There may be more that comes out of Charlotte and MCCB things, but with another good out of conference basketball game coming up today I've got to spend some time on that. Unfortunately I don't have much time this morning, nor do I have a way to see this game here. Because of that I'm going to go enjoy the Texans regular season finale and hope to see them go .500 for the first time ever, but that may be wishful thinking.
As far as Air Force is concerned, I don't have a lot to say at this point. All I know about them is the beat down they issued us last year. Hopefully we can get some revenge tonight. Here are some Air Force stats, and here's the StatSheet game preview.
Have an enjoyable Sunday, and Go Deacs! (and Texans!)
There may be more that comes out of Charlotte and MCCB things, but with another good out of conference basketball game coming up today I've got to spend some time on that. Unfortunately I don't have much time this morning, nor do I have a way to see this game here. Because of that I'm going to go enjoy the Texans regular season finale and hope to see them go .500 for the first time ever, but that may be wishful thinking.
After a slow first half start the Demon Deacons found a way to turn everything around in the second half, scoring 24 unanswered points to beat the Connecticut Huskies 24-10. Wake Forest scored on a long Josh Adams touchdown run of 38 yards, a 21 yard touchdown pass from Riley Skinner to John Tereshinski, a Sam Swank 42 yard field goal, and finally put the game out of reach with a 9 yard touchdown run by senior Micah Andrews.
Except for one unfortunate fumble inside the five yard line, the second half was a thing of beauty for the Deacs. The defense, who only allowed a field goal in the first half (UConn's only TD was a punt return), played well all day long and the offense began completing drives in the second half (which was the only thing that seemed to be missing in the first).
Although I was frustrated with the score at the half, I felt that Wake was definitely the better team on the field. Unlike UConn, Wake seemed capable of making big offensive plays, and I enjoyed seeing the Deacs stretch the field vertically today more than they have all season.
Nothing made me more happy than Micah Andrews getting to score a touchdown on the last play of his career. It's been a tough couple of years for Micah and to see him go out on such a high note was really nice. Congrats to Micah on a great career at Wake and I wish him the best in what ever he does next (sounds like it will be something theatrical).
ACC Rookie of the Year Josh Adams struggled at times today, although the issues seemed to be more a lack of holes than a lack of running prowess. He did finish with 81 yards and one beautiful 38 yard touchdown run, and I know he will be a huge part of Wake's offense for at least two and hopefully three years to come.
Riley Skinner had a pretty solid day himself, completing 29 of 38 passes for 267 yards - the most he's had all season. His touchdown throw to Tereshinki was a beauty, and he should have had another to Kevin Marion. One thing I love about our offense is that it allows for days like today where Riley finds 10 different receivers. Spreading the ball around like that really keeps a defense on its toes. Although the interception was not a particularly good throw, Skinner had a typically effective day and once again proved that he's the man for the job here at Wake Forest. Hopefully the coaches will be more willing to continue throwing the ball down field next year after Riley and the offense's performance today
Alphonso Smith moonlighted on the offensive side of the ball today and had three catches, one of which went for 12 yards. I don't know if this is something we'll see regularly next season or if it was one of those Bowl Game Special type of moves, but I enjoyed seeing the coaching staff trying to find more ways to get him involved. Although he didn't add to his interception or TD totals today, he played a strong game and I'm more than happy that we can expect to see him in Old Gold and Black one more time next year.
Kenny Moore also deserves recognition for his 11 catches today which gives him the ACC record for most receptions in a season with 98. Congrats, Kenny, on a great record and an incredible senior season.
The defense played solidly as a whole, sacking Tyler Lorenzen twice and hurrying him on several other occasions. UConn picked up 115 rush yards, but considering that the rush is the strongest part of UConn's offense I'd say that's a pretty good day. Stanley Arnoux played a great game and grabbed an interception on a tipped ball at a crucial point in the game.
With the win Wake improves to 9-4 for their 2007 campaign and has won twenty football games in the last two years. I know long time Wake Forest fans never thought they'd hear something like that, and it truly is a thing of beauty. Coach Grobe looked characteristically stoic on the sidelines all day and barely even cracked a smile until well after the game was over. He did a great job guiding the Deacs all season long and it calms me greatly to be confident that he'll be back on the sidelines in 2008.
The published attendance of today's game was 53,126. I was hopeful that this number would end up being a little bit higher, but seeing the endzone parts of the upper deck made it clear that the game was nowhere near sold out. Wake fans were definitely out in force, and several times the "Wake" "Forest" chant could be heard on TV. I will say that I think the MCCB makes a big mistake by not selling the midfield seats to the participating schools. Corporate sponsors who had those seats did not turn out in great numbers and it was very strange to see the middle of the lower deck looking as spotty as did. If Wake ends up playing in Charlotte in the future, I hope they fix this issue. Although there did seem to be a reasonably good UConn turnout, I can proudly say that the stadium definitely seemed dominated by Deacon fans.
That's all I've got for now. It was a great afternoon to be a Deacon fan and this should leave a very nice taste in the mouths of Deacon fans until next August rolls around. Who knows, if the cards fall the right way we could end up in the top 25 when the final rankings are announced, which would certainly be a solid accomplishment. I'm sure there will be some decent follow up over the next few days, but for now we can all enjoy a beautiful win.
Congratulations, Demon Deacons! You make Wake Forest fans everywhere proud to be Deacons!
Update: I somehow failed to mention Kenny Moore's record, so I fixed that. My apologies, Kenny.
The Meineke Car Care Bowl is upon us, and with it comes one final beautiful day of Wake Forest football. One last chance to enjoy Kenny Moore and Steve Justice, Kevin Marion and Jeremy Thompson (and of course don't forget Trey Schmidt and Max Opamuratawongse). Anyway, I feel like an idiot writing like that (I'm not Lennox Rawlings and hope to never be confused for writing like him) so I'm going to move on to bigger and better things.
The MCCB kicks of between the Deacs and UConn in about two hours, and I will be firmly planted on the couch in support of their efforts. I applaud all of you who will never read this because you're going to the game, however for those of you stuck at home like me, you're welcome to crash here. We'll call this a bit of an Open Gameday Thread, so post your thoughts on the game below. I probably won't be around too much because I've got some Wake friends coming over to watch with me, but we'll see how it goes.
Chip Malafronte has come through in a big way here at the last minute. Even with his busy schedule in Charlotte, the writer of Runway Ramblings has found time to answer a few questions for the Old Gold & Blog. Make sure to check out Runway Rambling for any UConn news you may be looking for. Now for his Answers:
9-3 and 2nd place in the Big East sound pretty impressive (and surprising) to me as an outsider looking at Connecticut football. How do UConn fans feel about the season to this point?
Chip Malafronte: I think every single UConn fan is probably as surprised as you. Even the most optimistic were thinking 7 wins this season would "maybe" be obtainable, considering the struggles this team has had over the last two seasons. To be 9-3 and tied for first place in the Big East (not second, there's a big, spanking new trophy in the UConn training facility to prove it) was certainly far beyond everyone's expectations.Wake Forest fans and players were hoping to play a "bigger" opponent in their bowl game this year, and for us UConn doesn't exactly fit that description. I'm guessing UConn may have similar feelings though, so what is the perspective of the team and its fans going into the MCCB?
CM: I don't think UConn fans were particularly choosy about who the opponent would be for this bowl. The fact that the teams played each other last season may have made Wake less desirable. But the Demon Deacons ascension in the ACC the last two seasons certainly has UConn people excited.Having two strong running backs (Andre Dixon and Donald Brown) has certainly been big for UConn this season, but Wake has prided itself on it's ability to stuff the run. How do you see this matchup playing out? What about UConn's passing game?
CM: UConn's running game has certainly been the main offensive weapon, with Dixon and Brown bringing different styles to the table. The biggest difference between this season's team and last season has been the play of Juco transfer quarterback Tyler Lorenzen. While the numbers may not jump off the stat page, he rarely makes mistakes (13 touchdowns, five interceptions) and can also make plays with his feet. Perhaps the one troubling aspect in the passing game has been inconsistency from the Husky wide receivers, who tend to drop too many passes.Wake's running game has improved throughout the year, so much so that Josh Adams has been named ACC Rookie of the Year. Will UConn's run defense be up to the task? The UConn secondary also has 22 interceptions this year. What's been the key to creating those big plays?
