Archive for the ‘ACC/Atlantic Coast Conference Men’s Basketball’ Category

Duke assassinates another quality opponet

November 26, 2005

Of course Duke will lose “a” game this year, probably three or four of them, that’s what the three point shot and the shot clock does, give weaker opponets a chance to knock of clearly stronger opponets if the stars align correctly during a game, but Duke’s methodical and fearless handling of Memphis in the NIT/National Inivitational Tournament’s championship game makes you wonder.

To Memphis’ credit, they hung tough, giving The Dookies all they wanted for the entire game, it was tied 67-67 with 41 seconds to go in the game before Duke qietly and without even touching the gas slipped into their fifth-gear overdive and before Memphis knew what happened, Duke cut their heart out of their chest and handed it to them on a platter, in the most effecient and cold-blooded manner possible, another basketball “assassination” at the hands of The Hassassin’s Guild Of Durham N.C. otherwise known as the Duke men’s basketball team.

Since Coach K came to the program they’ve taken on his personality more than any team in America has assumed the personality of their coach -ever- with the possible exception of Dean Smith when he was coaching ‘Carolina and Coach K has the mindset of the penultamet assassin, someone who studies their opponent endlessly before striking, someone who trains himself in mind and body endlessly too so that neither body nor mind will fail, someone who trains their soul to be fearless by accepting things as they are and not as he would wish them to be, someone who although a good Catholic is the embodiment of a true Zen master-warrior crossed with a ninjitsu-master-of-the-night as well, some and some-team that simply knows and accepts their position in life and carries out their assigned tasks with emotionless, piano-wire-garotte-around-the-throat effeciency.

Such coolness under pressure, especually when down however many points during a game before seemingly slipping into a higher gear at the last possible moment and winning has lead to very quiet whispers never published in the mainstream sports media about some Duke players in the past possibly “shaving points”. I’ve said it before in previous blogs and will say it again here: nothing could be further from the truth! Coach K is simply too honest and too honorable a man and too knowledgable a coach for him to tolerate even a hint of any player at any point in any game not giving 100% of their abilities to the team effort. Considering that Duke’s bench, even their third-string bench, is stronger than most other teams’ starting five, even the mere thought of any Duke player trying to negatively influence the outcome of a game by giving less than 100% at all times is simply impossible, simply impossible.

Duke’s one of those teams that everyone loves to hate and for sometimes good reason, with supreme confidence often does come the parallel perception of supreme arrogance and hubris as well, and Duke’s rope-a-dope resilency and not kicking into their shadow-fifth-gear-overdrive quick enough has indeed cost them some games, but, and I’m not a Duke alum or anything close, Duke shouldn’t be castigated because they have the best and most talented active coach in men’s college basketball nor because they continually re-load their roster with the nation’s top high school talent year after year.

Just remember “the law of balance” and that with success of their men’s basketball team, comes “the balance” of Duke’s men’s football team, a team which couldn’t beat most JV high school football teams even after being spotted nine-and-a-half points and pray that the current coach of said team, Ted Root, finds some sort of job after Duke’s football season mercifully comes to an end while the Duke’s glory basketball team quietly takes the focus off the misery gridiron team until next year at least.

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Watch out NBA, Duke just might apply for membership

November 18, 2005

Duke’s mugging of otherwise respectable Seton Hall the other night was one of those “wows”, Duke leading something like 33-5 before Coach K started subbing heavy and letting The Pirates claw their way back to a somewhat respectable, what, 30-some point loss instead of what could have easily been a 40 or 50 point one?

Duke’s good, VERY good, they were ranked #1 in all the pre-season polls but damn, folks, they could have beaten The NBA’s Lakers the other night, Wow.

Just don’t bet the farm on the first Duke-Carolina game.

Even though UNC is first defending national champion team not to be even ranked in the pre-season polls, ever, as any native knows when it comes to the Duke-Carolina game, all bets are off, all depth charts are off, all everything else is off except a knife fight in a telephone booth mentality on the parts of both respective squads.

Will the Dookies go undefeated this year? Nah, no way, there’s simply too much parody, well, I meant to actually say “parity” but “parody” works almost as well, in men’s college basketball for Duke to run the table, and it will be a mouse of a team who has 2-3 hot hands dropping 3-point shots and playing silly-great defense that will beat them, not an elephant of a team whom they match up more or less closer against.

But it finally is ACC basketball season and it will be a great, great season, even with the expansion of the league to 12 teams which will not dillutting the strength of the conference will make the games and the usual outcomes a little to a lot more unpredictable, more schizophrenic to say the least.

My dark horse pick this season: The Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets . . . outmanned and outclassed by all but 2-3 of the ACC teams, they simply have the hottest and best X’s-and-O’s coach in Paul Hewitt and The Jackets will definitely pull a couple of world-class upsets this season, watch out for them.

Actually, it’s about ACC Men’s Soccer, but…

November 14, 2005

…but, they had the ACC Men’s Championship game on Fox Sports Net (local cable channel 50 in Apex) which was also being held at the SAS Soccer Park in Cary so you know I had to watch it.

While I never played any organized team sports growing up as a kid, not with the crippling rheumatoid arthritis I was born with, I did play some sandlot soccer as a kid in the 60’s when Pele’ was king and have been more than a casual fan of “real football” ever since.

The championship game today was between Duke and Carolina and when it’s the two of them, they could be playing tiddleywinks for all they care and there still would be blood on the floor afterwards.

I don’t know what it was today, but both teams seemed to languish on the field, to only half-jog instead of use their young-leg team speed to run around like the field like madman as they (and most college-level teams) are want to do, like they both had ankled weights around their collective leggings that never came off, so of course at the end of regulation it was a Zero-Zero tie and after two overtime periods also produced nada, it came down to that invention of modern attention span requirements, “the shootout”.

I’m of mixed feeling regarding the shootout, where each team takes five turns in turn shooting the ball one-on-one, five different players taking a shot each against their opposing team’s goalie and whoever leads at the end of five frames wins the shootout and therefor the game, but of course since it was Duke and Carolina playing it was 4-4 at the end of the regulation shootout and went into true sudden death at that point, Duke ultimately winning.

For purists of which I consider myself a half of one, soccer purist that is, the shootout is abombination of the true spirit of soccer, which is the greater wave of combined team effort over a longggggg game time should win and usually does.

However, all but purists love the shootout, since it takes the usual number of realistic scoring chances, say, uuyyhhhh, five per game during the course of sixty or ninety or however many minutes depending, and compresses those scoring chances into a head-on mano-el’-mano contest, okay, manio-el’-mano (pardon if my Espanol is rusty) for-all-the-marbles contest that takes less than 5 minutes as opposed to more or less two hours to complete. 99% of the fans love it, the TV production people love it, it is exciting to watch even if you are a purist, and for someone who’s never seen soccer in their life watching an exciting shootout for a championship just might spark the interest in watching the sport the rest of the world loves best, which is a good thing, never a ban thing.