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College Football and Hoops in the Carolinas
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View from the East
Thursday, December 6, 2001

By Al Myatt
ECU Beat Writer for The News & Observer

Tigers, ACC Pay the Freight to Boise;
Dean Dome No Heel Haven These Days

©2001 Bonesville.net

The focus shifts briefly to basketball, although five of the Division I-A football teams in the Carolinas will be preparing for bowl games.

A note there — Clemson is heading to the Humanitarian Bowl in Boise, Idaho, after it was stated here on Monday that the Tigers would be staying home. Clemson landed in Boise in a bowl that Conference USA backed away from — because the Tigers picked up the tab for $264,000 in tickets and the ACC agreed to foot the cost of a $350,000 sponsorship for the bowl.

Those price tags were too steep for UCLA, which declined, perhaps wisely, to get in a bidding war for a berth in Boise. That opened the door for Clemson.

“Even if we don’t break even, we see it as an investment in our program,” Clemson athletic director Bobby Robinson told USA Today.

Two Tigers won’t be making the trip, running back Travis Zachery and tackle Akil Smith, who were arrested Tuesday on charges of selling marijuana.

Clemson has three straight bowl trips, same as East Carolina, which ties the two schools with the most consecutive post-season appearances among the teams of the Carolinas.

Over to the hardwood, and defending NCAA champion Duke is No. 1 in both major polls — as well as the State Line Hoops Rankings.

Those incredulous looks from college basketball fans in the area aren’t because Duke is so overwhelmingly awesome at this point but rather because North Carolina appears to be uncharacteristically bad. Losses to Hampton and Davidson? At home? Hard to believe.

State Line Hoops Rankings© — 12/06/01

THE TOP TEN

1. Duke ... The Blue Devils haven’t shown that focus, leadership and direction that Shane Battier gave the team last season but Duke is 7-0 after an 82-57 win over Temple on Wednesday night. Jason Williams scored 26 points and Mike Dunleavy added 24. Coach Mike Krzyzewski has moved Chris Duhon to point guard to set up Williams for more scoring opportunities. Although Duke was out-rebounded by Clemson on Sunday, the Devils won the battle of the boards against the Owls by a 37-31 margin. Upcoming tests include a game at Michigan on Saturday and a visit from Kentucky on Dec. 18.

2. Wake Forest ... The Deacons are 5-2 with losses on the road to Top 10 teams Kansas (83-76) and Syracuse (74-67) but the setbacks resulted for different reasons. Wake fell to the Orangemen in the NIT championship because it didn’t handle the ball well against Syracuse’s defensive pressure. The Deacons were repeatedly beaten in transition at Kansas and the Jayhawks went to the free throw line 40 times. New coach Skip Prosser was supposed to bring a faster tempo to the program but his club is averaging 76.0 points through seven games compared to 76.5 points for last season’s team.

3. South Carolina ... The Gamecocks are 5-2 under new coach Dave Odom, who left Wake Forest to take on the challenges in the Southeastern Conference. The losses have been to ranked teams, Duke (81-56) and UCLA (89-77). Jamel Bradley (15.0 points per game) and Aaron Lucas (11.1) have been leading the Gamecocks offensively. Odom’s new program gets a shot at another ranked team when it hosts Georgetown, No. 15 in the coaches poll, tonight. That’s followed by a game at state rival Clemson at 8 p.m. on Saturday.

4. Furman ... The Paladins’ roster looks more like roll call at the United Nations but the foreign delegation is getting it done for Coach Larry Davis. Karim Souchu, from France, is the leading scorer (17.8 ppg). Other averages and nationalities include Guilherme Da Luz (11.8, Brazil), Maleye Ndoye (6.0, Senegal), Jorge Seraphim (3.3, Brazil) and Marijan Pojatina (2.0, Croatia). Furman also has some red-blooded Americans such as Anthony Thomas from Atlanta, who is averaging 11.1 points. The Paladins face challenges at Wisconsin on Dec. 15 and at Saint Louis on Dec. 19.

5. College of Charleston ... Jeff Bolton leads the scoring with a 20.2 average for the 5-0 Cougars of Coach John Kresse, whose team plays its home games at ... John Kresse Arena. Sort of like Dean Smith in the Smith Center, only Kresse Arena seats a modest 3,500. The Cougars play at the Smith Center against the Tar Heels on Dec. 21. A Dec. 15 game at UNC Wilmington will also define the Carolinas power structure. Thomas Mobley is averaging 10.4 points while 6-7 freshman Shannon Chambers averages 10.0 points and a team-high 7.6 rebounds.

