Saturday, June 30, 2007

BC Fans Are Slightly Obsessed

Here's a piece from the Roanoke Times on Mike Glennon's commitment:

“They said that I’m the closest thing to Matt Ryan that they’ve seen. They want me to be the Matt Ryan of N.C. State.”

Of the nearly two dozen offers Glennon received, State’s was one of the last. Thinking back, he now believes he has been leaning toward the Wolfpack since visiting Raleigh during spring break.

“You could tell that they were getting strong consideration because I had plenty of offers and still was faithful enough to go to their camp without an offer,” he said.

“If I wasn’t interested, I’m sure I would have blown them off. A lot of kids wouldn’t have gone to a camp where they didn’t have an offer, but I just really felt a connection there. Once I got to the camp, I knew it was definitely the school for me.”

Boston College fans would have you know that there's nothing to get excited about, however:

Mike Glennon = Cam Sexton. Riding the coat tails of their older brothers (who also suck), these two statues will/are getting eaten up by the ACC.

They're also offering their two cents on Brandon Barnes, which is completely appreciated. It's comforting to know that they've taken an honest interest in their former coach's exploits. If you, like me, ask yourself, "I wonder what BC fans think about this commitment?" then you've no doubt been desperately combing the internets for their thoughts. Well, this is your one stop shop. Oh, so he sucks? And this guy, he's no good either? Case closed, then. Thanks so much.

The amount of rationalizing going on is staggering. The constant spin-doctoring, the palpable insecurity--there's no end to the comedy!

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Two More

Joining the Wolfpack today: quarterback Mike Glennon and CB/athlete Earl Wolff. Glennon is a well-regarded prospect who had offers from the likes of Michigan and Florida State, while Wolff is a "sleeper" according to Pack Pride. But since his last name is Wolff, there is little doubt in my mind that he kicks copious amounts of ass.

Congrats, Big Frank


[Photo: Associated Press]

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Wednesday Items

-- Some AJ Davis discussion from the local Detroit press:

It's not a lock, but there's a strong possibility Davis will get a spot on the Lions' roster because of his draft status. Taken in the fourth round, the Lions used the pick on Davis that they received from the Oakland Raiders in the trade for Josh McCown and Mike Williams.

-- Caleb Mangum isn't hitting well through his first few pro games, but he's earning praise from the Phillies for his game management:

“There’s some people I’ve seen over the years who just seem to have a natural knack to run a game and call pitches,” Compton said. “It’s an instinct. They just look at hitters, see where they’re setting up. They just kind of have a feel for it.

“It’s hard to explain. Some people just seem to have that. And he seems to.”

-- ESPN's John Hollinger unveiled a new system (it's a free Insider article) intended to quantify the pro potential of college basketball prospects. While the usefulness of the system remains to be seen, there is a lot of interesting stuff in his explanation. For example:

Though perhaps the most worthless stat for NBA analysis, there's no denying that college players who get a ton of steals tend to fare much better in the NBA than their less sticky-fingered brethren. This is the one item that gets the most weight, actually -- it's even more important than PER!

For this year's draft, that's a big positive for Mike Conley, Jr., who picked off more than two balls a game, and a big negative for players like Arron Afflalo (22 all season), Nick Young (27) and Ramon Sessions (29).

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Welcome To Fuckin' A Week

Within the last week we've had Dwayne Maddox (football) and CJ Leslie (hoops) commit, and now there's more football action: TJ Graham and Brandon Barnes committed to NC State today. I think we're in store for more good news later this week, too.

To borrow from EDSBS: this calls for a fuckin' siren!


More on Barnes:

Barnes chose NC State over offers from more than 40 programs including Florida, Michigan, Georgia, Tennessee, Notre Dame, Clemson, South Carolina, Auburn, UNC, Virginia Tech and many others. Is the process over?

"I feel comfortable with this decision," he said. "It feels right. I have a good connection to the coaches and players so this is where I want to be."

Barnes will be working on other recruits for the Wolfpack.

"T.J. Graham and Terrell Manning were at NC State today so I'm working on them a bit," he said.

TJ's in the fold; keep working on Manning, Brandon.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Lowe Meets The Press

ACC Now has the goods:

• If the NBA allowed high school players to jump directly to the pros, there's a chance Hickson wouldn't be at State.

"He has skills right now, that NBA players that I've seen don't have," Lowe said the 6-9 power forward from Marietta, Ga.

Hickson impressed Lowe with his footwork and ability to face the basket and shoot but most of all, his attitude.

"He hates to lose," Lowe said. "He has got a focus about him. It's just not like a freshman."

• Kentucky, Florida and UMass will be on future non-conference schedules, Lowe said. He did not detail who the Wolfpack would play this season out of the ACC.

Kentucky and Florida--that'll be fun. And that praise for Hickson is really not helping me reign in my enthusiasm for the upcoming season. I'm trying to keep too-often-dashed hopes at a reasonable level here, Coach!

