After some rain-soaked confusion over whether there would even be a tournament champion, Clemson finally hoisted the ACC baseball trophy, having outlasted not only Florida State but the weather for more than eight hours on Sunday.
If serving as a hockey official – of any amateur sport – is a thankless job, it’s relatively glamorous compared to the people who talk people into doing that job, train them to do it right and have to replace the most promising younger ones when they inevitably move on to college and careers.
North Carolina didn’t even make the 10-team ACC baseball tournament. Duke made it as the No. 7 seed, but exited meekly Tuesday with a 4-3 loss to 10th-seeded Wake Forest in a play-in game. And N.C. State, which harbored legitimate hopes of competing for the title again – the Wolfpack went into Wednesday ranked seventh in the RPI despite a 34-17 record – dropped its very winnable opener to Florida State.
Duke’s ACC tournament came to an end with a 4-3 loss to Wake Forest in the first of two play-in games Tuesday, with Duke’s best hitter first attempting to bunt in the bottom of the ninth while representing the winning run, then watching strike three go past.
Chance Shepherd remembers. The N.C. State senior was around in 2013, the last time North Carolina visited Doak Field. The Wolfpack went to Chapel Hill last year, and the teams met once in the ACC baseball tournament in 2014, but a rivalry that reached blast-furnace intensity three years ago merely sizzles today.
The NCAA’s Committee on Infractions is still a long way from ruling on North Carolina, but the door is open at this point for particularly cynical universities to set up their own no-show curriculum. As long as they don’t call it academic fraud, it isn’t.
Doug Rhoads, the ACC’s influential former coordinator of football officiating, passed away on May 6. Six days later, the ACC announced all football replays would be handled from a central location, possibly the most fitting tribute to Rhoads’ life and career that the conference could muster.
The late arrival of high-scoring Turkish center Omer Yurtseven isn’t just good news for N.C. State, which desperately needed an injection of talent with all of its offseason defections. It’s good news for the Triangle, which will get to watch an improbable collection of the best freshman basketball talent in the country next season.
The NCAA didn't just revise the notice of allegations against North Carolina during the eight-month intermission in this interminable process. Between August and April, the NCAA somehow revised its entire approach to the scandal.
Let last year serve as a warning before we go too far down this path, but as things stand at the end of April – and that specific timeframe is critical – next basketball season is looking pretty good for North Carolina, Duke and N.C. State.
The arrival of Mark Richt at Miami, Justin Fuente at Virginia Tech and Bronco Mendenhall at Virginia, all slam-dunk hires, all proven Div. I coaches, should change the dynamic in the Coastal Division – and by extension the ACC – soon.
The ACC announced Tuesday that Bryan Kersey, 53, will leave the court to join the conference office, a move that can be read as an endorsement of the league’s current standard of officiating, which anyone who watched the NCAA tournament will appreciate is quite high these days. The ACC accounted for three of the 10 officials selected to work the Final Four in Houston, and Kersey was one of two ACC officials in Indianapolis a year earlier.
From the trendsetting tenure of Kay Yow at N.C. State to North Carolina’s three Final Fours and national title under Sylvia Hatchell to Duke’s late-’90s ascendance under Gail Goestenkors, these three programs sat at or near the epicenter of the sport for a long, long time. Decades. And now? Women’s basketball in the Triangle has reached maximum irrelevancy.
There was a different feel to this particular Carolina Hurricanes postmortem, with the optimism surrounding the young defensemen and the tectonic shift that occurred with the departure of Eric Staal. One way or another, the Hurricanes are lurching toward the future.
From afar, John Carlos watched the Missouri football players last spring as they took a stand. He admired how they used their power as scholarship athletes to join the fight against what they saw as systemic racism on campus, eventually forcing the resignation of the university president. He also has a message for them: Using their position to fight for the greater good can’t be a one-time thing. And Carlos would know because he has devoted his life to backing up the stand he took.
Cam Ward didn’t even take a final lap around the ice. When the game ended – yet another home finale with no prospect of the playoffs – Ward went straight down the tunnel to the dressing room, having been pulled late for an extra attacker.
The improbable end of Monday night’s unforgettable national-title game is easy to place in history. It was the first buzzer-beater to win a national title since Lorenzo Charles dunked Dereck Whittenburg’s miss in 1983, the Triangle falling on the wrong side of this one.