Art’s Angle: Hatchell Should Go Gracefully

Hiring Sylvia Crawley as an assistant coach is the right play for Sylvia Hatchell. Getting her friends and colleagues in the university to lobby for an extension to her contract is the wrong play.

Crawley, a star player and captain of the 1994 Tar Heels, will be seen by many people as Hatchell’s successor after she resigns following the 2016 season or is fired. Hatchell cannot survive as the Carolina coach for reasons that go beyond her program’s complicity in the NCAA allegations.

That first. Her support group calling women’s basketball a “sacrificial lamb” is ill-advised, some would say stupid. Anyone who reads the Notice of Allegations can see where Hatchell’s program is cited through the actions of former academic advisor Jan Boxill, the long-respected faculty member who was fired for her role in the AFAM scandal. Beyond the substantial fine the university will receive for a “lack of institutional control,” women’s basketball is the sport most likely to be penalized. One of the five allegations is entirely devoted to emails between Boxill and the AFAM department.  If so, Hatchell will be held accountable as the CEO of the program.

Just as Butch Davis was fired for, among other things, violating his contract by hiring a coach (John Blake) who broke NCAA rules. UNC firing Davis “without cause” and paying him the balance of his contract worth between $11 and 12 million seemed foolish, but the university did not want to invest the time and legal fees to defend a prolonged lawsuit that Davis surely would have filed. Any Carolina coach whose program breaks NCAA rules, including Roy Williams, should be and would be fired.

Second, the collateral damage from the NCAA probe that has injured almost every Tar Heel sports team in recruiting has just about killed women’s hoops. Hatchell has lost the No. 1 recruiting class of 2013 — from Diamond DeShields transferring to Tennessee after her All-ACC freshman season to Jessica Washington, Allisha Gray and Stephanie Mavunga leaving this summer. Only Gray acknowledged that the stigma of the NCAA investigation caused her departure, but surely Washington and Mavunga feel the same way. These women worry that their association with a tainted team will hurt their professional careers, in and out of basketball, moving forward.

Clearly, Hatchell’s program has become fatally flawed and a change must be made to start over. Hatchell is a Hall of Fame coach who has won a national championship (1994) and more than 900 games. She also won her courageous battle against Leukemia that kept her off the bench during the 2014 season. She has been a great representative of the university until the NCAA revelations that have divided the campus and caused fractures in the athletic department itself.

Athletic Director Bubba Cunningham must negotiate an athletic program, 98 percent of which still operates and succeeds at the highest level, through the awful hand he was dealt when he took over for Dick Baddour in November of 2011. Aware he was inheriting the three-year probation in football for impermissible benefits during the Davis era, Cunningham said recently that he had not heard the acronym “AFAM” until a few months into his job.

The Rams Club continues to raise money at record levels, proving an angry alumni and fan base has not deserted the program, but by charter can only pay for scholarships and capital improvements. Cunningham is stuck with about an $80 million operating budget with most of its revenue streams maxed out. Sure, UNC gets an occasional windfall from additional post-season payouts from the ACC, but not enough to increase salaries and recruiting budgets for all but two of UNC’s 28 sports that do not make money.

When revenues are flat, expenses need to be cut. Cunningham and UNC are committed, for now, to a broad-based program driven by participation for as many varsity athletes as possible. But that will have to change one day. Current Title IX guidelines dictate any sport cut will be on the men’s side, and Cunningham has an opportunity to start by dropping the struggling wrestling program after he recently fired veteran coach and former Tar Heel All-American C.D. Mock. Wrestling gives out all 9.9 scholarships allowed by the NCAA, so that could save some money for the Rams Club. Also, coaches’ salaries and recruiting and travel costs would be eliminated from Bubba’s budget. Wrestling could still be offered as a club sport, where UNC’s program is among the biggest and most successful in the country.

Women’s basketball loses more money than any sport at Carolina. Hatchell earns about a million dollars from her state salary, stipends and her successful summer camp. The team draws sparse crowds to revamped Carmichael Arena, employs eight assistant coaches or support personnel and has significant recruiting and travel budgets. UNC has a “cost per athlete” metric computed by revenues versus  expenses divided by the number of players on a team. While losing about $2.5 million a year, Hatchell’s program has the highest cost-per-athlete of all women sports and one of the highest of all 28 teams.

