Sunday, November 30

Heroic Heels

Ok, maybe my alliterative title is a bit of a reach, and many of you have likely already read the story, but in case you haven't here are my two favorite versions: Tar Heel Blue Version & Watered Down Blog Post Version.

Anyways, some closing Maui thoughts:
-Really showed why UNC misses Marcus Ginyard against Notre Dame, no one can put out a hot shooter like the Heels' best defensive stopper and Kyle McAlarney was just that, 8 3's in the second half, 10 total. The Heels hadn't faced a team with such a singular scoring threat until then
-The Heels seem to be taking the form of last year's team, which is to say no form at all. They've now won games with several different factors*: forcing turnovers (UK), offensive rebounding (ND), defensive rebounding (Oregon), and free throws (UCSB)

Don't have much else to add, John? Cason? thoughts?

Just to remind everyone, KenPom is up and running again, and with only 5 or 6 games played, its fun to check out the rankings to see who is off to a hot start and what makes a team rise to the top of the KenPom ratings.

Also, I'll be posting the phenomenal Hakeem Nicks, Tar Heel Play of the Year, catch as soon as I can find it on YouTube.

Week's Games:
UNC-A, Chapel Hill, 6:30 pm Sunday, Fox Sports
Michigan State, Ford Field (Detroit, MI), 9:15 pm Wednesday, ESPN

*factors as in Dean Oliver's Four Factors: Shooting, Offensive Rebounding, Turnovers, and Free Throw Attempts. Basically what any and every basketball game ever played has boiled down to.

Tuesday, November 25

Week 13 Spreads

@Dallas-13 Seattle Thurs4:15
@NY Jets-7.5DenverSun1:00
@Buffalo-7 San Francisco Sun 1:00
@Tampa Bay -3.5 New Orleans Sun 1:00
@Green Bay -3 Carolina Sun 1:00
NY Giants -3.5 @Washington Sun 1:00
Miami -8 @St. Louis Sun 1:00
Baltimore -7 @Cincinnati Sun 1:00
Indianapolis -4.5 @Cleveland Sun 1:00
@San Diego -5.5 Atlanta Sun 4:05
@New England -1 Pittsburgh Sun 4:15
@Oakland -3 Kansas City Sun 4:15
@Minnesota -3.5 Chicago Sun 8:15
@Houston -3 Jacksonville Mon 8:35

These are up soon enough that anyone wishing to call one (or all three) of these games will have to do so by 5pm on Wednesday. This will eliminate confusion created by three different start times, and any advantage to waiting closer to kickoff to get injury news.

Edit: Sorry, wrote the paragraph for the Turkey Day games only, all Sunday games due at the usual time

Week 12 Results

1) Jason 10-4-1 (1, 10.5)
2) Ryan 8-6-1 (1, 8.5)
3) John 8-4-0 (1, 8)
4) Kevin 5-9-1 (1, 5.5)

Everyone went 1-2 on the week as our picks did foretell a big Saints win last night. One point on the week for everyone and the overall standings don't change the points listing is (Current Week, Total).

Look for the Week 13 games early, since there are multiple Thursday games.

Meanwhile, that 'fro dude on Chaminade (Update: Joel Smith) learned you don't gesture to the crowd lest you piss off Danny Green to the tune of 26 points (7 rbs, 3 asts, 2 blks in 22 mins).

Monday, November 24

Jimmy Connors shows more emotion at basketball game than tennis match

An interesting item for all tennis fans who read the blog (a.k.a. everybody): Jimmy Connors was arrested for noncompliance at the beginning of the UCSB game on Friday. He was involved in confrontation outside the arena and upon refusing to leave the spot, was arrested, booked and released.

Since I'm sure it crossed your mind, John McEnroe views this as a challenge and will try to get arrested at the next random event he attends.

Friday, November 21

UCSB Thoughts

-We've missed Hansbrough, but since the early first half the Heels have seemed to have trouble finding him and making him the focal point of the offense (or finding the open man off the double teams he creates)

-Ellington continues to get beaten when playing man-to-man defense, and this is only UCSB

-This is the most poorly officiated game of the year thus far, simply erratic from the officials (in both directions pretty equally), I feel really bad for the Big West if these are their officials

-Ed Davis has one or two good moves, but leaves the ball open to steals too often

-When the Gauchos went on their runs in the first half, you could see a direct correlation (deftly pointed out by the announcers) to UNC's offensive rebounding

-Bobby wasted 3 consecutive possessions with forced 3's or running floaters, very uncharacteristic of him

-Ty must be winded, or just having an off night, he's 5-9 from the line (83.5% last year, meaning the odds of a 5-9 stretch are around 3.8%)

-West coast games and 10 pm tip-offs are lame

Edit: Looks like we won't be playing Arizona anymore, sadly its just another sign of their declining program (H/T Fanhouse)

Thursday, November 20

The Lowdown on the ACC Coastal Mess...

