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Jeff Gravley

And that's a wrap on our men's college basketball season

Posted March 25

Duke's Jabari Parker during the Blue Devils' game versus North Carolina on Saturday, March 8, 2014 in Durham, NC.  Duke defeated the Tar Heels 93-81.

I was in high school the last time the state of North Carolina didn’t have at least one team reach the Sweet 16. Black Sunday in 1979 wiped out Duke and North Carolina the same day at Reynolds Coliseum.

This year, a 24-hour period took out three of the four Triangle teams from the NCAA Tournament. Michigan State coach Tom Izzo summed it up pretty well.

"There should be a day of silence when the entire North Carolina contingent is eliminated from the tournament on the first weekend," Izzo said.

Here are some of my thoughts on the four teams from the Triangle that made it to the NCAA tournament.

Duke
The Blue Devils had a freshman lottery pick in Jabari Parker and a sure-fire first round selection in Rodney Hood. But there were holes in the line-up that needed patching in order for the Devils to succeed.

They had no consistent play at the point or in the post and it seemed everyone had the key to a staple of the program: lock-down defense.

Even with the deficiencies that were there, to lose in the opening round of the NCAA tournament was a stunning way to end the season. Youthful talent was beaten by experienced talent.

North Carolina
After last season ended, Roy Williams was a little surprised that Reggie Bullock left for the NBA. But the coach figured with PJ Hairston returning, their perimeter game would be fine -- we all know the drama of the NCAA investigation into Hairston’s impermissible benefits.

Confidence that Hairson would be able to play part of the season melted away and the decision was made by his own school to not seek reinstatement. Leslie McDonald was able to play only after serving his nine-game NCAA suspension.

After a 1-4 start in the ACC, Roy Williams did an outstanding job of getting the wheels back on.

Moving forward to the NCAA tournament, there were two lasting images for me. James Michael McAdoo, a 53 percent free-throw shooter, toed the line in a tie game with Providence. There was a long delay for officials to check the clock which is just what a 50-50 free throw shooter needs. But McAdoo sank two game-winning free throws and after the game, I was in the first wave of reporters to talk with James Michael. The smile on his face and excitement in his voice were priceless.

Two days later, in the losing locker room, Marcus Paige sat slumped in a corner with tears streaming down his face. He was literally shaking with shock of how the game against Iowa State and the season had ended. We asked him if he wanted to take a few minutes before we talked to him,

“No, I got this,” he said.

Marcus proceeded to explain what he could and took blame for a costly mistake he made late in the game. This tells you how strong and how great a person Marcus Paige is.

NC State
TJ Warren worked himself into a Player of the Year candidate and it payed off individually and for the team. A lot of athletes work hard, but Warren also worked extra.

Coaches worked with him to extend his jump shot three more feet. That allowed him to make a few more three-pointers and also created more floor space for him navigate to the basket. Is there a better 6-foot-8 floater in the country?

Warren also matured a lot in the off-season and benefited from the transfer of Rodney Purvis. Not because of playing time, it’s because Warren and Purvis simply didn’t get along and the rift had an impact on both.

As disappointing as last year’s team was, this year’s squad was quite surprising. If you told Wolfpack fans heading into the season that their team would make the NCAA tournament, even some of the most ardent wouldn’t believe it.

With a mixture of players that had never played together, Mark Gottfried and his staff did an outstanding job of putting a puzzle together that was good enough to finish 9-9 in the ACC and reach their 3rd straight NCAA tournament.

NC Central
Unless you are one of the Big 3 in the Triangle, you can get lost on Tobacco Road. This year, the Eagles made a bold statement as the only Division I basketball team in the Triangle to win a championship.

From the MEAC championship game came one of the lasting images of the year. As the final seconds were ticking down, the daughter of coach LeVelle Moton formed a heart with her fingers, a game-day tradition. When Moton looked across the court and saw it, tears welled up and began to trickle down his cheeks. The love from his daughter and the impact of the championship moment was overwhelming. North Carolina Central was on its way to the NCAA tournament for the first time in school history.

I have known LeVelle Moton since he was a shooting star at Enloe High School and I shot many of the games he played at NC Central. He comes from the projects of Raleigh and told me he could have just as easily ended up at Central Prison as NC Central. But he had a mother who wouldn’t allow it and the Boys and Girls Club that gave him basketball as an outlet. He has used it well.

NC Central benefited greatly from March Madness and Moton shared a story with me once they arrived in San Antonio.

A couple of nights before, he was in the check-out line at Wal-Mart wearing a NC Central shirt. A lady in front of him turned and said, “Aren’t you just geeked that they are in the tournament!”.

Moton smiled and answered, “I’m extremely geeked that they are in the tournament!!”

One of the lady’s friends quickly said “Hey, that’s the coach isn’t it?”

LeVelle Moton and his program at NCCU are gaining more and more recognition.