CM: UConn's run defense has been quite impressive over the last few seasons. Aside from the West Virginia game this season, which was as disastrous as it could have been, UConn has contained some of the top backs in the Big East like Ray Rice of Rutgers and even Steve Slaton of WVU. Experience has been the biggest key to the secondary. All of the starters are back, but guys like safety Robert Vaughn (six picks) have benefitted from having a year under his belt. UConn's young linebackers Scott Lutrus and Lawrence Wilson, both freshmen All-Americas, have also helped in pass coverage and have five interceptions between them.Put your name on it: what's the final score going to be on Saturday? What would a win mean for UConn? A loss?
CM: I expect a close game, not sure if UConn has enough to stop Wake though. I'll give the Huskies the benefit of the doubt and predict a 21-17 victory. A win will certainly be a nice feather in their cap, giving the program two bowl wins in just six years as a full-fledged Division I-A program. A loss certainly wouldn't spoil what's been a tremendous year.Once again, big thanks to Chip and Runway Ramblings. Now it's time for the Deacs to take care of business.
I have an unfortunate update this morning, but thankfully it's nothing about the team. For whatever reason I have been unable to get in touch with Chip Malafonte of the UConn blog Runway Ramblings. He was the blogger I was having answer my 5 questions this week, but he hasn't gotten back to me in the last 24 hours with answers to the questions I sent him. I'm still hopeful that he will come through later today, but at the same time I understand that he's a legitimate professional journalist for a Connecticut newspaper and may have more pressing things going on in his life now that he's down in Charlotte.
Unfortunately that leaves me without a lot to say at this moment. Certainly I'm getting excited for the game, and nothing has given me reason to doubt the confidence I've felt since being selected for this bowl. Of course it's always difficult to project how your team is going to come out over a month after playing its last game, but I've got a lot of faith in these guys. Plus, at this point I've only picked 1 bowl wrong and it was the first one. Hopefully that trend continues tomorrow.
I did see one very interesting note this morning from the betting website Covers.com. The writer said that considering our last game against UConn, UConn's most recent performance against West Virginia, the fact that this is basically a home game for Wake, and that the ACC always does well in the MCCB, he's amazed that the line for this game has moved from Wake -3 to Wake -1.5. For whatever reason, people just aren't betting on the Deacs. Perhaps this is the time for non-gamblers to jump on this train (or maybe not, but it's still an interesting read).
If any big news comes out of Charlotte today I'll do my best to update, but I'll be spending much of my afternoon/evening at the Houston vs. TCU Texas Bowl, so no promises. Of course if I hear from Chip I'll be sure to get his answers up. If I happen to miss something during the day, please post it in the comments so that others can find out about it (even if I don't). Hopefully those of you going to Charlotte have safe travels and I wish you all the best. Have fun with all your Deacon buddies tonight, but make sure you get some sleep - we need you all at full strength tomorrow!
Last weekend I said I was going to take a look at the expert picks for the MCCB and talk a bit about those. Although it took me a bit longer than expected to get around to it, here it is nonetheless.
Let's start at ESPN:
Bruce Feldman of ESPN the Magazine is predicting (insider only) that Wake will win 13-7, saying "Two of the worst offensive teams in bowl play probably won't produce many fireworks. Neither team makes many mistakes. I'll go with Wake having more experience in bowl games from last season as the difference." - I don't think these offenses are quite as bad as he makes them out to be, although I agree that bowl experience does give us an edge (plus, hopefully, a good crowd). I think his margin of victory may be close to correct, but I expect an overall higher score.
Colin Cowherd has just given us a score, Wake 30 UConn 27. I can't argue too much with that prediction. I really think the Deacs are capable of a bigger win than this, but I can see why "experts" are predicting a reasonably close game.
I was very surprised to see that 62.2% ESPN's Sports Nation had picked UConn. I guess they're just going off the fact that UConn is ranked (not a bad criteria if you don't know much about the teams I suppose, but still)
At CBS Sportsline all I could find was a list of picks by their experts. Since I don't really even know who they all are, I'll just give them like this: 2 of their experts picked UConn, 2 picked Wake, and their computer thing picked Wake. Wish they had given us more than that, but what can you do? Some more info is available on their MCCB page.
I can't really find any picks on Fox Sports' site, and don't know where else to look right now, so that's all I've got. It looks like we're coming out pretty well in these, so hopefully that will be a good thing. If you find other picks go ahead and post them in the comments.
5 Good Questions coming for the last time very very soon!
Merry Christmas to Deacon Nation. I hope everyone has a wonderful day spending time with family and celebrating Christ's birth!
With a beautiful fadeaway jumper with .6 seconds left, Ishmael Smith capped an incredible 10-0 run in the final 1:17 to beat Virginia Tech 77-75 and open conference play with a 1-0 record.
Tonight’s game provided plenty of emotions. For nearly the entire first half I was incredibly impressed and excited by the team. For most of the second half I was less than impressed with both the team and the officiating. With 5 minutes left I was frustrated, but the next three minutes only made things worse. It was difficult to stick with the guys at that point, but in the final 2 minutes I saw a Wake basketball team finish like I’ve never seen in my two years on campus.
An emotional and exciting win like this one could be just the thing this team needs to spark a run and instill some confidence. To this point I’ve felt like the team is often unsure of their ability to win close games but tonight they never gave up and came up with an impressive victory.
By no means is Virginia Tech an upper echelon ACC team, but they have some talent and played a reasonably good basketball game – particularly in the second half. They had some help from the referees who constantly put them on the line to shoot freethrows without calling anything the other way. Nonetheless, by forcing 22 turnovers while only committing 11 the Deacs managed to keep themselves in the game even when their shooting suddenly became icy cold in the second half. Wake missed there first 12 three pointers of the second half before making the final two (including the ugly-but-beautiful bank-shot by Gary Clark to tie the game at 75) and only shot 28% in the half after a respectable 48.5% in the first half.
Ish Smith led the team like I’ve never seen him lead before, scoring a team-high 18 points and making two three pointers along with three assists. With Harvey Hale struggling mightily with his shot (1-10 shooting on the day, including 1-8 for three) and minor injuries hampering several players (LD Williams, Jamie Skeen, Jeff Teauge), Ish controlled the Deacon offense and shot as well as I’ve seen him shoot, including the incredibly clutch shot to win the game.
Foul trouble plagued the Deacs all night. Chas McFarland earned his third foul with 11 minutes left in the first half and sat for the remainder, and then picked up his fourth several minutes into the second half and wasn’t able to return until the last few minutes of the game. It was an unfortunate loss for the Deacs as Chas scored 10 points on 5-7 shooting when he was on the floor. LD Williams fouled out but played another great game on the defensive end and hit a couple of good shots. He appeared to suffer a bad injury to his left ankle midway through the second half but returned several minutes later apparently without any significant damage. James Johnson fouled out with a couple minutes remaining but also played a strong game, scoring 13 points and blocking two shots. Surprisingly he only had two rebounds. Jeff Teauge continued to blossom, scoring 15 points of his own.
The Deacons’ foul trouble led to Virgina Tech taking 32 foul shots in the game and they capitalized by making 29 of them. Wake hurt themselves in the same category, only making 10 of their 18 freethrows. I continue to be baffled by these freethrow issues – the importance of taking advantage of easy opportunities cannot be overstated.
Of course the thing I was most impressed with was the way the team never game up. I know that with three or four minutes remaining many fans were thinking that this was another perfect example of the team not playing for a full 40 minutes. They may not have played for all 40, but they certainly played at the end. In fact, Wake found a way to put a bunch of points on the board to finish both halves. They were down by 1 with 2:45 remaining in the first half before going on a run to end the half with a nine point lead. It was the same kind of run in the second half that earned the Deacons a win.
In my mind the difference between being 1-0 in conference and 0-1 is almost immeasurable. We would be a bit delusional as fans to be expecting to finish in the top three of the conference this season and really maybe even the top 6. That’s not to say we shouldn’t be hoping for it but I think that a realistic optimism has us finishing in the 6-8 range. To do that we must continue to win games like this against teams we know we can beat. It doesn’t have to pretty all the time; it just needs to be a win.
It’s a long road ahead and even a long non-conference road before we really get into the swing of conference games. Nonetheless a win like this should build lots of confidence for a young team. You can’t win ‘em all if you don’t win the first one.