Surely, UNC can play competitive women’s basketball for half the cost. The money saved could be spread across all other women’s sports, increasing subpar coaching salaries and recruiting budgets in most of them. It is truly amazing that Carolina athletics continues to finish high in the Learfield Director’s Cup (fifth in 2014-15) with an operating budget far behind schools like Stanford, Ohio State and Texas.

Changes are on the way. They need to include women’s basketball where, after one season as Hatchell’s well-traveled and accomplished assistant, Crawley becomes the new face of the program. She has already held three head-coaching positions and is respected in the profession. Her charge would be to rebuild the Lady Tar Heels for less than what it has cost UNC, monetarily and otherwise, under Hatchell.

http://chapelboro.com/columns/sports-notebook/arts-angle-hatchell-should-go-gracefully/

Tar Heels in the Pros: Matt Harvey

Considered to be one of the best young pitchers in the major leagues, Matt Harvey has been on fire this season as a starting pitcher for the New York Mets. He holds a 4-0 record, tied for first in Major League Baseball with his teammate Bartolo Colon and his 3.04 ERA is ranked 12th among pitchers with at least three winning starts this year.

Harvey was a standout pitcher in college, leading the Tar Heels to NCAA tournament appearances in all three years he was a part of the program. Deciding at the end of his junior campaign to forego his senior year at UNC, he was drafted seventh overall by the Mets in 2010.

Matt Harvey (UNC Athletics)

Matt Harvey with the Tar Heels (UNC Athletics)

After suffering a partially torn UCL in his right elbow in August of 2013, Harvey underwent Tommy John surgery and had to miss the entire 2014 MLB season. Being back on the mound this year as a star for the Mets has provided a spark for his team and has given Harvey a fresh perspective on the game he loves.

“Missing a year, I think definitely bring the freshness of being up here back. I’m definitely excited again to be playing and I think that goes back to 2012 and the beginning of 2013, just being excited to be out there and be with my teammates again and be able to put the Mets uniform is something that I know now not to take for granted,” Harvey says.

Harvey’s most recent win came against the Yankees last Saturday in which he allowed only 5 hits and 2 earned runs. He came one out shy of throwing a complete game before the Mets’ manager Terry Collins called reliever Carlos Torres from the bullpen, spoiling what could have been the first complete game of his young career. Recognizing that there is room for improvement, Harvey notes that it’s more about the win than his own statistics.

“You get into the 8th or 9th inning I think finishing the game is on your mind so it’s tough but I think at the same time I needed to do a better job of getting those last two guys out and that decision’s not hard to make. So he [Collins] obviously made the right call and brought in Carlos and he got the last out and we won the game so that’s all that matters,” Harvey says.

Harvey surveys home plate (Newyork.cbslocal.com

Harvey surveys home plate (Newyork.cbslocal.com

With his opponents’ batting average at .220 against him this season, Harvey hopes to continue his success as the Mets hold the best record in all of Major League Baseball at 15-5. He spoke before their game Sunday about what it will take to continue this upward trend for their ball club.

“I think just coming to the ballpark knowing we’re going to win, and we had that mentality in spring training, we knew we were going to be good, we knew we had a good pitching staff and we knew we were going to win a lot of games and to have that mentality going into the clubhouse and onto the field every day is half the battle,” Harvey says.

Harvey’s next appearance is scheduled for this Friday, May 1 in the first game of a home series against the Washington Nationals.

Visit us next week for another edition of “Tar Heels in the Pros” featuring NBA rising star, Harrison Barnes.

http://chapelboro.com/sports/unc-sports/tar-heels-pros-matt-harvey/

UNC Volleyball Releases Challenging 2015 Slate

North Carolina women’s volleyball has announced its 2015 season schedule – one of the most challenging in recent memory. The Tar Heels will play eight teams that made the NCAA Tournament in 2014, including four that made it to the second round.

Head coach Joe Sagula, who is entering his 26th season at UNC, noted the challenges in the schedule for the upcoming season.

uncvolleyball

UNC Volleyball (UNC Athletics)

“I think our schedule in 2015 is one of the toughest we have ever played,” Coach Sagula says. “I think it will challenge us with the diversity of teams we are going to see, from the Pac 12 to the Big West and Big Ten. We play four Big Ten schools. I think it is really going to give us a good idea of our team since we will be playing so many NCAA-caliber teams. It is a good year for us to play this kind of schedule, with several veterans returning and a talented incoming class. This team will be ready for the challenge.”

Included in the schedule is a trip out west where the Heels will face Southern Cal and 2014 NCAA tournament runners-up BYU. For their ACC-Big Ten Challenge opponents, the Heels will play Minnesota and Wisconsin, who returns the reigning Big Ten Player of the Year in Lauren Carlini.