Also of interest: one hypothetical lineup offered by Lowe was Johnson, Grant, Costner, Hickson, McCauley. Hello, improved rebounding.

When asked about the rotation, Lowe was very non-specific, offering only that we're going to be deeper than six or seven this year. He said he wasn't sure we'd go ten-deep.

We could always ask these guys to craft us an intro song.

Deadspin points out that a few Oregon State baseball players--excuse me, a few O State Ballaz--are wannabe rap artists. Check it:

O State Ballaz, yes we balling
O State Ballaz, yes we balling
O State, O State, Ballaz
O State, O State, Ballaz

Hitting all the jacks—ain’t no time to relax
O State Ballaz game never lax
Melt ladies’ hearts like a flame to the wax
We step to the plate and we taking our hacks
So far ahead all you see is our backs
Throwing facts, busting tracks ain’t no tax wearing slacks
Tearing up players with mad skilled attacks
Ballaz title bound and we’re counting the stacks


There ain't enough alcohol on the planet to make this team interesting.

[Hope you'll pardon a brief diversion.]

On May 25th, the White Sox beat the Devil Rays (NCSU alum Chad Orvella took the loss) and improved to 24-20 on the season. At that point, the offense was totally awful, but since the team had a winning record, it was more of a ha-ha funny bad--like, okay, they suck now, but they won't all year. They're still in contention, which makes it slightly tolerable.

[Photo: Chicago Tribune]

The White Sox are, since May 25th, 5-22. They have, in those 27 games, scored three runs or fewer 16 times. This is not so much ha-ha funny. I've taken to replacing the "now pitching for [insert team], [insert player]" phrase with "now shutting out the White Sox, ... this fuckin' guy!"

What's worse is there are no signs that the corpseball is coming to an end anytime soon--they scored a grand total of two runs against the Cubs this weekend. This is a season of indignities. I'm coming to understand that. You watch a team play Rob Mackowiak every day and you get a new perspective on things. But as it is, even when the White Sox are winning, I'm barely able to come to terms with the fact that the Twins own the White Sox annually (damn you, Little Nicky Punto!). Now I have to deal with losing five of six to the Cubs? I don't know, man. I only have so much to give.

In this modern era, expensive mistakes tend to get blowed up. And the White Sox, with a $100 million-plus payroll, are an expensive mistake. So it's a matter of time. My favorite player is probably outta here. That he's likely to land on a team I loathe barely registers. Eventually the insults become so numerous that they lose all meaning. And Jermaine Dye, yeah, he gone-ish. Who knows where it'll go from there. Not a happy place, that is for sure.

I hope baseball season is going better for you, dear reader. (Unless you are Nick Punto.)


Saturday, June 23, 2007

Doomed To AC/DC

The athletics department is asking fans to suggest an intro song for the football team. This is a nice idea, but it is pretty much guaranteed to not end well for me.

I don't suppose I can convince anyone to cast a vote for this New Pornographers tune:

We could always go the ironic route with, say, this Radiohead song:

You do it to yourself, you do
And that's what really hurts
Is that you do it to yourself
Just you and no-one else
You do it to yourself
You do it to yourself

The corresponding intro video would show nothing but penalties and turnovers.

Morrissey works, too.

As I live and breathe
You have killed me
You have killed me
Yes I walk around somehow
But you have killed me
You have killed me

Whatever you feel like suggesting, just please let it be something that's not AC/DC. Please please please.

It's getting exciting 'round here.

Sidney Lowe just received a commitment from 6-7 forward CJ Leslie, who is a member of the 2010 class. Some links of interest:

Back in November, CSTV's Van Coleman ranked Leslie as the #10 prospect in the 2010 class:

[R]ounding out the top ten is fast rising 6-foot-6 North Carolina wing man C.J. Leslie, someone who can flat out take it to the rim off the dribble.

The Buckeye Prep Report ranked him even higher--number two--back in October. They like him quite a bit:

CJ Leslie, a 6’6 C/PF from Holly Springs, NC, was at times, the most dominate player at the camp. Some people had heard about Leslie but this camp was really his coming out party. Leslie has great length and a 6’11 wingspan, which he combines with great timing to block multiple shots per game. Also, Leslie passes surprisingly well given his height. Although Leslie spent a lot of time on the perimeter, when he played closer to the basket his talent was more evident. Remember this kid’s name, he has the potential to be big time.

There's also this from a tOSU message board:

But watching C.J....that kid is going to be special. He had something like 30 points, but his team was losing by about 40. Frustrated, he dribbles the ball down the court, and just goes up and dunks on 6'9" Marcus Kitts, Middle Creek's best player who has a full ride to William and Mary...just SLAMS it on him. Middle Creek's loud student section just shut up for about 30 seconds straight. Then, when I asked someone about "that kid on Holly Springs", I was told he is being scouted by Ohio State. And..well...that's how I found this.

It's certainly a good sign that Ohio State was interested in him.

C.J. Leslie- At 6-foot-8, Leslie is quite an intriguing prospect as a combo forward. A very active player with a versatile skill game, he was constantly impacting the game all over the court. His shooting range does need to improve, but Leslie has a complete skill package that makes him a very attractive prospect.