Today is definitely a big day for Demon Deacon basketball. So far we've played a lot of awful opponents, a few mediocre ones, and one pretty good one, but none of those mean as much as any ACC game. Late this afternoon the important games start at home in the Joel against Virginia Tech. Although I won't be blogging the game live, I'll have my post-game thoughts up sometime tonight (might not be until late).
Virginia Tech comes into this game with a 6-4 record and an 0-2 record on the road with losses to Butler and Penn State. They also have neutral site losses against Gonzaga (no shame in that) and Old Dominion.
For a bit of a stats comparison:
VT shoots 45% to Wake's 41%
VT makes 38% of 3pt shoots to Wake's 31%
VT averages 13 Turnovers to Wake's 18
Nonetheless, VT only scores 67 ppg to Wake's 70 - mostly because Wake takes significantly more shots.
Point spreads for the game are anywhere from -2.5 to -3.5, with most at -3 in favor of Wake.
Virgina Tech has three players averaging double figures, including Guard/Forwards A.D. Vassallo and Deron Washington and Freshman forward Jeff Allen. Vassallo is definitely the biggest threat from long range, but 6th man Malcolm Delaney can shoot as well. Even though Allen also leads the team in rebounds and steals, he's also clearly a freshman making freshman mistakes with the most turnovers on the team and the most fouls.
The Deacs come into this game off of Wednesday night's strong win over USF. So far though the team has seemed unable to string together really strong performances. They'll have to change that tonight to start this ACC campaign off on the right foot.
I have yet to see VT play, so any comments I make are based almost exclusively on those stats. I think the oddsmakers are right in predicting a close game, and since Wake hasn't lost at home while VT has struggled on the road I'm going to give us the advantage. Hopefully we'll capitalize and come out with a victory.
My prediction: Wake 67, VT 62
I don't know if any of you have been frustrated, by I have been frustrating myself with the lack of Meineke updates I've been able to do during this down time. I've been pretty suprised by how little new information has been out there, and frustrated that I can't be in Winston to find it myself (not that I'm complaining about some time at home though).
If I were in town I would probably go watch practices this week and hopefully get to talk to some people about what's been going on with the team, but as things stand I can basically only rely on Dan Collins to do that so here's his article from yesterday.
We are only a week away, though. so it's clearly time for me to have something to say.
It's been great to see people on the message boards starting to really get excited about the game (I think getting actual tickets has a lot to do with that). Unfortunately sitting here at home and knowing I won't be making it back up for the game has put a slight damper on my own excitement but hopefully I can live vicariously through all of you who will be there.
As most of you have probably heard, Wake's ticket office has sold over 20,000 tickets (an initial allotment plus a second) and are also getting credit for about 10,000 more ticket sales that were directly from the MCCB office and apparently a couple thousand from UCONN. I don't know exactly how those numbers were determined (some have said by area code the purchase was made from) or if they will officially count in future years when other bowls look at our turnout but either way those are great numbers. Great job Deac fans!
2 bowls in I'm one for two on my picks, but the one I lost I had put much higher confidence on. There's still a long way to go and of course I'm looking forward to getting the full 32 points when Wake Forest takes care of UConn one week from today.
Turning now to the week ahead, the following things are on the Old Gold & Blog's calendar:
Sunday or Monday: Compilation of all "expert" picks of the MCCB I can find, with my own comments on each
Tuesday: Christmas - you'll get nothing and like it (how could you not, it's Christmas!)
Wednesday 0r Thursday: Back for its final installment, 5 Good Questions will talk it up with Chip Malafronte, UConn beat writer for the New Haven Register and author of the excellent Runway Ramblings blog about UConn football. As always look forward to that.
Hopefully on the in between days something worthwhile will crop up and I'll try to have something up every day this week except Christmas day. Enjoy the weekend!
I know I'm just slightly late with these picks seeing as how the Poinsettia bowl has already been played, but since it seems like almost every blogger in the nation who says anything about college football has published their picks I think It would too rebellious of me not to.
These picks come from the picks I made in a pick 'em contest based on a confidence ranking rather than being based on the spread. Because of that I'm not going to mess with going back and redoing this based on the spreads, so good luck using them for betting purposes (probably not a smart idea anyway, it's time like these when I'm glad I don't bet on things such as these.
Since I did make these picks and rank them by confidence, I will let you know what confidence I assigned them, but I'm going to list them in chronological order. If I have additional comments to make, I will. I'll list my winner over the loser, followed by the confidence (Highest is 32, lowest is of course 1).
Thursday, December 20
Poinsetta: Navy over Utah - 17. Clearly I was wrong, but having played Navy this season and seeing how talented they were, I couldn't help it. I know losing Paul Johnson would be tough, but they put up a heck of a fight. In hindsight 17 was probably too high for the confidence.
Friday, December 21
New Orleans: FAU over Memphis - 2
Saturday, December 22
Papajohns.com: Cincinatti over Southern Miss - 4. Had to stick with Ben Mauk and the Bearcats.
New Mexico: New Mexico over Nevada - 8. Least attended bowl game ever? I heard Nevada had sold 95 tickets.
Las Vegas: BYU over UCLA - 11.
Sunday, December 23
Hawaii: East Carolina over Boise State - 6. Not sure I actually liked this pick, but did for the sake of the state.
Wednesday, December 26
Motor City: Purdue over Central Michigan - 12.
Thursday, December 27
Holiday: Texas over Arizona State - 13.
Friday, December 28
Champs: Boston College over Michigan State - 17. BC has had some rough patches towards the end, but they're definitely the better team in this game. Only possible problem would be motivation. They're used to having no fans watch them.
Texas: Houston over TCU - 9. A game I will be attending, but rooting for TCU. I actually like UH's team, but I'm going with some TCU friends so my allegiances lie there.
Emerald: Maryland over Oregon State - 27. I feel very good about Maryland in this game. Reports are that they're actually fired up to go play and Oregon State seems disappointed to be there. Those type things become big factors in games like this.
Saturday, December 29
Meineke: Wake Forest over Connecticut - 32. As you can see, I sometimes enjoy making my picks based on emotions (another good reason for me not to put any money on them). Many experts predict this will be a close game, and they may be right, but how could I not pick the Deacs with full confidence? What kind of fan would I be?
Liberty: Central Florida over Mississippi State - 19.
Alamo: Texas A&M over Penn State - 22.
Sunday, December 30
Independence: Alabama over Colorado - 10.
Monday, December 31
Armed Forces: Air Force over Cal- 15.
Humanitarian: Georgia Tech over Fresno State - 13.
Sun: South Florida over Oregon - 25.
Music City: Kentucky over Florida State - 26. There's just no way you can pick Florida State to win this game with all that's going on there right now. As much as I like to show an ACC bias, it can't be done for this one.
Insight: Oklahoma State over Indiana - 27.
Peach: Clemson over Auburn - 16. Clemson proved to be a dang good football team this year. They messed things up at a couple of crucial moments, but just looking at their win over us says enough for me.
Wednesday, January 1
Outback: Wisconsin over Tennessee - 5.
Cotton: Missouri over Arkansas - 20.
Gator: Texas Tech over Virginia - 1. So my Big 12 bias (grew up an OU fan) shows its teeth here. I'm not confident Virginia can ever stop Tech or that they can put up enough points to stay with them. Clearly I'm torn though.
Capital One: Michigan over Florida - 3.
Rose: USC over Illinois - 30.
Sugar: Hawaii over Georgia - 24.
Thursday, January 2
Fiesta: Oklahoma over West Virginia - 31. This pick actually makes some sense considering the current instability at WV, but Oklahoma is the team I grew up rooting for, and I haven't cut those ties.
Friday, January 3
Orange: Kansas over Virgina Tech - 23. Maybe unpopular in ACC circles, but Kansas is a very good football team this season, and I really haven't seen Virgina Tech look great against any strong opponents this year. All the games they've won over good teams have been close. I hate to think of the ACC losing the Orange Bowl 2 years in a row, and I'll be rooting for VT, I just don't think it will happen.
Sunday, January 5
International: Rutgers over Ball State - 29.
Monday, January 6
GMAC: Tulsa over Bowling Green - 7.
Tuesday, January 7
National Championship: LSU over Ohio State - 21. I couldn't not pick LSU to win this, but I'm really not that sure of it. Maybe it's just that I feel like OSU can't keep going 0-fer in national championship games (as much as I like seeing them do it) but something doesn't sit right about this for me. Nonetheless, LSU should definitely win.
