impact when the previous coach has left you Jonathan Dwyer, Demaryius Thomas, Derrick Morgan, Morgan Burnett … you get my point. Plus, Johnson also happened to inherit a quarterback with the physical skills to run his system. Rich Rodriguez did not, and we all know how well that’s going at Michigan.

Speaking of RichRod, he may be the answer to that last question. Personally, I think he deserves more time. I believe his system can win. But right now, his abrasive personality isn’t helping fans of Big Blue stay patient.
Brandon from On The B.Rink uses Clemson's situation to illustrate his point:
Look at Clemson, possibly Bowden could have done what Dabo did this season with how inconsistent the Atlantic has been–but Swinney brought a whole new mentality to Clemson football and they are going to Tampa now. The five years theory really should depend upon the talent level he is left with–I don’t know how you gauge that though, but in some cases, it is clear. Sticking with the Clemson example, there is no way that Dabo gets 5 years if he went 6-6 four years in a row. Ultimately, there is no fairness in college coaching these days–you either win or your gone. I would say it is down to 3 years now for the standard and even that is kinda shaky.
And Willy Mac follows up with the Clemson perspective:
I think it depends on the situation, but three to five should be the given norm. Agreeing to this only fuels the beast that is the “What have you done for me lately attitude.” It’s a disgusting outlook on the game. Again, I said it depends on the situation. If Dabo had come in and laid two stank seasons in a row, I wouldn’t even want to give him a third. Especially if we lost to Carolina or did not so great in recruiting. In the end, five years still is and should be the industry standard. Hell, we gave our last coach twice that.
Winfield of From The Rumble Seat with the view of a school benefiting from the rapid success of a recent hire:
We gave Chan six years to show some marked improvement. He got some helluva good recruits but couldn't achieve the GT fanbase's collective goals: beat Georgie and win the ACC every once in a while. All in all, he is remembered for 6 failures against Georgie and big time flops against quality ACC teams. When he had time to scheme, he was a great coach. In games where there was no external motivation, his teams played like crap (ala Duke and UNC games).

It's all relative. Some coaches need time to rebuild programs like Wannstedt at Pitt while others can build instantly because of their unique offenses and the personnel they inherited (Paul Johnson).
Bottom line: There seems to be no real "standard." Coaching hiring, firing and the validity of a coach's seat temperature all differ on a case-by-case basis.

4) Certainly the four-letter network likes to pimp the big rivalries--Ohio State Vs. Michigan, Texas Vs. Oklahoma, etc.--but I think the ACC has quite a few solid rivalries that never get the coverage they deserve. Where do you think your school's rivalry rates in terms of passion, prestige and what's at stake each season? What steps--beyond the obvious "win more"--could be taken to improve the visibility of your team's rivalry matchup every year?

Brian from BCInterruption brings the funny:

Since BC doesn't have a rivalry game this week, I'll focus on the other ACC rivalries and what can be done to improve the visibility of these games:

  • Florida-Florida State - send ESPN College Gameday to campus to create buzz for a game that features a 21 point underdog (check)
  • Georgia Tech-Georgia - the Rambling Wreck runs over the next Uga. Too soon?
  • Clemson-South Carolina - more above .500 seasons for South Carolina in the SEC
  • NC State-North Carolina - these two teams play in a very rare college football doubleheader - in the final regular season game and the ACC Championship (try to hold back your laughter)
  • Wake Forest-Duke - disband both school's basketball programs citing budget shortfalls
  • Virginia-Virginia Tech - UVa hires Bud Foster as HC
  • Miami-South Florida - play more games against one another
Willy from Block-C offers his version of "reality:"
Honestly, as a traditionalist I have to say ours is the best. Now as a realist, I have to say ours is the best. In the nation. Just because more schools have more fans that will disagree a la a Texas or a Michigan, doesn’t mean I’m not right. And for those that nay say, let me ask you this: Has your rivalry ever reached the point of on field fisticuffs? Hell, one year way back in the day when Clemson lost Big Thursday down in Columbia our Cadets started taking shit over and forcefully held Cola with rifles until our professors went down there and calmed things down.
The folks in Virginia weigh in.

Not very high. The combination of basically almost never having both teams be good at the same time and not having anything tangible to play for (i.e., Michigan/Ohio State lore is founded on the Rose Bowl as the every-year prize) combined to make the Virginia instate rivalry not too important in national eyes. And yes, "win more" would be a huge plus. But I think the right step has already been taken, and in 2007, it came to fruition, with the winner earning the ACCCG berth and the game on national TV. With the two teams in the same division, there's a good chance each year that the outcome of the game will have some kind of effect on the division title. That'll slowly but surely increase visibility.
The Commonwealth Cup would become more than just a blip on the national radar if Virginia was more relevant and won the game once in a while. A rivalry loses its luster when one team continually shows up, gets slaughtered and is eaten up.
And Gobbler Country with a very solid idea:
I said this in the summer. The Hokies and Hoos need a better trophy. The Commonwealth Cup is stupid, should be replaced with something awesome and I think it should be a giant bust of George Washington. He was the father of our country and from Virginia, so he's a perfect choice. I want to see Virginia Tech seniors carry ol' George above their heads and I want to hear our fans chanting "we want head" as the second tick away on a Hokie victory. Other than winning, I think that's the best step to improving the visibility of our rivalry.
To follow up on Gobbler's point, I think the State/Carolina game needs a trophy, as well. In fact I tackled this proposition last season and, well, it's barbecue-themed. I may in fact be somewhat obsessed with barbecue.

Which brings me to the final and least-topical question of the affair:

5) Few rivalries in the South have as much tradition, passion and generated as much heated discussion as a good ol' fashioned barbecue debate. Here in North Carolina it's Eastern versus Lexington style, and a good many shouting matches have arisen between folks east of I-95 and those godless heathens that put ketchup and brown sugar in their "dip." No doubt similar verbal wars have been waged on behalf of your favorite barbecue, as well, so the question is this: In an all-out, Armageddon-type scenario where the righteous are separated from the unholy on the basis of what type of barbecue they bring to the judgment table, what style of barbecue are you bringing and who--among the purveyors of this style of 'cue in your state--will you select to be your Champion?

Perhaps no question divided the group into opposite camps than this. The answers ran from CGB's "Fuck barbecue" and FOV's "I might have gone to school in the South but I was born and raised in the North. And besides that, Virginia isn't really the barbecuing epicenter of the world anyway. You want barbecue debates, go to Alabama or something," to On The B.Rink's "This is quite an awesome question," and a range of answers in between.

Instead of condensing their opinions into bite-sized nuggets, I'll risk breaking the internets, throw caution to the wind and just repost their answers all in full. (If it took your machine five minutes to download this entry, I apologize in advance. And thanks to all the Round Table participants for their entries! Visit their sites! Click on their ads! Make them money!)