C.J. Leslie (6'5" Fr. SF-PF, Holly Springs (NC) High) Very active forward is a fun player to watch because he makes so many plays. He was around the ball often, especially on the glass, really using his athleticism to play bigger. Right now, he's a little lanky and his ball skills will need work, but he comes to play and his skills and body maturity will come in time.

A good-passing, shot-blocking, athletic forward with a "complete skill package"? Kick. Ass.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

ACC Now's Hoops Preview

JP Giglio's already looking ahead to basketball season with this most excellent summer preview. Some tidbits:

Dave Telep (who briefly analyzes each school's incoming recruits for the preview) thinks he knows who our starting point guard will be:

If I had to put money on N.C. State’s next point guard, I'd go with Gonzalez. Degand's been in the program for a year but he's going to have a fight on his hands. Let’s face it, to play point guard for N.C. State next season, you have to have the ability to get the ball to their three best players — Brandon Costner, Ben McCauley and J.J. Hickson. Their point guard needs to be a facilitator. They’re not going to ask their point guard to do a crazy amount. Despite his youth, that will be Gonzalez. He's always played with a lot of courage, a real confident kid.

On Duke, JP says:

Since Mike Krzyzewski returned from hip and back problems after the 1994-95 season, Duke's success has been predicated on the 3-point shot.

About a month ago, he wrote something similar, saying that "Duke needs the 3-pointer." But is that true? Have they been that reliant on threes?
1996 33.0
1997 36.8
1998 32.4
1999 30.5
2000 34.2
2001 41.8
2002 37.6
2003 33.9
2004 33.4
2005 39.8
2006 35.2
2007 29.6
The table lists the percentage of Duke's field goal attempts that were threes; the NCAA average proportion is in the 33-34% range. Duke's average proportion over the twelve seasons listed: 34.9%. There are a couple of years where they relied heavily on threes (2001 and 2005, namely), but in general they've shot them at a standard rate.

On Georgia Tech:

Put it this way, with just Crittenton (nevermind Young), Tech could have been a Final Four team. Without him, it could still make the NCAA Tournament — particularly with a schedule that avoids having to play Duke, UNC or N.C. State twice — but the breaks are going to have to fall their way.

Tech's offense is going to be interesting to watch. They had one of the worst turnover rates in the ACC last season, and now they have to break in a new point guard. Not to mention that they may need to rely on Jeremis Smith and Ra'Sean Dickey more this season, and those two guys handle the ball like it's a bar of soap. The Jackets will again be very good at offensive rebounding and they'll get efficient shooting (from the starting five, at least), so that TO% will make a big difference one way or the other.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Turnovers: Now With Context!

First, a note about the NCAA's numbers. In going back through their database, I noticed some holes in their turnover data from the 2000 and 2001 seasons. At least I think they're holes. An example:

Do the blank spaces denote zeros or a lack of data? I'm not sure, but after looking through some old box scores, I suspect the former. Even so, I'm going to omit the 2000 and 2001 seasons just to be safe. Put a mental asterisk next the Pack's 2000 season turnover figures in my previous post, though fortunately there aren't any holes in the Pack's 2001 data.

Moving on...

A commenter on yesterday's post wondered if maybe teams were playing more conservatively against the post-Rivers Wolfpack because they knew they didn't need to score as much, which might could explain why we've had trouble forcing fumbles. What follows is a breakdown of our opponents' play selection by year and their respective fumble rates.
        Pass   Rush   Rush%   Fum/100Ru
2002 437 525 54.6 5.9
2003 516 470 47.7 5.7
2004 272 429 61.2 3.3
2005 380 461 54.8 3.7
2006 269 481 64.1 2.7
Opponents have been running the ball more frequently over the last three seasons, which would suggest a more conservative style, but all I can do is guess at the impact that might have on their fumble rates (if there's an impact). It'd be helpful if the NCAA listed fumbles for each player, because in that case I could look at fumble rates both per rush and per pass, which might lead us closer to figuring out what play selection means for a team's overall fumble rate.

In order to add some context to the Wolfpack's turnover rates, I compiled those numbers for the rest of the conference. In the table below are each school's average rates from 2002-2006. I've included all 12 current members despite the fact that some obviously weren't in the league for all five years. Sorted by opponents' fumbles per 100 rushes:
                Opp_Fum/100Ru  Opp_INT/100PA  Fum/100Ru  INT/100PA
Va Tech 6.0 5.0 4.5 3.8
Wake Forest 5.6 3.5 3.4 2.9
Florida State 5.4 3.4 5.0 3.3
Duke 5.1 3.4 5.0 3.9
Miami 5.0 4.0 4.8 3.5
Ga Tech 4.9 3.2 4.3 4.1
Boston College 4.9 4.0 4.0 3.1
Average 4.7 3.5 4.6 3.4
Clemson 4.4 3.9 5.4 3.2
NC State 4.3 3.0 5.1 3.2
Virginia 4.2 3.3 3.7 2.6
Maryland 3.8 3.0 4.9 3.9
North Carolina 3.4 2.0 5.0 3.5
-- Virginia Tech's defense has been a fumble-causin', pass-yoinkin' machine over the last five years. Both of their rates top the league.