So that's it. As I went through and typed that all up I realized that I'm unsatisfied with several of those picks and several of the confidences, but at this point I don't want to change them. I prefer to go with my gut on these type things. When it's all said and done (and maybe somewhere in the middle) I'll update how I've done.
Enjoy the bowl season!
For all the complaining done about ACC Select, I’ll be honest and admit that I appreciate the service and the convenience of it. The ability to go enjoy (well maybe not enjoy so much, but at least see) the Rockets play tonight and then come home and watch the Deacs on ACC Select on-demand was really a perfect night. It was also a pleasant surprise to hear Evan Lepler (who I enjoy listening to) joined with some color commentary from Jeff Tiberii. Add to all that a 74-61 victory and you’ve got the makings of a great evening.
Things generally seemed to click for the Deacs last night against
As a team Wake shot 47% from the field and 39% from beyond the arc, numbers that are exactly what I’ve been hoping to see all season long (better late than never). South Florida certainly didn’t play their best game, shooting under 35% on the night and only 16% from beyond the arc, but some of that credit definitely goes to the stingy defense Wake played all night long (most noticeably by LD Williams).
After winning ACC Rookie of the Week last week, Jeff Teague turned in what I thought was one of his best performances. Not only did he score 11 points but he also had 5 assists with only 2 turnovers. He looked comfortable and under control and really had a good idea of what he was doing with the ball. The entire team deserves more credit for that, making smarter choices on offense with better shot selection and (usually) better passes.
It wasn’t flawless by any means; the Deacs turned the ball over 17 times and went through a couple of cold streaks (both offensively and defensively), most notably towards the end of the first half before the Deacs made a little run in the closing seconds, and then again at the start of the second half.
I watched most of the Bucknell game from Sunday yesterday afternoon and wasn’t particularly impressed, but what I saw last night was definitely encouraging. We’re yet to string together consecutive performances like this, so I’ll reserve my greater judgment of the post-exams team until we play a couple more games, but for now at least I’m very satisfied. Last night’s win will hopefully be a good confidence boost for the team in preparation for an early season ACC match-up on Sunday with Virginia Tech. It would certainly be great to start ACC play off on the right foot with a win in that game.Edit: I messed up some of the stats - looked at first half percentages instead of full game...it has been fixed.
Tonight the Deacons will face USF at home in the Joel after beating Bucknell 72-56 on Sunday afternoon. Like most of you I was much more concerned with our National Champions on Sunday and only caught some of the second half on ACC Select (although I should probably go back and watch the whole thing) so to be honest I don’t have much to say about that game. As far as tonight’s game goes, I won’t be seeing it live because I’m going to the Rockets/Magic game, but I'm hoping to watch the game late night or tomorrow morning and have my thoughts available shortly thereafter.
It can't hurt to take a look at some statistics, and here's what I've found:
USF averages 75.4 PPG and 1.1 PPP (per posession) while shooting 46% from the field and 41.1% for three. Like most good teams they make 66.7% of their freethrows. They turn the ball over a fair amount but also have decent assist and steal numbers. Considering that the Deacs are only scoring 69.1 PPG and average 1.0 PPP, not to mention the well known atrocity of our shooting (40% and 29%) there is probably some reason to be concerned.
And as you can see, they’re on a pretty impressive 7 game win streak:
College Basketball Stats by StatSheet.com
All of that doesn’t mean a heck of a lot having not seen the team play, but I wouldn’t be surprised if we find our hands pretty full tonight.
Once again, having not seen the team play since the exams break there’s not a lot I can say. By the sound of thing we may have played a bit better against Bucknell on Sunday, but tonight’s match-up looks like it might be able to tell us quite a lot about the current state of the team. Hopefully it will tell us positive things. Let’s go get a “W.”
It was almost three full months ago now that I began to write this blog, and to be honest I never thought I’d devote too much space to the soccer team. I knew I would fully cover football and basketball and that I will probably cover baseball reasonably well in the spring, but anything other than that seemed like a long shot to get any significant coverage.
Three weeks ago that all changed when I realized that the NCAA tournament was happening in our own backyard and that it would be foolish of me to avoid such a cool event. I admittedly know very little about the sport; most of my knowledge comes from FIFA video games and the World Cup two summers ago. Furthermore I had only seen two Wake games all season long and knew very little about our team. However, when I realized that the only coverage being provided for these tournament games was in the form of the CSTV Gametracker, I knew there was probably a service I could provide.
As it turned out, I ended up having more fun covering the three games at Spry Stadium than I have at any other Wake sporting event this fall. As a lover of sports in general I tried to take full advantage of the opportunity to learn more about the game while providing the best coverage I could to readers of the blog. Your response was great, with over 700 of you visiting the Old Gold & Blog on the night of the Elite 8 Notre Dame game to follow the play by play and several hundred more visiting to read about it the next day. I loved being able to share with you all the highs and lows of those games from my vantage point, even if I had no clue what I was talking about most of the time.
I couldn’t help but fall in love with the team over the course of the tournament, and it started of course with Coach Jay Vidovich. First and foremost he loves his team, loves the sport, and is proud of all they’ve accomplished. He was more than happy to talk about the games, but he loved talking about the guys on his team even more. Austin da Luz, Corben Bone, Jules Valentin, and the other players I had the chance to interact with were all passionate about the team and their performance and loved to brag about their fellow teammates more than themselves. After the West Virginia game Bone jokingly suggested that da Luz should be called “Hollywood,” and one week later Austin proved to be deserving of the nickname, scoring a beautiful overtime goal against Notre Dame and following it up with a celebration reminiscent of Brandi Chastain’s celebration in the World Cup. Moments like that made this team a joy to follow.
Heading into the Final Four nothing could have frustrated me more than knowing I was going to have to miss the second half of Friday night’s match against Virginia Tech because of an accounting exam. When the proctor informed us of the 2-0 victory I was greatly relieved, and the stage was set for Sunday’s championship match against Ohio State.
What a game it turned out to be. Certainly the most poorly officiated game I saw throughout the tournament, but an incredibly exciting game nonetheless. Like all of you, I had a huge pit in my stomach when OSU scored their goal, but watching our guys gut it out and find a way to put two in the net was incredible. I brought my whole family running to the TV when I exploded with Tracy’s goal to tie the game, and as the seconds ticked off the clock and the game ended I was as happy as I’ve ever been as a Demon Deacon. Wake Forest - 2007 National Champions.
The rest of the world calls it a beautiful game. For at least this one weekend I was in full agreement.
The title says it all. I'm almost as happy as I was when we won the ACC Championship in football last year, and I never imagined I would get to say that. I'm incredibly proud of these guys and their effort throughout this tournament run. It's unfortunate that I wasn't interested enough to watch them all year long, they're a great group of guys to root for.
They absolutely deserved this win, and I only wish we were all still back at school to roll the Quad for them.
I'm happy to inform you all that I am home safely and firmly planted on the couch for the next two hours and looking forward to watching Wake win a National Championship. We should be less than 10 minutes away from the start of the game, and as much as I wish I was there I'm still going to enjoy it quite a lot here. I'll be giving my thoughts throughout so check back throughout, but no play by play since it's on TV. Let's get it done!
39:00 - Not much of note yet. Ohio State had one set piece opportunity but covered it well. Wind looks like it could be a bit of a factor. Long shot from Ohio State - actually a pretty good shot but wide left.
35:30 - WHOA...CLOSE CALL. OSU played a great ball and had two shooting opportunities but the defense held strong (OSU probably didn't do as much with it as they should have). Lucky to get out of that 0-0.
32:56 - Well now we're in a hole. OSU goal off a corner, shot by Espinoza goes right through the legs of Franks. Not too much that could have been done, just a good shot. We've got to come up with a response now. Wake down 0-1.
34:30 - Wake responds, very nearly a goal, but Phelan or Arnoux (couldn't tell) was less than a step offsides. Exciting stuff so far.
28:40 - Yellow Card for OSU, not entirely sure it was deserved. Decent looking shot off the free kick, but nothing there. I'm thinking that being down a goal may actually loosen us up and we'll play better now. We'll see. We're already attacking better.
24:00 - love the "Wake" "Forest" cheer. Definitely our crowd. Free kick for the Deacs...well defended by OSU.
16:00 - We're working hard, but not getting much. Good free kick at the near post, big corner kick but nothing.
14:00 - Not sure why our defense is struggling so much, they just keep letting them get open opportunities without much pressure. The offense is attacking well but I'm worried we'll give up another goal.
