It was a simple plan - spend the weekend in Pittsburgh, enjoy the Super Bowl, and come back and begin thinking about the Carolina-Duke games. And what happens:
- The team loses Ty Lawson for the Duke game, unless they don't. This leaves Quentin Thomas as the primary guy running the offense, with the occasional spell by Ginyard. Or Hansbrough, apparently. Thomas averages the fewest minutes per game of any UNC player whose name you're likely to know, and has a turnover rate of 48.1%. That's almost the same number of turnovers as shots taken on the season. Luckily, he's only facing one of the best ball-handling teams this year - 22nd in the nation in generating turnovers, 25th in not giving it up themselves.
- Bob Knight suddenly retires. I have a tendency to think the worst of Knight, and that includes questions about what kind of person would abandon a team mideseason, or musings about the coincidence of it occurring so soon after the win odometer rolled over for the man. But I'm not in his head and shouldn't speculate. I am interested in how quick the move was to be praised by the ESPN halftime crew of the UNC-Duke women's game. I on the record as believing that passing coaching jobs to your kids is a bad idea for everyone involved, and my opinion hasn't changed on the matter.
- ACC parity became all the rage. I keep noticing that few ACC teams have a winning conference records - it's up to five now, but has been as low as three in a twelve team league - but haven't had much to say on the subject. It's too early to worry about the number of ACC teams making the NCAAs, though. It's also still a crapshoot. In 1998, a year similar to this one, there were only three ACC teams with winning records, and five went to the NCAAs. In 1999, the same thing happened, and only three went to the big dance. Below the fold is the whole history since 1975.
I'll probably write some more on all of these, not to mention a couple of games this week that look kind of important.