Category Archives: Duke Blue Devils

For the Duke haters…

Nolan Smith and the Blue Devils are on their way.

Editor’s Note: Here is Sunday’s column as it was written, before Duke continued its cruise to its fourth national title. This for all of those who were rooting against the inevitable.

It’s the Final Four, so anything can happen. We all know that much. Grainy highlights of Jimmy V and Ed Pinkney remind us of that often at this time of year. But given The Herald’s early-ish deadlines on Saturday night, this sports section — as you can clearly see — does not have the result of the national semifinal between Duke and West Virginia, which did not finish until after our presstime.

Chances are, faithful reader, you already know what happened. And you’ve probably heard the game broken down in myriad ways. And you’ve likely digested all of the postgame comments.

So what you find here in this space is obviously not an analysis of what transpired between the Blue Devils and Mountaineers, no dissection of Duke’s striking ability to snare offensive rebounds that went for second-chance 3-pointers or its towering inside presence and physical, tough-as-nails defense.

There won’t be anything in here about the Devils again finding a way to make an opponent’s best player rather ineffective, in this case, Da’Sean Butler. Or their vast experience taking control in the game’s final 7 minutes, where a close game gets stretched to a 7-10-point lead as Duke does every single little thing right down the stretch to close out the victory.

None of that is in here. Honestly, you don’t need it. It was readily apparent on the TV screen you watched last night.

But what you will find here is a completely unbiased portrait of a brilliant season by the Duke Blue Devils, a season in which a team without ready-made NBA talent used three go-to scorers, outstanding rebounding, a game-changing, legendary coach and a grinding style that belies their true nature — that of wily, cagey and deft precision basketball in the most important of moments.

It’s truly amazing how Duke does it, by…um…by…hold on a minute…I’ll get it out…

It’s truly amazing how Duke does it, by…um…by…

Oh, forget it. Yeah, yeah, yeah, we all know how good Duke is. We all know why they’re good. You don’t need to hear it again. And I don’t need to write it again.

Got that? Got it? Yeah, I respect Duke. Respect the heck out of them. They win the right way. Play a brand of basketball not at all unlike any of the other three teams in the Final Four. That’s why they’re there. That style of basketball won this year, and the last four standing are a testament to it.

And Duke’s the best of them.

And the Devils will win it all.

Doesn’t mean someone, possibly someone like me even, has to like it.

The questions is always out there: can a person report on his school’s rival, watch it and write about it in an unbiased, completely objective manner for his or her readers?

You bet he can. Some have been doing it for over a decade. Even longer. It’s out there, people, believe me. I did it, in fact, a little higher up in this here column. You know, just to prove a point.

But I ain’t doing it now. Not anymore.

Because I know what most North Carolina or N.C. State or Wake Forest fans are thinking this morning.

And this is for them.

Take it, leave it, ball it up or line the birdcage with it, I don’t really care right now.

Because I know they don’t want Duke to win the national championship. Not now.

Not ever.

Yeah, I said it.

And meant it.

Maybe that makes them bad people.

Tough. ’Cause they don’t mind.

I went to the University of North Carolina, and I’m a Tar Heels fan. Can’t lie. That’s my school. And that means some things to some of us.

And one of those things is to root against Duke.

Every time.

Especially now.

Not every Heels’ fan or UNC grad is like this. They wish well for the state of North Carolina, or for the added prestige of the Atlantic Coast Conference.

That’s fine.

But I ain’t talking about them.

You can, though. Criticize them all you want, Dukies. Rub your national title in their faces and wax poetic about the winning ways of Coach K, Singler, Scheyer and Smith.

Go ahead and dance on the Tar Heels’ grave and say they are sore losers.

You’re right.

And so were some of you last year.

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Filed under ACC, Alex Podlogar, Coach K, College Basketball, Designated Hitter, Duke Blue Devils, Final Four, NCAA Tournament, Sports, Sports columns, The Sanford Herald, UNC Tar Heels

The PODcast — More Southern Lee Saga and Akeem Richmond’s NIT run

Sanford's Akeem Richmond is playing well at Rhode Island.

http://media.podhoster.com/podlogar/2010.03.26-08.59.01-dedit.mp3″

Part 1

Sanford’s sports talk radio show, with Alex Podlogar and Ryan Sarda of The Sanford Herald, break down the problems with the posting of Southern Lee’s head football coaching job before going into Akeem Richmond’s run with Rhode Island in the NIT.

