(Hey friends, this is a tape-delay blog of last night's game. What that means is that I typed these thoughts as they happened, and, aside from minor style edits, left them intact for this morning's post. Enjoy!)
8:48: 12 minutes to game time, and I’m set up here in my living room, typing on a cardboard box. Just like they used to do in the old days, before they had tables.
8:48: Since there’s apparently an unwritten law that any ESPN game leading into a 9pm Duke start must go into overtime, UConn just pulled within one against Syracuse at the Carrier Dome.
8:49: Dinner is done, dessert is done, and I’ve got nothing to focus on except the game. This is a good night. This is a revenge night.
8:50: It’s snowing like a mother outside. My girlfriend is next to me, and she’s wearing a ‘face mask.’ Which is, of course, some kind of skin beautifying product. Do women still do that? This strikes me as something my grandmother might have done the night before some nice eligible gentleman came a'courtin.
8:51: Jesus, tie game in Syracuse. Please don’t let this happen, basketball Gods.
8:53: Wow, they just showed a promo for Duke-UNC, and it included a lot of blood and fights. Capped off by Hansbrough, when he took the elbow shot from Henderson. But my favorite clip was a black and white one from God knows when, where it seemed like the entire stands were rushing the floor, throwing punches. Oh yes, I’m pumped.
8:54: My girlfriend just picked up on the fact that the game before is going into OT. “Oh God,” she sighs, sounding exasperated. She’s learning! She follows this up with “it’s drying, can you see?” This, evidently, is about the face mask.
8:56: Man, dumb decision by Scoop Jardine. Could’ve held for last shot, but he rushed it and now UConn has the advantage. Or, should I say, the possibility of OT has the advantage.
8:59: Wesley Johnson, one of the most fun players in America, nails two at the line. Please hold them, Syracuse. Time out.
9:00: For anyone who’s interested, just before starting this tape delay blog I lost 24-21 to Joe Montana and the 49ers on tecmo super bowl. I just discovered virtualnes.com, which hosts a bunch of old games, and is not necessarily a good thing for me. I’m not a video game guy, but I love tecmo bowl. Oh, and I was playing as the Giants. Dave Megget fumbled in a crucial situation. Also, I got into a mode in the third quarter where I was determined to have Phil Simms run in for a touchdown out of the shotgun. It didn’t work out.
9:01: Missed three by Kemba, and Joseph knocks down two to give Syracuse a 4-point lead. By all rights, this one should be over.
9:02: Except Syracuse doesn’t challenge Walker, who goes coast to coast in 4 seconds, literally. The big man underneath actually moved aside so his finish would be easier. I hate that move. Up 4, commit the hard foul. Or at least provide some semblance of defense. That was too easy.
9:05: Okay, that should do it. Intentional foul, Cuse up 4 with the ball and 5 seconds left.
9:07: AND WE’RE LIVE FROM CHAPEL HILLLLLLL!!!!!
9:07: The Chapel Hill fans are jumping around to the song “Jump Around” by Cypress Hill. Hey Carolina, the 1990s called. They want their lame middle school dance rituals back. (Hey blogger, David Spade called...he wants his lame joke format back.) The bad guys win the tip.
9:07: OFFENSIVE FOUL. STATEMENT. OMEN. SCHEYER DREW IT. WE’RE GONNA WIN.
9:08: Smith gets whacked on the base line, no call.
9:08: Miles Plumblefuck makes his first plumblegoof. Putting ‘plumble’ in front of everything makes me slightly less angry.
9:09: Ed Davis gets everyone pumped up with a huge slam. Plumblefuck responds with a resounding weak jumper from about 10 feet that barely hits the front rim.
9:10: SINGLER BURIES IT! SCHEYER TO WIND TO EARTH, FOR 3!!!! Great sign early on.
9:11: AND HOW ABOUT ONE FOR SCHEYER!!!!!
9:11: Oh man this is so sweet, we’re about to beat UNC because they won’t guard us beyond 3 and also they’re trying to shoot with us. Welcome to hell, Heels.
9:12: Sweet, sweet spin move by Nolan Smith, but he can’t finish. Dickie V points out that Earth, Wind, and Scheyer are the highest scoring trio in America.
9:12: SING SING! ANOTHER TREY! Wow, we’re having so many open looks right away. Please keep leaving us unguarded, Carolina.