...or How I learned to stop hoping and realize UNC isn't going to the ACC Championship game.

So, there are several games to be played, but as of now, it looks like there are 5 teams all with 3 losses in the ACC Coastal (assuming GT holds on to its 34-10 41-16 lead over Miami). Two of these teams play each other (UVA-VT), so the season will end with a maximum of 4 teams tied with 3 losses. Also, Georgia Tech is in the "clubhouse" as it were, playing the final week out of the ACC (@ Georgia). From the ACC's website here are the rules on deciding who plays in the ACC Championship game:

Three-Team Tie (or More):
(Once tie has been reduced to two teams, the two-team tiebreaker format is used.)
1. Combined head-to-head record among teams.
This one gives VA Tech/UVA winner the inside track, among the 4 teams with only 3 losses UNC and the VT/UVA winner are 2-1, GT and Miami are 1-2, also both VT and UVA beat UNC head to head (see #1 in Two-Team Tie below) sending either to the ACC Championship game
2. Records of the tied teams within the division.
3. Head-to-head competiton sic versus the team within the division with the best overall (divisional or conference) record, and proceeding through the division. Multiple ties within the division will be broken first to last.
4. Overall record for non-divisional teams.
5. Combined record versus all common non-divisional teams.
6. Record versus common non-divisional with the best
overall Conference (divisional and non divisional record) and
proceeding through the other common non-divisional teams
based on their order of finish within the division.
7. The tied team with the highest ranking in the BCS Standings following the conclusion of regular season games shall be the divisional representative in the ACC Championship Game.
8. The representative shall be chosen by draw.

Two-Team Tie:
1. Head-to-head competition between the two tied teams.
I've deleted rules 2-8 because not only are they repeats of the above 2-8, but they also are moot, since all of the teams in consideration have played and none have played to a tie.

What it all means
Basically, only Virginia and Virginia Tech control their own destinies. If they both win this weekend, they play next weekend (in Blacksburg) for the Coastal Division and a ticket to the ACC Championship Game. If either team lose either game, UNC is in the driver's seat, assuming they can win out. So pull hard for the Blue Devils in Blacksburg this weekend.

Update: I found a situation that I overlooked. If VT wins the VT/UVA game, and UNC has lost a game to NC State or Duke, there would be 3 teams with 3 losses VT, Miami, GA Tech. Using tiebreak #1 these three teams are all 1-1 against themselves (VT beat GA Tech beat Miami beat VT...). Then you would move to tiebreak #2, and using that rule, since VT would have more Coastal Division wins than the other two teams (they beat UNC while both GA Tech and Miami lost to UNC) they would still move on.

Wednesday, November 19

Week 12 Lines

Buffalo-3@Kansas City Sun1:00
@Tennessee-5.5NY JetsSun1:00
@Miami-1.5New EnglandSun1:00
@Dallas-10San FranciscoSun1:00
Tampa Bay -8 @Detroit Sun 1:00
@Baltimore -1 Philadelphia Sun 1:00
Chicago -8 @St. Louis Sun 1:00
@Jacksonville -2 Minnesota Sun 1:00
@Denver -9.5 Oakland Sun 4:05
@Atlanta -1 Carolina Sun 4:15
Washington -3.5 @Seattle Sun 4:15
NY Giants -3 @Arizona Sun 4:15
@San Diego -3 Indianapolis Sun 8:15
@New Orleans -2.5 Green Bay Mon 8:35

As usual calling that game will need to be done by kickoff of 5:00 pm Friday, whichever comes first


North Carolina forward Zeller out for the season

This is just my opinion, but I don't think the Kentucky player who fouled Zeller should be held at fault for the wrist. Byron and I both agreed that it was questionable whether Zeller was actually fouled in the first place, and it didn't appear from watching the replays that the Kentucky player caused him to land funny on his wrist. Zeller was going at top speed down the floor, drew enough contact for him to miss the dunk (but certainly not enough to be an intentional foul), and thus was coming down too quickly to be able to brace his fall properly. Again, just my thoughts.

Update: From SI "Zeller had surgery Wednesday to repair fractures in two places, a recovery that normally would take 12 to 16 weeks." Also, thanks for the info from Byron, looks he is opting for surgery and that it is a pretty severe break. Just an FYI: 16 weeks is March 11th but the Heels may take the medical red-shirt route.