-- On the flip side are John Bunting's loveable collection of guys what suck at football. Cause fumbles? Catch the ball so as to prevent it from reaching its intended target? Why bother? Only two of the twelve teams have caused fewer than 100 turnovers since 2002: Maryland (97) and Carolina (77).

-- Wake's line offers more tangible evidence of Jim Grobe's coaching prowess. The Deacs are a league-best +43 in the turnover department over the last five seasons. Grobe's been able to put together a defense that, despite its limitations, is solid at forcing interceptions and quite good at causing fumbles. They may lack size and speed, but they still create a lot of problems. The offense, meanwhile, has been incredibly secure.

-- Clemson is the fumblingest school in the ACC. Back in 2002, they fumbled 39 times in 13 games (8.5 per 100 carries).

-- Rare is the team that throws fewer than 2 INTs per 100 pass attempts over the course of a full season; that's been done a mere five times since 2002 (twice by UVA, once by NC State, Miami, and Maryland). The lowest figure belongs to the 2003 Wolfpack, which threw 1.4 INTs per 100 passes.

-- There is one team that's above average in all four categories: Tom O'Brien's Boston College Eagles. Clearly, this man is a terrible football coach. I hope you ruin us that good, TOB.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Diagnosing Turnover Margin

Statistically Speaking recently examined fumble luck--how do teams that are lucky/unlucky in terms of fumble recovery percentage fare the next season? Not surprisingly, he finds that teams generally regress back to the mean (i.e., to a recovery percentage around 50%). The list of the unluckiest fumble recoverers in 2004:

2004 Worst Fumble Recoverers
Team/Fumble Recovery %/2004 Record

Ohio State/34.3%/8-4
NC State/35.1%/5-6
Georgia Tech/35.7%/7-5

This led me to dig a little deeper. As you undoubtedly know, since Philip Rivers graduated, we've made a habit of digging ourselves a hole with turnovers. Not only have we had problems with giveaways, we've also been terrible at forcing opponents to make mistakes.
       TO_Margin (Rk)
2000 0.36 (39)
2001 0.91 (13)
2002 0.5 (35)
2003 0.15 (53)
2004 -1.55 (114)
2005 0.0 (55)
2006 -0.92 (112)
So what's the deal? There are several factors at work, and I'll start in the obvious place.

1.) The Jaycus Evans Effect

In Philip's four years at NC State, the Pack threw a total of 36 interceptions (fn. 1)--an average of less than 10 per season. From 2004 onward, it's been a bit of a different story.
        G    INTs  PassAtt  INT/100PA
2000 11 11 455 2.4
2001 11 7 385 1.8
2002 14 11 447 2.5
2003 13 7 496 1.4
2004 11 16 343 4.7
2005 12 14 335 4.2
2006 12 16 379 4.2
The noteworthy column is the last one, interceptions per 100 pass attempts. It's pretty easy to tell when a certain someone graduated, isn't it? Rivers averaged right around 2 INTs per 100 attempts; the Davis/Stone/Evans mishmash has thrown INTs twice as often. Not only are we getting less value from those guys in terms of yardage per attempt and completion percentage, we're also having to deal with more frequent giveaways.

2.) Lady Luck Says We Can Go %#$@ Ourselves

Staying on the offensive side of the ball, let's shift to fumbles. It turns out that one of the reasons those Rivers teams were so good at hanging on to the ball was simply because they were fortunate.
        G    FumL FumTot  Rec%    Ru    Fum/100Ru
2000 11 9 25 64.0 351 7.1
2001 11 6 22 72.7 355 6.2
2002 14 13 27 51.9 522 5.2
2003 13 12 27 55.6 392 6.9
2004 11 16 23 30.4 435 5.3
2005 12 10 19 47.4 440 4.3
2006 12 7 15 53.3 374 4.0
In Rivers's freshman season, State fumbled 25 times, losing a mere nine of them. We were even luckier the next season, recovering a staggering 72.7% of our own fumbles. Note that recent Wolfpack teams have been far better at hanging onto the ball than the Rivers-era teams (see fumbles per 100 rush attempts); the problem is that the football gods have deigned to smite us. The 2002 and 2004 offenses fumbled at the same rate, yet, because of the way the cookie crumbled, the '04 Pack lost three more fumbles (in four fewer opportunities) than the '02 Wolfpack.