11:31 - Not a good shot from Schilawski there. Had a wide open shot and looked like he tried to put it in the upper right corner but couldn't keep it low enough.
9:02 - We just got screwed. Absolutely a foul, the ball was not touched at all. I cannot believe we didn't ge that penalty. Terrible terrible job of officiating. He blew that one.
8:00 - Well Schilawski just got a little lazy - probably pissed off about the no call on the foul in the goal, which I can understand, but that does us no good. I'm still very very mad.
Half - Tough half for the Deacs. I'm not even sure we had many shots even though it seemed like we had lots of offensive opportunities. We definitely got screwed by the refs, but the fact is that OSU has still played better than we have. OSU plays physically and works hard to keep us from getting good offensive opportunities. On the other side our defense has not played well at all and OSU was able to capitalize. We're not out of it, but we've got to come up with something. Don't want lose an opportunity like this. Deacs down 1-0 (Basketball update - Deacs up 66-54 with a few minutes left in the game against Bucknell).
43:00 - I really like the fact that Schilawski went ahead and shot that instead of doing something cute with it. That's what we're going to need to do this half - take the opportunities we are given. This game still has a couple goals in it.
39:00 - Well we blew that Corner kick opportunity. What are we doing out there? I'm starting to feel like I'm watching our basketball team right now.
32:30 - Big corner here. Let's actually hit one here....we did but nothing. Phalan got a foot on a shot from the 18 but way high.
30:27 - Free kick here, important set piece. deflected by the wall and still nothing. We're absolutely struggling here, but Edwards is on his way in we'll see what we can get.
28:20 - Well of course there was no call in the box, although this time it was probably the right call. I guess soccer refs don't do make up calls. Frustration yellow card there - missed who got it.
27:15 - finally a cross from the Deacs, got a head on it but not quite enough. We need more of that to get back in this game. The announcers keep talking about needing Marcus Tracy to do something for us, but I'm ont sure he's going to be the answer. I guess when you've only seen one game you can only go off of that performance, but we've got much more firepower than just Tracy.
26:00 - Decent opportunity for Arnoux there (maybe Bone) but OSU's goalie did a good job coming to get it. Still not getting to much on goal.
23:59 - THERE IT IS!!!!! Marcus Tracy on the goal with the assist from Cody Arnoux. Beautiful job capitalizing on the OSU mistake. Time to go get another one for the win. This could be a huge momentum shift.
22:20 - And.....a TV timeout. Still ridiculous, but if that's what it takes to get these games on TV then I guess I'm okay with it. Anyway great goal (although it looks like the assistant made the wrong call on the ball still being in. I guess that's the make-up call we needed. Marcus Tracy was very stoic with his celebration, definitely looking for another one.
18:12 - Wow, definitely looked like it was going to be another goal, but on the replay it looks like the goalie actually got a hand on the initial almost-shot. Great play by him, even though I still think we should have been able to take the lead there.
15:44 - Great offensive series there for the Deacs but nothing came of it. I like the effort and the way we controlled the ball. got a good header opportunity. We may still have one in this.
12:47 - GOALLLLLLLLL....Schilawski on the pass from Tracy. Great Great shot, and even more impressvie job by Tracy to get him the ball. I don't konw what Ohio State's goalie is so mad about, but he was really pissed. Amazing goal, now lets put the clamps on.
9:45 - Jules Valentin got cut bad in the face by a terrible high kick on OSU's goal scorer Espinoza. That hurts very badly. I think that should have been a red not a yellow.
5:02 - WOW, TRACY MISSES JUST LEFT ON A WIDE OPEN NET. Looked like a goal for sure on a great run by Schilawski do get the ball to a wide open Tracy. Hopefully it doesn't come back to bite us.
3:38 - Almost another goal. Wow. Great play by the goalie this time.
1:12 - Brian Edwards on an incredible catch there off the corner. 1 minute to go. Let's finish the job.
FINAL - WAKE FOREST 2007 MEN'S SOCCER NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS. GO DEACS!
Time to go win a National Championship.
I'm on a flight back to Texas this morning and should be home in plenty of time to watch the game and do a little blogging, but if something weird happens with flights then I'll be watching as soon as I can.
I'm in the middle of the worst possible way to end a semester (possible all-nighter before 2 exams on the very last night) and it was time to do something to cheer myself up. Tonight, nothing could do that more than writing about a beautiful victory against Virginia Tech in the semis of the Mens Soccer College Cup.
Unfortunately I only got to see the first half tonight, and although we looked good VT had shown themselves well and I wasn't overly confident as I headed to my accounting exam. But halfway through the exam when the proctor walked up to the white board and wrote Wake 2-0 I was about as pumped as I could possibly be.
Coming back to my room and seeing Marcus Tracy's 2 beautiful goals made my night, and I am more than excited for the championship game on Sunday afternoon (if not a bit peeved that I'll be watching it from my house in Texas rather than from the SAS press box). Getting back I saw most of the 2nd half of the Ohio State/UMass game, including the OSU goal. They executed well on a poorly defended posession and played solid defense to close it out. Wake is sure to have their hands full come Sunday afternoon.
It is certainly unfortunate that I don't have a way to see the 2nd half, but from what I've heard it was a thing of beauty. Now I can only hope to see something even better on Sunday. I'm ready for my first National Championship since becoming a Wake Forest student. Get the job done, boys!
Time for a great game of soccer. I'll be around for the first half, but I'll be leaving it to all of you in the 2nd half. Feel free to talk about the game in the comments section. Time to take the final step to the championship game.
40:00 - Fast start - both teams attacking. Nyarko is clearly very good for VT, but that opportunity Tracy had was great as well. Could be several goals in this game, hopefully all for us though.
35:00 - Seems to have settle down a tiny bit, but Wake is controlling most of the posession. ESPN's camera work could use some improvement.
32:50 - We just got VERY VERY LUCKY. Misplayed a ball, Edwards couldn't defend and the net was wide open. Nyarko stumbled and couldn't get a shot off and the shot off his pass went high. Definitely should have been a VT Goal.
31:15 - Wake opportunity off of a corner, cleared by VT though.
25:00 - Another scary VT chance off of a free kick. Defense is scaring me a bit. We haven't had a good attack for a little while now.
24:00 - Marcus Tracy with a great blast from just outside the 18 saved. Great offensive series there. Be sure to answer the poll over in the right column, I appreciate it!
22:00 - They just took a TV timeout. Seriously? Do they know what sport this is? Unbelievable. Show me the game...I want to see this half before I have to go take my exam!
17:00 - We're getting some good runs of the sides, but not getting much in front of the net. Defense seems to be settling in and I'm starting to feel a bit better about the way we look. I'm tired of the ESPN announcers talking almost exclusively about VT. Quick mention about Vidovich but they don't seem to realize that we're the 2 seed. Annoying.
11:30 - Hollywood da Luz in the game. Always good to see. VT's big English guy just got himself a yellow on a bad tackle from behind. Well deserved card.
6:00 - And that's all I've got time for. Just no way around it. I hope to get out of my exam and be happy. Make it so. I'll leave you all to your own, feel free to talk amongst yourself in the comments. Go Deacs!
Tonight the Demon Deacons Men's Soccer Team head across the state to take on fellow ACC member Virginia Tech in the semifinals of the 2007 College Cup (Final Four). I had thought I would end up writing a pretty extensive preview, but just when it looked like it wasn't going to happen (exams of course) ESPN came through in the clutch...check it out. Not to be left out, the official Wake website has a recap of the team's hectic day yesterday in Cary which is pretty interesting as well.
Since ESPN took care of the prose, I'll do a little statistical comparison of my own:
Wake leads the nation with 2.63 goals per game, while VT is 5th with 2.32
Wake is third with .52 goals against while VT is 85th at 1.12
Virgina Tech is led by Sophomore Patrick Nyarko, who has 16 goals and 8 assists on the season
Wake has several standouts, including Cody Arnoux (15 goals, 7 assists), Marcus Tracy (8,8), and of course Hollywood (or Brandi) da Luz who has 13 assists and one of the biggest goals ever (overtime vs. Notre Dame last weekend)
Considering what I've seen recently and the numbers above I certainly feel confident about the game, however they played us to a 3-3 tie in the regular season and soccer is a sport where I'm learning you never take anything for granted. Needless to say, I'm hoping we put three in the back of the net in the first half so I can take my Accounting exam stress free. I may try to do a little live blogging in the first half, but I'll be completely MIA in the 2nd, so I'll leave it to you all in the comments section to keep people updated. You may also notice the new poll at the top of the page on the right - please let me know what you think! Let's go get a win and play for a Championship on Sunday!