Featuring in home matchups at Carmichael Arena, Carolina has matches scheduled with 6-time national champion Stanford, who returns four All-Americans, as well as Michigan and Michigan State in the second leg of the ACC-Big Ten Challenge.

Even with the toughest of preseason opponents, the road does not get any easier in ACC play where the Tar Heels finished first at 17-1 last season. The conference had three teams make the 2014 NCAA Tournament and saw a third of its member schools post 20-win records.

“I like that the ACC schedule is returning to 20 conference matches, even though it is difficult for any team to sustain a high level from beginning to end across 20 matches. The conference schedule will really be a challenge, facing teams like Florida State and Miami at home and heading to Georgia Tech and Boston College on longer road trips. We also play our rival Duke twice and also NC State, Wake Forest, Virginia, Virginia Tech and Pittsburgh twice,” Coach Sagula says.

Carolina, however, should be equipped for the tough slate. The Heels are returning 13 veterans including All-American honorable mentions Paige Neuenfeldt and Victoria McPherson as well as welcoming in a loaded freshman class.

http://chapelboro.com/sports/unc-sports/unc-volleyball-releases-challenging-2015-schedule/

UNC Volleyball Climbs Four Spots After Classic Sweep

The UNC volleyball team jumped four spots in this week’s national rankings after sweeping its opponents in the Carolina Classic over the weekend.

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Click to enlarge

The AVCA Coaches’ voted the Tar Heels into the No. 13 spot after a hard-fought meeting with then-No. 16 Kentucky opened the weekend. The Tar Heels, then ranked No. 17, pulled off the five-set victory with a 16-14 final set. The Wildcats took sets two and three in dominating fashion (25-15 in each), but the Heels answered with a 25-13 set four to force the deciding set.

The weekend’s remaining games was a breeze comparatively as Carolina swept Georgia Southern and VCU on double-header Saturday.

UNC is 7-1 on the season and on a five-match winning streak after its 3-0 loss to Illinois in the Illini Classic on August 30.

The Tar Heels remain home this weekend for the ACC-Big 12 Classic. Oklahoma comes to town Friday, and Carolina hosts West Virginia on Saturday. Both matches begin at 6:00 p.m.

http://chapelboro.com/sports/unc-sports/unc-volleyball-climbs-four-spots-classic-sweep/

GAME RECAP: UNC 34, PITT 27

CHAPEL HILL – UNC Won their fifth consecutive game today against the Pittsburgh Panthers giving them a .500 record for the season.

The game opened up with the Pittsburgh Panthers receiving the kick off and Lafayette Pitt made a strong beginning.  Pittsburgh quarterback Tom Savage kept nailing his throws down the field making it to inside the 10 yard line.

Carolina defense stepped up the defense and didn’t give up the field, forcing Pittsburgh to take a 28 yard field goal. 0-3

UNC didn’t get the same momentum off the first drive as many people were expecting.  Their drive only gained 2 yards before the Tar Heels punted the ball back to the Panthers.

Pittsburgh’s second drive once again showed the power of running back James Conner when mixed with Tom Savage.  The Panthers drove the ball 61 yards down the field until Kareem Martin came in with a sack forcing a fumble from Savage.

UNC’s Travis Hughes recovered the fumbled ball on the North Carolina 24.  This time the Tar Heels made some successful plays and continued to move the ball down field.  After 12 plays and 60 yards, Marquis Williams finished off the drive by rushing 16 yards into the in zone.

UNC’s touchdown closed out the first quarter leaving only 38 seconds for Pittsburgh. 7-3

The second quarter began in favor of the Tar Heels by pushing the Panthers back 12 yards and forcing a punt at the beginning.

UNC’s rushing game made for a big presence during their 53 yard drive down the field.  They didn’t make to the in-zone, but successfully got a 38 yard field goal giving them a nice lead over the Panthers. 10-3

UNC’s defense continued to be hard hitting, forcing Pittsburgh to make small plays and forcing them to punt the ball after only a 20-yard drive.

UNC kept up the momentum after the punt with an amazing pass to Eric Ebron, gaining 58 yards on the play and moving the ball to the Pittsburgh 32. The Tar Heels kept the pressure up and continued to move the ball down the field with short passes from Williams and a couple rushes from T.J. Logan.  Williams made his second touchdown with a 10-yard rush into the in-zone. 17-3

After kicking off the ball back to the Panthers, the Tar Heels defense continued to stop any progress down the field.  After a few small plays, Kareem Martin sacked Tom Savage for a 10-yard loss and making the Panthers punt the ball.