Monday, November 17

Week 11 Standings

Briefly, a standings update:
1) Jason 9-2-1 (3, 9.5)
2) Ryan 7-4-1 (2, 7.5)
3) John 7-2-0 (1, 7)
4) Kevin 4-7-1 (0, 4.5)

Sorry, Kevin
Collective: 7-1-0

Sunday, November 16

UNC-Penn Musings

Primarily, I just want to emphasize the volume of possessions that is currently missing from UNC's offense. I feel comfortable using last season's stats, because the Heels starting five is unchanged from last season.

Hansbrough 81% minutes 27% possessions = 22% of total off possessions
Ginyard 70% minutes 14% possessions = 10% of total off possessions

That's nearly one third of the offense, not just when the starting five were on the floor, but for the entire game. Now taking that into consideration, am I terribly concerned we settled for jump shots all game? No.

All things considered the freshmen looked good. They made some silly mistakes that should be eliminated by mid-December, such as Zeller missing a cut Lawson expected him to make and Ed Davis throwing away fast break outlet pass. On the plus side, Ed Davis is a monster on the glass (see below), Zeller has some slick range on his jumper, and I really like Larry Drew's defensive intensity against dribble penetration (were you watching Wayne?). Some things to look out for in both the short and long term, does Zeller's start Saturday mean he'll be the first big man off the bench (behind Danny of course)? I was under the assumption that Ed Davis would fill that role, but it could have been that Coach Williams thinks that Zeller's strengths (jumper with range, average rebounding) compliment Thompson better than Davis' do. Also, watch Larry Drew's progression. He is in a position similar to that of Quentin Thomas, a freshman (QT/Drew) with an established starter ahead of him (Felton/Lawson) and a star recruit nipping at his heels (Lawson/Dexter Strickland). Will Drew be a contributor this season and a starter in the future, or will he simply warm the seat through next December when Strickland assumes the mantle of the next "faster with the ball" Roy Williams point guard?

Ok, we'll go with the negatives first. Penn shot the ball way too well, nearly 50% eFG is too high for a team that needs to up the defense to win more games. Hopefully Marcus Ginyard can help out in this department, along with better teamwork as the year progresses. Also, way way way way too many threes. The team took an average of 22% of its field goals from behind the arc last year, against Penn that number ballooned to 36%. Hopefully the return of Hansbrough will help to refocus the offense inside the paint, where it belongs.

Without Tyler, the offensive rebounding did not suffer. The Heels rebounded 37% of their own misses a notch below the 42% average. Tyler returning should improve that number, both in talent level, and ideally in taking more inside shots and shooting a better percentage from the field. Helping in the cause was Ed Davis, with 4 offensive rebounds (out of 14 total boards) in only 22 minutes, a monstrous 25 OR%. Also, though jump shots and threes were the preferred method of scoring, they did come as a result of good ball movement (or friendly score keeping). 78% of the made field goals were assisted, up from only 50% last year. Lastly, Danny Green has picked up right where he left off filling the stat sheet from corner to corner: 5-7 FG, 2-4 3FG, 12 Pts, 4 Asts, 3 Stls, 4 Rbs (1 OR), and 0 TO's. Don't worry Danny, the blocks will come.

Next Up: UK, @Chapel Hill, Tues Nov 18, 9:00 pm, ESPN

Liveblog Cason?

Despite John's being logged in to my computer during the Panthers game, Ryan was the author of this post, sheesh

Wednesday, November 12

Week 11 Spreads

Week 11 means, No More Bye Weeks!!!! We've got a full slate of 16 games to choose from this week, and a Thursday game to boot. As usual, a Thursday pick should be in by game time, the rest can wait until 5:00 Friday:

@New England -3.5 NY Jets Thurs 8:15
@Atlanta -6 Denver Sun 1:00
@Miami -10.5 Oakland Sun 1:00
@NY Giants -6.5 Baltimore Sun 1:00
@Indianapolis -8 Houston Sun 1:00
@Green Bay -4 Chicago Sun 1:00
Philadelphia -9 @Cincinnati Sun 1:00
New Orleans -5.5 @Kansas City Sun 1:00
@Carolina -14.5 Detroit Sun 1:00
@Tampa Bay -3.5 Minnesota Sun 1:00
@San Francisco -6 St. Louis Sun 4:05
Arizona -3 @Seattle Sun 4:05
Tennessee -3 @Jacksonville Sun 4:15
@Pittsburgh -4 San Diego Sun 4:15
Dallas -1.5 @Washington Sun 8:15
@Buffalo -5.5 Cleveland Mon 8:35

Ooooooh, a Table!!!! (You better appreciate it...)