Part II

http://podlogar.podhoster.com/download/1782/17343/2010.03.26-09.30.00-d.mp3″

The guys break down the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament, take a look at the Bobcats’ improving playoff chances and finally, Ryan settles on his new favorite MLB team.

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Filed under Akeem Richmond, Alex Podlogar, Charlotte Bobcats, College Basketball, Designated Hitter, Duke Blue Devils, Eric Puryear, Final Four, Major League Baseball, North Carolina Tar Heels, Prep sports, Rhode Island, Southern Lee High School, Sports, Sports columns, The Podcast, The Sanford Herald, UNC Tar Heels, WDCC 90.5 FM

Barack-etology 2010

In case you missed any of the 786,214 viewings of this on ESPN, here you go.

I post this only because I have nearly the same Final Four as the president. I went with Kentucky, Duke, Kansas — and Kansas State. Just don’t see Syracuse getting there, and I guess I’m going with the Big 12 to be as stout as everyone says.

My only real upsets? Utah State and Siena to meet in the second round to further grease Duke’s path to the Final Four.

I have Kansas beating Kentucky 74-71 in the final.

And now, back to my countdown until MLB’s Opening Day…

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Filed under Alex Podlogar, Barack Obama, College Basketball, Designated Hitter, Duke Blue Devils, Major League Baseball, Sports, Sports columns, The Sanford Herald

The PODcast, March 12

http://media.podhoster.com/podlogar/2010.03.12-08.59.01-sedit.mp3″ http://media.podhoster.com/podlogar/2010.03.12-09.30.00-s.mp3″

Part 1 — Sanford’s best sports talk radio show breaks down the opening rounds of the ACC Tournament.

Part II — Sanford’s best sports talk show chats about Tiger Woods’ possible return to The Masters, some Bobcats basketball scheduling while continuing Ryan’s quest to find a new MLB team.

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Playing the percentages with the ACC Tournament

There are some who look at the 2010 ACC Tournament and see a flat-out free-for-all.

And there are others who see two teams at the top and a bunch of also-rans.

A year ago, I tried to break down the ACC Tournament by assigning percentages for the likelihood of each team winning the whole shebang. Maybe it didn’t take real foresight to pick Duke to win in 2009, but I also had Florida State with a real chance of winning (the Seminoles were runners-up) and made it clear that I didn’t think eventual national champion North Carolina would get past the second day.

So with a little bit of credibility still kicking around, let’s assess the prospects for each team in the Granddaddy of all conference tournaments.

The Single-Digit Club

Yes, it’s true that there is only one team in the entire conference with a losing record. One might even think that means any of these 12 teams is capable of ripping off four straight for a miraculous ACC run.

Careful there, Rameses. Step back from the ledge.

Has anyone seen Sylven in art class lately?

No. 9 seed Virginia Cavaliers

They have the worst record overall, but in this weird ACC season, they’re rank as a 9 seed.

That said, with Sylven Landesberg figuring college has little to do with class, the losers of 10 straight are clearly the most unlikely of teams to reverse their losing ways. 0 percent chance of winning

Miami basketball? Why bother?

No. 12 seed Miami Hurricanes

They have 18 wins, including over the likes of Nova, South Carolina and Minnesota. OK, so the Nova win looks impressive, until you realize the Nova is for Nova Southeastern, not Villanova. The Canes get Wake Forest in the opening round today, and it wouldn’t be out of the question for them to win the game. But they’re more likely to play well for 35 minutes and then fall apart at the end. 2 percent

Not the year Marcus Ginyard was looking for.

No. 10 seed North Carolina

Yes, Tar Heels, N.C. State has a better chance at winning this tournament than you do. Georgia Tech blasted UNC in their second meeting, the Heels are hurt and soft and Maryland would loom in the quarterfinals. Buh-bye. 5 percent

What happens if the Pack gets blown away in the opening round?

No. 11 seed N.C. State

OK, not much of a better chance there, Pack. Still, the draw isn’t that bad for State. The Pack opens with up-and-down Clemson, then would face Florida State in the quarters. Not likely, but not terrible either. 6 percent

Can Joe Trapani muscle BC on a run?

