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Thursday, February 26, 2009

Wake 85, State 78


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Twenty-eight and 18 -- James Johnson accounted for a third of Wake's points and nearly half of their rebounds. He was a one-man wrecking crew that State had no answer for.

(Continues)

And yet, State was never out of this game until the final moments. It looked bleak at one point in the first half when Wake jumped out to a 15-point lead, but the Pack kept battling and cut the halftime margin to eight. Two quick buckets to start the second half cut the lead to four right out of the gate, and you knew from that point forward it was going to be a game the entire way home.

State did a tremendous job valuing the ball this game, committing only eight turnovers. There have been times this year when State hit the eight TO mark before the midway point of the first half. Excellent, excellent work from the Pack in that regard.

But when Sidney closes a door, the rest of the team opens a window, it seems. Turnovers in check, the Pack just could not gain any sort of traction in the rebounding or free throw rate arenas. The Deacs out-rebounded the Pack by 15 (42-27) and doubled the Pack's number of trips to the line, 22 to 11 (granted, a good number of Wake's attempts came at the end in the Pack's attempt to get back in the game).

Beyond Johnson's heroics for the Deacs, Ish Smith drove two daggers into State's bid for an upset late in the game. With just over six minutes to go and the Pack down by six, State looked like it was going to hold the Deacs to an empty possession before Smith drained a fall-away three at the end of the shot clock to push the lead back to nine. And with the Pack down only five with only a minute remaining, Smith drove the lane and dished an alley-oop dunk to Johnson. Two huge momentum-sustaining plays in the face of the Pack's relentless attack to get back in the game.

State was led by Tracy Smith's 18 and kept alive later in the game by Farnold Degand's drives to the bucket that netted him 12 points on the night, but there was little else to write home about from the rest of the squad. Fells, consumed with keeping Jeff Teague in check -- just 12 points tonight on 3 of 2 shooting -- could never get going on the offensive end of the floor, finishing with eight. Brandon Costner finished with 10, and Ben McCauley shot the ball well from the floor (6 of 9) but missed his only foul shot to finish with 12 points. A total of 30 points from the leadership core of the team isn't going to get it done against a top-15 team on their court.

In one sense, this was a winnable game, and it was there for the taking if the Pack could've rebounded better and converted some close looks at the basket. On the other hand, given where this team is at on its growth arc, there's not much shame to be had losing by seven to a team in their house that gave Duke everything they could handle in Cameron. Sidney played the percentages, banking on Wake faltering if Teague were once again (relatively) neutralized, but Wake -- Johnson and Smith, in particular -- responded this time around to the challenge. A tip of the hat to them.

Now the challenge becomes winning two winnable games at home with a 7-9, or even 8-8, conference record still possible.


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TIMMAH!


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Tim Clark does in Tiger, 4 and 2!


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A look at Wake Forest, again


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Rank and Records NCST
WAKE
RPI#90
#17
Strength of Schedule#87
#55
Overall15-10
20-5
Conference5-7
7-5
Home13-3
12-1
Away2-7
5-4
Top 251-5
4-1
RPI Top 502-7
5-2


They say revenge is a dish best served cold. Tonight, Wake will be looking to serve up a big ol' plate of it for the Wolfpack in Winston-Salem.

(Continues)

It's been rough sledding of late for the Deacs. After starting the season perfect en route to a #1 ranking, the Deacs have since lost five of their last nine, including their most recent loss, a 101-91 loss to the Blue Devils in Cameron.

The Deacs have faltered from their defensive prowess a bit lately. At the beginning of the year they were shutting everyone down like it was nothing. Good offensive teams looked horrid against them. Lately, though, their dominant defense has struggled for consistency, and it's showed in the W/L column.

Speaking of defense, the Pack used a variety of them in the win earlier in the season. It's tough to think of a defensive set they didn't use. Sidney cracked upon the Jimmy V playbook a bit and threw some unusual schemes that did exactly what they were supposed to: force a young team to slow down on offense and think. Thinking -- instead of attacking instinctively -- is poison to an explosive offense like Wake's.

It worked then, but they'll be ready for it now. So the challenge becomes figuring out a way to pull the same trick on the same team twice. Fool me once, shame on you...fool me twice, uh, you can fool me but we won't get fooled again, or something like that.

Regardless of what Wake does on offense this time around, the Pack's keys to success will likely fall where they did in the last meeting: offensive rebounding and getting to the free throw line as much as possible. If State can snag some boards on the offensive end and get some second-chance points, as well as some free points at the line, the Pack will go a long way in helping the chances of pulling off the road upset.

The Deacs may be ripe for one after the emotional loss on the road, but with revenge on their minds, I doubt the Deacs will be either looking back or looking past the Pack.

Tip is at 8:00 on the Raycom network.


View the complete entry of "A look at Wake Forest, again"

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Tim Clark To Face Some "Eldrick" Guy With A Bum Knee In 2nd Round Of Match Play Championship


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Eldrick? What the hell kind of name is that? Pssh.

Should be an easy "W" for Timmy.

...

What?

Tiger?

That's Tiger?!?

Oh, shit.

...

Yeah, hell of a draw for Tim in the Accenture Match Play Championship. As an eight seed, he defeated Retief Goosen in the first round to earn the dubious honor to face the PGA Tour's messiah in Day Two of his return to the tour after missing a year rehabbing from knee surgery.

Uh, no pressure there, Tim. The good news: No one will be paying one lick of attention to you, so swing free. Also, you faced him in 2007 so you have a better idea than most about how Tiger performs in match play.

The bad news? Tim's developed an knack of folding under pressure in the last few years. He holds the unfortunate distinction as the highest earning active pro never to have won on the tour, and has squandered final-day leads on at least a couple of occasions.