“The best marketers in the world can’t design this game plan,” Moton explained.

20 Comments

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  • mistyoakley Mar 31, 7:52 a.m.

    Why wasn't the ACC reported in local news? All that got any limelight by WRAL reporters were Triangle teams. The ACC is, as MARKJB33 said, much bigger than the Triangle. I hope next year your report on the ACC teams in the NCAA as well as those around the nation in the NCAA.

  • markjb33 Mar 26, 10:02 a.m.

    Why the incredible amount of short sightedness on College Basketball and the ACC? It is bigger than the Triangle!

  • ACC EXPERT Mar 26, 9:48 a.m.

    dook underachieved and got bounced early--to think if experts would have rated them where the... View More

    — Posted by 45HEELSFAN45

    the 2014 unc team is a lot like 2013 state
    highly ranked picked high in the conference wilted at the end- a couple of players (all about me) Tokojo was trying for highlight reel shots and would pose to the crowd afterwards instead of getting back down the court- very selfish player

  • jmcdow2792 Mar 26, 5:36 a.m.

    I give both Duke and UNC a B minus. I Give State a B+. UVA an A. Coach K and Roy didn't do... View More

    — Posted by vt94hokies

    I think you have nit the nail on the future of the ACC in your last two sentances. I don't know when K and Roy will leave but it will be a major impact on those two schools and the ACC when it does happen. Likely Duke will be hurt a lot worse by loss of coach simply because that has been what Duke has had for so long. Can Duke get the recruits without him? Both will likely get good coaches, but it may or may not work out.

  • vt94hokies Mar 25, 11:27 p.m.

    I give both Duke and UNC a B minus. I Give State a B+. UVA an A. Coach K and Roy didn't do their best in actually figuring out their personnel. Never team knew how to play any Defense down the stretch. Coach Bennett out coached these two Icons. No Mickey D's either. Duke has done a dismal job in recruiting a big guy!!!! Pitiful. Totally pitiful. Coach K will leave after 2016. Roy will leave about this time too.

  • scorekeep Mar 25, 9:45 p.m.

    Duke is graded 'A' ? The team that beat them has to be 'AAAAAAAAAAA+++++++++'.

  • vt94hokies Mar 25, 9:24 p.m.

    Duke, UNC, and State's coaches and fans read way too much on here. We that know see the true picture. Most would appreciate all of those AA's. It's all about teaching and coaching. Teaching firstly. I have enjoyed listening to Mandy lately. Great projection and delivery. She's the best on WRAL Sport's Fan. Hands down.

  • vt94hokies Mar 25, 9:09 p.m.

    Sorry I wrote half of a dissertation like some one on here. UNC claim to fame.

  • StunGunn Mar 25, 7:48 p.m.

    It is disappointing not to have any NC Teams playing in the Sweet 16, but of all the teams, I thought Duke would be the one still standing. Local analysts have written about the ACC not getting respect; this Tourney showed they may not deserve it. I hope UVA advances - Bennett is an excellent coach.

    As for the local teams' grades: Duke - B; Carolina - B+; State B+; Central - A

  • vt94hokies Mar 25, 7:26 p.m.

    UVA doesn't have all of those so-called AA's. Not one. Coach K and his staff are from the old school when it comes to going to the weight room. They look like Sid's teams. Weak bodies!

    Why in this World can't Duke find a few big guys to do the job? It took Mason until his Senior year to make himself a solid player. Why? He didn't go to the weight room until after his Jr. year.

    Parker had to try...I said try to do too much for this team. He can't play the inside post position. Had Plumlee been working out in the weight room, he could have done a heckeva lot more. It takes loads of energy to do what Parker did this season. He's still grasping and learning this game. He couldn't do all that they expected him to do. Recruitment. One solid big man could have changed this season for Duke.

    Had UNC had players that wanted to follow the rules, we would have seen a different team. History.

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Scoreboard
Local
Final
UNC 82
OSU 74
Final
MVSU 60
NCCU 94
 
7:00pm Tonight
UNCW
ECU
7:00pm Tonight
CAR
NYR
7:00pm Tonight
CHA
UTA
9:30pm Tonight
WVU
NCSU
Final
NYK 90
PHO 99
7:00pm Tonight
NOP
POR
7:00pm Tonight
CHA
UTA
8:00pm Tonight
HOU
ATL
8:30pm Tonight
DAL
SAN
9:00pm Tonight
DEN
IND
10:30pm Tonight
LAC
MIL
Final
LALAF 16
NEV 3
Final
UTEP 6
UTST 21
3rd
COLST 10
UTAH 24
 
1st
AFA 0
WMICH 3
 
9:15pm Tonight
BGU
SALABAMA
Final
GEOR 81
CHAR 78
Final
WKENT 67
LOU 76
Final
MICH 51
SMU 62
Final
CIN 47
VCU 68
Final
BSU 77
ABCHRIST 33
 