No. 8 Boston College

The Eagles should thump Virginia, and then would get a third crack at Duke. At home, BC played Duke tough, and with four guys who average in double figures, a bad shooting day and some foul trouble could get BC into the upset picture. 9 percent

Second-Class Citizens

Shouldn't Derrick Favors and Georgia Tech be a lot better than they are?

No. 7 seed Georgia Tech

Had UNC had a decent year, this would have been the conference’s clear choice for Underachiever of the Year. But man, they have talent. And lost only by two at Maryland, the quarterfinal opponent. 12 percent

Which Wake team will show up?

No. 5 seed Wake Forest

The Deacs should just be a lot better than they’ve played. That four-game skid before the win at home over Clemson in the finale leaves a bad taste in the mouth. But Ishmael Smith can be unguardable at times, and the frontcourt is solid — or at least should be. 14 percent

Solomon Alabi is supposed to be a big-time NBA prospect. OK then.

No. 3 seed Florida State

I don’t like the Clemson matchup at all in a potential quarterfinal meeting, and aside from beating Marquette in November and maybe Virginia Tech, who has FSU beaten? 15 percent

Can Malcolm Delaney go on a Randolph Childress-like run?

No. 4 seed Virginia Tech

One big concern for the Hokies? They don’t blow anybody out (unless you count N.C. State). Not UNC-G (59-46), not Campbell (71-60), and not even Delaware (74-66, OT) or Iowa (70-64). Their ACC wins have only come by an average of 8.4 points. By comparison, Duke has won by 16.1 points in its ACC wins. Remember, this isn’t a great conference this season. 16 percent

The Cream

Demontez Stitt and the Tigers could be primed for a run.

No. 6 seed Clemson

Don’t sleep on N.C. State, but after beating FSU twice this season, the Tigers should get to the semifinals without much trouble. They split with Maryland, even scoring 79 points on the Terps in College Park in a loss. Maybe the Tigers aren’t a great team. But this is a good draw to make a run. 19 percent

Greivis Vasquez may be the best player on the floor this weekend.

No. 2 seed Maryland

Perhaps the hottest team entering the tournament, the Terps have the confidence of having beaten Duke in a well-played game (though it was at home). Clemson looms as a tough test in the semifinals, though Georgia Tech could pose a problem as early as Friday. But the Terps are balanced and tend to have the best player on the floor in Greivis Vasquez. 25 percent

The Winner

Stay away from foul trouble, shoot at least 44 percent from the field, and another title is yours, Mr. Singler.

Duke

Duh.

This is the Blue Devils’ annual, personal playground. And none of their potential matchups before the finals — BC, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest or Miami — pose any real threat. Unless one of the Big Three is in early foul trouble and they have a bad shooting day, the Blue Devils will win this tournament.

It’s just what they do. 50 percent.

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Filed under ACC, ACC Tournament, Alex Podlogar, Boston College, Clemson Tigers, College Basketball, Designated Hitter, Duke Blue Devils, Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, Maryland Terrapins, N.C. State Wolfpack, North Carolina Tar Heels, Sports, Sports columns, The Sanford Herald, UNC Tar Heels, Virginia Cavaliers, Virginia Tech Hokies, Wake Forest

The PODcast Returns

http://media.podhoster.com/podlogar/2010.03.05-08.59.22-sedit.mp3″ http://media.podhoster.com/podlogar/2010.03.05-09.30.00-s.mp3″

With the show broken into two parts, the guys break down the Panthers’ recent moves, chat about the top seeds for the NCAA Tournament, run through the ACC standings, hit the Bobcats and begin the search for Ryan’s new baseball team.

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The UNC Tragedy

Sadly, this could go on a lot longer.

But the Feed John Henson line is funny.

But I must say this, or I’ll lose my General Alumni Association card:

“The Tar Heels won their second national championship in five years just last season.”

That makes me feel better — at least until Duke loses in the NCAA Tournament.

I hope.

I’m also hoping the Heels’ next line of recruits won’t so much resemble the “hype not matching actual talent” likes of players like Chris Burgess and Shavlik Randolph.

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Filed under Alex Podlogar, College Basketball, Designated Hitter, Duke Blue Devils, NCAA Tournament, North Carolina Tar Heels, Sports, Sports columns, The Sanford Herald, UNC Tar Heels