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  • shwineka 12:30 pm on November 21, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: 2K Sports Classic, , , , , , , , ,   

    Coaches Vs. Cancer Wrap-Up: ‘Cuse Hands Heels First Loss of Season 

    (photo by Jack McIssac – Getty)

    After a nail-biter against Ohio State, one could almost see it coming. The way UNC sloppily handled its double-digit lead Thursday didn’t bode well for the contest on Friday against a Syracuse team that is seemingly firing on all cylinders. The Heels lost 87-71.

    Carolina’s turnovers are starting to become a broken record, 19 this time, and ball security seems to be their biggest weakness. Syracuse scored more than 20 points off those turnovers, but it wasn’t until the second half that the game got out of hand. UNC’s defense kept them in the game in the first half, creating some turnovers of its own and  helping the Heels to a three-point halftime lead.

    In the second half, two different teams showed up than had played in the first. UNC, whose offense hadn’t been very effective all night, suddenly forgot how to play D as well. Syracuse became an unstoppable force, hitting 10 of it’s first 14 shots in the half and going on a 22-1 run that effectively won the game. UNC made a late charge to bring it within eight, but it was a short-lived rally.

    Sometimes you hear coaches say that it’d be good for their team to get a loss, so what good will come of this?

    How about just the sting of a blowout loss? The Heels haven’t had a loss like this since the 2008 Final Four loss to Kansas, which ended 84-66. Last year’s team lost four games by a total of 16 points combined. This year’s team equaled that in one game. Pride can be a great motivator.

    The parts are all there — and I’m sure Roy hadn’t spent too much time on playing against a zone like Syracuse’s — so this loss may sting now, but it will be something to build on. And with the Heels non-conference schedule, they better get building.

     
  • shwineka 2:21 pm on November 18, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: 2K Sports Classic, Buckeyes, , , Dallas Lauderdale, David Lighty, , , , James Madison, JMU, John Diebler, , Kyle Madsen, madison square garden, , OSU, Player of the year, , Thad Matta, , , , WIlliam Buford   

    Trees vs. Bees: UNC vs. Ohio State Preview 

    Tomorrow under the blazing lights of Madison Square Garden, Carolina will get its first test of the season against  No. 15 Ohio State in the 2K Sports Classic.

    The matchup will be tricky as the Heels are a frontcourt-heavy team, and Ohio State is guard-laden — star guard-laden.

    The Buckeyes’ point guard, in case you hadn’t heard of him, is Evan Turner, and he might challenge for National Player of the Year. If you get a chance — which if you read this blog, you probably will tomorrow night — you should watch this guy play. At 6’7″, he’s OSU’s point guard and fifth tallest player. He chalked up a triple double in the Buckeyes’ first game of the season, with 14 points, 17 rebounds and 10 assists, and followed it up with 24 points and 17 rebounds against James Madison last Thursday. As you probably inferred from that stat line, the guy is active on the glass, and once he gets a defensive rebound the ball is consequently in the hands of  OSU’s point guard, making the outlet pass a threat.

    Other than Turner, they’ve got David Lighty, William Buford and John Diebler, who are all 6’5″ or 6’6″, play guard and log starter’s minutes. After watching the James Madison game, it appears Turner and Lighty look to drive first, but are certainly not shy about popping a trey. Diebler and Buford seemed more perimeter oriented. As a team, they don’t take a ton of threes, but don’t leave them open because they can shoot them at a good percentage.

    Sounds like a pretty dangerous team right?

    Here’s where the matchup gets interesting. Of the four players taller than Turner (6’8″ and up), only two of them play significant minutes. At 6’9″, Kyle Madsen has been starting and last year’s starting center, 6’8″ Dallas Lauderdale, has been coming off the bench while he recovers from a broken bone in his hand. Against JMU, Madsen played 19 minutes and Lauderdale 13. OSU doesn’t really depend on its post play.

    Carolina, however, does.

    It’s widely accepted that UNC’s frontcourt is certainly the deepest and possibly the most talented in the nation. It will be interesting to see how Thad Matta decides to defend the Heels. If he plays man-to-man, mismatches will result out the wookie, allowing the likes of Deon Thompson, Ed Davis, Tyler Zeller and John Henson to dominate down low. I’m guessing he’ll play some kind of zone, if not for the whole game, at least large portions of it. This would challenge UNC’s guards in getting the ball inside and also require them to make plays they might not normally make.

