Saturday, December 18, 2010

The Texas loss was the kind of game Carolina used to win

Remember all those late-game wins North Carolina used to pull off? That 78-76 loss to No. 22 Texas was one the Tar Heels should have won. While Texas was the aggressor at the beginning, the Heels settled down and looked like the better team until the last five minutes.

If nothing else, this game shows how valuable Tyler Zeller is to UNC. He probably stayed out too long after getting his fourth foul with just over six minutes to go. While he was out, over three and a half minutes, the Heels went from six up to one down.

As soon as he came back in, Zeller hit two key shots to put the Heels back up 73-70.

While Zeller's absence was a key, the tide may have turned when Carolina botched a three-on-one fastbreak opportunity, up by five with five minutes left. Larry Drew II tried a bounce pass to John Henson but Henson and Dexter Strickland were too jammed up together and the ball went off Strickland's foot and out of bounds.

Carolina led by seven at 67-60 with less than six minutes to play but were outscored 18-9 down the stretch.

"We're a very ticked off team right now because we had our chances," UNC coach Roy Williams said.

For more on the game itself, please click here.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Tar Heels sign JuCo defensive tackle Williams

North Carolina is adding some depth to its defensive line for 2011. On Thursday, the Tar Heels announced that Sylvester Williams, a 6-foot-3, 320-pound defensive tackle from Coffeyville (Kan.) Junior College has signed a national letter of intent and will enroll in January. He will have two years of eligibility remaining.

Williams did not begin playing organized football until his senior season at Jefferson City (Mo.) High School, according to UNC. He enrolled at Coffeyville in January, 2009. He earned first-team all-conference and first-team all-region honors in 2010 and was an honorable-mention NJCAA All-America.

Last season he had 52 tackles, including 12.5 for a loss and two sacks, two pass break-ups, a forced fumble, and five blocked kicks.

Unfortunate end to Art Chansky's run with UNC network

Art Chansky was once known for signing off his sports radio opinion pieces with the words, "See ya," and was even jeered at Cameron Indoor Stadium for that. Now, it's Learfield Sports saying just that to Chansky.

Chansky is a bright, talented journalist who did a splendid job at the Durham Herald-Sun before moving to the UNC network. He has written books, been on the radio and had the sort of multi-faceted, and long, career many dream of having. His body of work is one that exudes intelligence and insight.

Unfortunately, his email to UNC chancellor Holden Thorp showed poor judgment on two fronts. WTVD has the entire e-mail up on its website. In the e-mail, Chansky explains that "if" Thorp decides to fire Butch Davis and look for a new football coach, two of Chansky's former fraternity brothers, Jim Delany and Eddie Fogler, can help. You can't help but read the e-mail and sense Chansky is advocating the firing of Davis.

But he also "outs" Delany and Fogler, who, he says, have quietly helped schools find new coaches. Chansky writes that Delany's "love and loyalty for this university is unquestioned." Delany, by the way, is the commissioner of the Big Ten, and those words would surely make him squirm.

Chansky writes that Fogler has been behind the scenes helping schools like Kansas State, Michigan, Indiana and South Carolina find basketball coaches. So now, Fogler's work is in the open.

What the e-mail was really designed to do was tell Thorp that Delany and Fogler might be available to help once Davis was removed. And Chansky intended this as a private conversation, as he noted at the end with, "I reiterate this will remain strictly between us."

Well, no it won't. Led by The News & Observer, the local media outlets have been pouring over e-mails to UNC about the football program, and Chansky should have known his e-mail could turn up. WTVD reported he was fired Wednesday after 18 years, although Gary Sobba, the head of Tar Heel Sports Properties, insisted to the station that he resigned.

Either way, the outcome is the same. It's an unfortunate end to a great run with the UNC network.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

ACC has three unanimous All-America selections

For only the second time in its history, the Atlantic Coast Conference has had three of its football student-athletes chosen as unanimous All-Americas, the league announced Wednesday. Boston College sophomore linebacker Luke Kuechly, Clemson junior Defensive End Da’Quan Bowers and Florida State senior offensive guard Rodney Hudson Tuesday were all named first-team All-Americas by the Sporting News.