Everyone in the world expects Tim to get dispatched easily, so should he actually be in a position to win at the end, he would be toe-to-toe with the world's most intimidating player. Imagine the most pressure-filled position you've ever been in and multiply it by 1,000.

So good luck tomorrow, Tim. Should you beat Tiger, the world will be your oyster for the next 24 hours.

That, or you'll be the most hated man in golf for a day.

But hey, it'd be worth it.


View the complete entry of "Tim Clark To Face Some "Eldrick" Guy With A Bum Knee In 2nd Round Of Match Play Championship"

CollegeHoopsNet.com: State ACC's "Worst Nightmare" To Bubble Teams


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From CollegeHoopsNet.com, State represents the ACC's best chance among teams unlikely to make the NCAA tourney to run the table in their conference's tournament, thus robbing an at-large bid from a bubble team:

(Continues)

ACC
North Carolina State: With five teams looking like locks to go to the Dance, and four teams on the bubble, North Carolina State certainly looks like the best of the rest. The Wolfpack have knocked off Wake Forest and Miami (Fl.) in conference play this season, and played some other teams very close. Brandon Costner is difficult to defend and Ben McCauley has bounced back after a down year. Courtney Fells is the most potent scorer in the backcourt. NC State can shoot the ball, both inside and outside the arc, and it also offensive rebounds at a high rate. They also slow the pace of the game down and force teams into tough shots.
Now granted, this doesn't really mean a whole lot. It's basically saying out of the group of three teams at the absolute bottom of the league--State, Virginia and Georgia Tech--we have the best chance to win four games in four days. I also have a better chance of blocking a dunk from Shaquille O'Neal than do either Verne Troyer or Danny Devito.

So I don't expect you to get too amped up by this. But I think it's a bit ambitious to think that there are four bubble teams from the ACC at this point. There's no way Virginia Tech finishes above .500 in the league at 6-6 with Clemson, Duke, Carolina and FSU remaining, and the best Miami can do is finish at 8-8 with only one decent OOC win (Kentucky).

So adding Virginia Tech and Miami to the pile of need-to-win-the-tourney-to-get-in teams, I think it makes it a bit tougher to make that same argument. McClinton can keep you in any game and if he gets Randolph Childress hot for four games, Miami can win it. Virginia Tech is dangerous, but I think State would stand a better chance to go all the way than the Hokies who always seem to struggle in the ACC tournament.


View the complete entry of "CollegeHoopsNet.com: State ACC's "Worst Nightmare" To Bubble Teams"

The Stretch Run


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Just four games remain in the 2008-09 regular season. The older I get, the faster these seasons come and go.

I can't imagine how fast the seasons will fly by once I hit 45 or 50. No wonder our graybeards talk about the titles of '74 and '83 as though they happened just yesteryear. I'm sure it feels that way to them, just as 1996 seems like just a few years ago to me.

Nevertheless, there's the slate ahead. You can see what Ken Pomeroy's computers tell us will happen. It's a relatively safe prediction of 7-9, and one that -- had you offered it to State fans the day after the loss to VT that put State at 2-6 in-conference -- I'm sure most would have taken.

If we assume KenPom's predictions all hold true -- which they won't, but let's assume they do -- then here are your final regular season standings:

(Continues)

Rank
TeamConference Record
1 UNC
13-3
2 Wake11-5
3
Clemson
11-5
4
Duke11-5
5
BC
9-7
6
FSU
9-7
7
Miami8-8
8
NC State
7-9
9
Va Tech
6-10
10
Maryland6-10
11
UVa
4-12
12
GT
2-14

If this plays out as predicted, the Virginia Tech loss still hurts but not as much as perhaps some folks felt initially. It would have State at an 8-8 finish, tied for the 7th position in the conference with Miami, a five-spot improvement from last season's debacle.

In terms of the ACC tournament, though, the impact would not be felt. According to the ACC's tiebreaker policy (if I've deciphered it properly), State would have an identical W/L record against UNC, the same number of wins (one) but one more loss against the tied teams in second place (Wake, Clemson, Duke) and therefore be seeded 8th at the ACC tournament regardless.

Again, this all assumes that Ken's predictions all play out as his computers project.

Looking ahead, let's look at some best case/worse case scenarios for the Pack based on these predictions:

Absolute Best Case Scenario: We win out, of course. Doing so would put us at 9-7 in a three-way tie for 5th with BC and FSU, with both schools holding the tiebreaker over us in tourney seeding (BC's win against UNC earns them the nod over us in our tie). It would take a near miracle for this to occur -- Maryland and Boston College at home are loseable games, but defeating both Miami AND Wake Forest on the road is asking a lot of the basketball gods. It can be done, but only if all the pieces fall the right way (turnovers and rebounding numbers would have to improve dramatically). Chance of Success = 1 in 10

Highly Optimistic Scenario: Win three of four to finish 8-8. Win both home games against Maryland and Boston College, and steal one on the road, most likely at Miami. An 8-8 finish with a win over the 'Canes would put the Pack in sole possession of 7th place in the league. Chance of Success = 1 in 3

More Realistic But Given Our Track Record Still Cautiously Optimistic Scenario: Win the home games and lose the road games to finish 7-9 and in sole possession of 8th place in the league. Miami is going to be a really tough out in Jack McClinton's final game at Miami. He'll be so fired up that he'll be making them from the gigantic U. Chance of Success = 2 of 3

Pretty Darn Pessemistic Scenario: State loses three of their final four games. Either Tyrese Rice or Greivis Vasquez explode like they've shown they can do and/or State turns it over 50% of their possessions to lose both of their road games and one of the final two at home. A 6-10 finish would put the Pack either tied with Maryland for 10th (with a loss to BC) or in sole possession of 10th (with a loss to Maryland). Either way, not good. Chance of Failure = 1 in 3

Holy Hell The World Is Crashing Down Around Us, But Hey, We're State, This Is Just What Happens To Us Scenario: State loses all four games in an epic collapse not seen since, well, last year. Both Rice AND Vasquez go off and State never gets the ball past midcourt. State would finish 5-11, just one game ahead of Virginia in 10th place, and the ward drums would start to pound pretty loudly. Chance of The Apocolypse = 1 in 10

I can live with 7-9. I'd love 8-8. To finish 9-7 is asking too much, even for this dyed-in-the-wool fan.