6. Clemson ... Chris Hobbs and Ray Henderson weigh a combined total of 500 pounds. They could fill in on WWF and not look out of place. Clemson’s rugged inside duo combined for 36 points in a 76-66 home win over Appalachian State on Wednesday night. Hobbs, who played at East Chapel Hill High but was ignored by UNC recruiters, had eight points during a 18-4 run that gave the Tigers a 52-44 lead with 11:34 remaining. That avenged a 72-60 loss at Littlejohn Coliseum to the Mountaineers last season.

7. Charlotte ... Coach Bobby Lutz has been concerned about his team’s consistency in a 3-3 start. One positive aspect is that the 49ers are hitting a healthy 41.4 percent of their three-point attempts but their long-range capability hasn’t been sufficient in losses to Indiana (65-61), Temple (72-64) or Valparaiso (70-63). Senior shooting guard Jobey Thomas leads the team in scoring with a 16.4 average while sophomore guard Demon Brown averages15.6. The 49ers visit ECU in Conference USA play on Jan. 12.

8. N.C. State ... As might be expected, losses to Ohio State and Massachusetts have produced some rumbling among a fan base that hasn’t had an NCAA Tournament entry to back since 1991. ECU, which qualified for the Big Dance in 1993 by winning the Colonial Athletic Association Tournament, has been since the Wolfpack’s last apppearance. Anthony Grundy is playing well. The 6-3 guard leads the team with a 13.6 scoring average and is also grabbing 5.9 rebounds. Freshmen Julius Hodge and Josh Powell are each scoring over 10 points per game. State has a huge opportunity at Syracuse on Saturday at 7 p.m.

9. UNC Greensboro ... After a 56-54 win over East Carolina on Wednesday night, Pirates coach Bill Herrion said the Spartans, 19-10 last season with a trip to the NCAAs, might be the best team his club has faced this season. “Not the best talent, but the best team,” Herrion said. David Schuck had 10 points and 10 rebounds against ECU and teammate Courtney Eldridge scored 12 points. UNCG’s only loss was at Middle Tennessee State, 74-58. UNCG hosts Delaware on Saturday and visits Arkansas on Monday.

10. UNC Wilmington ... The Seahawks bounced back from an 80-54 loss at Ohio State on Sunday to stun another Big Ten team, Minnesota, 58-50, on Tuesday. Junior Brett Blizzard is averaging 20.7 points and hitting 52.9 percent behind the arc. Ed Williams had 18 points and 11 rebounds as the Seahawks rallied to outscore MInnesota 36-19 in the second half. “We gave in and fell apart at Ohio State,” said UNCW coach Jerry Wainwright after his team improved to 3-3. “very seldom do you get the opportunity to go from the outhouse to the penthouse.”


THE NOT SO SWEET 17

11. Davidson
12. The Citadel
13. Appalachian State

14. East Carolina ... Help is on the way for the Pirates with sophomore Gabriel Mikulas expected to return to the team by a Dec. 15 home game with USC-Spartanburg. Mikulas, last year’s leading scorer with a 15.0 average and the CAA rookie of the year, has had to sit out while ECU supplies the NCAA with information about leagues that Mikulas played in back home in Argentina where some players received payment. Freshman Moussa Badiane played his first game for the Pirates after being reinstated for similar sanctions at UNC Greensboro on Wednesday night. Badiane hit five of six shots from the field for 10 points while grabbing seven rebounds and blocking three shots in 22 minutes. Erroyl Bing continued to shine for the Pirates with 14 points and 15 rebounds. The Pirates started out with wins over Rutgers and Northwestern but have since lost five straight to fall to 2-5. Teams have adjusted to ECU’s lack of size by playing man to man defense and pounding the ball inside. Mikulas’ return should help solve that problem. Bing, who Coach Herrion plans to play at small forward when his personnel is at full tsrength, has been doing yeoman’s work, battling bigger players to average 19.7 points and 7.8 rebounds going into the game with the Spartans. Freshman forward Jonathan Moore has been an instant contributor with an 11.3 scoring average and 4.7 rebounding rate through six games.

15. Wofford
16. Elon
17. Campbell
18. North Carolina A&T
19. Gardner-Webb
20. North Carolina
21. Coastal Carolina
22.  High Point
23. UNC Asheville
24. Charleston Southern
25. South Carolina State
26. Winthrop
27. Western Carolina

Send an e-mail message to Al Myatt.

Click here to dig into Al Myatt's Bonesville archives.

02/23/2007 01:03:35 AM
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