Brian from BCInterruption:
Eastern style? Lexington style? Hell if I know. I'll go with Brother Jimmy's style (the one on the Upper East Side, not the one near the Garden). Which type of barbecue is that?
College Game Balls:
Fuck barbecue, in Virginia we’re all about ham. But, if you’re putting a gun to my head, which if I read between the lines you are, I’m slow smoking my meats over a combination of charcoal and maple chips slathered in my homemade (Sweet Baby Ray’s) honey barbecue sauce.
From Old Virginia:
Alright, look, man. I might have gone to school in the South but I was born and raised in the North. And besides that, Virginia isn't really the barbecuing epicenter of the world anyway. You want barbecue debates, go to Alabama or something. It's not that we don't like barbecue, but damn if we don't find it a bit silly that you care that damn much. We don't really expect you to know the right way to order a coney dog or care which of the two rival establishments you get it from (and if you don't know what the hell I'm talking about or who these establishments are then you get the point), and we don't want to be pulled into a knock-down, drag-out fight over who has too much vinegar in their sauce.
On The B.Rink:
This is quite an awesome question. BBQ is so different from one part of the country to another. My parents grew up in Upstate NY and BBQ to them was chicken in a special vinegar-based sauce(good stuff too). In Memphis where I once lived, it was all about Gridley’s. In South Carolina now, there is a BBQ place on every corner seemingly that is not occupied by a church. My favorite now is the pork BBQ with a tomato-based sauce at Ole Country Smokehouse in Anderson, SC as mustard-based is gross(though they offer this also).
From The Rumble Seat:
Winfield wants a mustard base and Dane licks his chops when he hears "Mrs. Griffin's Barbecue sauce". Bird is a communist and doesn't like pork so he doesn't understand.
Because I don't live in the Commonwealth, I really can't give you a good answer for Virginny. But here in the 405 we are fortunate enough to have the best BBQ sauce I've ever experienced, Head Country. So even when you run into the occasional restaurant that has no idea how to cook a pig, you're still good to go if you have a bottle of Head Country. The best way to tell people who know BBQ vs. those who don't is ribs. If they like beef ribs, they aren't to be trusted and you're best to distance yourself from them. If they like pork ribs, they're good people. Virginia Tech = pork ribs. france = beef ribs.
Jim Young, ACCSports.com:
You’re putting me in an impossible position here. Whatever answer I give will earn me angry emails from whichever barbecue constituency I ignore.

It’s very similar to the questions about job openings that coaches get this time of year.

So allow me to use a little coachspeak in my answer.

“I’m extremely happy with my current style of barbecue. As of right now I have absolutely no reason to consider other styles. I look forward to many, many years of eating the style of barbecue that I prefer.”
And finally, Block-C's Willy Mac with the best answer of them all:
I don’t know where Chili stands on this issue, but as a man with an underground pig pit that I built myself in my backyard, I’ve found that three things are most important when talking about barbecue: BBQ is smoked pork, anything other meat doesn’t qualify; Never trust a BBQ joint that doesn’t serve both pulled and chopped pork; a sweeter sauce or mustard-based sauce are best for serving company. Personally, I love the Cheerwine sauce from Smokin’ Stokes off Augusta Road here in Greenville for any application on any meat. I’ve found through personal experience though that if you cook your pig with time and care, the people eating the pig shouldn’t need too much sauce. You need a nice seasoning and salt application to begin with. The next important part is consistency in temperature and the type of wood you use to smoke the beast. Lastly, when you flip the pig lather it with a whole jar of honey on the tenderloins, butts, and any other portion you deem necessary.
There you have it. God bless you if you made it this far. Even if the games don't have much riding on them, it should be a good final weekend of ACC football.

View the complete entry of "ACC Round Table: Rivalry Edition. This Week We're Hosting!"

Final Edition Of 'Toney's Take' Perhaps Hints Which Way He's Leaning Regarding 2010?


Each week during football season, tailback Toney Baker contributes a column to Technician entitled Toney's Take, touching on issues regarding the team, himself and college life in general. He filed his final column this week leading up to the Carolina game.

He touched on being granted a sixth year of eligibility, the Carolina game and his plans for the future:
I’ll be graduating this December, but this may not be the last Carolina-State game you see me in. I finally got approved for that sixth year, which I talked a little bit about last week. I think it’s great that I got the sixth year. It’s a great opportunity and a blessing to get more time. A lot of people don’t get that opportunity.

I’ll make the decision over the next couple of weeks; not too long after the Carolina game. I’ve got to talk to my dad, whose opinion I respect as much as anyone’s, coach [Tom] O’Brien, the rest of the coaching staff and a lot of other people. I want to come back, but I also want to figure out what’s best for my future.


I just want to say thanks for following the column, and thanks to all the fans who supported me and my comeback. I’m really thankful that everyone stuck through the year, even though I’m sure it wasn’t the easiest thing to do. I’ve had a blast playing here. I’m not sure what my future holds, but I’m want to thank everyone for being a part of Wolfpack Nation – we do it all for you.

We’ll see you at the game, one last time.

Emphasis mine, but those two snippets stood out to me as potential hints to which way Toney may be leaning on his decision. Certainly there are a lot of factors to consider and a lot of input to digest from those he trusts, as he mentioned, but if I had to guess where he's at after reading that, I'd say Saturday will be his final game in a Wolfpack uniform.

I don't agree with the decision from a strictly NFL-preparation standpoint. I don't think he's "wowed" enough to improve his draft stock and he's not logged enough injury-free starts to distance himself from the two years lost to knee injuries. However, the overriding factor in Baker's decision may not involve the NFL, so we'll see.

As a side note, it's rare to get a glimpse of life as a collegiate football or basketball player first-hand. Most communication that comes from the program is heavily filtered through compliance folks, the coaching staff, the Sports Information Department, etc., all in an effort to minimize the risk of "loose lips sinking ships." It's the logical thing to do, but it also robs it of the color that humanizes these Big Men On Campus that we cheer and jeer from afar.

Certainly Toney's Take isn't shot straight from the hip; it's not a transcription of Toney's Tweets or anything. It's as told to Technician's sports editor, but for the most part it's Toney in his own words. So I hate that it's coming to an end and I hope the folks at my old stomping grounds pick up the feature again in the near future. Perhaps a Tracy's Take? A Mays' Minutes? How about A Painter's Picture Worth 1,000 Words? (That one's a bit wordy...I'm flexible on the title.)

View the complete entry of "Final Edition Of 'Toney's Take' Perhaps Hints Which Way He's Leaning Regarding 2010?"

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

How Will Bible's Diagnosis Impact State's Performance?


Yesterday's news that offensive coordinator Dana Bible has been diagnosed with acute myelocytic leukemia caught all but Bible's closest confidants off guard. We knew he'd missed the trip to Virginia Tech for health reasons, but those reasons were unclear to nearly everyone until yesterday's press conference when Tom O'Brien shared the news.