UNC finished off the half with a 65-yard kick-off return by Ryan Switzer to secure a lead for the Carolina Tar Heels. 24-3

The Tar Heels didn’t start off the second half with the same momentum and force that they ended with at the half.  After gaining a few yards, several incomplete passes forced the Tar Heels to punt the ball.

Carolina Defense again showed their strength by cutting out the Pittsburgh rushing game.  Kareem Martin got another great sack on Tom Savage forcing a fumble and recovering the ball at the 12.

Although Carolina got a hold of the ball close to the in-zone, Pittsburgh defense was stopping the Carolina fast-paced offense. After a loss on a rush and a short pass, the Tar Heels didn’t get the first down they needed and took a successful 27-yard field goal. 27-3

The Pittsburgh Panthers answered right back to the Carolina field goal with a powerful drive taking the ball down the field.  Several passes by quarterback Tom Savage led to the first downs that allowed the Panthers to continue momentum towards the in-zone.  The drive ended with a 33-yard pass to Devin Street for their first touchdown of the game. 27-10

In the fourth quarter the Pittsburgh Panthers stepped up the pressure and made several strong plays.  They started out with a 96 yard drive that took the Panthers all the way to the Carolina in-zone.  The final play of the drive was an 8 yard pass to Isaac Bennett for the touchdown. 27-17

On receiving the kick off, UNC slowly pushed the ball a few yards up the field until a holding penalty and fumble switched possession back to the Panthers on Carolina territory.

The Tar Heels kept up the defense again and Otis sacked Tom Savage to keep them from getting a first down.  The Pittsburgh Panthers made a successful field goal from 42 yards to bring them closer to the Tar Heels. 27-20

At the kick-off, the Tar Heels fumbled the ball at the North Carolina 13 and was recovered by Pitt Jason from Pittsburgh.  After a short rush, the Tar Heels got a call for pass interference, leaving the Panthers only 2-yards away from a touchdown.  Pittsburgh quickly launched James Conner over the line of scrimmage and into the in zone, tying up the game 27-27.

UNC didn’t have the momentum they needed for the next drive as they only made it 15-yards before needing to punt the ball back to Pittsburgh.  Fortunately the Carolina defense was ready for the Panthers and quickly shut them down before any big plays could be made.

The kickoff to UNC lead to the last touchdown of the game as Ryan Switzer ran 61 yards for a kick-off return touchdown, giving the Tar Heels the lead once again with 34-27.

With 5 minutes left in the fourth, the Tar Heels needed to guarantee the Panthers didn’t make it into the in zone again.  With one final drive, Savage threw a 21-yard pass to start.  After getting another first down and reaching behind the 40-yard line, the Panthers kept up momentum. The Carolina defense stepped up to the plate though and held off the Panthers from making it past the Carolina 25-yard line.

With only a minute and some change left the Tar Heels held onto the ball to secure their win.

Overall Carolina had 173 passing yards, a149 rushing yards, with 17 first downs and 2 turnovers. The Pittsburgh Panthers showed up well on paper too with 313 passing yards, 46 rushing yards, and 22 first downs.

North Carolina now has a .500 record for the season and made their fifth consecutive win for the regular season.

http://chapelboro.com/news/game-recap-unc-34-pitt-27/

Carolina Win Against Pittsburgh Makes For .500 Season Record

CHAPEL HILL – UNC won their fourth consecutive game against the Pittsburgh Panthers Saturday, giving them a .500 record for the season.

The game opened up with the Pittsburgh Panthers receiving the kick off and Lafayette Pitt made a strong beginning.  Pittsburgh quarterback Tom Savage kept nailing his throws down the field making it to inside the 10 yard line.

Carolina defense stepped up the defense and didn’t give up the field, forcing Pittsburgh to take a 28 yard field goal. 0-3

UNC didn’t get the same momentum off the first drive as many people were expecting.  Their drive only gained 2 yards before the Tar Heels punted the ball back to the Panthers.

Pittsburgh’s second drive once again showed the power of running back James Conner when mixed with Tom Savage.  The Panthers drove the ball 61 yards down the field until Kareem Martin came in with a sack forcing a fumble from Savage.