With the entire Wake Forest campus taking this week for exams, sports news is going to be pretty slow. No team is playing a game this week except for the Soccer team's game on Friday night, and with plenty of exam work of my own I won't be going out of my way to find things to write about. Until we start talking soccer again on Thursday (most likely) it will be pretty quiet around here.
For the time being feel free to browse through the posts accumulated over the two and a half months the Old Gold & Blog has been in existence. I'll help you out with links to some of the most popular posts so far:
UNC Domination Post-Game (October 27)
Skip Prosser and the Fairfield Game (November 9)
and of course, Wake vs. Notre Dame Live (December 8)
Also, a Couple I was Particularly Fond of:
A Hard Look at Screamin' Demons
Old Gold & Blog on the Radio
I want to thank everyone who's been reading the Old Gold & Blog this fall. Although I write primarily because I enjoy writing, I'd be lying if I said I don't take pride in seeing the number of people who visit the blog grow. I definitely need to thank the DeaconSports message boards and all of the posters over there for not giving me a hard time for my shameless self-promotion, you all have definitely been my largest audience.
Finally, to pique your interest a little bit, the Old Gold & Blog will be looking to expand and grow in some fun ways over the next month heading into the new year, so be looking forward to that!
This was apparently published late last week, but somehow I missed it.
Steve Justice and Alphonso Smith have been named to the Walter Camp Football Foundation All-American 2nd team. Justice was also named a CBSSports.com All-American 1st team and an AP 1st team All-American, while Smith is a 3rd team AP All-American
Redshirt freshmen Josh Adams and Hunter Haynes were both named to the Sporting News ACC All-Freshman team, and Adams was named to their national All-Freshman 2nd team.
Congrats to all of them for earning these honors!
We were awful today. Just awful. Consider the result, and then look at
If possible I’d like to start with some positives…19 offensive rebounds…13 steals…I think I’m done. I don’t feel like we played terrible defense, at least when we got set. In fact, we started the game playing pretty dang good defense. When thing got even worse offensively everything else followed, and so I’m not going to worry too much about the way our D looked in the last 10 minutes of the game (although that indicates we don't ever really seem to give it everything we've got for 40 minutes, so that's not good). Even before that, though, there were some pretty major question marks in transition defense and double teams that left people incredibly wide open. But considering everything else, the defense doesn’t need to take up too much of the criticism.
What in the world are we doing on offense? I certainly can’t figure it out, and so far I haven’t heard anyone with a good explanation. I hope I can find Dino’s post game press conference audio somewhere, maybe he has an explanation. 65 total shots, 20 of them went in the basket. We were 4-22 from beyond the arc – 19% Seriously? What happened? This was not the team we saw play at Vanderbilt earlier in the week. I could have gone over to Reynolds Gym on a Friday afternoon and picked up 4 guys to play with me that could have stayed with the team today. We could just jack up threes and probably make enough to stay close as long as they shot those percentages. Many people are questioning if there is an offensive strategy/plays/anything for the Deacs, and to be honest I’m starting to question it myself. We don’t have great ball movement from anywhere on the floor, I see very few screens off the ball, and I hardly see anyone making cuts to get open. These are things my dad taught me when I was seven or eight years old! Isn’t this simple basketball knowledge? Beyond lacking a strategy, we have no one who can shoot consistently, and when we don't shoot well we have no confidence. From all reports coming out of practice, everyone shoots lights out both from the field and at the line. Then we get in a game and no one can shoot. After 10 minutes of making one in every 5 shots the team's confidence is entirely gone and we're trying to figure out how to climb out of a hole without the confidence that we can do it. Ain't gonna happen.
I don’t think its time to start blaming Dino, but I would like to know exactly what it is the team is working on offensively. It’s clear we’ve come a long way defensively, but that doesn’t matter if you only score 21 points in a half. You can only keep them from scoring so much. Dino clearly has a lot of basketball knowledge, a strong desire to win, and a great relationship with his players. I’m confident he can get this job done and that we need to give him some time, but as a fan its impossible not to be upset about our current offensive output. Clearly there are some personnel issues, but they may not be the ones we thought they were. The middle is still somewhat of an issue (no points for Chas, 6 for Skeen today), but we don't have anyone who can shoot consistently at the 2, and neither Ish nor Teague are currently playing well at the point. We need them to develop there quickly, because we won’t have anyone coming in that plays those positions until at least 2009. The job is theirs; it’s up to them to make something of it.
I’m not claiming the impending doom of this team. I’m not ready to give up on this season. We have the ability to play like we did against Vanderbilt the other night, but then we also play like this today. I hope we can play the way we did against Vandy more often, or at least find a happy medium, but we may not. Most likely this won’t be the last time this season we play like this, but I think we’ll also see several more games like we played against Vanderbilt and maybe surprise some people for victories. I still don’t think we’ll be 11th or 12th in the ACC; we will win some games and surprise some people, even if we lose a couple games we probably shouldn't. I don’t think it’s time to panic. By all means please be frustrated. I hope you’re frustrated. I hope the team is frustrated. I hope Coach is frustrated. But at this point panicking and giving up is not the answer for any of us. The season is young and we have 6 games until we really get into the conference schedule. We’re still young and inexperienced, and for all their mistakes there is clearly some great talent on the team. After today I don’t think it can go any way but up, and knowing our players and coaches they will make sure it does.
Disagree with me? Let me know by leaving a message in the comments below. We’ll talk about it.
3:21 - GOAAAAALLLLLL - Austin Hollywood da Luz from Marcus Tracy!!!!!!!!! WAKE ADVANCES TO THE FINAL 4!!!!!! HOLLYWOOD RIPS OFF HIS JERSEY IN CELEBRATION!!!!! WE WILL PLAY VIRGINIA TECH NEXT FRIDAY NIGHT!!!
Tracy dribbles up, gets a little through ball to Austin who takes a shot, lower left corner. Beautiful pass, beautiful shot.
4:08 - Cody Arnoux gets on opportunity but mis hits it way high. Looked like a promising effort all around on that posession, but nothing came of it.
5:18 - ND crosses one in front of the net, caught by Edwards.
5:52 - ND yellow to Matt Besler. Free kick from about 20 out...Nothing.
6:00 - ND pushes up but gets nothing.
7:00 - Corner for the Deacs, looking strong on offense and controlling posession right now. Nothing from the corner.
9:06 - Cody Arnoux gets a shot off, a little weak but it was on net. Saved by ND, got my heart racing.
10:00 - Here we go...
90 is not enough...Overtime rules: two 10 minute overtimes, played as golden goal (sudden death).
2:45 - ND corner...shot deflected out, another corner...shot deflected right to Edwards, Wake pushing, ND defense holds, no shot.
5:50 - Notre Dame has threatened a bit more, but nothing too scary. Our offense has gotten quite though.
7:40 - Corner for Notre Dame, actually put this one in, but headed out by Wake. Notre Dame subsequently offsides.
10:00 - Almost had an opportunity in the box, but no shot. Notre Dame isn't getting much of anything on the offensive end, but it's definitely time to capitalize.
14:22 - Corben Bone tries a shot on a ball at about waist level from the 18, misses high. Deacs lead shots 13-3, but game is tied at zero. Really wish we would put one in the back of the net.
19:44 - Marcus Tracy's shot deflected, corner for Wake. Nothing.
22:05 - miscommunication on a through ball in the box, and no one is home for the Deacs. Still 0-0.
23:25 - Wake gets a corner after the goalie doesn't grab the ball that was clearly deflected, pretty dumb. Nothing comes of the corner.
26:35 - To answer the question from the comment section - Of the first half shots, I'd say definitely 2, maybe 3 we were on net, however for whatever reason they don't actually keep that stat officially, so that is my best guess. Nothing of great significance happening on the field currently.
28:14 - We just took what looked like a shot with absolutely no angle that may have skimmed across the cross bar. Looked like another opportunity right afterwards, but we were called for offsides.
31:15 - Lahoud drives one form well outside the 18, misses wide right.
32:00 - Schilawski in for Tracy, Wake pushing..
