Around The Perimeter

College Basketball 2006

Nation & State Men

November 03, 2006|By PAUL McMULLEN | PAUL McMULLEN,SUN REPORTER

CAROLINA KUMBAYA, PART III

In 1993-94, North Carolina added Jeff McInnis, Jerry Stackhouse and Rasheed Wallace to four starters from an NCAA championship team, but dissension kept it from getting to the Sweet 16. In 2002-03, the Tar Heels brought in a freshman class of Raymond Felton, Sean May and Rashad McCants, but Matt Doherty couldn't get them to make nice and got fired after their sophomore season. Now North Carolina has Tyler Hansbrough (above) and most of the pieces back from one of the nation's surprise teams, plus a six-man freshman class, headed by point guard Ty Lawson, that is the recruiting fruit of their 2005 NCAA title. Coach Roy Williams had no expectations last season; this time around, he's going to earn his millions.

NO. 3 AT THE TWO SPOT

The guys at The Sporting News are big fans of Gary Neal (left). The magazine lists the Towson senior as the nation's third-best shooting guard, behind UCLA's Arron Afflalo and Tennessee's Chris Lofton. The Calvert Hall graduate is the only mid-major player ranked among the top five at any position, and has the game and upside to be taken in next year's NBA draft. This could be the first time since 1990-91 -- when Walt Williams had an injury-shortened junior season and Coppin State's Larry Stewart averaged 23.9 points and 13.4 rebounds -- that the state's top talent wasn't wearing a Maryland jersey.

KRZYZEWSKIVILLE BLUES

Dick Vitale wants to make room for his visage on Mount Rushmore, but it was not the best offseason for Mike Krzyzewski (below). Besides his top-seeded Blue Devils getting beaten in the Sweet 16, he saw several proteges who had played and coached for him lose their jobs. Missouri botched the firing of Quin Snyder, and the David Henderson era came to a quieter end at Delaware. About two weeks before he was taken 11th overall in the NBA draft by the Orlando Magic, J.J. Redick was charged with driving under the influence. He eventually pleaded guilty. And, at the semifinals of the world championships, Krzyzewski's Team USA was exposed by Greece, 101-95.

PILING UP THE VICTORIES

See Bob throw a chair.

See Bob grab a player's jersey.

See Bob become college basketball's all-time winningest coach.

Texas Tech has signed Bob Knight (below) through 2012, but he won't need that long to break Dean Smith's record of 879 wins, which were compiled in 36 seasons at North Carolina. Knight suffered through his second losing record in 40 seasons last winter, when the Red Raiders slumped from the Sweet 16 to 15-17, but it did leave him with 869 wins, 10 fewer than Smith. Look for Knight, who won three NCAA titles at Indiana but wore out his welcome with his boorish behavior, to pass Smith sometime in December.

THEY PLAIN DON'T LIKE EACH OTHER

Bodies will fly, students will curse, and that's just before tip-off. Things got ugly in Emmitsburg last December, when Loyola went to Mount St. Mary's and left with a five-point win punctuated by posturing and pushing on the court and in the stands. Seeking payback, Mount St. Mary's students already have booked several buses for the Dec. 3 renewal of the state's oldest rivalry, at Reitz Arena. They can't even agree about the series record. The Mountaineers say they lead 93-67. The Greyhounds maintain that count is 92-67.

WHO'S HE? Sometimes, kids read the tea leaves right and return to college. Morris Almond (right), a 6-6 wing with great skills, averaged 21.9 points and 5.8 rebounds last season for Rice, then entered his name in the NBA draft. Learning that his stock wasn't that high, Almond returned for his senior season, and the Wooden Award candidate will probably lead Conference USA in scoring again. Almond got Rice an ESPN2 date at Gonzaga on Nov. 14 - albeit at 11:59 p.m. Eastern.

CHANGING OF THE GUARD

In 2004, Saint Joseph's came within a basket of becoming the second team from the Atlantic 10 to get to the Final Four. Last season, the Colonial Athletic Association ranked ahead of the A-10 in the RPI, and that was before George Mason made its historic run to Indianapolis. Was that an anomaly or a harbinger on the East Coast, where the A-10 traditionally has been a solid third, behind the ACC and Big Ten? It produced as many as five NCAA teams in 1998, but only George Washington got there last season. The expansion ripples have been intriguing in the A-10 and CAA. After the CAA lost American, East Carolina and Richmond -- the latter to the A-10 -- it raided the America East for five teams, including Towson. The A-10 added Charlotte and Saint Louis last season, but outside of Philadelphia, where Saint Joe's, La Salle and Temple knock heads, rivalries can be hard to maintain in a 14-team league.

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