Chansky’s Notebook: Good Steal, Virginia!

Virginia’s fairy-tale finish was one for the crooks.

It had been 60 years since Wake Forest won the ACC’s last College World Series, and Virginia stealing the title was the least likely scenario to break that drought. After all, the Cavaliers barely got into the ACC Tournament, not the NCAA Tournament. They had to sweep Carolina in Chapel Hill the last weekend of the regular season to finish 15-15 in the conference standings and assure themselves of a play-in spot at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park.

After Wahoo Wah defeated Georgia Tech to make the actual tournament field, Virginia promptly lost three straight and was a surprise at-large entry into big baseball dance, sent out to California to play San Diego State on its home turf. But then the season suddenly turned for Coach Brian O’Connor’s young club.

The Cavaliers won three in Cali, got the super regional back to Charlottesville and won two straight from old ACC rival Maryland of the Big Ten and advanced to the College World Series for the second straight year with club not nearly the equal of the 2014 team that lost to Vanderbilt in the finals.

In Omaha, Virginia patched together shaky starting pitching and great relief work by big Josh Sborz to beat Arkansas and Florida two out of three. Presto! The Cavs won their side of the pool and were back in the best of three finals against guess who? Vandy, from the dominant SEC, was trying to match South Carolina’s back-to-back College world Series championships of 2010 and 11.

And when the Commodores, who by the way have the son of former UNC basketball player and coach Randy Wiel, won the opener 5-1, it looked like good night and lights out for Virginia. But the Wahoos came back to shut out Vandy in Game 2 and rally for a 4-2 win in the do-or-die finale to take home their first national championship in baseball and the school’s 23rd NCAA title in all.

It was bittersweet watching O’Connor’s team get done in its second trip what the Tar Heels of Mike Fox could not do in six visits to the College Worlds Series in eight years. O’Connor, in his 12th season in Charlottesville, has turned Virginia into a college baseball power from once being the near doormat of the ACC. Congratulations to underdog Virginia for finally bringing home the college baseball title.

Great steal.

2 Tar Heels on Women’s All-ACC Team

With the ACC Women’s Basketball Tournament ready to get started on Wednesday, the conference announced their All-ACC teams on Tuesday.

Two sophomores from the UNC team were honored with first-team selections – Forward Stephanie Mavunga and Guard Allisha Gray.

Duke Senior Elizabeth Williams is also on the first team.

On Thursday, UNC will face off with the winner of the Clemson – Georgia Tech game in their first ACC tournament action. You can hear that game on 97.9-FM and 1360-AM WCHL.

Atlantic Coast Conference and University of Maryland Reach Legal Agreement

GREENSBORO – The Atlantic Coast Conference and the University of Maryland announced today they have reached a mediated agreement that ends all litigation between both parties.

Maryland has agreed that the ACC will keep the sum of $31,361,788 previously withheld in order to resolve the lawsuits, and the ACC has agreed that Maryland will have no obligation to make any other payments to the ACC. In addition, the lawsuits filed in the State of North Carolina and Maryland will be dismissed.

“On behalf of the ACC’s Council of Presidents, I am pleased that all parties can move forward, returning our focus where it belongs – on our student-athletes, intercollegiate athletic programs and institutions of higher learning,” said Donna Shalala, Chair of the ACC Council of Presidents and President of the University of Miami. “There is great excitement surrounding the ACC and its 15 member institutions and we extend our best wishes to our colleagues at Maryland as we all look ahead to the upcoming academic year.”

“I commend our Council of Presidents and specifically President Donna Shalala for steering us to this resolution,” said ACC Commissioner John Swofford. “This agreement allows everyone to fully focus their energy and efforts on prioritizing the student-athletes, especially in this significant time of change within the NCAA restructuring. We wish the University of Maryland well and appreciate their past contributions as we collectively look toward the future.”

“The University of Maryland is proud of our long and storied 61-year association with the Atlantic Coast Conference,” said Wallace D. Loh, president of the University of Maryland. “Today’s agreement helps usher in exciting new eras for both the University and the ACC. We wish the conference and our ACC university colleagues well.”

“Our student-athletes, coaches, staff, fans and alumni will forever hold dear the memories of six outstanding decades in the Atlantic Coast Conference,” said Kevin Anderson, Director of Athletics at the University of Maryland. “Today marks the next chapter in the history of Maryland Athletics, and we look forward to creating new memories in the decades to come.”

The ACC and the University of Maryland consider this matter closed and will have no further comment.

ACC MBB Championship Moved To Saturday

The Atlantic Coast Conference announced the Men’s Basketball Tournament championship game will now be played on a Saturday evening, a change that kicks off the tournament a day early.

