After taking a bit of a hiatus, Jimmy and I are wading into the world of Instead of Texting again. We figured there was no better way to get things going than by live blogging tonight’s Duke-N.C. State game, which features our alma mater and the team Jimmy grew up rooting for.
Fortunately for Jimmy, he’ll be checking out the game live on TV in North Carolina. And through the magic of the Interweb, I’ll be following the action sort-of-live on ESPN360. So check in with us beginning around 9 p.m. for our quick-hit thoughts on the game.
Jeremy: Looking at the scoreboard, I keep thinking that Carolina is going to turn it around at some point, but getting blown out at home by Wake Forest is making me wonder. Why do I get this nagging feeling that the Heels are going to take out their frustrations on State next week?
Jimmy: Probably because you’re well-grounded in the history of UNC-NCSU basketball. I was just checking out our stats, and it seems that we’ve had decent traffic, despite not posting anything in two months. I’m not sure what that means, but it seems worth noting.
What’s your favorite Duke-State memory?
Jeremy: Personally, I’d have to go with the first game I ever saw in Cameron, which was from press row in 2000. State trailed by 5 with 3 seconds left in regulation and got a miracle finish to send the game into overtime. Duke eventually won, and I remember the Crazies storming the court over top of me after it was over.
Jimmy: I remember you and our esteemed editor coming home with blue face paint all over the backs of your nice, white dress shirts. I was envious.
That was kind of a great lost State team. They rolled through nonconference, winning at Purdue, and challenged a good Duke team in the game you attended. They lost an early conference game to Maryland, and a likely NCAA run fell apart.
I haven’t watched a lot of ACC basketball this season, but it looks like Tracy Smith is developing nicely. Last season, it seemed like most of his baskets came on trash (putbacks and easy layups created by others). Tonight, he’s getting good position and showing a few nice moves, including a soft-touch turnaround.
Jeremy: I seem to remember State starting that season 5-3 in conference and then completely falling apart after losing at Maryland. That was a depressing few weeks of basketball.
It looks like teams have been keying on Smith more since ACC play started. State had to go looking for other places to score against Florida State and Clemson.
Jimmy: That may have been the least repeatable sequence ever: State gets a turnover in the backcourt when Andre Dawkins loses his balance, then Horner draws a foul on a fade-away jumper.
Jeremy: Normally, we have a little bit of a delay between the two of us when we’re watching a game, but it’s kind of ridiculous tonight. I think your live Raycom feed is at least a full minute ahead of me on ESPN360. Plus, you don’t have to watch all the lame Winter X Games commercials that ESPN is forcing down my throat.
Jimmy: Jeremy’s delay is so bad, he still thinks the Democrats have 60 votes in the Senate.
Topical humor, folks.
Jeremy: The Democrats had 60 votes in the Senate at some point?
Big 3 by Javi Gonzalez, which I guess Jimmy saw a few minutes ago when he sent me the message “Wow, wow, wow” in Google Chat. It seems that State is pressing a lot more on defense this year and moving at a bit of a faster tempo on offense. Now that the team is mostly Sidney Lowe recruits, could it be that we’re finally seeing his system fully developed this year?
Jimmy: I don’t know if you’re going to see it on your feed, but they just showed highlights from the 1996 Duke-NCSU game at Cameron. Chris Collins looks virtually the same as he did 13 years ago. Thankfully, N.C. State’s uniforms don’t.
Jeremy: I caught that, too. That 3 is still gut wrenching to watch.
Speaking of Collins and hearing the announcers talk about him as a future head coach, Dean Smith still has Coach K beat on coaching disciples. The K coaching tree doesn’t have many stable branches.
Jimmy: Yeah, the tree looks a bit like Charlie Brown’s. Amaker and Snyder both had a few decent seasons, but their ethical transgressions nullify that success.
Mike Brey’s built a nice program at Notre Dame. He predates the played-for-K/now-coaching-with-K trend of the last 10 years.
Jeff Capel’s been the best coach among the Duke alums. I don’t believe Krzyzewski did much to support his aspirations.
Jeremy: And once again, State is on the wrong end of a wild buzzer beater. Crazy shot by Nolan Smith to cut the lead to 41-38 at the half.
Jeremy: Capel has done an excellent job at Oklahoma, but I wonder whether he was influenced more by his dad than Coach K.