UNC’s Travis Hughes recovered the fumbled ball on the North Carolina 24.  This time the Tar Heels made some successful plays and continued to move the ball down field.  After 12 plays and 60 yards, Marquis Williams finished off the drive by rushing 16 yards into the in zone.

UNC’s touchdown closed out the first quarter leaving only 38 seconds for Pittsburgh. 7-3

The second quarter began in favor of the Tar Heels by pushing the Panthers back 12 yards and forcing a punt at the beginning.

UNC’s rushing game made for a big presence during their 53 yard drive down the field.  They didn’t make to the in-zone, but successfully got a 38 yard field goal giving them a nice lead over the Panthers. 10-3

UNC’s defense continued to be hard hitting, forcing Pittsburgh to make small plays and forcing them to punt the ball after only a 20-yard drive.

UNC kept up the momentum after the punt with an amazing pass to Eric Ebron, gaining 58 yards on the play and moving the ball to the Pittsburgh 32. The Tar Heels kept the pressure up and continued to move the ball down the field with short passes from Williams and a couple rushes from T.J. Logan.  Williams made his second touchdown with a 10-yard rush into the in-zone. 17-3

After kicking off the ball back to the Panthers, the Tar Heels defense continued to stop any progress down the field.  After a few small plays, Kareem Martin sacked Tom Savage for a 10-yard loss and making the Panthers punt the ball.

UNC finished off the half with a 65-yard kick-off return by Ryan Switzer to secure a lead for the Carolina Tar Heels. 24-3

The Tar Heels didn’t start off the second half with the same momentum and force that they ended with at the half.  After gaining a few yards, several incomplete passes forced the Tar Heels to punt the ball.

Carolina Defense again showed their strength by cutting out the Pittsburgh rushing game.  Kareem Martin got another great sack on Tom Savage forcing a fumble and recovering the ball at the 12.

Although Carolina got a hold of the ball close to the in-zone, Pittsburgh defense was stopping the Carolina fast-paced offense. After a loss on a rush and a short pass, the Tar Heels didn’t get the first down they needed and took a successful 27-yard field goal. 27-3

The Pittsburgh Panthers answered right back to the Carolina field goal with a powerful drive taking the ball down the field.  Several passes by quarterback Tom Savage led to the first downs that allowed the Panthers to continue momentum towards the in-zone.  The drive ended with a 33-yard pass to Devin Street for their first touchdown of the game. 27-10

In the fourth quarter the Pittsburgh Panthers stepped up the pressure and made several strong plays.  They started out with a 96 yard drive that took the Panthers all the way to the Carolina in-zone.  The final play of the drive was an 8 yard pass to Isaac Bennett for the touchdown. 27-17

On receiving the kick off, UNC slowly pushed the ball a few yards up the field until a holding penalty and fumble switched possession back to the Panthers on Carolina territory.

The Tar Heels kept up the defense again and Otis sacked Tom Savage to keep them from getting a first down.  The Pittsburgh Panthers made a successful field goal from 42 yards to bring them closer to the Tar Heels. 27-20

At the kick-off, the Tar Heels fumbled the ball at the North Carolina 13 and was recovered by Pitt Jason from Pittsburgh.  After a short rush, the Tar Heels got a call for pass interference, leaving the Panthers only 2-yards away from a touchdown.  Pittsburgh quickly launched James Conner over the line of scrimmage and into the in zone, tying up the game 27-27.

UNC didn’t have the momentum they needed for the next drive as they only made it 15-yards before needing to punt the ball back to Pittsburgh.  Fortunately the Carolina defense was ready for the Panthers and quickly shut them down before any big plays could be made.

The kickoff to UNC lead to the last touchdown of the game as Ryan Switzer ran 61 yards for a kick-off return touchdown, giving the Tar Heels the lead once again with 34-27.

With 5 minutes left in the fourth, the Tar Heels needed to guarantee the Panthers didn’t make it into the in zone again.  With one final drive, Savage threw a 21-yard pass to start.  After getting another first down and reaching behind the 40-yard line, the Panthers kept up momentum. The Carolina defense stepped up to the plate though and held off the Panthers from making it past the Carolina 25-yard line.

With only a minute and some change left the Tar Heels held onto the ball to secure their win.

Overall Carolina had 173 passing yards, a149 rushing yards, with 17 first downs and 2 turnovers. The Pittsburgh Panthers showed up well on paper too with 313 passing yards, 46 rushing yards, and 22 first downs.

