Archives for posts with tag: Charlie Brown

North Carolina State fired its coach Mark Gottfried last week…yet the Wolfpack will continue to be guided by Gottfried for the rest of the current season.  Perhaps his office is really messy and he needs an entire month to box up his keepsakes?  There was once a time when NC State wasn’t just a player in the ACC, but royalty in Raleigh where the conference tournament was held for the first 13 years.  The Wolfpack won with Everett Case as their head coach and cut down the nets with Press Maravich in charge, before winning it all under Norman Sloan and Jim Valvano.  Perhaps they used up too much mojo during the 1983 National Championship run.  Perhaps they used even more karma in their improbable ACC Tournament run as a #6 seed in 1987.  That was their tenth title in 34 years-tying the Wolfpack with North Carolina.  In the last thirty years NC State has as many ACC Championships as Clemson.  Or Boston College.  Or UCLA.  That makes the natives restless and thus makes the seat as hot as their fire-engine red uniforms.

Gottfried guided NC State to a pair of Sweet Sixteens and four straight NCAA Tournament appearances before last winter’s 16-17 stumble.  This winter has been even more bitter with losses that include a 51-point drubbing in Chapel Hill and a come-from-ahead collapse against Syracuse.  But the endgame was a messy one in Raleigh…and now the school scrambles to find someone willing to compete in the shadows of the Smith Center and Cameron Indoor.  Who will be willing to put their career in the hands of an athletic department that pulled the rip-chord on a mostly successful regime?  North Carolina and Duke snicker at their poor country cousin.

Alma Mater Update- it’s NC State’s 30 years in the wilderness that makes other schools nervous.  Schools who have only had one great head coach in the history of the program.  Schools that have said coach nearing the final years of his career.  That admitted, the 2017 Orange are perhaps paying up on a market correction from last March’s run.  Three straight losses have SU on the back end of the bubble…likely needing to win two of three to finish the season.  That means a win against Duke or at Louisville.  When does lacrosse begin?

#24 Maryland (22-5, 10-4 Big Ten)- the Terps learned Monday that they’d be without the services of Michal Cekovsky for the rest of the year after the junior forward fractured his ankle in Sunday’s loss at #11 Wisconsin.  Bad news for a team that ranks ninth in the Big Ten in rebounding.  They’re one game behind the Badgers and Purdue…and in recent losses to each came up short on the boards.  The good news is Maryland isn’t completely unfamiliar with Ceko on the shelf:  the seven-footer had missed 10 of the team’s first 19 games this season.  This week they host streaking Minnesota (five straight wins) and slumping Iowa (three straight losses).  ESPN’s Joe Lunardi tickets the Terps to the Midwest Region as a #6 seed with a first round game against Middle Tennessee, while CBS’s Jerry Palm has the Terrapins a #6 in the West drawing Arkansas.

Georgetown (14-13, 5-9 Big East)- barring a run through conference tournament, Sunday’s loss at #20 Creighton likely seals the Hoyas’ NCAA tournament hopes.  Since five  14-loss schools made the field of 68 as at-large teams in 2011, nobody with 14 losses on Selection Sunday has had their shoulder tapped.  Three-point shooting has been an issue since league play began (they’re 9th in the Big East from outside the arc) and against the Bluejays poor perimeter production reared its ugly head again as they shot 3-for-22 from downtown.  There is hope as John Thompson III’s team plays its next three games against schools that are currently sub-500 in the league…before wrapping up the regular season with #2 in the nation Villanova.

#18 Virginia (18-9, 8-7 ACC)- four straight losses?  Back to back sub-50 scoring efforts for the first time since 1969?  Trouble in Charlottesville as the the Cavaliers careen down the conference standings.  If they had held on to that 14-point second half lead at Virginia Tech they would have moved into a first place tie;  instead four losses later UVa is tied for seventh.  They have to get London Perrantes on the right track-the senior is shooting 28% during the current slide (Monday’s 2-for-15 performance against Miami the exclamation point).  Moving forward, they could also use some frontcourt production as Isaiah Wilkins has just six double-digit scoring efforts in league play.  Center Jack Salt may be shooting 50% during the current skid, but the New Zealander has taken just six shots over 63 minutes.  ESPN has UVa a #5 seed in the Midwest with a first round game against UT-Arlington, while CBS has the Cavaliers seeded sixth in the south and Middle Tennessee State as their first round foe.  Both projections were released before Monday’s loss.

Virginia Tech (19-8, 8-7 ACC)- how does Buzz Williams not have a dry-cleaning sponsorship deal?  The guy makes Jimmy Patsos and Sean Miller seem absolutely arid by comparison.  Unfortunately, after sweating through his dress shirt against Louisville Williams had to put an orange t-shirt on, leading kids watching the Saturday afternoon game to believe that Charlie Brown on the Hokies’ sideline.  A drier Williams watched his team top Clemson 71-70 Tuesday thanks to Seth Allen’s three-pointer with three seconds left. Last year’s team exceeded expectations en route to the NIT.  This year?  I would not be shocked to see the Hokies playing not just in the NCAA’s, but advance to the second weekend.  Before Tuesday’s tilt, ESPN had the Hokies seeded 10th in the Midwest with a first round game against Oklahoma State while CBS has them facing VCU in the 8-9 game of the Midwest Regional.

