|Tuesday, February 2, 1999||
Volume 64, Issue 84
|N. Carolina vs.
Duke: What a game! What a rivalry!
Top 25 Notebook
Last Wednesday's North Carolina-Duke game seemed like an average ball game looking at the box score. However, for those who were privileged enough to watch the entire contest, it was more than another 82-72 ACC victory for Duke. It was part of the best rivalry in college basketball.
The Tobacco Road rivalry is between two campuses separated by a mere 30 miles. The week before a Duke-North Carolina game, the area surrounding the respective universities' ticket offices becomes a campground. People with tents, sleeping bags, RVs, barbecue pits and plenty of cold beverages set up house 48 hours before the tickets go on sale in hopes of being one of the lucky fans to receive the "golden" tickets.
Alumni in attendance at this year's first melee included UNC's James Worthy, Michael Jordan, Rick Fox, longtime Carolina legend Dean Smith, Duke's Christian Laettner, Grant Hill, Danny Ferry, and Bobby Hurley.
This year's games are figured to be Duke blowouts, since the Blue Devils returned 10 lettermen from last year's "Elite Eight" team and North Carolina lost Antawn Jamison, Vince Carter and Shammond Williams to the NBA.
Duke jumped out to an early first-half lead behind the perimeter shooting of Trajan Langdon and William Avery. Avery finished with 23 points and eight assists for the Devils. North Carolina, playing without superfrosh Jason Capel (mononucleosis), was led by final-four hold-overs Ed Cota and Ademola Okalaja.
The PAC is WAC
Perhaps the Pacific-10 Conference should ask the Western Athletic Conference to loan its name when PAC-10 finally splits up after this season. The PAC-10 has been "WACky" this season with every school already having at least two conference victories. Even the conference's big boys, Arizona, Stanford and UCLA have faced their share of nail-biters.
In fact, 12 PAC-10 games have been decided by three points or less this season. Thursday, the conference had two buzzer-beaters. Arizona's Jason Terry hit a 15-foot jumper with 1.5 seconds remaining, as the Wildcats upset then No. 3-ranked Stanford 65-63.
The same night in Corvallis, Ore., Baron Davis drove the length of the court with seconds remaining, allowing the UCLA Bruins to avoid two consecutive upsets at the hands of the Oregon State Beavers.
These teams have a good chance of being the 1999 version of Valparaiso's "Cinderella."
SW Missouri State -- Might have the RPI rating high enough to get an at-large bid should they lose the conference tournament.
College of Charleston -- A virtual lock to win the Trans-Atlantic Conference and already has victories over North Carolina and UNC-Charlotte.
Siena College -- Must win its conference tournament but has the slow-down tempo that can give good teams headaches, making them lose their patience.
University of Miami at Ohio -- The NCAA tournament is the stage Wally Szczerbiak (the best player in America you've never heard of) deserves to show his talent. If he gets hot, can you say Danny Manning?
Toledo -- Holy Toledo! These Rockets can sink the three with the best of teams.
The sensational six
These six freshmen are serious contributors to winning teams in their freshman year.
Guard Teddy Dupay, University of Florida -- Dupay is the general to Billy Donovan's freshman-laden team. He is averaging 12 ppg and shooting 44 percent from three-point land. Dupay is a big reason why the Gators are in the hunt for an at-large bid in the NCAA tournament.
Guard Erick Barkley, St. John's University -- Barkley has lived up to the New York City playground hype. He is averaging 12 ppg and 5 apg for the No. 10-ranked Red Storm. Barkley defensively dominated Duke's William Avery and Connecticut's Khalid El-Amin.
Forward Lamar Odom, University of Rhode Island -- Rhode Island and Odom are lucky that the 6-10 point-forward did not declare for the NBA draft before playing some college ball. Odom's game needs polish and Jim Harrick's team would have a losing record without him. Odom is averaging 16.5 ppg, 9.1 rpg and 4 apg in his freshman campaign.
Forward Corey Maggette, Duke University -- When Coach Mike Kryzewski says that Maggette is the most talented freshman he has ever had in his program, that is something to shout about.
Forward Quentin Richardson, DePaul University -- The sky is the limit for this Chicago-high-school product. Quentin averages 19 ppg and 11 rpg for the Blue Demons. Should he stay in school for his sophomore year, he is a likely All-American candidate.
Center Joel Przybilla, University of Minnesota -- This Paul Bunyanesque warrior is clogging up the middle nicely for the Golden Gophers. He is averaging 8 ppg, 8 rpg and four blocks per game. Przybilla's presence has also allowed Minnesota's All-American Quincy Lewis to return to the forward position where he is more dangerous.
Games of the week
Connecticut at Stanford -- Saturday, Feb. 6, at 2 p.m. on ABC.
No. 1-ranked UConn, the nation's only remaining undefeated team, heads west to face a Stanford team eager to take revenge on the Huskies for their 25-point victory over the Cardinals last year.
While most of the nation will be focused on the point guard matchup between Arthur Lee and Khalid El-Amin, the difference-makers in this game will be in the front court.
Look for Tim Young and Mark "Mad Dog" Madsen to get Jake Voshkul into foul trouble early and dominate the boards for Stanford. Once again, there will be no undefeated teams entering the NCAA tournament.
Kentucky at Florida -- Thursday, Feb. 4, at 6:30 p.m. on ESPN.
Florida beat Kentucky in Lexington last year with a less talented team than this year. A big upset of the Wildcats would probably seal an at-large bid for the Gators, but the Wildcats own the SEC and will make short work of Florida.
Temple at Rhode Island -- Saturday, Feb. 6, at 11 a.m. on ESPN.
Rhode Island needs to win this game badly if they plan to return to the big dance. Both teams rely on the perimeter shot to generate their offense. This plays into Temple's hands with its famous matchup zone.
Oklahoma State at Oklahoma -- Saturday, Feb. 6, at 8:30 p.m. on ESPN.
This in-state skirmish was thought to be for the Big 12 South title
two weeks ago, but both teams have struggled and are now jockeying for
seedings in the Big 12.
Send comments to