But 6-10 or 5-11 finishes would be major disappointments and put a very sour taste in everyone's mouths at the end of the season, for the second year in a row.


View the complete entry of "The Stretch Run"

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

North Carolina Basketball Report, Episode 8


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Via the Dare Society blog

Steph Curry continues to lead the nation in scoring; Tyler Hansbrough inches closer to J.J. Redick's conference scoring mark.


View the complete entry of "North Carolina Basketball Report, Episode 8"

Sunday, February 22, 2009

State 72, UVa 67


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AP recap

The high points:
  • State's underclassmen stepped up huge, particularly C.J. Williams and Dennis Horner, who finished with 16 and 12 points, respectively. Williams was particularly efficient, scoring his 16 in just 17 minutes of action.

  • Courtney Fells was clutch at the end, sinking four key FTs and executing the end-of-game fouling strategy to perfection.

  • The Pack played well defensively and offensively at times, jumping out to 18 and 17-point leads twice in the game.

  • Virginia's primary weapon, Sylven Landesberg, was held relatively in check. He finished the game with 16--two below his average--on four of 14 shooting (28%).

The low points:
  • The Pack gave back both leads at the end of both halves. The Cavaliers cut the first half margin down to two right before Degand's half-ending drive and bucket. They also erased the Pack's 17-point lead down to three before Fells iced the game at the line. Different game, same story.

  • Javier Gonzalez finished the game with zero assists and seven turnovers. (He was perfect from the field, however. 4-4.)

  • State once again was out-rebounded and turned over more by an opponent.

(Continues)

Hey, a win is a win. Virginia came in red-hot after wins against Clemson and Virginia Tech and showed plenty of fight. Most teams, when down nearly 20, usually pack it in when on the road. That they didn't is a testament to the improvement of the Hoos this year.

It's also indicative of State's M.O. this year. Get up big and coast. I'm not sure what the root of it all is, or what Sid can say (or should not be saying) to right this trend. I can't fathom that Sid is purposefully "taking the air out of the ball," but the net effect is the same. There's something in this team that, when standing at the crossroads of a double-digit lead, refuses to go down the path of increasing said lead and instead meanders down the road of "Hey, let's make this thing close!"

There's a lot of ballyhoo on the monkey message boards about Sidney's end-of-game fouling strategy. I'll be honest, I've neither coached nor played organized ball long enough to know what the percentages are in that situation. It worked out this time, but the meltdown that would've occurred had it blown up in Sid's face--on top of surrendering the huge second-half lead--would've been epic in proportion. I'm inclined the agree with this line of thinking, from the post-game thread:
I really liked the second foul with 3.7 seconds. Excellent strategy.

But, the first foul was waaaaay tooooo early. Too many bad things can happen. Cannot inbounds the ball. Turn it over on the inbounds. Miss the free throws and allow the other team with win with a two or a three. Just too much can go wrong with that much time to play.

But, with 3.7 .... that's a great time to do it.........
It's an interesting strategy, for sure, and something taken straight from the V playbook.

On to Wake Forest in Winston-Salem.


View the complete entry of "State 72, UVa 67"

Friday, February 20, 2009

Uh, This Isn't How The Season Was Supposed To Start...


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Pack falls to Rhode Island 11-8 in first game of the year.

Oy.

Nothing like squandering a 5-0 lead at home to get the baseball season started, eh?

Wolfpack starter Jake Buchanan began the game as best as one can hope, retiring the first nine batters he faced. But the Rams scored two runs in the fourth, sixth and seventh innings, then went ahead for good with five runs in the eighth.

Up next is Xavier tomorrow at 3:00.


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A look at UVA


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Rank and Records UVA
NCST
RPI#84
#87
Strength of Schedule#1
#76
Overall9-13
14-10
Conference3-8
4-7
Home8-6
12-3
Away1-7
2-7
Top 251-5
1-5
RPI Top 501-8
2-7


The Trap Game. The most dreaded part of any schedule -- the game following or preceding a huge rivalry game that should be an easy "W."

This weekend's game against UVa is the very definition of a trap game: A game against a team perceived to be weak based on overall record but coming in on a two-game winning streak against highly ranked Clemson and a strong Virginia Tech squad. A game following an emotional, hard-fought game against your bitter rival.

(Continues)

Thankfully for the Pack, this game is at home and the Cavaliers have won only one game all year on the road (@GT). Conversely, the Pack has played well at home in recent weeks.

Still...something about this game scares the hell out of me. Sylvan Landesberg (who?) has been tearing it up lately from the guard position, scoring 23 and 19 against the Tigers and Hokies, respectively. They've been playing with three guards on the court and only turned the ball over 10 times against VT. Given that State likes to play "big" and likes to turn the ball over even more, those two elements just aren't jiving in the Pack's favor.

This game will be a big test for the Pack, mentally. Can they get off the mat after the Carolina loss and get up early on a team they should? Further, can they STAY up on a team they've gotten a lead against, putting the proverbial "foot on the throat" of the opponent? We saw some of that against Georgia Tech late in the game. Will we see it again?