George Mason (18-10, 8-7 Atlantic 10)- no shame in losing to conference-leading Dayton; what bothers coach Dave Paulsen was the team’s sluggish start in their loss to Rhode Island.  The road to the double-bye gets tougher, as they always have trouble with George Washington and everybody’s having trouble this year with VCU.

George Washington (14-13 , 6-8  Atlantic 10)- the Colonials might not be in contention for the coveted double-bye…but Sunday’s win over Duquesne does lift GW further away from the dreaded opening round.  A 2-2 finish is not out of the realm of possibility, and after an offseason of upheaval a 16-15 mark entering the conference tournament should be viewed as a success.

Howard (7-21, 4-9 MEAC)- after winning consecutive conference games for the first time all season, the Bison came back to earth in a 66-59 loss to North Carolina Central.  While shooting 33% from the field and 4-23 from three-point range is not ideal, there’s no shame in coming up short against the conference leaders.  The Eagles have won 12 straight to surge up the standings past Norfolk State. Gulp– that’s who the Bison have next.

American (6-21, 3-13 Patriot League)- the Eagles came up short on Senior Day to Holy Cross 69-54…which is not ideal but almost makes sense as the strength of this team is coach Mike Brennan’s underclassmen.  The top two scorers are freshman Sa’eed Nelson and Mark Gasperini…while sophomores Delante Jones and Lonnie Rivera have also made contributions.  AU is assured of playing in the first round;  they need two wins plus two losses by Army and Lafayette to have any hope of hosting their first round game.  Navy and Loyola, brace yourselves.

I hope everyone had a fun Halloween weekend– although it’s not the actual day until the 31st many use the weekend before as their opportunity to dress up as “Slutty (fill in the blank)”, wear presidential masks or go as “that guy/girl from the hot show, movie or commercial”. Just like last year, 2013 was not the October where “Slutty Hazmat Worker”, “James K. Polk” or “Tom Hanks’ 6 roles in Cloud Atlas” took off. And just like last year, when it came time for area schools to trick or treat–they didn’t score King Size Snickers bars. While this year’s kids in costumes (combined 13-11 record) looks a little bit better than last year (10-14)–they all scored rocks Halloween Weekend.

Alma Mater Update– no loss for the Orange during the bye weekend (and after the Georgia Tech loss, anything is possible)…SU begins its home stretch with just one game in its last five against a school with a winning ACC record…#3 Florida State. So there’s optimism…this glass of Orange isn’t half-empty, it’s one eighth full!

Maryland had the ingredients of an upset brewing…a home game with a top ten team trying to forget one ugly loss. And for three quarters, they stayed with #9 Clemson–before falling 40-27 to the Tigers. Encouraging that they hung tough with all of the injuries (5 offensive starters out)…discouraging because this was a great opportunity for a signature victory. Terrapin Triumphs– Red Zone Defense will now be referred to as RED ZONE DEFENSE, because in the first half the Terps forced the Tigers to settle for field goals of 25, 29 and 31 yards (shades of Virginia). The D forced fumbles on consecutive Clemson possessions in the third quarter. Levern Jacobs notched a career high 8 catches for 158 yards…highlighted by a 71 yard reception for a score. Cole Ferrands tallied 23 tackles while Abner Logan added 14 stops. Terrapin Troubles– after securing consecutive fumble recoveries inside the 25 in the third quarter…the Terps managed just 2 yards on 6 plays and settled for a pair of field goals when a TD/FG combo would have given them the lead. Caleb Rowe went through a 3 for 19 stretch in the second half. And my “What does the N stand for in Clemson?” joke got rather old…actually to say that is generous because it implies the joke was actually amusing in the first place. Next Up: November 9th at Syracuse.

Virginia had the ingredients of a season-changing victory…going toe to toe with a Georgia Tech team that could be had (unless of course, you’re Syracuse-but that’s for another day). Unfortunately, the 35-22 loss puts UVa on the precipice of postseason elimination–with the schedule not getting any warmer in November. Cavalier Congrats— Darius Jennings (13 catches for 119 yards and 3 touchdowns) and Tim Smith (10-151) both had huge afternoons on a day when the running game went nowhere. The D notched 5 takeaways, no small feat considering they had 10 takeaways over the first seven games of the season. And David Watford threw just one interception in 62 attempts–ice that arm down, pronto. Cavalier Concerns– late in the first half a chance to take the lead bogged down at the GT one yard line as time expired after a Kevin Parks run on 2nd down…not getting ANY points there was disastrous. Four fumbles (all recovered, but still) doesn’t help. And allowing GT the home-run ball (3 touchdowns of 29 yards or more) sealed UVa’s fate. Next: Saturday vs #9 Clemson.

Virginia Tech had the ingredients of a successful moving month in place–having come out of their September Slumber (3 straight one-possession wins) with consecutive victories by double digits–but couldn’t defeat a Duke team that hadn’t beaten a ranked opponent on the road since 1971. The 13-10 loss was tough on the VT’s Coastal Division hopes…tougher on the fans for both teams (8 interceptions). Hokie Highlights– the defense held Duke to 0-11 on third down and intercepted Anthony Boone four times (3 from freshman Kendall Fuller). Logan Thomas ran for 101 yards and a touchdown. VT went 4-6 on third down. Hokie Humblings– Thomas threw four interceptions. Cody Journell missed a pair of field goals…(BEAMER BALL, anyone?). And the Hokies losing to Duke in football at home is like the Hokies winning at Duke in basketball. Just doesn’t feel right. Next: Saturday at Boston College.