9:13: Dumb foul by Zou-Wreck takes us into our first tv timeout. I should maybe start giving the Zou some props for his workmanlike performance this year. It hasn't been all bad. We’ll see.
9:14: My girlfriend is using some kind of computer mirror to remove the last of her face mask, which I have to admit is fun to pull off. I asked her why she didn’t just use the giant mirror hanging behind her. No response, slow smile, shrug. That's a win for me.
9:16: Some type of in-game promo. My first reaction: stop speaking in that awful insinuating voice, Coach K. It's getting really really old. Girlfriend’s reaction (about Scheyer): oh, he’s so cute! My reaction (to Singler): man, that wide-eyed dude basically always looks crazy.
9:17: Scheyer cutting, gets a great pass from Zou for two.
9:17: Wow, what an awesome and unexpected interior pass by Mason Plumlee. Of course, Zoubek misses the lay-up. Two Duke big men both functioning like Division 1 athletes within a single play is asking too much.
9:18: The typical 'greatest rivalry' question is raised by Shulman in an online poll. Red Sox–Yankees. There’s your answer. Thanks for asking. Comically, Lakers-Spurs is one of the choices. Vitale rightly points out the absurdity of this.
13:43: Turnover UNC. If you didn’t notice, I’m now time-stamping by game time remaining. Oops! Forgot!
13:15: Scheyer’s forcing it a little bit. Miles Plumlee’s horrible game continues as he fumbles a good pass out of bounds.
12:43: Shulman quotes Roy Williams as saying that in moments of adversity, his team is losing confidence instead of rallying around each other. True enough.
12:30: HUGE BLOCK BY ZOUBEK! EAT IT, CHAPEL HILL!
12:18: Duke’s offense looks like crap. Luckily, our D is more than doing the job. So far. 13-7 Duke with UNC on the line.
12:03: Baby Dawk (Andre Dawkins) draws a foul going baseline. Good to see him in the ballgame. I just came up with Baby Dawk. I kinda like it, but it would be way more effective if Johnny Dawkins was still an assistant coach, and we could call him "Papa Dawk." Then the reference to Haitian dictators (Papa Doc and Baby Doc Duvalier) would be complete. Meanwhile, Henson for UNC gets two fantastic blocks in a row. On the second, Lance Thomas failed to convert from point blank. The inability of our big men to score is going to absolutely kill us come tournament time.
11:38: I don’t like the Verizon Fios guy. I think he’s a comedian, and he wears a baseball hat all the time. I know I’m supposed to, since he's sorta like an average Joe, and I can’t really pinpoint why I don’t. It’s very subtle. Although I do like that one commercial where the guy says the sunglasses are imported from New Jersey.
11:38: There are two cheers that haunt me. The current one in Chapel Hill, the drawn-out “Tarrrr….Heeeeeellllsss” thrown back and forth between parts of the arena, is one. The other is similar: West Virginia’s “Let’s go! (pause pause) Mountaineers!”
10:40: Scheyer and Graves exchange 3s. Duke is 4-7 from downtown right now.
10:14: LANCE THOMAS, HOW THE HELL DO YOU MISS THAT LAYUP!!! Unreal. He got fouled, but barely. You have to actively try to miss a shot from that close when you’re so tall. So fucking frustrating. Makes both free throws, though.
9:55: And a nice steal, too.
9:40: But then he takes a 16-footer, which is a shot we just don’t need. 3-point game, 18-15. Crowd going apeshit. Lance Thomas drives and gets rejected.
9:20: Dear Coach K: please make an offensive adjustment wherein our offense doesn't run through Lance Thomas. My humble suggestion is a subsitution for Lance Thomas.
9:00: Yeah, Mason! He follows Nolan’s drive with an emphatic slam.
8:52: Coach K has two looks: angry, diminutive tyrant, and scared child. It all depends on whether he’s standing or sitting.
8:24: Graves is hot. Tie game. 20-20. So loud in the Dean Dome. So loud.
7:33: I should probably expect this, but we’re getting absolutely no calls. Graves gets away with a push on the offensive side, then a 50/50 charging call goes against Nolan on the other end.