The game tips at 1:00 and can be seen on Raycom TV.


View the complete entry of "A look at UVA"

Pack Nine Take The Field For The First Time Today At 3:00


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Season preview from GoPack.com

The Wolfpack baseball season kicks off officially today with a 3:00 start against the University of Rhode Island as part of a three-game weekend homestand. Xavier and Santa Clara round out the field.

I won't pretend to pass myself off as an expert of all things Wolfpack Baseball, 'cause I'm not. But it doesn't take a Bruce Winkworth to tell you that the Pack pitching staff will be missing a lot of firepower from the season before.

Clayton Shunick (7-6, 2.76), Eric Surkamp (5-3, 4.89) and Eryk McConnell (4-2, 4.85) are all gone from last year's fantastic rotation, and the Pack will be turning to relatively untested arms to fill their considerable void. The extent and rapidity that they do will likely determine just how far this team can go this season.

One notable member of the squad won't be taking the field today. Russell Wilson, who made quite a name for himself on the football field over the back half of the season but was injured in the bowl game against Rutgers, could miss a considerable chunk of the baseball season. He is scheduled to have a final MRI eight weeks after his injury, which would be the week of the 23rd, and even then he'll likely have some further recovery/evaluation time to log before seeing the diamond to ensure he's 100% healthy.

He's no doubt itching to get back out there, and Pack fans will be just as eager to see him take the field when that time comes.

The Doak is a wonderful place to take in a game on a sunny weekend day, so I encourage you to make it out that way at some point this year. There are great opportunities to see games against some top-notch ACC opponents this year, particularly toward the back end of the schedule: FSU, Carolina and Clemson all come to town for three-game sets in late April and early May. Hopefully all four squads will have something significant to play for heading into those series.


View the complete entry of "Pack Nine Take The Field For The First Time Today At 3:00"

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Carolina 89, State 80


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I'm conflicted.

(Continues)

On the one hand, we lost. To the Tar Heels. Again. That makes six in a row and 12 out of the last 13.

On the other hand, I thought we played really well for about 30 of the 40 minutes of the game. We shot over 54% from the field, and shot over 50% from three-point range. Our offensive efficiency was a very solid 115.9.

But even a shooting performance like that can't stop a team as talented as the Tar Heels on their home floor. Perhaps in the RBC Center, but not in the Dean Dome. The Heels shot 55% from the floor, 89% from the free throw line and only turned the ball over nine times while snagging six more rebounds than the Pack. Add it all up, and the Heels cranked out a blistering 129.0 offensive rating, averaging 1.29 points per possession. Straight-up deadly.

Gameballs go to sophomores Javi Gonzalez and Tracy Smith. Gonzalez continued his Lazarus act by scoring 18 to lead all scorers after being left for dead on the Pack bench just a couple weeks ago, including 16 in the first half. Smith picked up where Gonzalez left off in the second half, finishing with 15 points and eight boards.

"Where the hell where yous" go out to the Big Three: Costner, Fells and McCauley. Costner was clearly frustrated the entire game and finished with five turnovers, Fells never got in gear until it was too late and McCauley ended with nine points on 4-of-11 shooting with six rebounds. In Fells and McCauley's last trips to Chapel Hill (and possibly Costner's, as well), they can't be pleased with their level of play in this game, especially at the beginning of the second half when the game was still within reach.

But at the end of the night, I can sleep alright, I suppose. It sure beats the hell out of how the team performed a year ago. There's plenty of fight left in this team, and they brought it tonight. It was enough to get Roy to drop an F-bomb in the postgame presser.

Hey, I'll take it.

I think we saw that this eight-man rotation can put up some serious points when they play well. If Gonzalez continues to grow at the point, and the Pack works on their defensive intensity, I think 7-9, possibly 8-8, is still within reach for this team, which would be one hell of an accomplishment when it looked like two wins in the conference were about all we State fans could hope for.


View the complete entry of "Carolina 89, State 80"

A look at Carolina, again


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Rank and Records NCST
UNC
RPI#90
#3
Strength of Schedule#87
#18
Overall14-9
23-2
Conference4-6
9-2
Home12-3
11-1
Away2-6
7-1
Top 251-4
4-1
RPI Top 502-7
6-1

Last game's recap

This week's ACCNow podcast:


Well, it's that time...time to head over to Chapel Hill to face the Tar Heels for the second time this season.

No, Pack fans, the Heels -- despite your fervent prayers and demands -- have not fallen into the abyss. They're still here, and still kickin' ass.

(Continues)

There have been some changes to both lineups, though.

On the Wolfpack side, Sidney has gone so far as to say he's pared his roster down to an eight-man rotation. This would be in stark contrast to the two-squad "line change" philosophy he employed earlier in the year, but I think most agree it's a welcome change. The strong frontcourt lineup of Smith-Costner-McCauley has been working extremely well, of late.

The Tar Heels, on the other hand, welcome back Tyler Zeller to the lineup after the rehabilitation of his broken wrist suffered at the beginning of the year. He represents yet another future pro that the Heels can throw at the Pack, and he'll be eager to impress the home crowd in his return to the court.

The two weapons State will need to concern themselves with more, though, are Ty Lawson and Tyler (did Roy make a run on dudes whose name start with "T-Y" or what?) Hansbrough. Hansbrough, in particular, will be the bigger factor tonight. I know Lawson has been the ACC player of the year thusfar, and Tyler has had a down year by his standards, but there's something about #50 that just loves to put a pounding on State. Hopefully Sidney will double him in the post this game, unlike last, to prevent him any easy baskets.