3.) A Lesson In Stripping

There are, of course, two sides to the turnover margin coin: the offense's giveaways and the defense's takeaways. We've been blessed with some very good defense over the last few years, but--and this is the head-scratcher--these defenses haven't been able to force mistakes for the life of them. More specifically, these defenses haven't been able to force fumbles.
     Opp_INT/100PA  Opp_Fum/100Ru
2000 3.1 5.5
2001 2.0 4.4
2002 3.7 5.9
2003 2.1 5.7
2004 3.3 3.3
2005 3.4 3.7
2006 2.6 2.6
The rate at which we've intercepted the ball has essentially been constant over the last seven years, so that's not the cause of our post-Rivers woes. After the 2003 season, the rate at which we've forced fumbles has fallen off a cliff. Take a look at the breakdown of fumbles forced by season:
2000     28        
2001 20
2002 31
2003 27
2004 14
2005 17
2006 13
It's not that the post-Rivers defenses have been unlucky in recovering fumbles, it's that the opportunity to recover them hasn't been there. The defensive recovery percentages:
Rivers Era     52.0
Post-Rivers 50.0
We forced more than two fumbles per game in three of Philip's four seasons; since then, our best mark is the 1.4 FPG we forced in 2005. While the quarterbacks have been busy throwing INTs twice as often, the defense has been causing fumbles half as often.

Summing Up
The offense saw its interception rate double after Philip Rivers departed and lost its fumble recovery mojo at the same time, while the defense maintained a consistent interception rate but had the damnedest time making opponents put the ball on the carpet. Put those things together and you've got the horribly negative turnover margin we've been fighting for three seasons now.

A few notes:

-- The luckiest fumble-recovering team of those I examined was easily the 2001 Wolfpack. In addition to the offense's 72.7% recovery percentage, the defense somehow managed an 80% (16 of 20!) recovery percentage. All told, that team recovered 32 of 42 fumbles (76%). I can't help but think of that year's Florida State game--as Cotra Jackson neared the end zone in the first quarter, he was stripped, and the ball rolled over the goalline. Miraculously, a State offensive lineman (Derek Green?) fell on the ball, scoring the Pack a TD. Definitely a microcosm of the season, that play.

-- It's harder than I would have expected to find evidence of TA McLendon's (negative) impact. I mean, it's easy enough to see that replacing him with the sure-handed Andre Brown made a difference in our fumble rate, but in looking at just the seasons during which TA was on the team, our highest fumble rate came in the year he missed the most playing time.

-- That said, I should point out that the rush attempt totals include rushes by all players, not just running backs. Quarterbacks therefore have a small effect on fumble rate, and this perhaps makes our 2005 and 2006 numbers a little more impressive (I'm assuming here that Rivers fumbled less often than Davis/Stone/Evans, which may not be the case). If the NCAA's database listed fumbles for each player, I could speak with greater certainty, but alas, it does not.

-- If you've got any theories as to why the defense has seen such a drop off in forced fumbles, I'd love to hear 'em.


1.) The NCAA's database doesn't include the Pack's bowl games in 2000 and 2001, so those games are not factored into the averages for those seasons.

Friday, June 15, 2007

These are the times that try men's blogs.

For lack of anything else to discuss, here's a nugget from an article about Sidney Lowe's recent trip to exciting Goldsboro, NC:

Lowe said he and his staff must stay ahead of the recruiting curve and prepare for recruiters' calls. Costner received considerable attention from NBA scouts this past season. After conversations with Lowe, he opted to remain in school another year and test the waters once the 2007-08 season ends.

Brandon Costner has already declared for the 2008 draft?

Earlier in the article:

Despite losing their point guard and Engin Atsur, who sat out 12 games, the Wolfpack's six remaining scholarship players refused to quit on the court. Courtney Fells, Gavin Grant, Ben McCallie, Brandon Costner and Dennis Horner each averaged considerable playing time, but they never seemed to get tired.

At least, not when Lowe was looking.

McCallie made the mistake of telling a reporter after the regular season ended that maybe he was getting a little tired. Lowe heard the comment and glanced toward McCallie, who quickly added "but not that tired."

(Emphasis mine.) How does a sportswriter from North Carolina... oh, forget it.

And now something else entirely. Here's how Chuck Amato's firing was supposedly handled:

Chuck Amato was fired the week before the East Carolina game, sometime between the November 18 loss to North Carolina and November 25. So, Amato went into the ECU game knowing he had been fired.

Fowler didn’t fire Amato face-to-face either; instead, Fowler sent Amato a letter telling him to have his office cleaned out by a certain date.

You have to understand the difficult position Fowler was in at the time. The athletics department had previously bought a fleet of carrier pigeons and they were going to waste.


At least he didn't give Amato the news with a text message.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

A Few Items

-- I'd already written him off, but Eryk McConnell is still mulling a return to NC State:

Still undecided are Tuscola alums Eryk McConnell (10th round, Baltimore), who has a year of eligibility remaining at N.C. State, and Blake Murphy (50th round, Chicago Cubs), a rising fifth-year senior at WCU.

“A big factor for me is that I’m so close to graduation,” said McConnell, who plans to graduate next May with a degree in biology if he stays in Raleigh. “Getting a degree is important to me. But then it’s a lifelong dream of mine to play pro baseball. Those two big dreams are kind of clashing right now.”