So it's with heavy hearts that the N.C. State football team must now tackle the difficult task of game planning and preparing to face its most bitter rival in the final game of the season.

A game that, beyond the opportunity to extend State's winning streak against the Heels to three games, really has nothing of importance riding on it. No bowl bid, no Atlantic Division Title scenario; the season will end at about 3:30 Saturday regardless of the outcome.

The question is this: How will a beleaguered team with nothing to play for respond to the news of Bible's diagnosis?

The outcome you'd like to see is the team rally around themselves and try to close out the season on a high note in Bible's honor.

But there's a chance the team--already hurting from a disappointing season--struggles with the news on their hearts and just never shows up for a noon kickoff.

I think the former occurs, not the latter, for the very reason that Tom O'Brien's knack seems to be motivating his teams during rivalry games. The one team Notre Dame never could seem to beat was Boston College. UNC is 0-2 against O'Brien despite possessing what many would consider a talent advantage. O'Brien knows how to rally the troops for these types of games and I think, with his friend Bible out of commission for this one, he'll impress upon the team the importance a win in this game could have beyond simply this season.

We can only hope so.

View the complete entry of "How Will Bible's Diagnosis Impact State's Performance?"

Monday, November 23, 2009

UPDATE: Dana Bible Diagnosed With Leukemia


Per Heather Dinich listening in on Tom O'Brien's weekly press conference.
NC State offensive coordinator Dana Bible had been diagnosed with cancer, coach Tom O'Brien just said at his weekly Monday press conference.

O'Brien said he found out on Friday, and it was a very difficult day in Blacksburg on Saturday. Bible will undergo treatment for the next 30 days, and O'Brien will hire a temporary replacement to help the Pack get through this weekend's game against North Carolina. Bible coached the quarterbacks and wide receivers, too. He and O'Brien have coached together for 11 years.

"Prayers will be welcome, and they’re definitely needed," O'Brien said.

O'Brien is still in the middle of his press conference. I'll have much more on this in a bit.

UPDATE: The specific type of cancer has been identified as acute myelocytic leukemia.

Please take a moment to say a quick prayer for Bible and his family if so inclined.

You knew it had to be serious if he wasn't able to make the trip up to Blackburg, but I don't think anyone predicted this.

View the complete entry of "UPDATE: Dana Bible Diagnosed With Leukemia"

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Glenn Wilkes Classic Concludes With Pack Undefeated 4-0


Picked to finish a distant dead last in the league by the ACC media with fan expectations at a low point not seen in a while, most State fans have been wanting to see two things from the team this season: effort and heart.

They're seeing it thus far.

State completed its three-day trip to Daytona Beach, FL, with a come-from-behind 60-58 victory over Auburn in the final seconds to complete the Glenn Wilkes Classic with a perfect 3-0 record. With the win over Georgia Southern, State is a perfect 4-0 to begin the season.

Tracy Smith went MACROWAVE at the end of tonight's game, putting back a rebound high off the glass with 1.3 seconds remaining to seal it. State had led most of the game, but Auburn took control of the game in the second half, using a 21-4 run to take the lead by six with eight minutes remaining. It wasn't until the 0:49 mark that State would finally retake the lead on a Smith bucket-and-foul.

The discussion continues, along with charts on all three games of the GWC, after the jump.


State 60-Auburn 58

Some points of note from this weekend's games:
  • Is it time to fire up the "We :heart Dennis Horner!" campaign? Horner scored 16, 15 and 16 again in this weekend's action, including a big three to tie the Auburn game at 54 with less than two minutes to go. He also snagged 13 defensive rebounds over the three games. His play helped set the tone for the rest of the team all weekend long.
  • Despite shooting just 33.3 percent from the field, State bested the Auburn Tigers by attacking the offensive glass. The Pack pulled down 19 offensive boards to Auburn's 11. Coupled with a +4 turnover margin, State shot 10 more attempts than did the Tigers (63-53).
  • Starting the season 4-0 is HUGE for this team's aspirations of making a postseason appearance. Effort and heart will only take this team so far against the more talented teams of the ACC, so State needs all the non-conference wins they can get to boost their win total in the early going.
  • The added benefit of starting the season perfect is the boost in confidence. For a young team who's sold the company line of "togetherness" and "team unity" to outsiders, starting the season 4-0 will galvanize this team to further help them buy into the concept that yes, team unity CAN make a difference, especially in these tight games. As their confidence grows, so should their level of play.
  • Yes, this team CAN play defense. I've seen it with my own two eyes! State held all three of its opponents under 50% shooting, including a stellar 30.9% against Akron. The guards and forwards are much more active on the perimeter and the extra effort is paying dividends. I've said all along: The issues with this team are NOT offensive--State has always been able to score under coach Lowe; it's the defensive end that has doomed the Pack. If State can keep teams shooting in the low 40s, good things can happen this season.
There are still a lot of warts left on this toad. The team surrendered sizable leads in both the Austin Peay and Auburn games in the second half--this team still needs to develop a killer instinct. Conditioning is still a concern, as the Pack had no legs remaining in the third game. It showed up in the stat sheet with their poor shooting numbers.

Nevertheless, for most Pack fans, the team has delivered what we've been hoping to see thus far, and if they can sustain it, only good things can come from it.

View the complete entry of "Glenn Wilkes Classic Concludes With Pack Undefeated 4-0"

Friday, November 20, 2009

Insanely Late Akron Liveblog


View the complete entry of "Insanely Late Akron Liveblog"

For Those Looking To Listen To The Game Online


The pregame show is currently running on 99.9 The Fan here in the Wake County area. I assume the game will air following.

You can listen online by clicking this link.

View the complete entry of "For Those Looking To Listen To The Game Online"

A Look At Akron


(Folks, bear with me...I'm not quite sure what's going on with this gigantic empty space in the middle of the post...I'm getting HTML pwned by the Innerwebs. For now, think of this space as the trophy case for N.C. State Basketball, Football and Baseball under Lee Fowler's tenure.)

KenPom.com's Scouting Report on Akron
CategoryOffenseDefenseD-I Avg
Adj. Efficiency:121.8 [43]107.0 [224]99.2
Adj. Tempo:69.9 [165]69.8
Four Factors
Effective FG%:47.0 [197]54.6 [271]48.5
Turnover %:13.1 [11]17.5 [279]21.4
Off. Reb. %:43.3 [25]35.9 [225]33.4
FTA/FGA:37.9 [166]59.3 [307] 38.2

These stats don't mean a whole lot, just like the NCAA rankings in football, until teams start getting further into their schedule and compete against a good number of teams.

For all the dirt on the Zips, I turned to friend and Akron alum Chad B. for a breakdown on what to expect. Here's what he wrote:
It's a team that made it to the NCAA Tournament last year (23-13) with four starters and 13 letterwinners returning. They lost to Gonzaga in the 1st round, but pretty much led the entire way.