The ACC regular season will now end on the preceding Saturday, with the 62nd annual tournament starting on Tuesday, four games on both Wednesday and Thursday and the Friday semifinals preceding the championship on Saturday.

Sunday afternoons have been the host of the championship game since the 1982 tournament, and ACC Commissioner John Swofford said he believes the conference’s players, coaches and fans will enjoy the switch.

“It’s a win-win situation for everyone involved,” Swofford said.

All 14 tournament games will continue airing nationally on ESPN and the ACC Network.

The 2015 tournament will again be held in the Greensboro Coliseum, a host to the event for the 26th time in conference history. The 2016 tournament will be held in Washington, D.C.; the 2017 and 2018 tournaments will be held in the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.

ACC Men’s Basketball Tourney To NC In ’19, ’20

GREENSBORO — The Atlantic Coast Conference men’s basketball tournament will return to North Carolina in 2019 and 2020 after its two-year stay in New York.

Commissioner John Swofford said at a news conference Thursday that Charlotte’s Time Warner Cable Arena would host the event in 2019 followed the next year by the Greensboro Coliseum, located a short drive from the league’s headquarters.

The announcement came one day after the league said it would hold its 2017 and 2018 tournaments in Brooklyn’s Barclays Center, which marked a shift from the tournament’s Southern roots after waves of league realignment. The tournament has been held in North Carolina for 50 of 61 years, including in Greensboro earlier this month.

Greensboro will host again next year, followed by Washington, D.C., in 2016.

ACC Basketball Tournament Moving To Barclays Center

ACC Commissioner John Swofford announced Wednesday morning that the league’s men’s basketball tournament is heading to Brooklyn.

There isn’t an Atlantic Coast Conference school within 200 miles, but New York is home to several large alumni bases and, perhaps more importantly, is a “media capital,” Swofford said at Barclays Center on Wednesday.

“I firmly believe that the experience for our players, our coaches and our fans will be second to none when we come to Barclays,” Swofford said. “It’s the media capital of the world, and we want our brand in this city, in this facility, in Brooklyn. So we’re really excited about this and what it can do for the Atlantic Coast Conference.”

The league will crown its champion at the arena in 2017 and ’18, after holding the tournament in Greensboro, N.C., in 2015 and in Washington in 2016.

The move to New York represents a shift from the ACC tournament’s Southern roots after years of conference realignment. The state of North Carolina has hosted 50 of the 61 events in league history.

But Louisville’s arrival in July will make it the seventh former Big East school to join the 15-team ACC since 2004, so those program were accustomed to playing their conference tournament in Madison Square Garden.

UNC Women’s Basketball Survives And Advances, Def. WFU, 69-65

The No. 13 UNC women’s basketball team snuck into the third round with a 69-65 defeat of Wake Forest Wednesday night in Greensboro.

The Demon Deacons opened the contest with a 7-0 run shooting 3-3 from the field, including 1-1 from behind the arc. The Tar Heels answered with a 5-2 run, but then with the help of Dearica Hamby’s 19 first-half points shooting 9-11 from the field, the Deacs pulled away again and jumped out to a double-digit lead.

At halftime, Carolina was down 12 shooting 32 percent from the field in the first half, while Wake Forest connected on 59 percent of its attempts.

The Tar Heels hit the final basket of the first half and scored the next 14 points unanswered to take the lead at 41-39. In the middle of that run, though, there was a nearly 25-minute break in the action as all the lights went out in the Greensboro Coliseum.

Wake Forest stormed back to take the lead again, but finally play settled with Carolina in the lead. UNC was 3-4 in free throws in the final 30 seconds to fend off Wake and hold on for the four-point win.

Hamby only had ten points in the second half finishing with 29, but she still led all players. Wake’s Chelsea Douglas also tallied 20 points in her final contest as a Deac.

Diamond Deshields led the Heels with 17 points She also pulled down eight rebounds. No other Tar Heels hit double-figure scoring.

Each team turned the ball over more times than the number of field goals it hit. Carolina turned the ball over 22 times; Wake Forest had 26 TOs.

With the win, the Tar Heels improved to 23-8; the Demon Deacons finished their season 15-16.

Carolina faces No. 3 seed Maryland in the quarterfinals Friday with a scheduled tip time of 8:00 p.m. Maryland got first- and second-round byes with its 24-5, 12-4 regular season finish. The Tar Heels lost to the Terrapins 79-70 in Chapel Hill on January 9.

2014 Tar Heel Football Schedule Provides Challenges, Excitement

CHAPEL HILL– The 2014 Tar Heel football schedule will feature six home games in Kenan Stadium and UNC’s first-ever ESPN Thursday night game at Duke on Nov. 20.

