If we were Dick Vitale - and boy are we glad we're not - we'd being going
wacko about now. Can't you just see him, alone in his hotel room, doing
his shtick? Nah. But it's a funny image nonetheless.
There's a lot to be wild about on Saturday in the ACC. Aside from the
Duke-Wake matchup (dealt with separately as always), UNC-UConn should be
Correction: earlier we relocated the game to Storrs. It's in Chapel Hill.
Should be a wonderful matchup. It'll be the biggest test of Sean May's
career, with UConn's Okafor patrolling the lane. We'd just like to pause
to say a few words about Sean May. We have a lot of fun with our opponents
at times, and Sean May gets cracks about his weight, but after watching him for
several games this year, we really admire the kid, and we don't mean just his
game. He seems to be a really solid person. He's mastered his
fundamentals, something his dad, Scott (Indiana, 75) no doubt helped him with
enormously. We read his comments about last season with Mad Matt, and he
clearly separated the coach from the rest of Doherty's personality, which was
We like watching him play - he shoots well, rebounds well, moves surprisingly
well for a guy his size, and has possibly the best outlet pass in the game
today. To an extent, it's a lost art. Guys like Bill Russell and Wes
Unseld could rebound and throw an outlet in one motion, which would be the
ultimate quick strike. May doesn't do that (no one else does either), but
he has a gorgeous two-handed outlet pass which really accelerates UNC's
offense. The last guy we can think of who had an outlet pass which was
particularly striking was Gene Banks, who could throw a one-handed outlet pass
that would go pretty damn close to the scoreboard before dropping into someone's
hands for a layup. It was really fun to watch him do that.
Anyway, we just think May is a fun player and a good kid. He's got an NBA
future, though he may have to make a decision about it after this season, and it
may involve his feet. We understand he doesn't always practice with everyone
else and spends time on a bike instead. It's rehab, true, but you have to wonder
what he'll think in April. Does he risk it?
Jawad Willliams will play with a broken nose, but so will UConn's Ben Gordon,
who broke his against Georgetown. Gordon has been shooting extremely well,
50% from three point range, and is a real force. Hard to know how he'll do
in a mask, though. As for Jawad, presumably his headaches have eased, and
he could be expected to play better than he did at Maryland.
Raymond Felton is a tremendous advantage for UNC. We've never been impressed
with Taliek Brown. Rashad McCants could, if he were smart, view this as a
breakout game: shut down Ben Gordon defensively and do well offensively,
and people will shut up about his personality/character questions.
Depth is a big issue. UConn gets to bring Luol Deng's old high school
teammate Charlie Villanueva off the bench, where UNC comes in with Melvin Scott
and either Williams or David Noel.. Scott's not a train wreck, but no one pushed
him to put his name in the draft in high school, either.
Should be an extremely fast game. UConn gets the advantage for depth and
probably defense; UNC for superior point guard play and playing in the Dean
Dome. We're hesitant to pick - we really felt UNC would win at Maryland,
but obviously that didn't happen - but we'll go with UConn.
Don't look now, but despite the incessant criticism from State fans, the Pack
is in third place, and could probably hold onto it for a while, too. But
wait: the new-look Clemson Tigers are in town Saturday. What's
new? Well, mental toughness is radically improved. This will sound
like hyperbole, but Oliver Purnell, in our view, is a serious candidate at this
point for coach of the year. The record doesn't show it, but Clemson is
dramatically improved over last year. So...State? Mmmmm....this is a tough
one. Clemson is going to bag someone soon, meaning an upper echelon
team. This one will be close, and we could make an argument either
Here's an idea for a drinking game: every time Gary Williams refers to his
recent title, take a shot. Shouldn't take too long to get smashed.
Maryland goes to Hotlanta for one of the more interesting matchups of the
season. Given that Maryland is still somewhat up and down, and Tech might
still be a bit surly after UNC's wax job, we'll take the Yellow Jackets.
They don't call it the Thriller Dome for nothing!
When you look at the bottom of the ACC standings, there's a jumble, two teams
at 1-1, three at 1-2, then, all alone in the cellar, Virginia. Pete, what the
Just a couple of years ago, Virginia was our second favorite team to watch in
the conference. They were fast, they were overachieving, they were periodically
just spectacular. Now, they're often slow and underachieving, and the
pressure is building on Gillen. They could really easily fall to 2-8 or
worse, and if that happens, he's toast. So who do they bring in?
If we're Virginia, we definitely talk to Kevin Stallings. He
appreciates academics, he's done a fine job at Vanderbilt, and he's in many ways
a perfect fit. They could go after The Watchmaker, Bill Carmody, but
that's not a natural fit.
Here's an idea: we've heard that while Mike Brey is generally happy at
Notre Dame, he misses the East Coast. For a guy who annually picks off top
talent in D.C. and Baltimore, where could he be better situated than UVa?
Toss in the new gym, and it seems like a perfect fit.
Bobby Gonzalez is another guy we think would do well there, but since he was
Gillen's assistant, he might not be crazy about replacing his old boss.
But Brey - man, he'd be just perfect for that job - and vice-versa.
They'd have to get over the Duke thing, but Duke had to get over the State thing
when they hired Vic Bubas, and they managed. Big whoop.