35:30 - Almost a good opportunity when ND's defense lost posession, Hollywood tried to center for someone to get a shot, but we couldn't get a good one off.
37:00 - Corner for Notre Dame, who once again uses the tactic of passing it short and then putting it in, and once again it failed pretty miserably.
41:00 - Couple shots from Notre Dame, including one blast from probably 35 out that missed just right.
43:25 - Cody had a wide open shot from 8 out on the left and missed it wide right. Definitely looked like it should have been a goal. Still 0-0.
2nd Half, 45:00 - 2nd Half starting now, Corben and Hollywood da Luz both in the game. Let's get a quick strike, Deacs.
Halftime - Tied, 0-0. Deacs dominated the half but we've got nothing to show for it. Hopefully missed opportunities won't come back to bite us. Wake leads shots 9-1, I don't know many stats other than that, but I may be able to find them if you want me to.
Stats Update: Notre Dame has 2 saves , 1 corner, nad 4 fouls. Wake has no saves, 5 corners, and 4 fouls. That's about it.
0:30 - Corner by Cronin...no shot, foul called on the Deacs.
1:00 - Another Notre Dame foul, possibly our last opportunity of the half free kick from the left half...header goes over the goal for a corner...
3:42 - Notre Dame called for a foul just outside the box, free kick being taken from about 25 out...Initial kick blocked, Corben Bone misses the rebound just right. Still 0-0.
5:51 - Irish get a cross, but the Deacs head it out. Still only one Notre Dame shot to the Deacs' seven.
11:00 - Unbelievable! Marcus Tracy got free and ND's goalie came outside the box to try to beat him to the through ball. Tracy controlled it and got past the goalie and it looked like it would be an easy goal, but had his shot deflected by a ND defender. Very disappointing! Shortly after the following corner Sam Cronin missed a shot wide right.
12:40 - "Hollywood" da Luz checks in. Often a good spark for the Deacs.
14:30 - Wake misplays the ball on defense again and Notre Dame's Joseph Lapira misses the shot wide left.
16:39 - Cody Arnoux swung and missed from point blank on a little chip shot cross. Arnoux checks out, Schilawski comes in. Another corner for the Deacs, but straight to the goalie.
18:00 - Mike Lahoud takes a shot that gets deflected, looked like another pretty good opportunity for the Deacs. I have a feeling we'll find the net once before the half.
18:25- Corben Bone checks in for the Deacs.
20:16 - Nasty collision at midfield, but it was all pretty inadvertent, so no card. Foul called on the Deacs. Wake's continuing to control posession for the most part, and has 4 shots while ND has zero.
23:59 - Tracy had beautiful header from 8 feet out, but Irish goalie Chris Cahill made an incredibly save on the shot that nearly found the top right corner. Evan Brown missed the rebound high. Very nearly a Deacon goal.
25:24 - Cross into the box was deflected straight up into the air and now results in a corner for Wake. Franks' corner finds a Deacon head but gets deflected wide right. Evan Brown on the next corner doesn't find anything. Cronin gets a shot form outside the box but is deflected.
29:39 - Notre Dame corner - didn't actually put it in the box, rather passed short to a teammate and then didn't get anything from it. Still 0-0. Just found out that the stadium is officially full/sold out. Impressive job by Wake fans showing support.
35:30 - Notre Dame took advantage of Wake's mishandling of the ball and got a great cross off, but weren't able to get a foot on the ball for a shot.
36:23 - Terrible call by the referee - gave Notre Dame a goal kick on what was pretty clearly a Corner. Tough break for the Deacs. Still controlling posession and keeping most everything on Notre Dame's half of the field.
39:00 - Pushing pretty hard to start the game, which is pretty typical of our strategy so far this post-season. Early corner kick for the Deacs doesn't threaten, and the Irish don't accomplish anything on a throw into the box. Mike Lahoud got a non-threatening shot off for the Deacs as well
We're about 5:00 from the kickoff of the Wake Forest vs. Notre Dame Quarterfinal match. I'll be trying to keep you updated about every 5-10 minutes, and of course more frequently when big things are happening. Great crowd on hand tonight, Spry looks almost completely full. Should be a fun night.
Final - 50-72. I'm not ready to talk about this one yet. Maybe later.
3:37 - 48-68. James Johnson has another double double, if that matters.
4:48 - 41-66
5:34 - 41-62
6:56 - 39-57
8:45 - Umm....I'm speechless at this point. I may just do nothing but update the score from here on out. 37-52.
11:31 - Cam Stanley for 3? I'll take it form anyone at this point. Too bad we still can't stop them on D. 34-50. I think it was a mistake when they said it was Cam, cause he wasn't in. I think it was Harvey. Nevermind, it was him.
12:58 - Well that was ugly too. We can't afford to give up any 3 point plays for the rest of this game. This lead is almost definitely insurmountable at this point. 31-44 at this point.
15:14 - I don't even know what to say at this point. Georgia is an awful basketball team that's giving us every opportunity to run them over in this game, yet we can do absolutely nothing with the opportunity. This game may end up with us losing 40-45. It really is a JV basketball game. Currently down 31-36.
17:40 - Skeen just took an elbow to the jaw. That couldn't have felt good. Ugly posession to start the half. Still not taking smart shots, we're 0-7 on the half from the field. No points 2.5 minutes in, 29-34 UGA leads.
Halftime - Georgia shoots about 60% from the field, we shoot about 32%. We're 2-8 from beyond the arc and only made half our freethrows. Someone want to explain how we're only down 5? I guess it has to do with Georgia's ridiculous number of turnovers (19), but we done it almost as much. I suppose 8 offensive rebounds are making a big difference as well. I can't wait to hear what Coach says about his favorite stat, points per possession. I can't imagine we even have .5 right now.
So what needs to change? Almost everything offensive. Defense as been acceptable, we just need to get back on defense better and not give up some of the open shots we're giving up. Offensively we need to shoot better all around, make better passes, slow down, and stay under control. If this play continues, I may end up more frustrated about this game than I was about Charlotte. I really really hope Coach whips them into shape at the half and we turn this thing around. I'm already starting to look forward to the soccer game. Yuk.
0:31 - I don't even know how, but we've cut the deficit to 5. James with a big tip in dunk. Someone needs to explain to me how we're possibly in this game.
1:08 - They should refund the fans at the game and take this off of TV. This looks like JV high school ball. Clark hitting a couple freethrows, down 27-34.
2:21 - Well someone can shoot (maybe) 3-ball by Skeen, maybe a spark. Down 24-34.
3:56 - Ish's freethrow woes continue (what a surprise). Misses the front half of a 1 and 1, now 3-16 from the line on the season (not a typo. unfortunately). down 21-31
6:17 - UGA's helping us out with plenty of turnovers of their own. You know all the different problems we've had throughout this season? We're experiencing all of them right now. Ugh. 19-29 Georgia leads.
7:58 - Starting to show some life, as James is working hard on the boards both ends of the floor. LD hits a three to cut the lead, but there's still a long way to go. James maybe needs to take a few less shots right now, he's clearly off. Ish seems to have calmed down a bit, but he still manages to scare me on a regular basis. Wake down 19-27.
10:47 - Dino just got himself a technical, maybe for getting outside the coach's box. This is terribly ugly. Georgia is on a 15-0 run and we have 9 turnovers. I think that basically tells the story. Down 24-12.
11:21 - Ridiculously sloppy basketball right now on both ends of the floor. Turnovers, missing easy opportunities, etc. on the offensive end and failing to get back or get rebounds on defense. Now down 16-12.
13:15 - I like the way we're focusing on working the ball inside instead of taking the first shot we can from beyond the arc. It may take some time for us to get comfortable with doing that, but our last two baskets have been of easy layups. We're struggling getting back on the defensive end, and Georgia just exploded for two quick fast break layups. 13-12 Georgia leads.
15:55 - First timeout, Wake up 6-2. I love the defensive intensity so far. I'm pretty sure the entire starting 5 has either a block or a steal already, if not more than one. Not getting into any kind of rhythm so far on offense, somewhat out of control. If we play like defense like this though, it would be difficult to lose, it's just disappointing to not already be up by at least 10.
17:00 - After the quick start, 2 straight turnovers by James - settle down big fella. We've started very very strong on the defensive end, probably already have 4 blocks. Offensively we need to settle in a little bit. 6-2 Wake.
18:30 - James Johnson starting strong. Monster block on the defensive end, tip in back down the floor on offense. 4-2 Wake.