They are the preseason favorite to win the MAC again and have been selected as the #8 "Mid Major" in the nation.

They also added a top 50 recruit.

They are extremely solid and very, very well coached. They're usually an extremely disciplined team. I would say that State needs to play well. If not, I could totally seeing Akron winning. They certainly won't be intimidated by facing an ACC school.
So it looks like State will have their hands full this afternoon. Vegas seems to think so, too. They've got State with only a slight edge as a 1.5-point favorite. Basically it's a pick 'em. This may be a better test than expected to see if the new look, re-energized, We're-all-for-one-and-one-for-all-f**k-those-losers-from-last-year-that-are-gone-now Wolfpack can win the hustle stats: snagging rebounds and loose balls while dictating increased tempo.

Should be a good one.

View the complete entry of "A Look At Akron"

Toney Baker Granted Sixth Year Of Eligibility


Some good news for the Pack heading into a sure bloodletting this weekend: Tailback Toney Baker has been granted a sixth year of eligibility from the NCAA.

The Pack coaching staff was hopeful to get Baker his sixth year given the circumstances. He suffered a season-ending knee injury in the first game of the 2007 season, then--on the verge of returning--suffered another set back just prior to the 2008 season that wiped out the entire year.

Baker graduates with a degree in Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management this December, and his play this year has been solid enough to earn a few looks from NFL scouts, so it's not a definite that he'll return to use it. Still, it's nice to have that option.

"That's why we filled out all the paper work and sent it off. I would be happy for it to happen. It will be nice to have the option to come back," Baker said.

Personally, I think if Toney's goal is to play at the next level, he should return for his sixth year. While he's played solid enough this year to remind everyone why he was a five-star recruit coming out of high school, I think NFL teams will balk at his injury history. Putting together two injury-free years would go farther toward building his stock value than coming out at the end of this year. Further, folks have kind of forgotten about Baker after nearly two years away from the game. Two solid years back-to-back would help regain a lot of the buzz he lost following 2006.

The risk is that he could get injured next season and lose what slim chance he has at the next level, but I think he's better off playing in 2010 behind what should be a more talented line.

View the complete entry of "Toney Baker Granted Sixth Year Of Eligibility"

Thursday, November 19, 2009

ACC Roundtable: Week 12


Will McCameron, AKA Willy Mac of Block-C is hosting this week's edition of the ACC Roundtable. You may recall that Block-C hosted Week 4's edition of the Rountable, as well, which certainly has to violate some sort of law or code somewhere in the Roundtable Bylaws. But assuming there are no bylaws, I guess it's all good. In fact, someone stepping up to host means we don't have two off weeks in a row, so it works out.

In any event, here's their questions and my answers:

1) Let's just say, not trying to jinx anything here, but let's just say the Tigers make the ACC Championship game versus Georgia Tech. Who wins, and why?

Looking at the rankings, standings and the result of the head-to-head matchup from earlier this season, all signs point to a Georgia Tech win. However, Clemson's playing their best football at the end of the season as we (sadly) can attest to. Georgia Tech's playing well, also, so you would theoretically have the two hottest teams in the conference staging a rematch for the conference title. I think the preceding week heading into the ACC Title game -- where both teams square off against their most hated rivals -- will have a large bearing on the Championship game. If one team crushes their rival and the other loses in embarrassing fashion, the team coming in on a high note could have the upper hand. If I had to pick a winner, I would pick the team that wins their rivalry game in the most convincing fashion.

2) Has the ACC taken the form that you thought it would at the beginning of the season? If not, what didn't you see coming? Disappointments? Pleasant surprises?

If by "form," you mean "who knows what the hell is going to happen, just like it was last season," then yeah, the ACC has stayed true to form. After starting hot, we saw Miami come back down to a level most folks thought they'd be at during the second half of the season. Clemson looked like poo in the first half of the year and hit their low point losing back-to-back games against TCU and Maryland, but has hit the gas since and looks like the team to beat in the Atlantic. State was a huge disappointment personally, given the offensive talent this team has. They haven't failed to score but defensively they're probably the worst team in the league. Virginia Tech's losses to Georgia Tech and Carolina turned a potential at-large BCS bid team into an also-ran and has to be considered a disappointment, as well. I think Duke could be considered a pleasant surprise with the progress they've made under David Cutcliffe.

3) If your team is not in contention for the ACCCG, what are the necessary changes your program has to make to get your team into the game next year? If there's still a shot, what do you guys need to have happen in order to find yourself in Tampa? Non-team specific writers,
pick your flavor of the week and go with it.

Bottom line, State HAS to get better defensively. I think it's completely reasonable to expect defensive coordinator Mike Archer to hit the bricks at the end of this season. Injuries and youth only explain away a portion of the woes this team faces defensively. There's just no fight, no sense that they can make a stop when they need to. They're told to line up in a way that conceeds yardage before the ball is even snapped. If I'm a defensive player, my mindset shouldn't be "Just let keep everything in front of me." It should be "I'm going to f**king knock your f**king head off and plant your lifeless body into the turf five yards behind the line of scrimmage." The defense seems to have no "killer" mentality, and without it, the defense is beaten before the ball is even snapped. I put that on the coaching staff, as it's a continuation of the results seen at Archer's last coaching stop, Kentucky, where their defenses were some of the worst in the country. State's offense is too good with Russell Wilson and Toney Baker to not have a defense that can at least hold a team to under four scores.

4) If you could point to one player as the brightest spot on your team, who would that person be? Extrapolate a little for us please.

I'm giving the nod to Toney Baker. He's the unknown, forgotten feel-good story of the league because of how bad State's looked this year. The man started the season having never played a game in nearly two years following a series of knee injuries and surgeries that would've ended the careers of lesser men. All he's done since that time is lead the team in rushing and become one of the league's best tailbacks. He's a punishing runner that shows no hesitation, nor shies away from contact. My hope is that the NCAA grants him a sixth year of eligibility and he can continue on his path toward a career at the next level. Russell Wilson has been good this season, but Baker is the bright spot.

5) Swap one player on your team for a player from your hated rival. Who you got and why?

I want UNC's Quan Sturdivant. Lord knows we need some sort of defensive presence over the middle, and Sturdivant has been all over the field this year making plays in the backfield, in pass coverage and in run support. When we lost Nate Irving to injury, we lost our defensive "quarterback" and could use a player like Sturdivant in his stead. As to who to send to Carolina...hell, take your pick from the defensive back seven. They've all been equally ineffective this season, sad to say.

View the complete entry of "ACC Roundtable: Week 12"

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Regarding The Blown Clemson Fumble Call


So while I was off deer hunting this past weekend, mercifully averting my eyes from another State defensive debacle, it looks like the ACC officiating folks were busy getting themselves in a heap of poo.

The crew that worked the State game, led by referee Tom McCreesh, blew a clear fumble at a decisive point in the game. Down 24-14, State's Clem Johnson stripped the ball from C.J. Spiller and recovered it. The officials ruled Spiller was down, however, and Spiller implored his teammates to snap the ball quickly before Tom O'Brien could call timeout to get the play reviewed.