7:33: God, Bud Light and Miller Lite just make the worst commercials. I’m watching the one with the couple, and it’s set up like they’re doing a match.com things, but it turns out all the adoring things he’s saying are about a beer. Pre-dict-a-ble! (said in a sing-sing effeminate voice)
7:33: Here's my script for the next Bud Lite/Miller Lite commercial: guy and a girl are in a place together. There's a discussion where the girl wants the guy to say something sweet about her, or compliment her clothing, or else she's nagging him. These are the only types of interactions guys and girls ever have. I'm not sure what happens next, but the guy does something and for a second the girl is happy. Then she realizes that whatever the guy did was actually more a reflection of his love for beer. So she rushes off angry or looks disgusted. The guy is simple, an idea he communicates to the camera by not understanding what he did wrong. It ends with him looking confused, then shrugging it off because he's simple. He sips a beer. Please send me a money order for ten thousand dollars if you like this idea.
6:43: Un-fucking-believable. Lance Thomas literally cannot make a lay-up. Duke is now 2-20 from 2-point range. 2-point range!! 2 for friggin’ 20! Earth, Wind, and Scheyer just have no help.
6:22: Singler is so cold. And I’m not just talking about this game. It’s the whole season, and it’s really disheartening. Aside from his one hot game last week, it’s been all disappointment.
6:01: Sensing my souring mood, the girlfriend just went to bed. Time to become a lonely, sad, angry man. If I were holding a beer, this could be like the Raymond Carver version of a Miller Lite commercial.
5:30: Scheyer for 3. Thank God. Dickie V. says there will be a spot for Scheyer somewhere in the NBA. Vitale is basically the patron saint of white college players who probably will never be good in the NBA. He's their main advocate. God bless him.
5:00: A clear offensive goaltending goes uncalled at our end. The refereeing has been almost farcical so far. I can see this game having a horrible ending. The Dean Dome crowd has already intimidated the refs.
4:30: “Neither team shooting well, but the effort has been outstanding,” says Shulman. A very kind way to say this game has been ugly as hell.
4:00: There’s just no identity to this Duke team. What are we about? How are we going to score? What’s the plan here, guys?
3:37: Carolina takes their first lead at the under-4 timeout. 24-23. I’m not feeling good.
3:37: The World Cup commercials are just so awesome. I need to know where that music comes from. And Geoff, resident music expert, just informs me on g-chat that it’s from “City of Blinding Lights” by U2. Impossible not to get pumped up.
3:37: Hansbrough sighting! Love it. Looking goofy and loveable as ever.
3:18: Big one for Singler from 3. “Duke can’t throw one in the ocean from 2-point range, but they can’t miss from 3!” gushes Shulman. If Lance Thomas tried to find the ocean at this point, he'd end up buying lake trout at a roadside stand in Wyoming. (Huh?)
2:44: The one upside to our tentative performance is that UNC has no semblance of an offense. If they win, they’re going to have to win very, very ugly.
2:31: DRIVE, NOLAN! You’re so quick! Take it to the hole!
2:10: Excellent putback by Mason Plumlee. We’re killing on the offensive boards. Of course, that hasn’t mattered since we’ve made so few easy shots.
1:27: Ugly move by Mason. No flow to him yet. No grace. Drew Henson is a force underneath.
1:01: I honestly think Scheyer just got blocked on drives two times in a row because he was afraid that if he dished to anyone, they’d miss a layup. He had a better chance of making an off-balance leaner among the tall trees.
42.2: Singler just looks so slow when he tries to drive. His spin moves are the kind of shit you see from a second-string guard on a so-so high school team.
42.2: “There’s no Yankees!” says Dickie V., talking about the lack of a dominant team in the ACC. This works better than a quip I once made about how there are no weak teams in the conference: “There’s no Orioles!” Of course, I was at a funeral when I said it.
2.8: Worst case scenario as Drew picks up a loose ball, hits the lay-up, and gets fouled. He hits the free throw, and at halftime it’s 28-27 Duke.
HALFTIME: Without a commercial break, Roy Williams takes the mic to honor Hansbrough. God, is it horrible to admit that his speech just made me a little weepy? "Not only did he make this team better...he made me a better coach, and a better man." I don’t even like Roy. But everything Hansbrough touches turns to gold.
HALFTIME: My fellow fan Meredith points out that Nolan Smith “needs a red bull.” Too true. And apparently we’re shooting 25% from the field. Nolan is 0-7. Lance Thomas is 0-6, and those are all layup or dunk attempts. But Scheyer and Singler both have 3 treys. Rebounds are at 24 apiece, which I would not have predicted. I thought we had the edge.