Would you really want to play for the Orioles, anyway, Eryk? Of course you wouldn't.

-- The Philadelphia Inquirer recently examined how the NCAA's new prep school legislation is affecting some athletes. Temple recruit Ramone Moore had to find an alternative way to make the grade:

So instead of entering a junior college, where his years of eligibility would be cut in half, Moore signed with Temple a few weeks ago and will attend the university next year - as a non-scholarship student.

He will not play basketball and will not practice with the team, but if he succeeds in the classroom, he will join the Owls for the 2008-09 season and remain on track to play all four years of eligibility.

-- Yesterday, on a whim, I decided to see if anyone owns, and someone indeed does--it's a La Femme Nikita fan site of all things. If you click on the Peta Wilson link, it takes you to a flash slideshow with a Matchbox 20 song playing in the background. There should be some sort of label warning me that a Matchbox 20 song is about to assault my ears; I could have been killed.

So I guess I can forget about that url; however, is available, so I may just go with that.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Gavin's Hearing Postponed Until 2025

We'll continue to wait.

A full immigration court hearing for N.C. State basketball player Gavin Grant scheduled for Wednesday in Atlanta has been continued until Aug. 1, Grant's attorney said today.

Anna Baird Choi, a Raleigh attorney, said the continuance was granted because she is on maternity leave.

Monday, June 11, 2007

You're this close to being dead to me, Nevada.

Does this qualify as backpedaling?

Keith Nichols, N.C. State's director of news and communications of news services, said the issue has gotten out of hand after a student at N.C. State wrote a paper about the similar logos for a class. Nichols said that the student's instructor suggested he publish the work in the student newspaper, The Technician. The student newspaper reported that the director of trademark licensing, Cindy Sears, said there could be "huge infringement" that would require "legal counsel." Sears was unavailable for comment.

The local daily newspaper, The News and Observer, and the Associated Press both wrote stories on it, and Nichols said they made the issue bigger than it is.

"It sort of came into the public eye by accident," Nichols said.

He also said that Nevada's name was mentioned off-handedly and most instances of logo use are handled informally.

"I don't think Cindy's goal was for this to reach where it has," Nichols said.

I can understand him not wanting the big, bad University of Nevada-Reno mad at us. But no matter! We press on.

As the News & Observer reports, North Carolina State University has sent notice to the University of Nevada, but a response had not been received as of June 6.

You hear that, Nevada? You're on notice.

There it is, Nevada. Deal with it.

I actually bought the Nevada hat that has Tuffy on it, but I haven't had an opportunity to wear it around town because somebody stole it shortly after it arrived:

I keep asking him, "shouldn't you, I don't know, be setting an example?" He says he just wants to change it up for a while.

[SFN also hits on this topic today.]

Friday, June 08, 2007

Brackman Linkage

Plenty of coverage from the NY media:

Welcome Brack(man)
Brackman's a tall order
Yanks go big with Brackman
Yanks Reel In College Righty (He was fishing during the draft?!)
Yankees make big choice with first pick
Yankees Top Pick A Known Commodity
A-Rod a fan of first-rounder

Chicago In Pictures

You can always try to get away, but there's no escape. During my brief stay in Chicago, I saw more than enough people sporting Carolina hats. I was giving one some grief as I walked past him on the street (I may have had a few seven drinks at this point), and he pulled out a "Jordan went to Carolina" excuse. Dude, please.

(Strangely enough, in addition to the lot of UNC pseudo-fans, I saw some guy sporting a Wake Forest hat at the Sox game on Monday. That's like spotting an animal that was thought to be extinct.)

Those unsolicited reminders of home aside, I had a good time. I wore my White Sox hat to Wrigley on Sunday, which made for an interesting experience. Having been provided with little ammunition by this year's White Sox team, I was left to pathetically point at the "World Series 2005" patch on the side of my hat. I kind of wanted to obnoxiously cheer for the Braves, but seeing as how they were lifeless from the game's first pitch, that was never an option. Mark DeRosa hit a grand slam in the bottom of the first inning and the Cubs never looked back.


At one point early on, these fellas sauntered down and sat down right next to us in section 138. I come for the baseball, but I stay for the sweet, sweet music:
A Little In-Game Serenade

The game itself was, as I mentioned earlier, a total yawner, though I know the Cubs were happy to take it. But just being there was the point; what happened on the field was immaterial.

Here, Jeff Francoeur and Matt Diaz discuss how much they will suck today:
Francoeur Talking To Matt Diaz

Alfonso Soriano did very much not suck, finishing a double short of the cycle:
Soriano Rounding Second

Ron Santo sang "Take Me Out To The Ballgame," Kerry Wood boogied down in a bar afterward, there were many drinks. It's a hell of a party on the north side. I look at these photos and I'm ready to go right back.