By the way, seeing that quick vignette on Shavlik Randolph earlier reminded me of this:
BIGGEST RECRUITING BUST: Shavlik Randolph, Duke
As a senior at Broughton High in Raleigh, N.C., the 6-10 forward scored 70 points in a game to break a school record held by Pete Maravich. He was a two-time Parade and McDonald’s All-American who was the 12th ranked prospect in the Class of 2002 by Scout.com. However, in three injury- and illness-plagued seasons in Durham, Randolph averaged just 6.3 points and 4.3 rebounds while starting less than half of Duke’s games. After his junior season, he declared himself eligible for the NBA draft. He went undrafted and is currently playing 11.5 minutes per game for the Miami Heat, his third NBA team in five seasons.
I’m really glad State lost that recruiting battle.
Jeremy: To show what the viewing priorities are in my household, my wife, Jennie, is taking full advantage of me being forced to watch the game online by throwing in the “Twilight” DVD. I’ll let “South Park” sum up my feelings on that one.
Jimmy: I still believe Shav Randolph could have been great, but K didn’t utilize him properly. He could have been a wealthy man’s eith Van Horn, even if he did need his mom to cut his steak for him (I’d love to link to The News & Observer story recounting Shav’s eating habits, but The N&O archive seems to have disappeared).
Jeremy: This probably happened five minutes ago, but great job by Tracy Smith in transition to block Nolan Smith’s shot and knock the ball out of bounds off of him. And offensively, I’m amazed that Duke is just letting him have his way inside — 10-for-11 so far in the game.
Jeremy: One reason I hate watching the Raycom broadcasts (via ESPN360) in Florida: the Bojangles’ ads. It’s not fair seeing promos for the world’s greatest fried chicken when I have to drive at least three and a half hours just to taste it.
Jimmy: You touched on this point earlier, but State seems to have finally congealed under Lowe. They play hard and play together. The Costner-Hickson-McCauley dramas couldn’t feel farther in the past than tonight.
I have to say this: “Twilight” wasn’t awful. I did find myself wondering at the end of the movie what those kids saw in one another. They never talk.
Jeremy: State has played better than what most people (including me) expected going into the season, but they keep coming up with close losses instead of wins. It’ll be interesting to see if they can keep shooting close to 70 percent in this one for the last 10 minutes or so.
Jeremy: Just got to the 8-minute TV timeout on my end. If you had told me that someone would have a 13-point lead at this point, I would not have expected it would be State. Looks like Lowe is working the magic of the red blazer again.
Jimmy: The last few years’ Duke teams have gotten by on grit, composure and skill, but their lack of athleticism has been limiting. Tonight, they’ve shown little semblance of composure.
Does any ACC team look like a legit Final Four contender at this point?
Jeremy: Duke has looked like the best bet, at least up until tonight. So far, the ACC seems to have a few very good teams, but I don’t know if any of them rise to the level of being elite right now.
Jimmy: I understand that Dan Bonner’s really invested in selling us on “The Silent Assassin” as Nolan Smith’s nickname. But I really believe someone named Nolan would be a cannabalistic serial killer, not an assassin.
Jeremy: For my money, one of the best sports nicknames ever was Trajan Langdon as “The Alaskan Assassin.”
Jeremy: I now see why Jimmy just sent me the “holy shit” message over Google Chat. Javi Gonzalez had no business making that 3 to beat the shot clock.
Jimmy: Every 3 Gonzalez has made has been a “NO! NO! YESSSS!” shot. He’s also had several “NO NO NO” shots.
Jimmy: This is where State could give this thing. The Pack ranks 195th in the country in foul shooting, at 67.7 percent.
Jeremy: Not to jinx it, but this is looking like a huge win for the Pack. I’m starting to reconsider what I said before on next week’s Carolina-State game.
Jimmy: Is it possible that Degand and Gonzalez have become major assets?
Jeremy: Despite Degand’s sub-50% FT shooting?
Jimmy: They really seem to complement each other. Gonzalez is good at setting the half court and hitting open jumpers. Degand probes the defense on the dribble nicely, despite being out of control pretty often.
And despite his god-awful foul shooting.
Jimmy: As well as State played, I’m not sure how telling this game was. State isn’t likely to shoot 58 percent very often against good teams, and Singler and Scheyer aren’t likely to shoot a combined 35 percent very frequently. Still, for tonight at least, the Pack looks as good as anyone else in the conference.
Jeremy: Yeah, without looking at the numbers, I’m willing to bet that’s State’s best shooting performance of the year. After a few near misses, this could finally be the big win that helps the Pack turn the corner. As for Duke, Tim Brando and Dan Bonner pointed out a few times during the game that the Blue Devils have yet to win any of the three true road games they’ve played this year. They have to learn to win away from Cameron if they want to be an elite team.