***Listen to the story***

The ACC released the schedule on Thursday, and the Tar Heels face a tough slate that includes nine teams that played in bowl games last season and five squads that won at least nine games.

Conference matchups in Chapel Hill against Virginia Tech, Georgia Tech, Pittsburgh and a season ender against N.C. State on Nov. 29 should provide an entertaining home menu for Tar Heel fans.

The Tar Heel Sports Network’s Lee Pace says he thinks it’s one of the most exciting schedules he’s seen in a while.

“I think it’s one of the most interesting schedules the Tar Heels have had in some time. Clemson is a cross-divisional game for the ACC. Any time you got Clemson, Florida State or Wake Forest, I think that amps up the schedule a little bit when you’re going across divisions. And then a great end to the season with the Thursday night game at Duke. I think there’s a lot of interesting stuff. It’s going to be a terrific fall for Carolina,” Pace says.

Also of note, Carolina will travel to South Bend, Ind. to face Notre Dame on Oct. 11 for the first time since 2006. The Tar Heels have failed to capture a victory in 11 previous tries at Notre Dame.

But all eyes will certainly be on Wallace Wade Stadium for the nationally televised showdown against Duke right before Thanksgiving. And this year, Pace says Carolina will be extra hungry to reclaim the Victory Bell.

“I think there’s a lot of excitement around the Duke rivalry the last two years. It was sort of dead in the water for about two decades, and then Duke has won the last two years. Carolina will have the emotional edge I would hope that night. It will be interesting to see what sort of atmosphere we generate for a week night game like that,” Pace says.

Carolina returns 17 starters from last year’s team that finished with a flurry to win six out of the last seven games and capture the Belk Bowl trophy. And it won’t be long before the 2014 team will be back in action in Chapel Hill.

Spring practice begins March 5 and the Spring Football ‘Blue & White’ Game is scheduled for Saturday, April 12 at 3 p.m.

The Tar Heel football season kicks off Aug. 30 with a home opener against the Liberty Flames.

You can view the complete 2014 schedule here.

No. 9 Tar Heels Turning Heads Thanks To Dazzling Diamond

CHAPEL HILL– The UNC women’s basketball team is now ranked No. 9 in the nation in the latest AP poll released Monday and freshman sensation Diamond DeShields was named ACC Rookie of the Week.

Carolina moved up four sports from No. 13 in last week’s rankings thanks to a pair of impressive wins over No. 20 N.C. State and No. 17 Florida State.

DeShields earned the honor for the second time this season by averaging 23 points and eight rebounds in Tar Heel victories against the Wolfpack and Seminoles.

The freshman was a key factor in turning around the game at FSU for Carolina. She scored 18 of her game-high 25 points in the second half and was 4-for-6 on three-point attempts.

DeShields and the Tar Heels next take to the court Thursday when they host the Clemson Tigers at 6 p.m. in Carmichael Arena.

With ACC Approaching, Williams Not Happy With Heels’ Play

CHAPEL HILL – UNC Basketball scored a 15-point win over Northern Kentucky on Saturday, but head coach Roy Williams wasn’t pleased with his team’s performance—especially after a lackluster first half.

“My staff did a great job, because what I wanted to do was stay out at halftime and run sprints the entire frickin’ half,” he said after the game. “They thought it was not the right thing to do, but God, I wanted to do that so badly…

“I’m going to do that one of these days. I know, by God, we’ll make SportsCenter then.”

Williams changed 80 percent of his starting lineup between the first and second halves on Saturday in order to send his players a message. It paid off, as the second team pulled away in the first few minutes of the half—but Carolina still had to settle for an unimpressive victory over an unheralded opponent, with ACC play now just a week away.

At his postgame press conference Saturday, Williams singled out a few players—including Brice Johnson, who scored 9 points on 4-8 shooting against Northern Kentucky but has struggled since he led the Heels in scoring three weeks ago against UNC-G.

“I (was) just straightforward: I told him, you’ve got to get playing basketball again,” he said. “Brice is another one that’s going to be a really good player–he’s just got to get the mojo going.”

But with ACC opponents just around the corner, Williams is ready to move on. (And he’s also ready to move on from the PJ Hairston debacle, as evidenced by his response to a reporter who asked if Hairston would remain on the Carolina bench. “Guys, I’m trying to coach the guys I have,” he said. “Jesus Christ, he’s not on our team. I love him to death, but he’s not on our team.”)

ACC play begins for Carolina on January 5 at Wake Forest, but the Tar Heels have one more non-conference opponent to face before then, as UNC-Wilmington comes to town on New Year’s Eve. That game tips off at 5:00 in the Smith Center; coverage on WCHL begins with Countdown to Tipoff at 3:30.