What happened from there could best be described as a giant clusterf**k. O'Brien waited a moment to see if the replay official would buzz down to the crew on the field. When it was clear they were not, and with Clemson hurrying to the line, O'Brien feverishly tried to get a timeout called but to no avail. The Tigers get a play off, but after the play is over, McCreesh says that State in fact DID call timeout. No play.

So State gets to challenge the call after all. McCreesh dons a headset, listens to the replay official on the other end for what seems like an eternity and then returns to the field with the verdict: the play stands as called!

Judge for yourself as to whether the call should've been overturned:

Seems pretty clear to me that it was, in fact, a fumble.

Turns out the ACC offices agree. Today they issued an apology to O'Brien and the football team for the blown call.

Now, to the meat and potatoes. How big of a deal is this?

In one sense, it's not that big of a deal at all. State lost by nearly three scores. What's the difference between losing by 20 or losing by 13? At this point, an apology has no bearing on the result of the game.

In another, however, the footage and the subsequent apology leave some rather large unanswered questions. One being, how on earth did the replay official, upon looking at the same footage above repeatedly for well over a minute, not conclude that that was a fumble?

Two, why was there no initial effort from the replay official to stop play and take a look at the review before moving on? Why was Tom O'Brien forced to beg for a timeout at the last moment, and why was he ignored at the time?

Three, what if State gets the ball and scores in that possession, versus Spiller scoring two plays later? It's a potential 14-point swing that could've changed the complexion of the game completely. Instead of Clemson leading 31-14, State's down three at 24-21, and while State's defense had struggled to stop Clemson to that point, a three-point game is any man's game. With everything to lose, Clemson could've tightened up and who knows.

Four--and the biggest question--if this is what can happen with replay in place, is replay even worth it? It seems the decisiveness of officials that existed before the advent of replay has now been replaced by a "well, just don't make a call and if we f**k up, the Eye In The Sky will be there to bail us out." Better to not stick your neck out and be proven wrong than to make a definitive call.

And it usually works out that way. Except in this instance, where there was no reprieve to be had for the crew on the field. There was no correction of their mistake, and now the crew is publicly humiliated (to a minor degree) with the apology from the ACC offices. Further, given that officiating crews get graded every week on their performance, this gaff could have an impact on which games this crew works in the future.

All because of a replay official in the booth unable to discern a fumble despite clear evidence of it.

View the complete entry of "Regarding The Blown Clemson Fumble Call"

Monday, November 16, 2009



Yeah, remember that whole "Here are three reasons why we'll win" thing? Yep. Um, didn't happen. Obviously.

What did happen was C.J. Spiller...early, often and in devastating fashion. Oy.

View the complete entry of "Whoops."

Friday, November 13, 2009

Dewey Corn Is A Bigger Badass Than You


Why? Because Corn will be attending his 400th straight Wolfpack football game tomorrow in Carter-Finley. Beat that, sucka!

From GoPack.com, via Red & White For Life:

The last time High Point's Dewey Corn missed an NC State football game, his young neighbor, Johnny Evans, kicked an 81-yard punt that helped the Wolfpack beat Penn State, 15-14, in Beaver Stadium.

That was on Nov. 8, 1975, and he hasn't missed a play since.

The 86-year-old Corn has witnessed 209 victories, 185 defeats and five ties during the 35-year streak. He's been to 18 bowl games, including six trips to Atlanta for the Peach Bowl and a lone trip to Tucson, Ariz., for the long-defunct Copper Bowl, where he met Roy Rogers and Dale Evans.

Saturday's NC State-Clemson matchup at Carter-Finley Stadium will be Corn's 400th consecutive Wolfpack football game, a remarkable streak that spans the careers of seven head coaches, 17 All-America players and a half dozen NC State chancellors.

Sir, if I may say so, that's the epitome of "badass." Well done.

View the complete entry of "Dewey Corn Is A Bigger Badass Than You"

Three Reasons Why State WILL Beat Clemson


(This post also appears at the new TheeSportsBlog.com)

Call me crazy, but here are three reasons why State will win tomorrow:

1. Kyle Parker will have a bad game: Yeah, he's good. He's also a freshman, and though he threw four TDs against FSU last weekend, he managed to only toss one score against two picks against lowly Coastal Carolina. So if you're a believer in the on-again, off-again theory, tomorrow would fall in the "off-again" portion of the rotation.

2. State's defense will play inspired football: If I didn't lose you at the title of the post or during point #1, I'm probably going to lose you here. Yes, I think State's defense will rise to the occasion and play the kind of defensive football needed to win. What does that mean, specifically? It doesn't mean State will completely shut down the Tigers, but I think the Pack will generate a turnover or two and slow C.J. Spiller down enough to limit him to a merely awesome 150ish yards. The probable return of Ray Michel to the interior of State's linebacking corps will bolster State's defensive attack. The Pack won't shut out the Tigers, but they'll build upon holding the Terrapins to 17 offensive points last week to limit the Tigers to 17-24 points. That'll be good enough to win.

3. Frankly, this is just what happens in the ACC: Clemson has everything to play for; State has virtually nothing to play for. In the ACC, that's a recipe for an upset if there ever was one. In a noon game, in Raleigh, and despite the fact that everything logically points to Clemson taking care of business, I think this is the perfect game for ACC teams to do what ACC teams do: exactly what you don't expect.

View the complete entry of "Three Reasons Why State WILL Beat Clemson"

Thursday, November 12, 2009

State bests Georgia State, 69-53


NCAA Basketball Stats

NCAA Basketball Stats

In a game that was in doubt at points in the second half, State used a decisive 18-5 run to put Georgia State away at the end, 69-53.

The Pack scored a ton of points from the line tonight as Georgia State poured on the aggression defensively. Their aggression yielded a lot of fouls and that put the Pack on the line often. State scored 26 points from the gimmie stripe on 35 attempts, compared to 6-12 shooting from Georgia State.

While Tracy Smith finished with a double-double (18 and 11), Dennis Horner, Julius Mays and Javier Gonzalez all turned in solid performances as well. Horner recorded a career-high 15 points on 6-10 shooting, Mays quietly recorded 16 points of his own mostly from the line, and Gonzalez recorded a "triple-eight": eight points, eight assists and eight rebounds.

Smith's double-double came in limited minutes. Tracy found himself in early foul trouble in the first half, picking up two fouls quickly. That put him on the bench for the latter portion of the first half. The foul woes continued in the second half, with Smith picking up his third only two minutes into the frame, putting him back on the bench for an extended period of time. Expect most teams throughout the season to attack Smith early and often to get him in foul trouble. It's no secret that State's offense flows through him. When he was on the bench, the offense clearly struggled, and teams will do everything they can to put State in that position all year.

