Go Duke! And Go UNCW — except when you’re playing Duke

My first job after Duke was in Wilmington, and I lived just a few feet away from UNCW’s campus. So I wrote something for my old paper about my split loyalties when Duke and UNCW were paired up in the NCAA Tournament.

Source: Two trips down memory lane | StarNewsOnline.com

March 15, 2016

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Olympic sports roundup: Aug. 27

What did you miss while you were making Facebook photos superimposing Ted Lange’s face on a hurricane tracking map? Read on.

Basketball: The U.S. Under-17 women didn’t have much trouble with anyone at the World Championships. The 3-on-3 tournament was a little tougher. Literally. After beating France in the final 17-16, Chiney Ogwumike had this to say:

In the end, it’s better to be physical than to play like girls.

Ouch.

– Snowboarding: Already time for 2014 qualifying! And Kelly Clark is dominating the halfpipe.

– Rugby: The U.S. men qualified for the 2013 Sevens Rugby World Cup with a few dominating wins, then lost to Canada in the qualifying final. (The U.S. women had already qualified.)

– Nordic combined and other insane endurance events: Billy Demong won a running, biking, river-crossing and mud-traversing race in Utah.

– Archery: Miranda Leek won the women’s recurve in the SoCal Showdown with an X in the shoot-off.

Wrestling: Zain Retherford won the 63kg (138.75 pound) freestyle at the Cadet World Championships.

The Team USA wrap has more on bowling, beach volleyball, equestrian, baseball, triathlon, water skiing, sprint kayaking and track cycling.

2012 medal projection update: Ball sports

See the original post for projections from 16 months ago; read on for the latest (which may not have changed much):

BASKETBALL

The only major international event played since the last World Championships were the men’s and women’s European tournaments. The top four men: Spain, France, Russia, Macedonia. Women: Russia, Turkey, France, Czech Republic.

FIBA also compiles rankings that reflect all the various zonal tournaments. Top men: USA, Spain, Argentina, Greece, Lithuania, big gap. Top women: USA (by a mile), Australia/Russia (tie), giant gap, Czech Republic, Spain.

Men: The USA and Spain are clearly the front-runners. After that, the picks are more difficult. France has Tony Parker, Boris Diaw and two other NBA-affiliated players, though Joakim Noah is out injured. Great Britain has two players who passed briefly through Duke — Luol Deng and Eric Boateng. But you can’t always judge by the number of NBA or former college players. Lithuania has a lot of Euroleague experience (as well as some players U.S. coach Mike Krzyzewski will know from ACC play), and Russia is built around several players from perennial power CSKA Moscow.

France (ranked 12th) may be underrated, especially when you consider that France qualified for the Olympics ahead of fourth-ranked Greece. Then Nigeria knocked out Greece in the last-chance Olympic tournament, qualifying along with Russia and Lithuania.

Brazil (#13) is certainly underrated. They finished second at the Americas qualifying tournament behind host Argentina (the USA did not participate), and they usually give the USA a tough game. Argentina beat Brazil in the neutral setting of the 2010 Worlds. But on paper, Brazil’s roster is stronger, and the history is solid.

So we’re not changing. USA, Spain, Brazil

Women: A U.S. loss would be a shocker. Australia has three straight silver medals, and the Opals return roughly half of their 2008 squad, including world-class star Lauren Jackson, though several WNBA players have moved on.

Russia was far from unbeatable in the European qualifying tournament last year, barely getting past Slovakia in the opener and losing a group-stage game to Lithuania. Belarus beat them in the next round, and Britain got within three points. They woke up and stomped everyone in the knockout stages, and no one else has given any reason to doubt the rankings, the original projection or the 2008 finish. USA, Australia, Russia

Read on …

Continue reading 2012 medal projection update: Ball sports

2012 ball sports: Yay, team! Except you folks with bats

Let’s see … I’ve done projections for archery, athletics, badminton … let’s call up the spreadsheet and see what’s next:

Baseball!

Oh … right.

Baseball and softball are gone from the Olympic program because, as we all know, it’s easier to turn an 18-hole golf course into an Olympic venue than it is to put a fence around a small part of an Olympic green and have baseball and softball games. Or something like that.

That still leaves us with a few team sports: Basketball, field hockey, soccer, handball, volleyball (beach and indoor) and water polo. (We’ll save synchronized swimming for later.)

Continue reading 2012 ball sports: Yay, team! Except you folks with bats