We’ll have a recap of ACC Midnight Madness up later today, but here are the other stories from this weekend.
- Greensboro News Record: A poll conducted by Public Policy Polling assessed whether North Carolinians pull for North Carolina, Duke, NC State or Wake Forest (Demon Deacon fans may wish to stop reading and move onto the next item). In what seems like a conservative number, 25% of voters went with the Tar Heels with 19% and 17% going with the Wolfpack and Blue Devils, respectively. Wake Forest only garnered a cool five percent of votes (which ranked below East Carolina for a reference point). The relative order isn’t surprising, as North Carolina is the most popular school with NC State having the largest alumni base. The poll also looked at perceptions on ACC expansion and state politics.
- Winston-Salem Journal: NC State’s Richard Howell dropped twenty pounds during the offseason, now checking in at a still-burly 250 pounds. In addition to working out more, Howell dieted — skipping two of his (and my) favorites, fried chicken and bacon — opting instead for greener dishes. Coach Mark Gottfried is looking to run an up-tempo offense this year, so Howell’s improved conditioning should pay off right away. Furthermore, Tracy Smith’s graduation should open up major minutes in the Wolfpack frontcourt this season.
- Charlotte Observer: The Observer writes that Duke is behind when it comes to diversity and head coaching. The Blue Devils are the only ACC school to have never had a black head coach in any sport. Not to take things too far out of perspective, North Carolina’s interim football coach, Everett Withers, is only that school’s second black coach. In an interview on the subject, Duke assistant coach Jeff Capel said, “It’s not something that surprised me […] I don’t read into it too much, just like at North Carolina. I wish [Withers] luck, I’m rooting for him because any time you get an opportunity, especially as a minority, a person of color, you want to make the most of it not only for yourself and your career but hopefully you can open doors for other people.” As for the future, Duke athletic director Kevin White cites a lack of coaching turnover, having only hired two new head coaches during his tenure (in the same time he’s hired 30 minorities to the athletic department as a whole).
- Orlando Sentinel: Florida State senior Bernard James motivates himself by using the faces of the VCU players after they beat the Seminoles by one in overtime to head to the Elite Eight. James said, “That was the toughest loss I’ve ever had to experience,” and Deividas Dulkys is also using the tough loss for inspiration. This year Leonard Hamilton’s team is out to prove that last year was no fluke, even without superstar defender Chris Singleton on the team.
- Winston-Salem Journal: North Carolina finally settled on a replacement for Dick Baddour, hiring Tulsa’s Lawrence “Bubba” Cunningham as athletic director over the weekend. He got the nickname “Bubba” because his younger siblings struggled to pronounce “brother.” On top of a $525,000 base salary, Cunningham will receive bonuses for success in football and both men’s and women’s basketball. His first task will be dealing with the upcoming meetings with the NCAA and finding a permanent football coach.