After the 4 pm 8 pm Sunday games:
Jason 3-0
Ryan 2-1
John 1-2
Kevin 0-3

Sunday, November 9

Sunday Pick Update

Here are the standings after Sunday's games, Kevin is still waiting on the results of tomorrow's Arizona/SanFran contest (he picked Arizona giving 9.5 points). Carolina made us sweat out its 17-6 victory, while the Ravens coasted to an easy victory for everyone (hey Vegas, get it together, the Ravens are a good football team). The Titans were also a winner, while the Falcons more than held up to their 1 point line.

1) Jason 6-2-1 (3, 6.5)
2) John 6-0-0 (3, 6)
3) Ryan 5-3-1 (3, 5.5)
4) Kevin 4-4-1 (1, 4.5)

I'll adjust Kevin's totals tomorrow, a correct pick would bring him into a tie for 3rd. The Cardinals got the win, but failed to cover the 9.5 point spread (29-24). Next week's lines should be up some time on Wednesday.

Edit: Just an FYI, but as a group we're 5-1-0 on picks more than one of us agree on (with none of us dissenting), of that Baltimore has been a big boost, 2-0-0 in 3 weeks.

Lee Pace is the man

As I noted in my last post, I intended to email the Extra Points mailbag to find out the last time we wore navy jerseys at home. I emailed him at 12:57 with my question, and he just answered my question at 2:15. Awesome turnaround time. I have no idea if my question will make it onto the Mailbag article he writes weekly, but that's still beyond excellent response time. I've spent thousands at Marriotts and never gotten feedback to my questions this quickly, even when I email the manager.

Lee Pace, consider this your shoutout. You earned it. I would also encourage anyone to email Mr Pace if you have any obscure questions about our football program.

PS - Here's the contents of my email:

When was the last time UNC wore non-Carolina Blue jerseys at home like on Saturday? Have we worn navy or white at home for some special reason before?

Cason Dwyer, ‘07
Madison, WI


We haven't worn navy jerseys home or away since the final game of the 1959 season.


It looks like we broke out the navy jerseys for the first time in almost 50 years. Good call, Butch.

Saturday, November 8

Ramblin Wreck Wrap

Strong win for the Heels today over Ga Tech, 28-7. Once again, we were outgained yet won comfortably because our opponents insist upon turning the ball over. My brother from a different mother, Jonathan Dwyer, rushed for 157 yards. However, over half of the yards came from an 85 yd touchdown run late in the 4th quarter.

Cam Sexton continues to do everything he can to retain his job as game manager by throwing for a piddly 100 yds and a not-so-piddly 2 TDs. I'm sure that Ga Tech put about 5 guys on Hakeem Nicks after seeing what happened against BC so I will let it slide.

Also, for our readers who are on the Thorpe or Bednarik award selection committees, Trimane Goddard has 5 interceptions so far this season.

One question I have is why were we wearing our road unis at home today. Tech wore white, so what gives with the navy jerseys?

Edit: Trimane Goddard has 6 interceptions this season. Bednarik and Thorpe voters, please take note. I also submitting a mailbag question for Adam Lucas: when was the last time UNC wore non-Carolina blue jerseys at home?

Wednesday, November 5

Week 10 Lines

(sans Indy-Pitt)

Favorite Line Underdog
Jacksonville -6.5 @Detroit
Tennessee -3 @Chicago
@New England -4 Buffalo
@Atlanta -1 New Orleans
@NY Jets -8 St. Louis
@Miami -9 Seattle
@Minnesota -2.5 Green Bay
Carolina -9 @Oakland
@San Diego -15 Kansas City
@Philadelphia -3 NY Giants
Baltimore PK @Houston
@Arizona -9.5 San Francisco

Like I said, I'll post Indy-Pitt when at least 3 casinos set their line for the game, but for estimation I'd guess -3 or -4 Pittsburgh

Thursday Game!

Just to let everyone know, there is a Thursday game this week, here is the line:

@Cleveland -3 Denver

Most of the lines are up, I'll post them soon, but I'd like to wait to see what Indy-Pittsburgh looks like (none of the casinos are opening it for betting until Big Ben's status is known). I'd venture a guess that if Big Ben goes, the Steelers (at home) will be favored by 4.

If you want to call this game, post by kickoff, if you're curious about the rest of the lines, I usually average these.

Sunday, November 2

What a difference a week makes

With the added competition on board, everyone stepped up their game. 3 of us nailed our 3 team parlays for perfect 3-0 records, while I missed out on the GB/Tenn game (damn Titans, 7-0 ATS, WTF), leaving myself at 2-1 on the week:

1t) Jason 3-2-1 (3.5 pts)
1t) Kevin 3-2-1 (3.5 pts)
3) John 3-0-0 (3 pts)
4) Ryan 2-3-1 (2.5 pts)

Winning bets included Philly, Baltimore (u), Arizona, Miami (u), Minny, NY Jets (u), and Green Bay (u)