North Carolina now has a .500 record for the season and made their fourth consecutive win for the regular season.

http://chapelboro.com/sports/unc-sports/carolina-win-against-pittsburgh-makes-for-500-season-record/

Tar Heel Downtown Proves Success For Businesses

CHAPEL HILL – Tar Heel Downtown took over Franklin Street for pre-games festivities as part of Zero Dark Thursday and it proved more successful than many anticipated.

Executive director of the Chapel Hill downtown partnership, Meg McGurk, said Tar Heel Downtown brought many people onto Franklin Street to celebrate and tailgate before the showdown against the Miami Hurricanes.

“I think it was a tremendous success and it did go fantastic and much than I’d thought, I was very excited and the response that I’ve gotten so far has been overwhelmingly positive” McGurk said.

Manager of Lime Fresh in Chapel Hill, Jason King, said the way the event was held worked well for many of the stores and restaurants.

“I think, being that they shut down Franklin Street, that was actually perfect because this is the busiest street in Chapel Hill and this is where everything happens, they picked the perfect spot because it was actually on our patio” King said.

Tar Heel Downtown was one of the few times that UNC and the Town of Chapel Hill coordinated to set up such a large event for UNC athletics.  McGurk said she was on-hand for many of the evening’s activities.

“The community and the people that were there at the event, I mean everyone coming up to me and really excited and really happy and everyone that I spoke to was so happy to have something downtown on Franklin Street for them to do before the game, before they were going to go to the stadium” McGurk stated.

The success of Tar Heel Downtown brought more business to many of the stores and restaurants in downtown Chapel Hill.  Several places held special events to pull in even more people to their business like Carolina Brewery’s Beer Garden and Top of the Hill’s Craft Brewery’s tailgate.

Both McGurk and King said they look forward to more events like Tar Heel Downtown that bring the community and the school together.

“I would like to pursue looking at doing more events like this definitely; there is not doubt that UNC sports are an economic driver for our downtown and for tourism as well as getting our community to come downtown, I think its kind of a no brainer to continue to do events like this, it was a tremendous success last night” McGurk said.

“Let’s do it again, I don’t know when UNC and Chapel Hill can do it again, but yeah we’re ready for it, so lets do it again” King said.

A family friendly event, Tar Heel Downtown brought many people from the community into Franklin Street to celebrate UNC Football and supporting many businesses.  McGurk thanked all of the people that helped put this event together.

“A huge thank you to the Town of Chapel Hill and to UNC and UNC sports marketing, and all of the folks that made this happen, it was a very unique event that we had never done before, we had never that closed stretch of Franklin Street on a Thursday evening” McGurk stated.

http://chapelboro.com/news/entertainment/tar-heel-downtown-proves-success-for-business-community/

“Meet The Heels” Set To Get Fans Fired Up For Football

CHAPEL HILL—Kenan Stadium will come alive once again on August 3 as Tar Heel fans will have the chance to get geared up for another season of UNC football and the “Fedora Freak Show.”

The fan fest will occur just 26 short days before the Tar Heels kick off the entire college football season with a huge rivalry game against the University of South Carolina Gamecocks down in Columbia, S.C. The game will be broadcasted on ESPN nationwide on Aug. 29.

With high hopes for a special season, this year’s Meet The Heels will sure to be a great atmosphere for all in attendance.

The day’s festivities will begin when the gates to Kenan open at 3 p.m. The official Meet the Heels program is set to start at 4 p.m. Fans should use Gates 2, 5, 6 or either of the Blue Zone gates in the east end zone.

The event will be jam packed with ways for Tar Heel fans to interact with the UNC football team. And this includes autographs. Defensive players will sign from 4-5 p.m. and offensive players will sign from 5-6 p.m. Head coach Larry Fedora will be signing autographs from 4-6 p.m.

The kids will have plenty to get excited about as well. A Carolina Kids Zone will be located in the east end of Kenan Stadium featuring inflatables and games for children of all ages. The Kids Zone will close at 6 p.m.

In addition, free Carolina football trading cards, pocket schedules, and posters will be handed out until supplies run out.

Food will be sold from the concession stands and restroom facilities on the north and south sides will be open for the event.

Parking can be found in the Rams Head Deck and the new Bell Tower Deck for $5 and for free in the Craige, Cardinal and Jackson parking decks off Manning Drive.

http://chapelboro.com/sports/unc-sports/meet-the-heels-set-to-get-fans-fired-up-for-football/

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 losing four starters off the 2009 national champions. And, three, Carolina’s overall pipeline to the pros has been better than Self’s at Kansas, which ironically has made it worse for UNC.