Kuechly from Cincinnati, Ohio, Bowers from Bamberg, S.C., and Hudson, from Mobile, Ala., had previously been named first-team All-Americas by the Associated Press, the American Coaches Football Association (AFCA), the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) and the Walter Camp Foundation.

Additionally the trio were also named first-team All-America by SI.com,CBS.com, Rivals.com and Scout.com, giving each nine first-team All-America citation.

The three unanimous All-America selections ties the ACC’s all-time high of unanimous All-Americas set in 2004 when Virginia’s Heath Miller, Florida State’s Alex Barron and Antrel Rolle of Miami all earned unanimous All-America honors.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

UNC's Carter, Pelc have surgery, will miss bowl game

North Carolina's Bruce Carter, a senior linebacker, had ACL reconstruction surgery on his left knee Tuesday morning, the school announced, and he is out for the bowl. game against Tennessee.

Dr. Jeff Spang performed the surgery in Chapel Hill, according to the school. Carter, a native of Havelock, injured his knee against N.C. State on Nov. 20. Carolina said he is expected to play football again in 2011. But that injury is something that will concern NFL teams.

Also, UNC senior guard Alan Pelc had surgery Monday to repair his left shoulder. Dr. Alex Creighton performed the surgery at UNC Hospitals. A native of Houston, Texas, Pelc will begin rehabilitation immediately and also will not play in the bowl game against the Volunteers.

“Bruce and Alan have meant so much to this program,” head coach Butch Davis said in a statement. “They have been great kids, great leaders and, most importantly, they will graduate Sunday with a degree from the University of North Carolina. Obviously, we are disappointed for them that they will not be able to play in the bowl game. However, our main concern is their health and preparing for the future.”

Carter started 43 games at Carolina, including 10 this season. Pelc started 34 games in his career, including 11 this season. He graded out over 75 percent in 2010 while playing offensive guard and center.

Monday, December 13, 2010

NC State’s Ryan Harrow earns weekly ACC basketball honor

NC State’s Ryan Harrow was selected as the ACC Rookie of the Week following his outstanding performance this past week.

In State’s only game this past week, Harrow came off the bench to score a career-high 20 points in Saturday’s 79-60 win over visiting USC Upstate. The Marietta, Ga., freshman hit on 10-of-13 from the floor, handed out five assists without a turnover, and had three steals in his 25 minutes of playing time.

Harrow has scored in double figures four times this season and is currently third on the team in scoring, averaging 10.8 points per game.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Guard play and T.J. Yates impress Carolina fans

One thing that struck me during North Carolina's 96-91 victory over Long Beach State had nothing to do with basketball.

Last year, during the Michigan State game, the home crowd booed when UNC quarterback T.J. Yates appeared on the big screens. During the Long Beach State game, Yates was introduced as one of the captains accepting an invitation to the Music City Bowl. The ovation, with most people standing, was almost deafening, especially considering that the Smith Center was only two-thirds full.

The other thing that stood out was Carolina guard play. The starting guards committed only three turnovers while dishing out 11 assists. Dexter Strickland had three assists and 13 points while Larry Drew had eight assists and 13 points. The bulk of Carolina's scoring has come from its big men this season.

"I always want to stay aggressive and look for my shot," Drew said. "Coming into the second half, I think I had only scored two points, but we were up 14. They started making a run, and it didn't really seem like our inside game was where it has been in the last couple of games. We were trying to get the ball into Z (Tyler Zeller) and Justin Knox, but they were doubling down, so I just took it upon myself just to try to be more aggressive."

Backup shooting guard Reggie Bullock scored eight points while backup point guard Kendall Marshall had five points and three assists. The more veteran starters are holding on to their playing time as Drew and Strickland combined for 55 minutes while Bullock and Marshall combined for 20.

For more on the game itself, please click here.