I have no grand illusions about State pulling out the upset. The line is 20, and even at my most optimistic I wouldn't touch that spread (were I a gambler, which I'm not). But I do hope for a close game with plenty of fight from the Pack. Moral victories don't mean squat, but learning to fight against the best will prepare this team for the stretch run of tough contests remaining (at Wake, at Miami) and the ACC tourney in March.

Speaking of fighting, don't be surprised if Big Ben has a bit of a bull's eye on his chest tonight. Regardless of how you feel about the hard foul on Mike Copeland at the end of the first game, there's no doubt there was plenty of bad blood generated in that moment, and folks wearing baby blue -- both in the stands and on the court -- would love to see some retribution, in kind.

Long live rivalries!


View the complete entry of "A look at Carolina, again"

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

North Carolina Basketball Report, Episode 7


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The seventh N.C. Basketball Report from The Dare Society blog

Out of 19 N.C. basketball teams in Division 1, only five have a winning record. Ouch.


View the complete entry of "North Carolina Basketball Report, Episode 7"

"Wolfpack or Tar Heels," and an interview with its creator


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After State's loss to the Tar Heels in Chapel Hill two years ago, Rhett (State fan) and his wife (Tar Heel fan) broke the news to their young son, Locke. Knowing Locke was a huge State fan, Rhett decided to film his reaction.

What they ended up with ultimately became an internet hit. Thousands upon thousands of viewers empathized with the heartbreak in Locke's reaction and shared it with their friends. Who then shared it with their friends. Who then shared it with their friends...

Over 200,000 views later, it's still going strong on YouTube.

But the backstory here is that Locke's dad Rhett is not your average serendipitous YouTube success story. Rhett is, in fact, part of an internet comedy duo with childhood friend Link (the aptly named "Rhett and Link") whose Facebook Song has been viewed over 2,000,000 times. They release a regular bevy of videos featuring a variety of themes (one of their most recent collaborations featured guacamole, just in time for the Super Bowl), took a sponsored cross-country road trip on Alka-Seltzer's dime producing food-related videos, and host a live internet show every Thursday night from "an undisclosed location in Lillington, NC."

In short, Rhett and Link make their living as internet celebrities. What you call your diversion from work, they call their office. Not bad for a couple of N.C. State engineering graduates.

Which makes it all the more interesting that Locke, Rhett's son, has become somewhat of an internet celebrity in his own right.

I had a chance to speak with Rhett about the video, his son's internet fame at an early age and what it means to be a State fan:

(Continues)

I guess the first question is about how the video came about in the first place: Did you know Locke would react like that to hearing the news, hence the reason it was filmed, or was it just a spur of the moment thing where you happened to have the camera running at the time?
We knew he was passionate about the subject, but we were surprised at the intensity. So we grabbed the camera and encouraged him to vent. He rolled with it.
Once you filmed it, did you know you had something YouTube-worthy?
Not really, which is kind of funny, considering that Youtube is my business. I thought it would be something funny for friends and family, so I put it on my family youtube channel, which has since become inactive. The video was taken down twice for some reason, so I uploaded it to the RhettandLink channel.
Tell me about the initial reaction folks had to the video. It sounds like, based on the video description, that there was a measure of controversy about it from some of the viewers.
I think that a lot of non-sports fans thought it seemed like child abuse because Locke looked so tortured about the rivalry. But those folks are just ignorant of what it's like to be a State fan in NC.
I think you captured the essence of what it means to be a Wolfpack fan when you said "They're going to be really good...someday." Do you kind of feel a sense of conflicted pride and guilt in raising such a die hard Wolfpack fan?
Being a State fan is character building. It helps you deal with adversity in all sorts of areas of your life. If a kid can grow up as a State fan, he's pretty much ready for anything. So, no, I feel no guilt.
There's a moment where you can see on Locke's face the disappointment he feels when he learns that mommy is a Tar Heel...what did your wife think about the video, Locke's reaction when he found out mommy pulled for the other side, and about her son appearing in some of your other videos (like the Guacamole Song, most recently)?
We're always a little uneasy about putting our kids on the internet, but sometimes the stuff they do is just too good to keep to ourselves. My wife feels the same way.
At over 208,000 views and counting, are you surprised at the number of views its gotten to this point? What about the video do you think resonates with viewers far removed from the State/Carolina rivalry?
Once I thought about it, I wasn't surprised. I think that the majority of the views come from local people, but I do think that everyone who's on one side of a rivalry anywhere can relate.
The Alka Seltzer Great American Road Trip was a hit with internetainment viewers...what's the next great project on tap for Rhett and Link?
We are constantly working on something new. Most of the stuff coming out now is one video here or there. We hope to have a series that rivals the scale of the Road Trip in 2009. Stay tuned to find out.
You can subscribe to Rhett and Link's YouTube channel for the latest from the internet duo here.


View the complete entry of ""Wolfpack or Tar Heels," and an interview with its creator"

Monday, February 16, 2009

To my readers from Germany, I say "Hallo, Freunde!"


4 comments

If you scroll down the side of the sidebar to the right, you'll find an app entitled "Feedjit," which maps where visitors are viewing this site.

I took a peak at it today and, lo and behold, not one, not two...but THREE folks from Germany viewed YANCSSB in the last few hours.

I dare say that qualifies this site as an international sensation. I further feel qualified to make the gigantic leap and declare this site, YANCSSB, the web equivalent of David Hasselhoff. Germany is mine, Web America. Dibs.

So given that, I've decided to send out a progress report to my German friends on their native son, Markus Kuhn...and do so in their native tongue (courtesy BabelFish):

(Continues)

College-Student im 2. Jahr Markus Kuhn setzte sein starkes Spiel für den Satz diese letzte Fußballsaison fort, obwohl er seine spielende Zeit sah, etwas wegen des Hervortretens einiger anderer Spieler nach dem defensiven Grundsatz zu vermindern.

