Now that it’s March, all of these nasty dunks and back-breaking 3-pointers have an increased level of “Ommph” added to them. Granted, a dunk is still worth two points and the 3-pointers are worth, well, I’ll let you figure that out. But, as the Big Dance gets closer and closer, which goes hand-in-hand with teams fighting for a spot in tournament, the intensity level goes up a few notches. Because of that, what would be simply a nasty dunk in February or January appears to have some added emphasis as conference tournaments and Big Dances move in for their temporary takeover of our lives.
And all of that is a very good thing.
Take, for instance, Trevor Booker. With Clemson working hard to ensure their bubble doesn’t pop, a game against Georgia Tech, a team in a similar position, means a little more. And dunks like the one Booker provided resonate a little louder:
This, my friends, is Duke basketball’s attempt to “hip their program up and sell it to the young folk,” if I may borrow from David Cross. It’s a not a bad video, although, it seems to be a subconscious acknowledgment from the program that they understand the public perception of Duke outside of ESPN and Durham. They also understand they are second in popularity when it comes to being the favorite program of the state they reside in. That designation obviously belongs to the National Champions from the campus down the street. The video also highlights Duke’s NBA-friendly approach, while using folks like Grant Hill and Shane Battier as examples.
Oh, there’s some floor-slapping going on as well — would you expect anything less?
Of course, this could all be a recruiting pitch to mega-recruit, John Wall, a player every coach in America seems to covet. Even Coach K.
Something should be said for finishing the season the way you started, especially if that consists of starting and finishing in first place in the rankings. The team that started as the preseason number one finished the regular season back at the top of the ranking pile and as you can see in the above video, Danny Green couldn’t be happier about it. Of course, if Carolina loses in the upcoming ACC Tournament, they will yield the regained spot to a team like Pittsburgh, but that hasn’t happened yet.
With that in mind, the Tar Heels, a team Rick Pitino feels is the most talented in the land, should be commended on their consistency, because, as the following graph shows, the Heels were consistently better than their opponents, says the Master of the Obvious.
Back to the video: Danny Green is, in fact, dancing because it was Senior Day for the Tar Heels yesterday, and after beating Duke to close their regular season, I’m sure Green wanted to give the Carolina faithful a little something to remember him by. The dance he does should work just fine.
It’s senior night around college basketball this week. Time for the universities to show gratitude and respect to the players that stuck around and played out their eligibility. Such was the case at Maryland last night. One of the players the Terrapins were honoring was Dave Neal, a bit player forward who has improved his contributions during his final season. Normally, students are honored with a framed jersey and perhaps some flowers for their parents. Dave Neal, however, received an even better treat from Wake Forest’s Jeff Teague: a nasty, tea bag-style dunk that left College Park stunned.
Adding insult to nasty facial dunks was the fact Wake Forest won the road game, placing the Terrapins directly on the tournament bubble. Dave Neal notwithstanding, but does a team with a below .500 record in conference play deserve a tournament bid? Yes, the Terps beat North Carolina and then proceeded to lose to Duke and Wake; although, they buffered those loses with a win at North Carolina State.
Does 18-11 (7-8) put Maryland in the tournament? Or will they have to rely on a strong ACC Tournament showing to make the Big Dance?
It was a busy day for the Scheyer face in Blacksburg, VA, when Duke traveled — Scheyer too — to Virginia Tech, looking for another road win. The Blue Devils got the victory, 72-65, but it was not without some controversy. First, there was the elbow-to-the-throat incident that went uncalled or, apparently, unnoticed until the highlights started making the rounds. Then, with Duke up by three points with under 30 seconds to play, the traveling wizard who allows Duke players to blatantly walk with no repercussions showed his head again.
Jon Scheyer was the center of that attention, too.
Duke went into hostile territory and with the help of Gerald Henderson, the Blue Devils dispatched a Maryland Terrapins team that had just beaten North Carolina. Henderson led his team with 19 points and a nasty, nasty tomahawk jam in the second half (45 second mark). It was a big win for the Blue Devils as they ended a three-game ACC road losing streak. The game also featured a crushing pick set by Maryland center Dave Neal on Duke’s Nolan Smith. In fact, the pick was so brutal, it’s become a livelysportsblogmeme this morning. Apparently, the sports world likes watch Duke players suffer — especially when they win.
A couple of weeks ago, a video of Corey Maggette traveling six times in one play hit the tubes, helping reinforce just how poorly the traveling rule is enforced. Thanks to Duke’s game against Wake Forest this weekend, we now know where Maggette learned to walk with the ball with such flair: Duke University. In the above video, we have freshman guard Elliot Williams displaying his “How to Walk in a Basketball Game and Get Away With It” skills he undoubtedly learned during his limited tenure with Coach K. However, Williams actually two-ups Maggette by getting away with what looks like 12 extra steps.
Maggette, for his efforts, only got away with six.
Maybe there’s something in the way Coach K teaches the switching of pivot feet so it hypnotizes the officials into not seeing it, because no other explanation seems to fit.
Update: Video of the press conference after the jump.
After beating NC State last night — 89-80 — the Tar Heels coach lost his decorum for a second and let everyone in the press room know what he thought about his team’s ability to execute full-court pressure correctly. After a “dad-gum” or two, Williams brought out the big guns — word-wise, anyway:
“We stink at [full-court pressing],” Williams said. “I’m not the brightest guy in the world, but I’m not going to continue playing full-court press, and every dad-gum time we do it, they lay it up and get a wide open shot.”
The reporter followed up by asking: “Why do you think they stink at it, as you say, especially considering the fact that there are a lot of veteran guys out there?”
Williams’ response was as follows: “If I knew the answer to that,” Williams said, “do you still think we’d be (expletive) stinking?”