UNC's Kent Emanuel limited Duke to two hits as No. 1 North Carolina defeated the Blue Devils 7-1 in the first game of a doubleheader Saturday at Boshamer Stadium.
I know, a Fall Out Boy reference as a column headline isn't a good start, but their new song isn't bad, so bear with me.
Across the board, the Tar Heels are top dogs in terms of college baseball at the moment. Numero uno according to USA Today Coaches Poll, Collegiate Baseball, Baseball America, and NCBWA. Cracking the case of Carolina's success isn't exactly a job for Jessica Fletcher, even though that sweet Angela Lansbury did become the absolute master of the 80's freeze-frame laugh to close the show:
It's an arms race in Chapel Hill. The Tar Heels pitching staff is straight up stifling. Third in the nation in ERA at 2.16. Fourth In terms of hits allowed per nine innings. Seven shutouts on the season. Kent Emanuel's been even better than advertised. In nine outings, the Junior's racked up a 8-1 mark with an incredible earned run average of 1.82 while only surrendering seven extra basehits.
Benton Moss is a K machine. 7-and-0 on the mound, in 57 and two-thirds innings of work, he's struck out 67.
Then there's the Heels' do-it-all, Trent Thornton, who's posted some downright filthy stats. 8-0 record, 39 strikeouts, 3 saves while allowing two extra basehits in 49-plus innings of work.
The college basketball season is effectively done with for the Triangle. For the third straight year, none of the ACC's "Big Four" from North Carolina made it to the grandest hoops stage the NCAA offers. Not much to talk about until fall practices open up in six months, right? Save for one very important "decision," and I hesitate calling it a "decision," because that just springs images of this ego trip:
High school basketball's top free agent, Andrew Wiggins has narrowed the field down to four: North Carolina, Kansas, Kentucky, and Florida State. The odd-man out appears to be FSU, but his parents attended school there, so most people assume he's just keeping them in the running for show. While most major recruits have already signed the line, the consensus No. rated prospect and Gatorade Player of the Year continues to milk every second before putting pen to National Letter of Intent paper. By all accounts, he's not doing it for show, either.
From what my former colleagues in West Virginia, who cover his insanely talented team, and my friend, Wiggins' current head coach of Huntington Prep School, Rob Fulford tell me, it's quite the opposite.
Wiggins is, by nature, a very quiet, shy, humble, kid. He's not braggadocious. He doesn't mug for the camera. By all accounts, when
So, what's your excuse? I hope it's a good one. Kids home sick and grandma's not around to care for them? Water heater explode in your basement? Got your mogwai wet, fed him after midnight and now you've got a slew of gremlins terrorizing your neighborhood?
UNC junior Reggie Bullock (35) looks to pass during the North Carolina Tar Heels vs. Miami Hurricanes NCAA basketball game, Thursday, January 10, 2013 in Chapel Hill, NC.
They're the self-described "three-barrel gun," according to P.J. Hairston. I'll choose to refer to he, Reggie Bullock, and James Michael McAdoo by a less explosive moniker: the "Medium 3." It's not meant as an insult, or even a backhanded compliment, however, I can't quite group them in the "Big 3" like the ghosts of Tar Heels' past. Felton/May/McCants? Hansbrough/Ellington/Lawson? Those trios contained National Player of the Year candidates.
The current crop won't crack the first-team All-ACC squad. Those threesomes all were selected in the first round of their respective NBA drafts, heck the Class of 2005 were all lottery picks. Of course, it remains to be seen where today's triple threat will call their pro home, but according to nbadraft.net, they'll be waiting awhile before their names are called. Only McAdoo is predicted as a late first-rounder should he make the call to leave early, no draft dice for Bullock and Hairston according to the latest projections. Hence, labeling them as Carolina's Version 3.0 of the "Big 3" doesn't seem appropriate...yet. Besides, the whole "Big 3" concept is so passé since these guys deemed it fit to dub themselves as such:
Seriously, the satire is just too much for me. Check that, as of today, this is my new favorite YouTube video involving
I’m sure I’m not taking a wild shot in the dark when I say that soccer probably isn’t high on everyone’s sports totem pole. In fact, I bet there are several of you who have bust out a Daniel Tosh-esque rant on the game from time to time.
If that’s somewhat similar to your opinion, I hope I don’t lose you for the remainder of this blog. I enjoy the game. I grew up playing the game. I even lasted past the reversible jerseys, soccer moms in minivans hauling half the team around, and the whose turn is it to bring the orange slices and Gatorade phase. Don’t get me wrong, I will never protest that I was any good, at any stage of development, I don’t even recall if I cracked the starting lineup at Senior Night of my high school finale! I own an Arsenal jersey, albeit I cannot wear it regularly anymore, thanks a lot, Robin Van Persie.
So, color me excited when I see a Major League Soccer team visit the Triangle. If you missed it, the Vancouver Whitecaps visited WakeMed Soccer Park on Sunday for preseason play with the Carolina Railhawks. It’s nothing new, of course the Railhawks stunned the MLS champion L.A.
Marshall Henderson is a basketball purist's nightmare. The Ole Miss guard leads the SEC in scoring, he hits half-court shots at the buzzer to force overtime, but his in-game heroics pale in comparison to his on-court theatrics.
Henderson jaw-jacks with opposing players, he taunts opposing fans, and he's not afraid to chuck ice on his own student section. Heck, the junior college transfers antics even makes gray-haired men sitting courtside feel froggy and ready to throw down in fisticuffs:
When Henderson nods his heads and pounds his chest I feel like I've mistakenly switched over to my Blu-ray copy of "Gladiator." He'd make a great Marcus Aurelius. I keep waiting for him to drain a three, get face-first into a national TV camera, and scream, "Are you not entertained?!"
There's something noble about the ‘act like you've been there before’ attitude. However, in a world where every ill-advised statement caught on tape and every unfiltered tweet gets turned into bulletin-board material, I miss the bravado and braggadocio. The "Fab Five" didn't win any championships, but the Michigan men certainly won my pre-teen undivided attention. And right now, Henderson keeps my clicker on some meaningless SEC contest against Mississippi State instead of an episode of "Pawn Stars" that I've watched seven