Thirteen players have been drafted in the first round during the Williams era, 11 of them who left a total of 17 seasons on the Tar Heel table. Compare that to Kansas under Self, which has produced nine first-round picks,   one who left after one year, two who left after two and another two who left after three seasons. If you add Mario Chalmers, the MOP of the 20008 Final Four who was drafted in the second round, the Jayhawks have lost 10   seasons of eligibility in the last 10 years.

As for the NCAA Tournament, Self and Kansas have been there all 10 years but with less results than Carolina and Williams in nine trips. KU has one national championship (’08) and reached another Final Four (2012) and could still improve on those numbers this season. The Jayhawks have gone out in three regional finals, one Sweet Sixteen (and counting), one second round ouster and two embarrassing first-round upsets (Bucknell and Bradley in 2005 and ’06).

Carolina under Williams has those 2005 and ’09 NCAA titles, one other Final Four and three Elite Eight game goners. Sunday’s loss to KU was the third second-round ouster for UNC and Williams, who holds the record of 23 consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances with at least one victory. Both Self and Williams have won three national Coach of the Year honors at their current schools.

Their conference records are pretty close, with Self winning a few more regular-season and tournament titles in the Big 12 than Williams in the ACC. But, over that 10 years, the ACC has been the better league top to bottom and won three national championships to KU’s one for the Big 12.

So don’t give me that hoo-ha that Kansas has a better program than Carolina. They are both great. What skews the pooch are those three losses to KU in the three NCAA match-ups, and each one has a story to itself.

At the 2008 Final Four at San Antonio, the Tar Heels were a slight favorite over Kansas after winning both the ACC regular season and tournament and losing only two games all season. But this was the first time Williams faced Kansas, the still-angry KU crowd and all the storylines took away from the game itself.

The Heels played horribly, fell behind by 40-12 in the first half and made a late push that fell short in the 84-68 crusher. Williams (wearing the infamous KU sticker) stayed to watch the Jayhawks win the national championship two nights later, only after Memphis did not foul Kansas with a three-point lead and Chalmers’ dramatic bomb sent the game into overtime.

When the 2012 NCAA brackets came out, Carolina was on another collision course with Kansas in the Midwest Regional, hoping to have John Henson back at full strength from the wrist he sprained in the ACC Tournament. Of course, it got worse after Kendall Marshall went down in the second-round win over Creighton. With back-up point guard Dexter Strickland already sidelined by a knee injury, the Tar Heels were left with freshman reserve Stilman White, who played admirably in the 13-point loss to the Jayhawks in St. Louis.

The committee did it again this season, when it was an even worse scenario for Carolina, which lost two sophomores, one junior and one senior from its 2012 starting lineup that when whole was the only serious threat to Kentucky’s national championship. And the suits sent the Tar Heels to Kansas City (which is like playing Carolina in Greensboro).

By then, UNC had made the NCAA Tournament only due to perhaps Williams’ best coaching job of his 25-year career. Reluctantly, in early February, he scrapped his two low-post offense for a small lineup of four guards and little presence in the paint. The Heels launched and made enough three-pointers to turn their season around and get another NCAA bid, but they went to the Dance living by the long bomb, which was enough to give Williams the hives.

And, yes, they died that way, shooting barely 30 percent for the game and giving in to Kansas’ best half of the tournament thus far. So Carolina under Williams is 0-3 against KU and Self. And, since they will never play in the regular season by mutual consent, it will stay that way until the next time they meet in the NCAA tournament.

With at least five guys 6-9 or bigger next season, Williams will go back to the way he likes to play and, sooner or later, he’ll see his old school again. The NCAA committee seems to like that kind of theater for TV.

Even though, as of this moment, we hate it.

 

All photography in Hoop It Up is provided by Todd Melet.