Shooting was problematic, particularly from beyond the arc. State only hit three of their 16 three-point attempts and just 40 percent from the floor overall. However, State's perimeter defense was stout enough to limit Georgia State to the same 3-16 shooting from beyond the arc, effectively negating State's perimeter shooting woes.

A win is a win is a win, and as Sidney Lowe said in the postgame interview, you've got to get one before you can get two.

View the complete entry of "State bests Georgia State, 69-53"

In Soccer News...


(Original photo by Travis Long, courtesy the N&O)

#15 N.C. State scored a nice upset over rival #2 UNC in the first round of the ACC Men's Soccer Championships Wednesday night. The Pack won 1-0 in overtime following a scoreless regulation, besting the Heels 4-1 in penalty kicks.

Goalkeeper Christopher Widman not only stopped three of UNC's penalty-kick tries, but also scored a penalty-kick try himself on the Pack's third attempt.

Coach George Tarantini, a man of few words, said when asked about Widman taking one of the penalty kick tries, "We have our little routines." Translated, that means Widman and the other goalkeepers typically practice stopping penalty kicks against one another, meaning Widman had as much -- if not more -- practice taking them. He proved his mettle by netting his attempt.

The win puts State into the semis but more importantly galvanizes the success this team's enjoyed all season. A win against the second-ranked Heels means they can beat any team at any time, a huge confidence boost heading into the postseason.

In other soccer news, former N.C. State soccer great Roy Lassiter is up for inclusion into the National Soccer Hall of Fame. If inducted, he would be the second N.C. State alum to enter the Hall, following the inclusion of Tab Ramos.

View the complete entry of "In Soccer News..."

Tuesday, November 10, 2009



Another tournament, another title for the N.C. State Bass Fishing Team.

The North Carolina State University team of Kevin Beverley and Ben Dziwulski captured the FLW Collegiate Fishing Northern Regional Championship on Lake Norman Sunday. The pair caught their limit of six bass, which weighed in at a total 9 pounds, 6 ounces.

The tourney was hosted by the Town of Davidson and Davidson College, and weigh-in was on the Davidson Village Green Sunday afternoon.

Winning the Northern Regional Championship earned the Wolfpack team a $25,000 check for their school, a Ranger bass fishing boat, and a trip to the national championships in April in Knoxville.

I think to be fair they should just allow the other teams to fish with dynamite.

Because really, when the Bass Pack take to the water, everyone else is just fishing for second place.

View the complete entry of "WE F**KING OWNZ THE WATERZ BEETCHES!"

N.C. State Preview From ACC Sports Journal


Jim Young, Editor of the ACC Sports Journal, shot me an email to let me know their N.C. State basketball preview was up. It's good stuff and you should check it out here.

An interesting note in the email he sent: "Man, Julius Mays didn't pull any punches, did he?"

Referring to this quote:
“I won’t mention names, but we’ve had players who have been more about themselves, would rather score 30 points than N.C. State win the game,” Mays said. “We also had players trying to get other players to turn against the coach and get them on their page instead of Coach’s page. When you’ve got individuals like that, you can’t win.

“Now, with the young guys and the veterans that we have, we’re all on the same page with each other, and I feel like we can be a lot different.”
LOL, no, no he didn't.

But his quote gives credence to what we heard intimations of and saw glimpses of on the court last season: The players left over from the previous regime had a major beef with the new coaching staff and Sidney Lowe in particular, and went so far as to actively lobby the other players on the team to rebel against the leadership structure.

That's about as caustic a coaching/playing environment as one can imagine. It's no wonder this team seemed to have no direction or multiple personalities at times...there was a war being waged behind the scenes. And a team divided against itself cannot win, to borrow from some historical oratory.

Mays' comments give me optimism for this season, however, as I think we'll finally see a team all pulling in the same direction for once. We may not have the horses now to make a push for the conference title or even land in the top half of the conference, but I do think a .500 conference record is possible. If State can break even in the league and perhaps steal a nice out-of-conference win somewhere (and get some breaks along the way), an at-large NCAA berth is not out of the question in my mind.

View the complete entry of "N.C. State Preview From ACC Sports Journal"

Monday, November 9, 2009

State Gets It Done On Homecoming, 38-31


In a game equal parts excellent and maddening, State gets its first conference win of the season on homecoming against a struggling Maryland team, 38-31.

Willie Young intercepted a pass from Chris Turner on the game's first play and Michael Lemon's sack of backup Maryland quarterback Jamarr Robinson on the final play sealed the deal.

In betwixt those two outstanding plays from State's defensive ends were three Russell Wilson interceptions, a fumbled punt, questionable coaching decisions and boatloads of missed/poor tackling. But there was enough good to outweigh the bad -- three passing TDs and a rushing score from Russell Wilson, some solid pass protection and the defense holding a team under 300 total yards in what feels the first time in forever.

The record book don't ask how pretty it was -- just tell it either "W" or "L." State got to utter "W" for the first time since the Pitt game, and the team will take it.

View the complete entry of "State Gets It Done On Homecoming, 38-31"

Thursday, November 5, 2009

State 84, St. Pauls 42


GoPack.com link

So State kicked the pine tar out of a Division II opponent in a game that won't tell us too terribly much about the team. However, there were some notable performances:
  • Tracy Smith was his typical badass self. He went 9-for-11 and a perfect 3-for-3 at the free throw line for 21 points. The Macrowave does what The Macrowave wants, especially against teams without a player over 6'-6".
  • Scott Wood made his presence known in his first semi-real action...4-4 from three-point range before leaving the game in the second half with back spasms. The Eternal Pessimist in me fears that he'll be this generation's Ishua Benjamin -- peaking in his first game. (Just kidding--he'll be fine. I think.)
  • Dennis Horner certainly hoped for a stronger outing. He shot 2-for-10 and missed all six of his three-point attempts.
  • As a team, they still have some lingering bugaboos to work out, namely the 19 turnovers and the 14 offensive rebounds they surrendered to an undersized team.
Here's the box score:
Official Basketball Box Score
St. Paul's College vs NC State
11/05/09 7 pm at Raleigh, N.C. (Reynolds Coliseum)

VISITORS: St. Paul's College 0-0
00 Lassiter, Roger..... * 1-6 0-1 0-0 4 1 5 0 2 1 0 0 0 27
01 Leseur, George...... * 2-12 1-8 0-0 0 2 2 3 5 2 4 0 2 34
03 Williams, Kedrick... * 5-20 3-8 1-4 0 4 4 2 14 1 2 0 2 30
05 Rasoull, Ibn-Saeed.. * 3-14 0-2 4-6 1 4 5 4 10 0 5 0 0 34
15 McBeth, Quinton..... * 2-5 0-0 1-2 5 0 5 2 5 1 0 0 2 22
10 Johnson, Kwame...... 2-4 0-0 0-0 1 0 1 0 4 1 0 0 3 22
11 Church, Andrew...... 0-3 0-1 2-2 1 0 1 2 2 1 1 0 0 9
12 Davis, Jason........ 0-2 0-0 0-1 2 2 4 2 0 0 1 0 1 10
20 Reed, Johnny........ 0-2 0-1 0-0 0 2 2 1 0 0 1 0 0 11
42 Totten, Kendrell.... 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1
TEAM................ 5 5
Totals.............. 15-68 4-21 8-15 19 15 34 16 42 7 14 0 10 200