HALFTIME: There needs to be a classic mouth-punch by Duke to start the second half.
HALFTIME: Some kid outside started crying like crazy just now. I went to the window, and a lady came by with her dog. The kid was on the ground with two older kids above him, one guy, one girl. “Is he really crying?” said the lady. “No,” said the two. “Yes!” screamed the kid. “They knocked me over and kicked snow on me!” The older kids ran away, and the lady took him inside her apartment across the street briefly. This might be weird somehow. I'll try to keep you updated.
19:30: Mouth punch! Singler hits his first three. He’s now 4-4 from deep, which unfortunately contrasts with me calling him “cold” a bit earlier. But Ginyard responds with a 3 of his own. By the way, Zoubek starts for Miles Plumlee. Little statement by Coach K there.
17:54: Oh boy. Mouth punch not possible. Ginyard gets an off-balance layup and a foul. Shit. Carolina up 32-31.
17:30: Thomas blatantly elbows the UNC defender. I hate when someone’s being pressured and goes high with the elbows. All you have to do is the low arm swing. It gives you space and prevents anyone from getting popped in the face.
17:20: Ugly knee bump. Lance Thomas is down. He’s having a horrible game, but the sad part is we can’t afford to lose him. Hope he’s okay.
17:00: The crying kid is back for more! I go to the window, and his face is being rubbed in the snow by the older kids. Someone comes by to intervene again, but this time everyone says "he's fine" and nothing happens.
16:55: It’s just a huge block fest underneath. 10 blocks for Carolina. Zoubek commits his third. Duke losing. This is not going well.
16:30: Hansbrough looking confident.
15:58: Singler with a huge putback after an ugly shot by Plumlee the Miles. Timeout, Duke down one.
15:27: YEAH NOLAN! LET’S FUCKING GO! (this is one of those entries where I type what I actually said.)
15:27: Hansbrough interviewed. Apparently he’s had bad ear infections this year. “I’d give anything to be out there right now,” says Psycho T. I believe that.
14:44: NOLAN TIME! Two long Js in a row, and we’re back up, baby! Give it right back to him, please.
14:00: He gets it, but misses a floater. Davis gets the go-ahead bucket in transition.
13:40: Paging Duke offense. Paging Duke offense. (The “paging _____” joke format was considered very lame in 1995. Now, it’s forgotten enough to be used again, and I'm right at the head of that wave.)
13:20: Singler gets murdered on a cut to the basket. No call.
12:07: NOLAN, GO! Oops, bad idea. Just like I wanted, he forced the drive, and missed a bad turnaround. Transition basket for Carolina, and we’re down 4.
11:46: “Get a T-O, get a T-O, get a T-O,” shouts Dick Vitale. Each “get a T-O” typed represents four actual “get a T-Os.” God, I hate him sometimes. More Yankees references, please.
11:46: Man, that “Dante’s Inferno” video game commercial with “Ain’t No Sunshine” in the background is really scary. I’m disturbed. Here I am, caring about a Duke-UNC game, and there are knights diving down into hell to save a blond ghost woman, and getting swamped by flying bird demons. Really gives you perspective.
11:38: Red Sox – Yankees wins the best rivalry poll in resounding fashion. Duh.
11:07: Wow, we got a break there. Just hammered Davis underneath, no call. Then Miles Plumlee does some weird half dunk attempt that (GASP!) doesn’t work. If a foreigner who had never heard of basketball watched this game, they would assume the main basketball strategy was to miss every shot when you’re inside the paint.
10:19: What a scoop! Nolan Smith, baby! Keep it hot!
10:10: Lance Thomas not returning. And Baby Dawk is in the game. In other news, Erin Andrews doesn’t look quite as good in glasses. But still pretty good.
9:26: Great take by Schey-guy, foul drawn. And he misses the first. Shit. Wow! He missed both. Unheard of. That, to say the least, is not a good omen.
9:12: Davis returns the favor by missing two.
9:00: A Carolina goaltending gets ignored, as does a blatant foul against Mason Plumlee. Singler finally draws a foul on the third try. And proceeds to miss the first foul shot. But the second goes down, Duke by 1.
8:51: 16-60, says Shulman. That’s Duke’s offensive effort. And oh God, Carolina is already in the bonus.