Getting ready to get things started here against Georgia. Looks like Teauge is not starting today, Harvey back in. Question: recently I've been live blogging by putting the newest stuff at the top...do you like that or would it be better to put it at the bottom?
It should be a fun day in the world of Deacon sports as the basketball team travels to Athens this afternoon for a game against Georgia and the Soccer team has a huge game against Notre Dame in the Elite 8 of the NCAA tournament here at Spry.
Georgia comes into this game having just won what must have been a scrimmage against D-II Augusta State, and is 4-1 against D-I opponents. Judging by their stats they aren’t a bad team, shooting 51% from the field and keeping opponents to only 40%, but I don’t know much about them past that. My gut says that we’re a better team and should get a win today, and although I’ll be happy with any win, I’d love to see a double digit win over an SEC opponent. It will be interesting to see whether Harvey or Teague gets the start at shooting guard today, and if Chas starts again after his rough outing at Vanderbilt. Another good performance today will have me thinking we can win out in non-conference play. I don’t know if I’ll be quite as active live-blogging this game as some, but I’ll definitely be commenting here throughout.
On the soccer side of things, tonight’s game against Notre Dame should be a lot of fun. Notre Dame does not rank in the top 30 in either scoring offense or goals against average, however they do have a pretty large number of shutouts (11) indicating to me that they may be the kind of team who’s defense is either very hot or very cold on any given night. They also do not have any individual players in the top 30 of the nation in any statistical category, indicating to me that they’re a side who has to put everything together as a team and cannot count on the individual effort of any one player. In my mind, all indications are that Wake should definitely come out on top in this match. I’ll be at Spry blogging throughout the game, so check in frequently as I try to update at least every five minutes, and of course more often when big things are happening. If you’re in town though, I definitely recommend that you come out tonight as I think it will be a really great evening of soccer out at Spry.
Coach Grobe held a press conference just a little while ago on campus just outside the football facilities. He avoided answering specific questions regarding any specific job, saying only that he is excited about this team and next season and that he couldn't leave because of his relationships with players. He also said that any rumors of him making more money here at Wake are not true, and that he didn't get an even longer deal. He does not deny that he will pay attention when other jobs become available to him, but that he loves things here at Wake, particularly the way he and his staff are treated by AD Ron Wellman.
Not suprisingly, Coach artfully dodged anything specific (as he should, I suppose, even if it's very frustrating to us fans) but at this point I'm satisfied to just be happy with the fact that Grobe is still here.
If you're interested, News 14 has the video up on their website.
Obviously there have been considerable distractions over the last 18 hours, and so for those of you interested in my comments regarding last night’s basketball game against Vanderbilt, I apologize for getting so thoroughly sidetracked (thought I probably shouldn’t think so highly of myself).
Since that situation seems to be settling down quite nicely (and quite favorably for us) I am excited to get back to the task at hand – writing about our performance on the hardwood last night.
Let’s start with some cold hard facts. We lost the game 83-80, giving up 23 more points than we have to any other opponent this season, but also scoring more than we have in any game other than
James Johnson looked like our leader on the floor last night (LD still played well, but did it more quietly than usual) but although he scored plenty of points (18) his 5 of 16 shooting from the field is disappointingly low – I didn’t even realize it had been that bad. He was 0-4 on 3-pointers, including the miss from the top of the key that would have tied the game in the final seconds. He did contribute 13 rebounds and played a solid game overall, but I would love to see his shooting percentage improve. Some may not like it, but I didn’t have any problem with James bringing the ball up the floor on fast breaks. He looked calm and comfortable doing it and was quite successful on several occasions. He just needs to work a bit on his shot selection in those situations.
It was great to see
Ish is frustrating me for the most part, but then every once in awhile he makes it hard to be mad at him. His shooting is pretty terrible overall (5-14 overall, but 2-5 for 3) however he hit a couple of clutch shots. Considering his 5 turnovers (which I think mostly came in the 1st half, so he improved late) I was more frustrated than happy with him last night. He just seems out of control and isn’t taking good shots.
Jeff Teague got the start over Harvey Hale last night and played alright, scoring 10 points but only shooting 30% from the field. If coming off the bench helps
As a team we shot almost 45% from beyond the arc (which was actually better than we shot from the field overall), a huge improvement over what we’ve been doing (27%). That’s an encouraging sign as well.
I said before the game that a loss by less than ten points we prevent me from being overly upset, and true to my word I’m not. It is frustrating to think that we could have had 4 easy points if Ish would just lay the ball up and not get unlucky on the slip (I don’t think I can actually blame him for that) then we probably when the game. Even so, we went into a tough environment on the road and played a game that was better on the whole than probably any game we’ve played so far this season. This is a great encouragement to me, and I look forward to getting a win on Saturday against
We aren’t going to be in the ACC cellar this year. No way.
Reports this morning indicate that Coach Grobe will not be leaving Wake Forest to become the new head coach at Arkansas. Whether or not he ever actually planned to is tough to say at this point.
The Old Gold & Black student newspaper (which I now have more respect for after this story) reports having talked to Ron Welllman this morning and learning that Grobe is staying at Wake after having slept on the decision overnight. Here is the link to the Old Gold & Black story.
12:12 Update - Although things seemed pretty official when I first posted this morning, more and more news outlets are reporting Grobe is definitely staying, including ESPN. At 11:00 this morning there was an impromptu fan rally outside the Pruitt Football center on campus. It looked like about 50 people showed up and the "event" mostly consisted of people standing around talking and looking relieved. Several players, including Riley Skinner, walked by while people were out there. According to the players Coach is currently not on campus and nothing official has been said to the players. Nonetheless, they are hearing the same things we are and are feeling much better about the whole situation.
I will continue to follow this story throughout the day, but as of now it looks like all is right here in Winston-Salem.
Final update from me for tonight. The only thing that would make me post anything else would be something official, but it seems pretty clear that nothing but speculation will happen tonight. For what is being said by big media outlets, see my last post.
Being on campus I have conversations/hear of conversations with players on a somewhat regular basis, and not suprisingly tonight is the type of night when everyone wants to find out what they know. Interestingly, it seems there are some different perspectives of what's going on even among the team. It is mostly unanimous that Grobe was acting weird tonight both at practice and then at a meeting after. Some have said assistant coaches were crying, others that they weren't. Grobe definitely didn't say anything specific about Arkansas or any other situation, only that they need to focus on the bowl game and not anything else that may be going on. Some players don't seem overly concerned about it, others seem to be pretty stressed about it, some even to the point of saying they will be transferring.
At this point all we can do is wait and see what happens tomorrow. I haven't heard anything official from media relations (although I've asked them to keep me updated - but they don't always do that) about a press conference or anything else, but I've heard rumors of an 11:00 presser tomorrow so I'll probably head over there and see what's going on even if I don't hear anything. Hopefully we get this all resolved tomorrow. Either way, I just want to have this situation done as soon as possible.
I've been avoiding this all day, partly because I'm busy and also because I prefer to have solid information. Nonetheless, this is looking worse and worse, don't know what to make of this most recent publication from the Arkansas News Bureau...It's the most concrete I've seen...
Grobe is New Razorback Coach
So I'm going to update this...
Really hard to decide what to make out of all this. Arkansas fans seem to think it's a done deal, we're of course all hoping it's not. According to one random unnamed Arkansas fan (clearly not credible, but doesn't mean he's wrong) the premium subscriber message board on Arkansas's Scout.com board says Grobe has agreed to a deal for over $1.5 million- I'm pretty much convinced this is made up, as I seriously doubt they have that kind of detailed info.
Meanwhile, WXII here in North Carolina supposedly says that "WXII says their sources at Wake say it is not a done deal. Not to mention the plane is still at RDU. Arkansas Foundation plane still at RDU with no flight plan scheduled," but this info also comes from an unsubstantiated source who does not make their connection to WXII clear.
At this point I don't feel like anyone can really say anything concrete. I certainly hope this isn't going to work out this way, on such short notice with apparently little communication between Coach, his players, and the school. Could be in for a long night...
4029 TV in Arkansas is also reporting this is a done deal, including video of their news report. Be interesting to if all these people have to eat their words. I certainly hope so.
Now the Associated press is getting in on the act - a salary supplement has been approved for Grobe, which is a "strong indication" that he will be their next coach - ESPN/AP link. Also, Arkansas Morning News has a bit more in depth report.