TOTAL FG% 1st Half: 9-34 26.5% 2nd Half: 6-34 17.6% Game: 22.1% DEADB
3-Pt. FG% 1st Half: 1-8 12.5% 2nd Half: 3-13 23.1% Game: 19.0% REBS
F Throw % 1st Half: 3-4 75.0% 2nd Half: 5-11 45.5% Game: 53.3% 2

10 Gonzalez, Javier.... * 2-3 1-2 0-1 0 5 5 2 5 6 3 0 4 17
15 Wood, Scott......... * 4-4 4-4 0-0 1 1 2 0 12 0 0 0 1 22
21 Williams, C.J....... * 2-4 0-1 0-0 0 1 1 0 4 5 1 0 0 15
23 Smith, Tracy........ * 9-11 0-0 3-3 2 2 4 2 21 0 0 3 1 21
31 Horner, Dennis...... * 2-10 0-6 3-4 1 3 4 1 7 2 1 1 0 23
04 Kufuor, Enrico...... 0-1 0-1 2-2 0 5 5 0 2 0 3 0 1 8
05 Painter, DeShawn.... 4-6 0-1 0-1 1 5 6 2 8 1 1 0 1 20
12 Degand, Farnold..... 2-3 0-1 2-2 1 5 6 3 6 4 1 0 0 17
14 Vandenberg, Jordan.. 3-5 0-0 0-0 1 4 5 1 6 3 5 1 0 13
22 Davis, Josh......... 1-3 0-0 1-2 2 1 3 0 3 1 1 0 0 9
24 Mays, Julius........ 1-2 1-2 0-0 0 1 1 1 3 1 0 0 1 23
30 Thomas, Johnny...... 2-3 0-1 0-0 1 0 1 0 4 1 3 0 0 9
40 Obi-Gwacham, Kaycee. 1-1 1-1 0-0 0 3 3 1 3 0 0 1 0 3
TEAM................ 1 3 4
Totals.............. 33-56 7-20 11-15 11 39 50 13 84 24 19 6 9 200

TOTAL FG% 1st Half: 15-27 55.6% 2nd Half: 18-29 62.1% Game: 58.9% DEADB
3-Pt. FG% 1st Half: 6-12 50.0% 2nd Half: 1-8 12.5% Game: 35.0% REBS
F Throw % 1st Half: 8-10 80.0% 2nd Half: 3-5 60.0% Game: 73.3% 1

View the complete entry of "State 84, St. Pauls 42"

If You Aren't A Student Or Season Ticket Holder, Don't Bother Heading To Reynolds Tonight


...because you won't be admitted.

For State's only exhibition game of the season, held tonight at Reynolds Colisuem, only season ticket holders with vouchers and students with valid IDs will be admitted.

While not technically the first "real" game of the season, this is the first time folks will be able to see the new-look State take the court. That folks without season tickets will be turned away at the door is equal parts confusing, saddening and frustrating.

A good friend of mine debated me on the matter last night. His argument (a sound one) is that if a sizable percentage of season ticket holders and a sizable number of students show up for the game and you sell general admission tickets on top of that, you could run the risk of exceeding Reynolds' reduced capacity of ~9,500 and open the school up to all sorts of fire code and liability issues.

I get that. But couldn't that STILL occur if nearly all season ticket holders and a very large contingent of students decided to attend? It's not likely, but eliminating GA ticket sales DOESN'T do away with the potential for fire code and liability issues...it merely diminishes the likelihood.

So if the Wolfpack Club is banking on a less-than-capacity crowd comprised of season ticket holders and students, could they not come up with an effective way to allow entrance to those locals without season tickets that'd like to go? Surely the numbers of folks looking for GA tickets won't be that large...not so large as to prevent all three groups from attending. Why not charge $10 for GA tickets for the first 1,000 non-season ticket holders? I doubt more than 1,000 would be necessary, and that total would only consume a little over a 1/10th of the available space.

Personally, I can't afford season ticket but always I've enjoyed exhibition games in the past because the GA tickets allow someone like myself to take my son to a game fairly cheaply in better-than-I'll-ever-have seats. Tonight's ticketing scenario eliminates that possibility for folks like me.

And what message does it send that this exhibition is ONLY available to those of you willing to pony up cash for a year's worth of tickets? The ticket office may spin it as an "added benefit" to those season ticket holders, but for some folks out there, the execution feels more like neglecting the everyday fan to pander to the folks that can afford the special treatment.

In my opinion, NO game -- sans those games scheduled as closed scrimmages -- should be off-limits to ANY State fan for ANY reason. Wolfpack Nation -- by virtue of decades of mediocrity -- needs to value EVERY fan within its fanbase, not just the season ticket holders. If you want to give the season ticket holders a perk for ponying up a large sum of cash, great, give them a free cooler or t-shirt or ticket for a free pint of N.C. State ice cream. But DON'T let one man's perk become another man's punishment when he (or she) may want nothing more than to drop by Reynolds tonight after work and spend a few bucks to sit in Reynolds and remember the good times or just see his or her favorite team play on the cheap.

Building a "fence" to keep the non-season ticket holders "out" is just a bad idea...another in a long, long line.

View the complete entry of "If You Aren't A Student Or Season Ticket Holder, Don't Bother Heading To Reynolds Tonight"

Coach K: Fan Of The Jerk Out?


H/T to SFN for posting this video this morning, in which Coach K reveals that he's got a little Morris Day and The Time on his iPod:

Hmmm... Reckon K has a dude run up to him with a big mirror before each practice?

Can't blame the man for getting down with Morris Day. They brought it back in the day, and would be better than 99% of the sh*t that gets released today. Morris Day + Arsenio Hall Show = Early 90s YouTube goodness:

View the complete entry of "Coach K: Fan Of The Jerk Out?"

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Nerding Out At The Free Throw Line


What happens when you have one of the world's best engineering schools in the heart of Tobacco Road? You get studies like this: The Physics Of Free Throw Shooting.

Drs. Chau Tran and Larry Silverberg, mechanical and aerospace engineers at State, put together a study involving hundreds of thousands of three-dimensional computer simulations to determine the following:

1. "...you should aim for the back of the rim, leaving close to 5 centimeters – about 2 inches – between the ball and the back of the rim. According to the simulations, aiming for the center of the basket decreases the probabilities of a successful shot by almost 3 percent."

2. "...shooters should launch the shot with about three hertz of back spin. That translates to the ball making three complete backspinning revolutions before reaching the hoop."