Er beendete das Jahr mit 11 Solo- Geräten und neun Vorlagen, einschließlich vier Geräte für Verlust. Er verwundet oben mit zwei Säcken, einschließlich ein sehr großes im Miami-Spiel, das sicher dem Gewinn half, zum der Wolfpack Schüssel geeignet zu erhalten.

It's stark, zum sich von Kuhn nicht vorzustellen fortzufahren, als Spieler auf dem Hochschulniveau zu wachsen. Er hat alle körperlichen Werkzeuge, die notwendig sind, im Haupthochschulfußball zu konkurrieren, aber, gegebenes he' relativer Neuling S.-A. zum Spiel, it' s verständlich, dem sein Spiel mehr benötigt, das damit er eine beginnende Rolle poliert, erwirbt.

Aber das Wolfpack kann Kuhn eher eher als später zurück am defensiven Gerät benötigen. Tiefe am defensiven Gerät, innerhalb der defensiven Linie, ist dünner als an den Enden, in denen Kuhn jetzt spielt. So don' t ist überrascht, um Kuhn zu sehen, mehr nächstes Jahr mitten in der Linie zu spielen.

Ich kann ein großes Jahr nächstes Jahr sein für Kuhn in seiner Juniorjahreszeit sehen. He' s blieb bis jetzt gesund und hat Ethik einer große Arbeit. There' s kein Grund, dass, mit diesem offseason verbrauchten zu denken, seinen Entwicklungsprozeß fortsetzend, dieses Kuhn can' t ist ein Hauptbeitragender in den letzten zwei Jahren seiner Karriere.

Dank für die Prüfung innen auf Kuhn und dem Wolfpack!


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Sunday, February 15, 2009

State 86, Ga. Tech 65


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Twenty one. One for every point in the margin of victory on Saturday. One for every turnover.

When was the last time a team dropped a 20-plus-point beatdown on a team in the ACC, on the road no less, turning the ball over 20 or more times?

(Continues)

Hey, if any team could deliver a win like that and any team could receive the beating, it would be the Pack and the Yellow Jackets.

The Pack have been doling out turnovers like candy from a parade float all year long, and the Jackets just flat-out suck offensively.

As unconventional as it may be, though, the Pack will take it. The Pack shot lights-out for the game, hitting 66.6% of their twos and 52.9% of their 17 attempted threes. Finishing the game with an effective FG% of 71.6% will do in most any team you face. All the more remarkable when you consider that Georgia Tech was holding their opponents below 45% eFG for the year heading into the game.

Tracy Smith was your stat sheet hero, posting a healthy 18 points and 10 boards, but I think if I were handing out gameballs on this one it would have to go to Javier Gonzalez. Coach Sidney Lowe has been insisting that he's been playing lights-out in practice and I think we saw plenty of glimpses of that against Tech. He was aggressive in pushing the ball up the court and in attacking the basket. His passes were laser crisp, and he did a good job getting the Pack into their halfcourt sets. Smith got more than one easy dunk as a result of some fantastic ball movement.

Yeah, he had two turnovers of the boneheaded variety, but I saw in this game what Lowe has been adamantly preaching last week. Not bad for a guy I was cursing up and down just months ago.

Now we have to see if he can take a strong performance Saturday and parlay it into a strong performance against a much more talented Tar Heels team on Wednesday. The Heels eeked out a win against Miami tonight, which means they'll be more ill than a kicked hornets nest and looking for someone to take it out on. Guess who drew the short straw.

Nevertheless, the Pack is playing its best basketball of the season thusfar, and faces an interesting psychological challenge ahead: A rivalry game on the road against a dominant team. A win would be extremely unlikely but a HUGE boost to the psyche. A blowout loss could be an equally huge blow to the psyche. If the more likely scenario occurs, can this team get back off the mat and fight its way into a strong finish down the stretch? An NIT bid would be a nice consolation prize for a team that looked dead and lost at one point this year.

We shall see as the final games of the conference season wind down.


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Friday, February 13, 2009

A look at Georgia Tech, again


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Rank and Records NCST
GT
RPI#101
#156
Strength of Schedule#82
#72
Overall13-9
10-13
Conference3-6
1-9
Home12-3
8-6
Away1-6
2-7
Top 251-4
1-2
RPI Top 502-8
1-5

Recap from the game in Raleigh.

It took Lowe-vertime to seal the deal in Raleigh back in January, but the Pack notched its first ACC victory of the year by staging a late-game rally to get to the bonus period.

Looking at the Four Factors chart above, you can see a Tech team that continues to slide further and further into their own muck. Effective FG percentage has been on a steady two-month decline, as have the offensive rebounding and free throw rates. That, along with an increasing turnover percentage, is just not how you conclude your season.

Without diverting too far from the game preview, it just seems tough to see how Hewitt will keep his employment up after next season. Derrick Favors has bought him one more year, but he'll be gone soon enough and I can't fathom that his presence will improve the Jackets enough to provide a secondary-recruiting bump large enough to further extend Hewitt's employment. Anything's possible, but as we saw how interjecting a star one-and-done-er can sometimes go wrong, the odds are stacked against Hewitt in 2010.

But that's neither here nor there with regards to Saturday's game.