Goodbye, Wrigley

The next two nights were spent at US Cellular Field watching the White Sox continue their struggle to mimic a Major League Baseball team. You can't trip in Wrigleyville without stumbling into a bar, but finding refreshments at the other end of town is more of a challenge. On Monday we made the mistake of heading down early in hopes of doing just that (note to self: never take your cabby at his word), and the result was a modest success. We found a bar--not as adjacent to the Cell as we'd been led to believe--and drinks were had. The atmosphere I cannot compliment, however.

Pitching in Roger Clemens's stead was Matt DeSalvo; the White Sox loaded the bases in the second and third innings, and, in typical fashion, refused to break the game open. It's June and the Sox are last in the AL in runs scored, average, on base percentage, and slugging percentage. A joy to watch, really. (With each passing day, I'm increasingly thankful that I bought that $120 subscription.)

Fortunately, Jon Garland pitched well, limiting the Yankees to a couple of runs in 8+ innings.

Rick Sutcliffe sipping a drink before the game, no doubt telling everyone around him how George Clooney is up there with the Congress, trying to get everybody to go over there and solve that thing:
ESPN Crew, Pre Game

Small Comfort

Garland Warms Up

Somebody's pouty because Jon Garland struck him out twice--and Jon Garland couldn't strike out the headless corpse of Ted Williams:
Kicking Rocks

Torpedo Boat Juan Uribe

On Tuesday, the Yankees bounced back and had little trouble with Mark Buehrle, ultimately winning 7-3. As I left, I thought of the players who wouldn't be in a Chicago uniform even if I came back in September. Each loss brings us a day closer to the trade deadline, a day closer to the fire sale that now feels imminent. (Buy one Podsednik get one Erstad free!)


Thursday, June 07, 2007

The MLB Draft -- No Longer Steve Phillips-Free

[3:16PM] This is a lot less painful than the NFL draft; bless these five minute time limits. We're through thirteen picks and there's still no sign of Andrew Brackman.

[3:23PM] Cleveland just took my man Beau Mills, he of the 1.000 slugging percentage. Austin Johnson should be joining me here on this sort-of-liveblog shortly.

[3:36 PM] Austin - Minor technical difficulties but I'm in now. Thanks to Steven for letting me invade his blog for the afternoon. Quick advertising note and then I won't mention again, but we'll have some stuff up after the draft about Wolfpack players who were picked up today and tomorrow.

[3:41PM] I'm still trying to figure Milwaukee's decision to go with LaPorta. Keith Law made the point that LaPorta is the kind of guy who can build trade value for a contender rather quickly, but what if you end up wanting to play the guy? Consensus seems to be that he's going to be stuck at 1B.

Glad you made it successfully, Austin. Did you like the Cubs' pick? -- Steven

[3:41PM] Austin - I was happy with the Cubs pick, Vitters is the best high school hitter in the draft. Can't complain about that.

I'm watching the draft live on ESPN2 right now. It's Peter Gammons, Steve Phillips and Karl Ravech. They are echoing like crazy. Probably because the draft looks like its taking place in an airport hanger somewhere.

[3:51PM] They do need to work on this draft atmosphere for next year. Every time Selig comes to the podium, you can hear like twelve guys in the back. What we need are Jets fans. A lot of Jets fans. -- Steven

[3:52 PM] Austin - Yeah Jets fans would do the trick. Or, you know, more than 12 fans in the building.

We've had two ACC players go so far. Daniel Moskos, a lefty pitcher from Clemson, went No. 4 overall to the Pirates. Georgia Tech catcher Matt Weiters was ranked by most as the best hitting prospect in the draft - he went No. 5 to Baltimore.

[3:54PM] Selig just announced Philly's pick, and...dead silence. But I'm sure Phillies fans are there booing in spirit.

I hope we're getting to Brackman territory here (20s); I would hate to see him slide all the way to the supplemental round. -- Steven

[3:59PM] I'm waiting for Keith Law to lampoon JP Ricciardi (his former boss) for one of Toronto's selections. A little feud couldn't hurt.-- Steven

[4:03PM] Austin - Yeah Law seems to enjoy taking stabs at his old employer. Why isn't he at the draft? He's like the Mel Kiper of this thing.

If the White Sox or Yankees don't take Brackman, he could really start to slide.

[4:08PM] I mean, there's no one there to heckle Steve Phillips. This is tremendously disappointing. Twenty-two picks down, Brackman still available. Come on, White Sox! -- Steven

[4:08PM] Austin - There's nothing funnier than looking at some of this grainy home video footage of high school players. Wow! Did you just see how he dominated that 5'3", 120-pound 15-year-old!

[4:13PM] The Giants took Tim Alderson, a pitcher who Kevin Goldstein says the White Sox had as their #1 target. Brackman = plan B? -- Steven

[4:18PM] Austin - "The Chicago White Sox, are now on the clock." - Bud Selig

Selig never looks remotely happy. Just smile every once in a while man.

[4:22PM] He could at least put on a smile for the cameras.

There's really a buzz surrounding this draft. Oh, wait, that's just the air conditioning. -- Steven

[4:29PM] Boo-urns. I'm fine with the pick, but I wish the White Sox had taken a chance on Andrew. I think Boras might have made the difference there. -- Steven

[4:27PM] Austin - The White Sox pass on Brackman, meaning he'll have to wait until at least the 30th pick. Teams are also staying away from another Boras client, Rich Porcello, who was projected as a top-5 talent.