Final
PROV 85
UMASS 65
Final
AMER 46
MNTER 45
 
Final
UNC 82
OSU 74
Final
IUPUI 71
SALA 65
 
Final
VILL 82
SYR 77
Final
VT 64
CITA 61
Final
DUQ 79
MLOWELL 63
 
Final
FAIR 61
BEL 73
 
Final
YALE 60
GTDNS 64
 
Final
FD 76
DEL 74
 
Final
PSU 73
DREX 68
Final
UNCG 64
ELON 71
 
Final
ILL 62
MIZZ 59
Final
CAMP 90
MONT 64
 
Final
LONG 106
PSUBEAVER 74
 
Final
HOU 63
SCST 71
 
Final
FSU 75
SFLA 62
 
Final
BING 51
BONA 69
 
Final
RUTG 68
RFLSH 73
 
Final
MCNST 69
TOL 83
 
Final
JVU 84
TRUETT 55
 
Final
GT 65
VANDY 60
Final
INDST 56
EILL 60
 
Final
BUT 73
IND 82
Final
STEPH 94
ARTCH 57
 
Final
OREG 83
DELST 70
 
Final
Terriers 61
FATL 56
 
Final
TXARL 89
HPYN 50
 
Final
KU 96
LAF 69
Final
ARKST 67
MARS 58
Final
MEM 78
ORU 63
Final
KNST 53
UMBC 66
 
Final
NW 67
WMICH 61
Final
MIZST 65
EMICH 77
 
Final
CHIST 77
STJOE 54
 
Final
KENT 83
UCLA 42
Final
COC 68
DAVID 80
 
2nd
RIU 68
DET 53
 
2nd
UCR 74
HOUB 60
 
2nd
MURST 73
ILLST 65
 
2nd
NWST 88
LALAF 84
 
2nd
WAGN 61
MON 65
 
Final
MVSU 60
NCCU 94
 
1st OT
PITT 74
OU 73
 
Final
TENNM 77
PBY 60
 
Final
WYO 57
SOUTH 39
 
2nd
AFA 69
UCD 79
 
2nd
MSST 51
USCU 53
 
Half
JMU 37
HIGH 36
 
Half
TXST 49
HTILL 35
 
Half
DRAK 20
ISU 36
 
2nd
SHU 42
UNH 33
 
Half
SCU 33
NE 42
 
Half
MSU 30
TXSOU 25
 
Half
UF 28
WAKE 19
 
1st
ND 39
PURD 31
 
1st
SHSU 22
PVU 12
 
6:00pm Tonight
AUB
XAV
7:00pm Tonight
AKR
BLUFFTON
 
7:00pm Tonight
DAY
BU
 
7:00pm Tonight
UNCW
ECU
7:00pm Tonight
CLMB
HOF
 
7:00pm Tonight
GMAS
IONA
7:00pm Tonight
TOWS
LAS
7:00pm Tonight
MAN
MRGST
 
7:00pm Tonight
CCST
YALE
 
7:00pm Tonight
PEPP
RICH
7:00pm Tonight
MAR
STJOE
7:00pm Tonight
KYST
TEXAM
7:00pm Tonight
MAST
VALPO
 
7:05pm Tonight
UMKC
INCWORD
 
7:30pm Tonight
IDST
CALST
 
7:30pm Tonight
NIOWA
IOWA
7:30pm Tonight
SIUE
UWMIL
 
8:00pm Tonight
TEX
LBSU
8:00pm Tonight
TCU
TXSA
8:30pm Tonight
ARK
SEMIZ
9:00pm Tonight
NCOL
JVST
 
9:00pm Tonight
ARST
LEH
 
9:00pm Tonight
NMST
NMU
 
9:00pm Tonight
WASH
OKLA
9:00pm Tonight
GRCN
STED
 
9:00pm Tonight
WEBER
WLVRN
 
9:30pm Tonight
WVU
NCSU
10:00pm Tonight
SDST
BST
10:00pm Tonight
GONZ
CPSL
10:00pm Tonight
PAC
FRES
10:00pm Tonight
PORT
MNTST
 
10:00pm Tonight
CSNO
TAMCC
 
10:05pm Tonight
UTST
SDKST
 
11:00pm Tonight
BYU
STAN
11:30pm Tonight
UNLV
UTAH
3rd
LOS 3
ARI 2
 
7:00pm Tonight
CLB
CHI
7:00pm Tonight
BUF
COL
7:00pm Tonight
PIT
FLA
7:00pm Tonight
CAR
NYR
7:00pm Tonight
MON
OTT
7:00pm Tonight
TOR
PHI
7:00pm Tonight
NYI
TAM
7:00pm Tonight
NJD
WAS
8:00pm Tonight
MIN
NAS
10:00pm Tonight
VAN
CAL
10:30pm Tonight
SJS
STL
Half
WAS 10
PHI 14
 
8:25pm Tonight
SFX
SDC