It's this week's version of The Biggest Game Of The Season. The win against Wake Forest on Wednesday (that 10 years from now 35,000 people will claim to have witnessed in person) was a huge shot in the arm for a team looking to bounce back against a horrible loss against Virginia Tech on Sunday. Had State lost against Wake, the Georgia Tech game would be largely inconsequential, and outside of some pockets of extreme optimism, it still only matters in the sense that we could play ourselves into a better ACC Tournament seed and avoid missing out on the Big 10/ACC Challenge Beatdown.*

This game is also huge from a team growth standpoint because it's a conference road game against team State should beat. The Pack seems to have little difficulty getting up for big games at home, but sealing the deal on the road is another matter. It's also an opportunity to avoid playing down to an opponent. If the Pack can get on the gas, stay on it and KEEP on it for 40 minutes, the mental rewards for this team would be immense.

But the very reason State stands to gain so much is the very reason I'm worried. When the chips have been down with something to LOSE, not GAIN (as they were in the Wake game), the Pack has struggled.

The usual areas of concern apply: turnovers, rebounding, guard play, 40 minutes of solid basketball. The record's been skipping so long now that there are divots in the wax. Atlanta's a tough place to play, and this will be State's most challenging -- but potentially most rewarding -- game of the year.

*Thanks to Mike and Zac for keeping this sloppy writer in check.
(Continues)


View the complete entry of "A look at Georgia Tech, again"

A look at the 2009 football schedule


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ACC Now

Sept. 3 South Carolina
Sept. 12 Murray State
Sept. 19 Gardner-Webb
Sept. 26 Pittsburgh
Oct. 3 @ Wake Forest
Oct. 10 Duke
Oct. 17 @ Boston College
Oct. 24 bye
Oct. 31 @ Florida State
Nov. 7 Maryland
Nov. 14 Clemson
Nov. 21 @ Virginia Tech
Nov. 28 UNC

Perhaps the most notable item on this is what concludes it: a season-ending matchup with Carolina at Carter-Finley.

What a wonderful, wonderful site to behold: The front offices of the ACC acknowledging that this game -- not the Duke/Carolina matchup for the Victory Bell -- is the state's most significant college football game.

I have no idea if this trend will continue, but frankly, this game getting season-ending slotting has been long, long overdue.

(Continues)

Other items of note: like our blue brethren, two FCS opponents are on the schedule this year. What that means is that it will take seven wins this season, not six, to become bowl eligible.

State opens the year with a rematch against the South Carolina Gamecocks on a Thursday night in what should be one hell of a game. Then the two FCS cupcakes precede State's final out-of-conference game, a home tilt against Pittsburgh.

After that, it's conference matchups all the way home. Oct. 24th brings a nice respite before a brutal closing stretch that will decide State's fate.

But the big news again is that final game against Carolina. If the Pack meets expectations and the Heels do, too, then we all may get our football Christmas wish and see this game determine much more than simply in-state bragging rights.


View the complete entry of "A look at the 2009 football schedule"

Thursday, February 12, 2009

State upends Wake, 82-76


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Apparently, all the Pack needs is a little privacy.

With virtually no one watching except for some desperate folks on ACC Select, and parts of the Triangle subjected to static-laden 99.9 radio coverage on account of a telethon on the Pack's usual radio station, the Pack finally -- FINALLY -- nailed down a win in which they held a lead.

(Continues)

Now, I'm not one to gloat and say I told you so, but in the game preview yesterday I stated two reasons why I thought State had a chance: Wake's tendency to fold when challenged and their struggles away from home. Both came to fruition last night.

Sidney Lowe, for all the questions folks may have about his team management, knows his damn Xs and Os. Against a youthful Wake team, he threw everything in his defensive playbook to keep the Deacs off-balanced, including a healthy dose of Box-and-1 on Jeff Teague. Teague -- averaging nearly 21 points/game -- was blanketed by Courtney Fells and could only get off three shot attempts the whole game. He finished with 11 points -- 10 below his average -- with six of his points coming from the line.

With Teague neutralized and Al Fariq Aminu fouled out at the 12:00 mark in the second half, the Deacs fell behind by as much as 20 in the second half.

But as is State's M.O., they handed back nearly every bit from that point forth until the end of the game. Silly turnovers, lazy passing and a desire to sit on the lead instead of continuing to play the game aggressively all contributed to the evaporation of the lead. It seemed like Sunday afternoon all over again.

State found a leader when they needed it in this game, however, in Brandon Coster. He played like a man possessed in the final moments, scoring big buckets to slow the bleeding enough to finally let the Pack savor a big time win in a game they'd dominated at one point. Costner's 23 points led the team.

This was just what the doctor ordered heading into the second Georgia Tech game of the year. Win that one, and who knows. We've seen State get hot at times under coach Lowe. A repeat of the 2006-07 late February/early March would be a welcome site for thousands of sore eyes.


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To The Douchebag Wearing The #50 Carolina Jersey At The RBC Center Last Night...


4 comments

...way to represent, dawg.

Photobucket


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The Greatest Game Never Seen


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...except for the 17,000 or so of us lucky folks there to witness it in person.


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Wednesday, February 11, 2009

A look at Wake Forest


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Steven's preview at Section Six.

Conventional wisdom says we don't have a chance in hell tonight. I'm of a different opinion, for a couple of reasons:

(Continues)

  1. Wake Forest is a different team on the road than they are at home. Conversely, State is a better team at home than on the road. Wake's youth seems to struggle when away from their home fans, and the home crowd at the RBC Center tonight -- despite the debacle in Blacksburg on Sunday -- should be full and into it early.

  2. Wake Forest, I think again due to their youth, does not respond well to close games late. Virginia Tech, Georgia Tech and Miami all were within two points or leading at halftime before scoring a win. Wake will want to put State away early. State, on the other hand, has shown an uncanny ability to post leads against quality opponents -- sometimes HUGE leads -- before struggling down the stretch. If the Pack gets up big on Wake Forest, Jeff Teague may start pressing to do too much and get out of their gameplan. The X factor is whether State, if it has a lead, can keep it.