8:30: Dawkins takes a really bold three. Bold as in, he’ll probably get pulled from the game. Great offensive board by Mason, and a pump fake draws a foul. Hits one of two.
8:20: Deon Thompson with a tip. Tie game. Oh man, this is getting exciting. I did not want exciting.
7:50: As we go into the tv timeout, I need to point out that even though this game is close and dramatic, both teams look like absolute shit. It has been a really pitiful effort on both sides. Carolina just isn’t good, and Duke can’t play on the road.
7:50: If I had to guess right now, I would pick Duke to win this game, and that’s only because I don’t think Carolina has anyone who can hit a big shot. And we’ll probably hit 3-4 more three-pointers.
7:29: Horrible foul by Plumblefuck the Younger. Lazy reach-around on a post pass. And oh my, what a brick by Davis.
7:00: HOLY SHIT! REVERSE JAM BY YOUNG MASON!!!! I love hearing a crowd go quiet.
6:42: Drew airmails a wide open 3. A three-pointer here would be absolutely exquisite. Let’s do it, Duke.
6:20: But I will take a Scheyer runner instead. Dukies up 4.
6:00: Graves hits a fucking prayer from deep. That’s annoying. Dickie V correctly calls it the biggest basket of the game so far. Really going out on a limb there.
5:30: I LOVE YOU SCHEYER. I LOVE YOU. Huge clutch 3. Biggest shot of the game so far, say I!
4:45: Singler misses a bomb. This game just got really chaotic. Fast break lay-in for Nolan! Duke by 6.
4:34: Gotta say, I still have faith in our guys. I think Carolina’s offense is basically Graves bombing from really deep. Not sustainable.
3:59: Last tv timeout. Man, don’t even know what to think right now. A potential win is a potential win, but I was hoping for a much better performance tonight. It just isn’t happening for us on the road this year, and I guess that’s that. I’d love to be the kind of team that could find a nice flow even in a hostile environment, but it’s not to be. I can’t help but try to look into the future after these sorts of games, and none of this can bode well for the tourney. I’m already nervous for the first time we face real stress against a tough, athletic team, with a neutral crowd suddenly aligned squarely with the bad guys.
3:59: 19 offensive boards by Duke. I’d love to see numbers on how many of those were converted into actual points. 12 turnovers for UNC, 7 for Duke.
3:30: Beautiful pass by Zoubek in the interior. Singler lays it in. Give-and-go done to perfection. Duke by 6 again.
2:58: “Sometimes it just helps to be the biggest guy on the court,” says Shulman, as Ole Snowshoes rips down a vicious board. This one’s over, I’m calling it.
2:30: AND HOW ABOUT A FUCKING STRAIGHT UP DAGGER FROM SCHEYER?????
2:00: Carolina just taking ugly shot after ugly shot. Celebration time!!! They just showed the replay, and Scheyer gave the classic MJ head shake after that 3. Awesome.
1:34: After letting him kill 20 seconds, Carolina fouls Scheyer for no reason with 14 seconds left on the shot clock. They’ve done just about everything wrong in the last 7 minutes. Scheyer missed two before, and now he misses one of two. 10-point lead.
1:17: We’re about to beat Carolina.
1:08: What’s the rule on backcourt? Shulman clarifies: if you have at least one foot still in the backcourt, it’s not a violation if you go back, even if one foot has crossed. Good no-call by the refs. Nolan hits one of two to ice the deal.
1:05: “People better have their fun now,” says Vitale, before listing all the great recruits UNC is getting next year and predicting that they'll probably be awesome and beat us for the next four years at least. Okay, fair enough. *Ahem* HAHAHA, UNC SUCKS, HAHA, OH MAN IT’S SO MUCH FUN BEING FROM DUKE, WOOOOOOO. UNC IS TERRIBLE, WEEEEEEE!!!!!
54.6: YAYAYAYAYAYAYAY DUKE HOOORAH AWESOME YEAH!!!!
46.1: Scheyer fouled. Nice to see a little toughness, even if the overall play was sloppy.
45.0: Shot of sad Tyler.
28.2: Nolan fouled one last time for good luck.
15.2: Just checked the box score. A total of 11 points from people not named Earth, Wind, or Scheyer. Yikes.
GAME OVER: Nice work, Dukies. Scheyer is player of the game, and the highlight is Mason Plumlee’s reverse dunk. See you guys tomorrow.