[4:31PM] Selig: "The Detroit Tigers are on the clock."
Two Tigers fans: "Woooo!"
Karl Ravech: "A lot of Tigers fans here..." -- Steven

[4:36PM] Austin - Detroit isn't afraid of the big price tag guys. A year after taking Andrew Miller, they grab Porecello with the 27th pick.

[4:47PM] Well, here we are. Yankees up at #30. -- Steven

[4:54PM] Austin - It's official - Andrew Brackman is a Yankee.

[4:59PM] Gammons and Law like the pick. Others...not so much. From a BPro chat:

Kevin Goldstein (2:04:02 PM PST): The Yankees finish up the first round by taking Andrew Brackman. Maybe the Oliver Stone theories were correct, and it really was a big ol' orchestration to drop him to the Yankees -- and maybe not. I don't think I like the pick, even at 30.

BSmith (2:05:35 PM PST): He's fun to watch pitch, I know, but at some point, the results have to matter. The consistency isn't there, the dominance has never been there, and earlier in the year, I wrote about his struggles against 1-5 hitters in the ACC. He is probably going to do well in the low minors, if he's healthy, but I don't see him having much more success than Jon Rauch.

And from Rich Lederer: a rather terse "you can have him." -- Steven

[5:02PM] Austin - These people have a point, but he has performed before. Brackman's problem is, as Smith said, consistency.

Personally I think Brackman will be fine. He needs a consistent delivery and a slightly better breaking ball, but the Yanks are looking at upside and Andrew has plenty of that.

[5:11 PM] Austin - Alright, its been fun. Thanks again to Steven for having me on this afternoon and hopefully we can do it again sometime.

[5:21 PM] Enjoyed it, Austin, thanks for chatting. We'll do it again.

Yankee fans not entirely behind the pick. -- Steven

Today's The Day

...for Andrew Brackman. The MLB draft starts at 2PM and will be televised by ESPN2 and I may do some liveblogging.

I'm back from Chicago and I'll have a report with photos later today.

[Update 6-7-07 1:04PM] Here's a mock draft done by Bryan Smith. He doesn't have Brackman going in the first thirty picks, but:

25. Chicago White Sox: Kyle Russell, of, Texas

This is the first logical home for Andrew Brackman, as he would certainly give the White Sox the high-ceiling talent they are searching for. Instead, I think they go with Russell, who has a little college pedigree but youth and raw power to please ownership.

Brackman to the White Sox, possibly? I can dig that.

Baseball Analysts
, by the way, has tons of coverage.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

The Windy City Beckons

-- When the Pack takes the field against Wofford on Sunday (or whenever the rain stops), they'll be facing Austin Redwine. Redwine sports a 6.68 ERA, and that number is an accurate reflection of his pitching ability; which is to say that he doesn't have any...
           HR/9   K/9    BB/9   K/BB    FIP     Avg     OBP     SLG
Redwine 1.5 5.6 3.5 1.6 5.77 .322 .401 .525
Opponents are OPSing .926 against him--hitting like Gary Sheffield, basically. He doesn't have good control and compounds matters with a lame strikeout rate. I expect we'll give him a nice knocking around.

-- As I mentioned earlier this week, I'll be in Chicago from Sunday until Wednesday. Braves/Cubs on Sunday, Yankees/White Sox on Monday and Tuesday. I'm hoping I can bring the White Sox some good mojo (seemed to work last year); they've been swinging the bat like a bunch of girly men this season. No new posts in this space until Thursday, most likely.

-- I've been messing around with Windows Movie Maker; here's my second attempt at a highlight video:

Friday, June 01, 2007

Friday Items

-- South Carolina is streaming all of the Columbia Regional games over the internets; you can watch here. (I think it's free.)

-- If you missed LeBron's performance last night, you're gonna want to check out the highlights.

-- A tip of the hat to Bill for this one: Charlie Weis announced this week that three players were in contention for Notre Dame's starting QB job. Left out of the mix was Zach Frazer. Should Frazer decide to transfer, Bill thinks TOB might get involved (or re-involved, I should say). Also, if his profile is accurate, it looks like Amato's staff recruited him. Anyway, Frazer has yet to announce his intentions, so this is all very premature. Sounds like there's a fair chance Frazer moves on, though:

His father, David, hinted that a transfer could happen if Zach does not gain any opportunities in South Bend.

"If the opportunity is out there and they (other schools) come calling, he wants to play," David Frazer said. "He's a kid that wants to play. He's not going to run the scout team or do mop-up duty, he wants to play."

Of course, even if O'Brien has interest in a newly available Frazer, there may not be any room for him. Opinion seems to be that we'll take one quarterback in the 2008 class, and we're already recruiting a number of guys; among them are Mike Glennon, Brandon Rogers, and Jacob Charest.