http://chapelboro.com/ford-corners/kansas-kansas-kansas-ugh/

10 Tips for Your Fantasy Football Draft

As the NFL preseason winds down and teams make their final preparations to begin the regular season, Fantasy Football owners everywhere are scrambling for last minute details on their favorite players and teams as they make their own final preparations for the Fantasy drafts.  The draft kicks off the Fantasy Football season and sets the stage for how your team will perform for the remainder of the year; however, the draft is also the point at which some Fantasy owners (or Fowners, as I will call them) may put themselves at the greatest disadvantage. The most common misconception Fowners have about the draft is that a wealth of knowledge about individual NFL players is sufficient preparation to ensure success ; but, the key lies in understanding how the draft works and how to work the draft to your own advantage. Here are 10 tips to make sure that the players left on your roster are nothing short of stellar.  
10.) Know the type of league in which you are playing. The standard league rules for a given website will usually be the most common, but there are many options available to customize your Fantasy league. Two popular choices are “Keeper” and “PPR” leagues. Keeper leagues allow you to keep one or more players from the previous year (or years) on your roster and the rules for keeping players vary based on your individual league guidelines. Being in a Keeper league will influence the way you draft players because this means that one or more of your roster positions will be filled prior to the draft and you must adjust your strategy accordingly. Points Per Reception, or PPR, leagues award an extra point for every reception that a player makes in addition to the points he gets for yardage or scoring. This makes players who catch the ball more valuable, including not only wide receivers, but also tight ends and especially running backs with good hands
9.)  Know the type of draft you are using. In the most common type of draft, Fowners are randomly assigned an order in which to pick their players. If you use a Snake draft, the drafting order is reversed as you alternate rounds to give the person who went last in the first round the first pick in the second round and so on. An Auction draft gives each Fowner a maximum dollar amount to spend  purchasing their players. This means that as long as you are willing to pay top dollar for a player, you will be assured of getting him because this type of draft does not assign owners an order in which they have to pick.
8.) Know the scoring settings for your league. The point value assigned to each statistical category for scoring varies from league to league. Some leagues will assign a passing touchdown 6 points whereas in another it’s only worth 4 points. This means that quarterbacks would be more valuable in the former league than in the latter. The same differences in point value can apply to rushing touchdowns and receiving touchdowns, as well as other statistical measurements for evaluating an on-field performance.
7.) Know your spot in the draft. Obviously, it is useful to know when it is your turn to pick, but it is also helpful to know when and how others in your draft pick in relation to you. The number of teams in a Fantasy league heavily influences drafting as the NFL has a fixed number of players as well as a fixed amount of playing time available to be distributed among the players of a given NFL team. As the number of teams in a Fantasy league increases, so does the demand for high-quality first-team positional players.  
6.) Come to the draft prepared.  There are many websites that offer supplemental information, but there are a few things that are critical. Find a “cheat sheet” that you like, whether you make it yourself or you download it online. Your cheat sheet should rank players by playing position and overall in order of your draft preference. Find ways to keep you informed on injuries because not all websites update the injury status of players for the draft. Team depth charts are also helpful to show which players are likely to get the most playing time.
5.) Pick your kicker last and your defense next to last. Unless you have an insanely high point value assigned to the statistical scoring categories associated with one of these positions, there is no reason to waste any picks before the last 2 rounds on these roster spots. Most Fantasy leagues consist of 8-14 teams. This usually requires just 1 team defense and 1 kicker per Fantasy team, and the odds of not being able to lock down one of the 32 availablein the NFL is unlikely. Yes, some are better than others, but the difference in Fantasy points between team defenses and among kickers is rarely significant enough to sacrifice a pick earlier than the last 2 rounds. 
4.) Know the definition of a sleeper. A sleeper is a player that you pick up in a later round than what their Fantasy value would suggest. Usually these are lesser-known players due for an atypically productive season. The trouble with sleepers is that they are not always a sure bet and some Fowners forfeit critical picks gambling on an unproven player instead of an establishedone in hopes of snagging the next breakout stud. A player is only a sleeper if their Fantasy value outweighs the order in which they were picked. This includes surpassing the value of the other players that you could have chosen instead. Otherwise, it is not a sleeper, but a reach.
3.) Disregard the Bye week. If losing one week means that you are likely to win the rest, it will be well worth it.
2.) Always pick the player with the highest value left on the board. This means taking into account all of the aforementioned tips and carefully weighing your options. I go into a draft not with players that I want in mind which may cause me to reach, but instead only with players that I know I don’t want. For the rest I just try to make an objective decision.
1.) If you don’t know what you’re doing, don’t do it…USE AUTODRAFT. Autodraft is a resource offered by Fantasy Football websites to help people who are not as informed, have a scheduling conflict, or are otherwise unable to attend with their drafts by automatically picking players for them. This formula-based system takes into account certain criteria to ensure that you pick what the computer would consider the next best player available for your lineup. In every league’s draft there is at least one person that leaves everyone else thinking, “What are they doing?!” and by following these guidelines, hopefully it won’t be you.
http://chapelboro.com/columns/miss-fantasy-football/10-tips-for-your-fantasy-football-draft/