Art Chansky

Coach K's Great, But . . .

Now that the ACC has failed to reach the Final Four for three straight years for the first time since 1961, let’s set the record straight about Duke and Coach K. Krzyzewski is a terrific coach, called “the John Wooden of this era” by Sunday’s vanquisher, Louisville’s Rick Pitino. Certainly with four national championships, 11 Final Fours and two Gold Medals with the U.S. Olympic team (which Wooden never coached), you can make a case for the man with the most major college victories in basketball history as the best sitting head coach. But compared to the perception that Duke is in the Final Four every year, the Blue Devils have hardly lived up to that reputation. There are so many cable sports center shows (ESPN alone has too many to count), young announcers seem given to hyperbole. For example, one late Sunday said this before going to a clip from Coach K’s post-game press conference. “So the Final Four will go off without the man who is there year after year.” Let’s get real, people. Duke has been to exactly TWO Final Fours since 2004 — hardly “year after year.” Yes, Krzyzewski has been amazingly consistent in accumulating those 957 career victories. But his NCAA record over the last 10 years is less than sterling. It doesn’t even compare to Roy Williams, who beat K and Duke in...

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Kansas, Kansas, Kansas (Ugh!)

It had to be Kansas. Kansas. Kansas. Roy Williams may be over the heartbreak and heartache his leaving Lawrence caused in 2003, but it’s just getting worse with me. The tweets, emails and blog posts are already out there, claiming that Bill Self has built a better program at KU than ol’ Roy has at UNC over the last 10 years. Statistics don’t show that (they’re pretty damn even, in fact), but the fact that Tar Heels have now gone home at the hands of the Jayhawks in three of the last six NCAA Tournaments makes it seem that way to a lot of basketball fans. Both programs have been great all the way back to the Phog Allen and Frank McGuire eras, each having blip periods that caused them to change coaches. But the last 10 years have been basically even-steven, certainly close enough to disavow any notion that one guy has out-coached the other. Kansas and Self have won more games and have a better record (300-58 for 84%) than Carolina and Williams (282-79 for 78%), but that is largely due to several factors over that 10-year span. One, Self took over a Kansas team that Williams left in sounder shape than the one Roy inherited from Matt Doherty. Two, the Tar Heels had one dreadful season in the last 10 years, the 20-17 debacle that followed...

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Part of 'A Unique Family'

Chapelboro.com has been publishing excerpts from Return To The Top on the 20th Anniversary of Dean Smith’s 2nd NCAA title season in 1993. Check the “Hoop it Up” section for all the excerpts from this fantastic series.  By George Lynch, UNC ‘93 In the end, the coaching staff had a lot to do with how all of our talents and personalities meshed together so well. Assistant Coaches Bill Guthridge, Phil Ford, Randy Weil and Dave Hanners all had that competitive spirit that means so much during the course of a long and tiring season. Before or after every practice, Coach Ford would often challenge one of us to a game of H-O-R-S-E or something just to keep us sharp, to keep us humble and to remind us that he could still play. He liked to point out that he’s the one with the No. 12 hanging in the rafters! Sometimes when we played H-O-R-S-E at the Smith Center, he would first tell me to go stand on the baseline, turn around and look up. Then he’d say, “Okay, whose name and number do you see up there?” That was his way of trying to psyche us out, but it was also something that the guys got a kick out of. We laughed about it, but we always knew that being remembered – especially at a school like Carolina –...

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Heels-'Nova Have History

Carolina and Villanova have played 14 times in men’s basketball, with the Tar Heels holding a 10-4 record, 4-1 in the NCAA Tournament. But almost all of the games have been significant. To wit:   Their first meeting was in 1956, when Frank McGuire’s eventual (1957) national championship team was playing together for the first season. The Tar Heels, who finished 18-5 that year, defeated Villanova in their Dixie Classic opener in December. Carolina won by 23.   Their next meeting was in the final Dixie Classic in December of 1960, before UNC President Bill Friday shut down the eight-team holiday tournament due to the point-shaving scandal that emerged after the season. Carolina beat the Wildcats in the second round by 20 this time.   The teams met again in what had become the most famous Christmas tournament, the Holiday Festival in Madison Square Garden. Dean Smith succeeded McGuire and by December of 1968 had built the second-best program in the country behind UCLA. The Tar Heels and four-time national champion Bruins were in the Festival field, along with Villanova, St. John’s and Princeton. Carolina defeated Villanova in the opening game, 69-61, in a rough-and-tumble affair that included near fisticuffs between UNC’s Charlie Scott and Villanova’s Howard Porter. The Heels missed their chance to face-off with Lew Alcindor and UCLA when they were upset in the semifinals by hometown...

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Too Little Too Late

Carolina’s improbable run from mediocrity ended literally two minutes too early, as the Tar Heels lost their third consecutive ACC tournament championship game and this time face a much stiffer penalty than merely  the heartbreak of defeat the last two years.   After a third loss to “old” and talented Miami this season, the crime of beating only two teams that likewise reached the NCAA Tournament probably fits the penalty of receiving an eighth seed and the prospect of having to beat Kansas in Kansas City to make the Sweet Sixteen.   Had Carolina been able to finish what, for much of the Sunday afternoon in Greensboro, looked like a major upset in the making, the Heels likely would have moved up a line or two in the seeding and if so avoided playing Kansas for a third time since Roy Williams returned from coaching at KU 10 years ago. And, if you bear to remember, the first two were losses in the 2008 Final Four and last year’s Elite Eight game of the Midwest Regional.   Nevertheless, the Tar Heels rebounded from a disjointed poor start of the season (10-5) to win 14 of their last 19 games and get off the NCAA tourney bubble. Their only two so-called “quality wins” over UNLV and N.C. State rendered advancing to the ACC championship game almost useless unless they could...