3. "...the ball should be launched at 52 degrees to the horizontal. ...the shot should, at the highest point in its arc to the basket, be less than 2 inches below the top of the backboard."

Good stuff.

The interesting thing to me is that I seem to recall (perhaps it was an urban legend) that Everett Case once published a paper on free throw shooting that suggested the two-handed underhand technique employed by Rick Barry was the most effective method for shooting consistent free throws. If that's the case (and I couldn't find anything online to support it), it's interesting to see that all these many years later, folks at State are still trying to find the most effective way to score points at the charity stripe.

View the complete entry of "Nerding Out At The Free Throw Line"

ACC Roundtable: Week 10


Winfield Tufts (what, no Esquire?) of "From The Rumble Seat," Georgia Tech's representative of the SB Nation, is hosting this week's ACC Roundtable. Master Tufts unloaded on us with seven questions this week so he's going to make us work for the pageviews.

His questions and my answers follow.

1. Alright fellas, this is your turn to apologize to the Boston College Eagles who went to Hell and back and have now arrived as the 3rd team for the ACC (and only team in the Atlantic) to be bowl eligible. You know you were snickering in the preseason. Also, give a high five to Mark Herzlich for finishing his last treatment of chemo.

I will most definitely give Frank Spaziani and the folks at BC their due for keeping the ship afloat with nothing more than bubble gum, duct tape and spit. Like Dean Smith, I keep waiting for them to die but they just...won't...DIE. Kudos to them. And yes, Mark Herzlich deserves a big high five, some hugs and a gift basket of fruit for completing his cancer treatment. With any luck he'll be back on the field next season terrorizing the rest of the Atlantic and proving me wrong for a fourth year in a row.

2. An Orange Bowl victory over a Boise/TCU or an Orange Bowl victory over a Penn State/Cincy team - which means more for the conference? Is there even a difference?

I guess I'll rank the potential victories in order of most important to least:

1. Boise St.
2. TCU
3. Penn St.
4. Cincy

Boise St. and TCU were a toss up for the top spot. Both are highly ranked and media darlings. I went with Boise St. over TCU just because they have built more of a name over the last few years (beating OK on the last play of the game was a huge boost for their program) than has TCU, but to play spoiler to either of these teams would be huge.

I put Penn St. third because they're a traditional power and pretty highly ranked, but playing an ACC team in the Orange Bowl is a downgrade for them based on where they were projected to start the season. Penn St. making the Orange Bowl would almost be like a consolation BCS berth.

I put Cincy fourth because they don't have either the name or the track record to qualify as a "bump" for the league. Until Cincy wins a BCS bowl they're still a lesser commodity without tradition. Further, they lost to the ACC last season in the Orange Bowl. I don't see the ACC getting any brownie points for beating the same team in the same bowl in back-to-back years.

But let's hold our horses on Cincy even MAKING the Orange Bowl...they've still got Pitt sitting there at 4-0 in the league. If both teams make it through the rest of the conference slate undefeated, Pitt hosts Cincy on Dec. 5th for all the Big East marbles. And with Cincy quarterback Tony Pike nursing a bum arm, we could be asking if the ACC would get a boost defeating the Big East champion whose one loss came at the hands of one of the worst ACC teams (yeah, that would be N.C. State).

3. Enough with the CJ Spillers, the Christian Ponders, and the Jacory Harrises. We wanna talk defense. Who is the defensive POTY thus far in the ACC?

I think Vince Oghobaase from Duke deserves some serious consideration here. I know the higher profile teams like Virginia Techs and Miamis have rosters loaded with speed and nastiness, but Duke's won three games in a row in conference due in large part to the play of their defense. Yeah, Duke can score some points and Thad Lewis is a great quarterback and David Cutcliffe coached the Manning brothers (if only I had a nickel for everytime that's been said locally), but ever since the second half of the State game where Duke's defense shut down an offense that just posted 500+ yards and 42 points in Tallahassee, Duke has played very solid defensively. Oghobaase is 15th in the league in tackles for loss (Jason Worilds at VT is 21st), which is pretty solid for a defensive tackle. I'm a believer in winning the battles up front, and Vince has been getting it done of late. If we want to crown Duke as the surprise team thus far this season, he -- and the rest of the defense behind him -- deserves a great deal of credit. You can't win with just offense...lord knows State's tried.

4. Recently, Bird compared the Atlantic to the Big 12 North. Is this a fair comparison? The Coastal is currently 8-2 against the Atlantic. There are still 8 interdivision games left. Can the Atlantic redeem itself this season?

I can live with that comparison (kudos to Bill Snyder, by the way, returning to KSU and getting them to the top of the Big 12 North scrap heap for the time being in just one season). To answer the second question, a flat "No" should suffice.

5. Tailgating is essential to all things football. In Atlanta, the tailgating game of choice is cornhole. What is your game of choice to pass the time?

As the N.C. State representative, I feel obligated to speak out on the issue of tailgating restrictions, specifically those placed on our fanbase by the school's administration. For those unaware, a tragic shooting occurred in one of the parking lots adjacent to the stadium involving two persons who never had tickets nor planned on attending the game. In response, our administration instituted a four-hour tailgating restriction, a knee-jerk reaction if there ever was one given that it didn't address the core issue -- folks without tickets with no intention of going to the game showing up just to party. The way it should've been addressed is increased security patrolling the lots. But no, the administration took the easy, cheaper way out by punishing ALL game-goers by limiting the tailgating time. This response, of course, does NOTHING to limit binge drinking BEFORE folks hit the parking lots, nor does it improve the security presence in the parking lots.

The limiting of tailgating time as a response to incidents of drunken rowdiness seems to be a growing trend at schools and pro sports alike, given it was recently addressed in this column by Rick Reilly. Like most decisions made by administrators these days -- particularly here at dysfunctional N.C. State -- the easy way out is preferred to actually WORKING the problem to find a solution that benefits the greater good. (*middle finger to State's administration*)

But yeah, cornhole rocks (when we have time to play it).

6. Let's cut to the chase. There are two kinds of people: sheep and sharks. Sharks are winners and they don't look back 'cause they don't have necks. Necks are for sheep. Is your team full of sharks or is your team full of sheep?

What about swimming sheep with kickass fangs and their necks in traction? Nevermind. We're sheep, particularly on the defensive side. I direct you to this post by fellow State blogger Steven who hosted a clip of a State defender PULLING UP on a ballcarrier to AVOID making a tackle. That's as sheepish as it gets.

7. Create a cocktail in the spirit of your school and explain it to us. Non-edible ingredients are allowed and encouraged.

I gotta go with the Bloody Mary. They're red and nine times out of 10, they look like shit, taste like shit and smell like shit...but that 10th time, boy, everything comes together perfectly and it's the best tasting shit you've ever had. (41-10!)

View the complete entry of "ACC Roundtable: Week 10"