    The thing I could see hurting the Buckeyes is foul trouble. Their top six players, maybe seven, are talented enough to play with the Heels, but after that, I’m not so sure they have the depth. Another observation, is that the Bucks’ best player is also one of their tallest on the floor many times. If OSU decides to match up size-wise, Turner would end up banging down low more often than not, possibly tiring him out.

    Prediction: OSU’s shooting will suffer because of Carolina’s size on defense. UNC will win the rebounding, not often giving up more than one shot. Evan Turner will have 20 points and 11 rebounds, but his efforts will be in vain. Carolina is too deep and by the time the game’s over, Turner is worn out and his teammates are frustrated because they couldn’t get their offense going.

    Final Score: UNC 82 OSU 70

     
  • shwineka 4:23 pm on November 13, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: 2K Sports Classic, , Austin Peay, , Cal State Northridge, , , Cole Aldrich, Connecticut, , Fairleigh Dickinson, Florida Gulf Coast, Georgetown, Greg Monroe, Hofstra, Jay Wright, , , , Kemba Walker, , master of your domain, , Mississippi State, Morehead State, Penn State, Pennsylvania, , Purdue, Rider, Storrs, , Tennessee, , Top 10, , Tulane, UConn, , , UNC Greensboro, Villanova, William & Mary   

    Official College Basketball Opening Night 

    2009-ncaa-bracket

    Unless you’re one of the lucky fans whose team is playing in the 2K Sports Classic Benefiting Coaches vs. Cancer — as per us at The Rafters — then tonight begins the best four and a half months of the year.

    And unless you are a Master of your Domain (DVR), you’re going to have to miss some of the action as many teams are playing at the same time.

    SCHEDULE SNAFU:

    Six Top 10 teams are playing overlapping games tonight. Kentucky (5)– perhaps one of the most anticipated debuts — plays at 6:30 p.m., while Michigan State (2), Villanova (6), Purdue (7) and Duke (8) play at 7 p.m. To top it off, the preseason No. 1 Kansas plays at 8 p.m., further complicating things  for the second half of the 7 o’clockers.

    As an ACC junkie, and Tar Heel alumnus, naturally I’ll be glued to the Duke game “just to see if they lose.” It’s amazing how many Duke games I watch under that pretense. I’ll also watch the first half of the first half of Kentucky, because I desperately want the Calipari experiment to fail.

    But what about during breaks in the despised Durhamites’ matchup?

    Of course, when there are multiple games on, it’s inconceivable that one would watch commercials. Here’s my hierarchy of channel flippage for tonight. (We ordered the college hoops package, so yes, be jealous. Or order it, too!) If No. 1 is at commerical, I proceed down the list until I find a game.

    6:30 p.m.

    1. Kentucky vs. Morehead St.

    7:00 p.m.

    1. Duke vs. UNC Greensboro – For Obvious Reasons
    2. Kentucky vs. Morehead St. – I told you I want him to fail!
    3. Michigan State vs. Florida Gulf Coast – Love Kalin Lucas
    4. Purdue vs. Cal State Northridge – Is it me, or is the Big 10 scary this year?
    5. Villanova vs. Fairleigh Dickinson – Will Jay Wright continue to wear pinstripes for an entire season!?

    7:30 p.m.

    Otherwise same as above:

    5. UConn vs. William and Mary – Down year in Storrs?
    6. Penn State vs. Pennsylvania – Hopefully I won’t make it down this far
    7. Villanova vs. Fairleigh Dickinson – Just not that interested for some reason

    8:00 p.m.

    1. Duke vs. UNC Greensboro – Still anticipating failure!
    2. Kentucky vs. Morehead St. – See above
    3. Kansas vs. Hofstra – Are they really THAT good?
    4. Clemson vs. Presbyterian – ACC with a capital A!
    5. Michican State vs. Florida Gulf Coast – Remember when UNC beat them twice last year?
    6. Purdue vs. Cal State Northridge – Again, I hope I don’t make it down this far.
    7. UConn vs. William and Mary – Kemba Walker is fast

    9:00 p.m. and on

    1. Kansas vs. Hofstra – I will never forgive you, Cole Aldrich
    2. Clemson vs. Presbyterian – Can Trevor Booker carry you guys?
    3. UConn vs. William and Mary – W&M has a nice campus
    4. Georgetown vs. Tulane – Greg Monroe should be beastmode
    5. Tenneessee vs. Austin Peay – It rhymes!
    6. Mississippi State vs. Rider – Blocks, blocks and more blocks
     
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