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I'll Never Forget This Team

All season long Chapelboro.com’s “Hoop It Up” will be republishing select excerpts from Return To The Top on the 20th Anniversary of Dean Smith’s 2nd NCAA title season in 1993. Check back on Monday of each week for the next RTTT. By George Lynch, UNC ‘93 I have always thought that Carolina Basketball teams over the years have had the talent and the confidence to win the national championship. Each team had a great coach who gave his players the opportunity to win. This year, it was just a matter of us going out, executing Coach Smith’s philosophy and having a little bit of luck along the way. When all of these happen, Carolina teams are usually very tough to beat. This year, it just seemed like everything fell into place. I’ll never forget the feeling I had after the championship game in New Orleans. The whole team went to Bourbon Street to celebrate, but it was really hectic down there and we got separated pretty quickly. I went back to the team hotel kind of early, but it was impossible to get to sleep. We had just won the national championship, and Donald Williams and I were supposed to appear on the Good Morning America show the next morning. My body was very tired, but I kept thinking I was going to miss something if I went to...

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Duke, And The War for Wiggins

     Some sobering        thoughts on Car olina’s bad — really bad — loss to Duke Saturday night: The Tar Heels lost the battle but they may have won the War for Wiggins. More on that later. Larry Fedora has a new goal to hit Duke with a two touchdown lead (14 points) next fall before the Blue Devils know what happened. The UNC students didn’t have to sleep in tents for two months to watch that. Carolina got so many bad shots out of its system that the Tar Heels might actually think about trying to score from some kind of half-court offense. It was an utterly composure-less performance. If they need a lesson, they can watch the tape of Mike Krzyzewski and his staff having Carolina’s small lineup scouted so well that they saw the immediate mismatches and called out plays as the Devils crossed half court. Carolina discovered a weakness in the Blue Devils – in case the teams should meet again (like next Saturday in the ACC Tournament). They can’t throw the lob to Mason Plumlee from half-court. The one time they tried the ball went into the stands. Anywhere inside that, it’s a slam dunk. The fans that stayed to the end avoided the traffic that poured out of the Smith Center throughout the second half. And the Tar Heels didn’t have to suffer a...

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Truly, A "Rich Man"

All season long Chapelboro.com’s “Hoop It Up” will be republishing select excerpts from Return To The Top on the 20th Anniversary of Dean Smith’s 2nd NCAA title season in 1993. Check back on Monday of each week for the next RTTT. By Henrik Rodl, UNC ‘93 Monday was absolutely miserable. Few of us slept well on the eve of the biggest game of our lives, and the minutes crept by. We had a shoot around at the Superdome and a team meeting, but otherwise we tried to kill time by watching ESPN or movies in our room. You’d look  at your watch and it would say “2:25”. You’d look at it after what seemed like an hour and it would say “2:24.” We went downstairs for our pre-game meal. Coach (Bill) Guthridge passed around the gold scissors that a fan had sent. Engraved on them was, “North Carolina, 1993 NCAA Champions.” That was kind of neat. We passed around the scissors, hoping that we’d be using them later that night. When we got on the bus a little while later, a lump welled up in my throat seeing all the parents standing around waving pom-poms and hugging everyone as they passed by. The Montrosses, the Salvadori’s, the Cherry’s, Derrick’s parents and his little brother. Everyone else – there was something about the sight that was very moving. I guess...

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The Amazing Eight

It may not rival the famed 8-points-in-17-seconds comeback against Duke in 1974, but Carolina’s 31 points in the last eight minutes of the first half against Florida State Sunday constitutes one of the hottest scoring streaks you will ever see.   The Tar Heels scored the first seven points of the game but then fell into a funk for the next 10 minutes or so. They actually trailed the Seminoles 16-15 with just over 8 minutes left, and after a second TV timeout tongue-lashing from Roy Williams they got hotter than a Jersey City sidewalk in August.   They outscored dear old FSU 31-11 the rest of the way, with James Michael McAdoo hitting four face-ups, three dunks and a free throw while Reggie, P.J. and Marcus all made three-pointers. Carolina looked like the offensive juggernauts that won national championships without having to play much defense because they knew they could go get whatever was needed on the other end.   So the sellout crowd that paid 50 bucks to see 40 minutes of basketball had to settle for the amazing eight. The rest of the game, including a get-me-to-the-parking-lot second half, was a real yawner. During the hot stretch, Williams loved a hustle play the best, when Jackson Simmons dove headlong for a loose ball and called a timeout that his coach was never going to use anyway...

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Smith By The Numbers

                           Dean Smith will be 82 on Thursday, which is February 28 and a neat juxtaposition of numbers wouldn’t you say?    Wait, there is more irony here. Smith won his first NCAA championship as a coach in ’82, which was 31 years ago. And The Dean was born in 1931.   Next season will be the 17th since Smith retired – that is the exact number of ACC regular-season championships he won, which was far more important to him than his 13 ACC Tournament titles. Consistency over time was the mathematician’s favorite formula. He would take three months over three days, easy.   Nevertheless, the 17 + 13 = 30 is the total years it took Smith to win all the aforementioned championships. By the way, he also signed 30 players who went on to be first- (26) or second-round (4) NBA draft choices.   And that does not include Charlie Scott, who is listed as a seventh-round pick by the Boston Celtics (where he eventually won an NBA championship) because Scott signed with the Virginia Squires of the old ABA long before the 1970 NBA draft. (Like he did with Larry Bird, Red Auerbach drafted Scott as a “future” star.)   Of course, Smith retired with 879 career victories, which is roughly the number of lettermen he coached (or claimed or wished they had been) in his storied...

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