I'm more optimistic than most heading into this game. I was there in 2004 when we beat a Wake Forest team featuring Chris Paul, Eric Williams and Justin Gray ranked 16th in the country. It can be done.

The bigger question is how will the team respond to the Virginia Tech loss. That game felt eerily similar to the game against Maryland years ago when Damon Thornton, whistled for a technical, led to an epic collapse in College Park that carried over to the remainder of the season. Can State shake the funk from that OT loss? Tonight will tell us a lot.


View the complete entry of "A look at Wake Forest"

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

North Carolina Basketball Report, Episode 6


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Via the Dare Society blog

Among this week's items, Steph Curry's Davidson Wildcats fall to College of Charleston, breaking a 43-game SoCon winning streak.


View the complete entry of "North Carolina Basketball Report, Episode 6"

Virginia Tech recap


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That's it. That's all I really have to say about the game, frankly. Best you just move along. Seriously. Stop reading. Move along.


View the complete entry of "Virginia Tech recap"

Friday, February 6, 2009

A look at Virginia Tech


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For some unknown reason in the cosmos, there are certain schools that State either matches up well against or seems to struggle with. Georgia Tech football seems to be a team the Pack always, always struggles with. The same with Maryland in football.

One team that State has matched up with on the hardwood in recent years is the Virginia Tech Hokies. The Pack currently holds a six-game winning streak against Virginia Tech, including three wins last year. In fact, State has only lost to the Hokies once since they joined the ACC, their first meeting as conference foes.

(Continues)

There doesn't seem to be any rhyme or reason why the Pack -- even in down years -- matches up well the the Hokies. In 2006-07, State laid an absolute arse whoopin' on them in the RBC Center, shooting an insane 66.7% from the floor, including 73.3% from three-point range. It was one of the most dominant performances a Wolfpack team has ever put forth in recent memory.

If the trend is to continue this year, it will take some of that harmonious, offensive-stars-aligning mojo in heavy doses. The Hokies are once again a solid program, ranked 40th in the RPI and capable of beating any team in the country as their win over #1 Wake Forest proved.

They enter the game on a two-game losing streak, however, dropping close games to Clemson at home and a road game against Boston College.

Their two big weapons are A.D. Vassallo and Malcom Delany, who account for the vast bulk of their scoring. Vassallo is a big man who can shoot well from the perimeter, so he could pose some matchup problems for the Pack. And, of course, Delany will challenge our guards offensively and defensively.

So the Hokies have a chance to snap two streaks -- a two-gamer and a six-gamer. We'll see if history continues to favor the Pack and keep them going.


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Thursday, February 5, 2009

ESPN Ready To Share Running + Vomiting With The Rest Of The World


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ESPN planning to cover the Krispy Kreme Challenge

Gotta love the notoriety the Krispy Kreme Challenge is garnering after just a few years of existence. There's something morbidly curious about events like this -- ones that usually involve insane numbers of calories, much like the Coney Island Hot Dog Eating Competition. People just like to take part in and experience it, even if vicariously.

So ESPN is planning to send a film crew to Raleigh for this weekend's event, to be held at 9:30 on the streets of downtown Raleigh connecting the Belltower and Krispy Kreme.

(Continues)

The most intriguing thing, per the January 26 article:
"We're also toying with the thought of having one of our own reporters run the race," Harves said. He offered no hint as to who that reporter might be.
Awesome! This sounds like something right up the alley of one Scott "Message Boards" Van Pelt, who strikes me as the guy who never really graduated in spirit. He'd be all over this, for sure.

I'd love to see Chris Berman's fat ass try to make it...but he'd probably just plop down at the Krispy Kreme counter and hit on all the winded coeds that come through the door.

Mike Tirico might give it a go, but again, him hitting on winded coeds would be a problem.

Van Peezy seems like the most logical choice.

In any event, 5,038 fast, hungry sons-a-bitches will be flooding the streets of Raleigh, all in the name of a good cause. And ESPN will be there capturing every glorious moment!

(Any chance competitive running/eating replaces poker in the off-hours rotation?)


View the complete entry of "ESPN Ready To Share Running + Vomiting With The Rest Of The World"

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Signing Day Wrap Up


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GoPack.com press release:



I think it's a solid class. It's not a spectacular one, by any means, but one thing Tom O'Brien and recruiting coordinator Jerry Petercuskie have shown over the years is that they are very adept at finding skilled, hard-working kids that are "coachable."

Petercuskie had a fantastic quote in this piece from Tim Stevens that stuck with me this week:
"We want to coach football, not coach effort."
Exactly. Stars are great and indicative of tremendous potential, but O'Brien and company have done a fantastic job of looking past the stars and looking for work ethic.

Hard to believe that Spring Football is right around the corner.


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This week's N.C. Basketball Report from Dare Society


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Tuesday, February 3, 2009

State 87, Central 59


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If you look at the game flow chart above, you can see that the game was statistically over at the 7:08 mark.

You wouldn't know it based on the first three minutes of the game, in which the Pack fell behind 10-2 at home against the worst team in Division 1 basketball.

You also wouldn't know it watching State turn the ball over 20 times. After three solid games of protecting the basketball, sloppy, silly basketball made a return to Raleigh. State's point guard triumvirate of Julius Mays, Javier Gonzalez and Farnold Degand combined for 10, and Ben McCauley added another four just for good measure (peer pressure is a b*tch, I guess?).

I could try breaking this game down further. I won't. The team seemed as disinterested in playing it as I am right now in analyzing it and it showed in their slow start and sloppy play. A 28-point win is nice, but when you struggle to do so against the weakest team in America, it rings hollow.


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