Archive for the ‘Georgia State/CAA’ Category

Heat Check: Keeping up with the Joneses (Julio and Jarvis)

Julio Jones celebrates with his quarterback, who apparently has mad hops. (AP photo)

The burgeoning Julio Jones celebrates with quarterback Matt Ryan, who apparently has mad hops. (AP photo)

Atlanta, city of winners! And our weekly Heat Check reflects as much.

FALCONS: Went to Missouri, faced an energized home team, still scored 40 points and won by 16. Heat Index: A mighty impressive opening victory.

GEORGIA: Stop me if you’ve heard this before, but … went to Missouri, faced an energized home team, scored 41 points and won by 21. Heat Index: A mighty impressive road-opening victory.

JULIO JONES: Best receiver on the Falcons roster? Yes. Best receiver in Falcons history? Maybe. Best receiver in the NFL? Maybe soon. Heat Index: That draft-day trade looks better and better, does it not?

JARVIS JONES: Best defender in the SEC? Yes. Best in the country? Probably. Best in Georgia history? With apologies to Bill Stanfill, Jake Scott, Ben Zambiasi, Terry Hoage, Champ Bailey and David Pollack … yes, maybe. Heat Index: Tell me his fourth quarter in Columbia didn’t …

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As coach and conscience, Bill Curry will be greatly missed

Bill Curry at the podium Wednesday. (AJC photo by Jason Getz)

Bill Curry at the podium Wednesday. (AJC photo by Jason Getz)

Bill Curry asked that Cheryl Levick, Georgia State’s athletic director, not refer to him Wednesday as a legend. Having played under Bobby Dodd, Vince Lombardi and Don Shula, Curry is sensitive about the word and its usage. And there is, ahem, the issue of whether it actually applies.

Bill Curry’s career record is 92-118-4. He has had seven winning seasons in the 19 he has worked at Georgia Tech, Alabama, Kentucky and now Georgia State. He announced Wednesday that the season ahead will be his last as a coach. It will not, he hopes, be his last as a person of influence, and that’s the good news. If there’s such a thing as a legendary voice of reason, Bill Curry is it.

This correspondent met Curry 28 years ago, just after he gave a speech to a Yellow Jacket booster club proclaiming that his Tech team “will drive the cheaters to their knees.” Fans of rival schools were outraged. The AJC columnist Lewis Grizzard, an …

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Hoops insider: On Georgia State’s chances and UGA’s big win

The sight of Georgia outfighting his Gators galled Billy Donovan greatly. (AP photo)

The sight of Georgia outfighting his Gators galled Billy Donovan greatly. (AP photo)

Hoops Hysterics

1. Does Georgia State have a chance to win the Colonial Athletic Association tournament? A chance, yes. The Panthers should handle Hofstra, seeded 11th, in the opener on Friday. Then would come No. 3 George Mason, as coached by Paul Hewitt, on Saturday. Then, assuming the seeds hold, would come No. 2 VCU on Sunday, and VCU is based in Richmond, which is the site of the event. And then No. 1 seed Drexel could await in Monday’s title tilt. I’d say that potential 3-2-1 parlay is a bit much to ask. I’d say it’s more likely Georgia State will lose in the semifinals. But I’ve been known to be wrong.

2. Georgia beat Florida on Saturday. A major shock? Yes and no. Georgia hasn’t been very good this season, but Florida is good in the way — it doesn’t defend much — that leaves it vulnerable to such upsets. You’ll recall that Tennessee, which doesn’t do anything but defend, swept the …

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For all their success, mid-majors still face an uphill NCAA climb

If you're from the Colonial, you'd better win the Colonial tournament. (AJC photo by Curtis Compton)

If you're based in the CAA, you'd better win the CAA tournament. (AJC photo by Curtis Compton)

Many of the conference tournaments that matter will have ended before the ACC tips off its annual convocation next week at Philips Arena, and here’s how we distinguish between league tournaments that do and don’t matter: Almost nobody cries real tears after losing a final in one of the big leagues. That’s because teams in the BCS Six already know their in-or-out NCAA fate.

Yes, there are exceptions, Georgia winning the 2008 SEC tournament and heading to the Big Dance being the most glaring. But conference tournaments in the big leagues are, as a rule, window dressing. For proof, we turn again to Georgia. It was believed that the Bulldogs’ Round 2 game against Alabama at the Dome last March was an in-or-out game. Nope. Georgia lost and made the NCAA field as a No. 9 seed. Alabama won and went to the NIT.

Turning to this year: Festivities in the Colonial Athletic Association — that’s …

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Hoops insider: Can Fox and Georgia fashion a fast finish?

For the record, Georgia is unbeaten since Mark Fox got ejected at Tennessee. (AP photo)

For the record, Georgia is unbeaten since Mark Fox got ejected at Tennessee. (AP photo)

Hoops Hysterics

1. Does Georgia have a chance to finish strong? Winning at Mississippi State on Saturday gave the Bulldogs their first victory of substance since they beat Notre Dame in November, and this week offers an opportunity to consolidate gains. They face South Carolina, which is awful, on the road, and then get Vanderbilt at Stegeman Coliseum on Sunday. Win both and it’s possible Mark Fox’s team could finish 7-9 or even 8-8 in SEC play.

2. Which is the nation’s most disappointing team? Aforementioned Vandy has shooters on the perimeter and size underneath and experience everywhere — its contributors are either seniors or juniors, which rarely happens in contemporary college hoops — and still it has lost eight games, five of them at Memorial Gym. Ranked seventh in the preseason ESPN/USA Today coaches’ poll, Vandy didn’t receive a single vote this week.

3. Which is the nation’s …

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Hoops insider: Does UGA have a shot versus No. 1 Wildcats?

Will it be a stress-free night for Coach Cal at the Stegasaurus? (AP photo)

A stressful night for Coach Cal at the Stegasaurus? (AP photo)

(Yet again, let me note that this feature is part — but only a small part — of our weekly college basketball package, which runs every Tuesday in the print AJC. I offer my contribution for your digital perusal.)

Hoops Hysterics

1. Does Georgia have a prayer against No. 1 Kentucky on Tuesday? Sure. As good as the Wildcats can be, they trailed in the second halves of both SEC road games, and neither of those — at Auburn, at Tennessee — was against top-shelf competition. At 1-4 in league play, the Bulldogs aren’t top-shelf, either. But they’re at home, which means something.

2. If you had to pick one team against the field to win the national championship, would it be Kentucky? North Carolina? Missouri? Syracuse? None of the above. I’d pick the same team I picked — incorrectly — last March. I’d pick Ohio State because I think Jared Sullinger, whose numbers are almost the same as a sophomore as they were as a …

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College hoops insider: Georgia State as an at-large team? Nah

If Georgia State doesn't win the CAA tournament, it won't be celebrating on Selection Sunday. (AJC photo by Hyosub Shin)

No CAA tournament title would mean no Selection Sunday glee. (AJC photo by Hyosub Shin)

(Again, let me note that these, er, nuggets are part of our weekly college basketball package, which runs every Tuesday in the print AJC. I offer them for your digital delight.)

Hoops Hysterics

1. What’s the best conference in the land? It’s not the ACC (too top-heavy) or the SEC (too Kentucky-heavy), and it’s not the Pac-12 (nary a team in the Top 25). That leaves the Big Ten (five teams in the Top 25), the Big East (also five in the Top 25) and the Big 12 (three in the top seven). For quality at the top, we’ll say the Big 12. For overall depth, we’ll say the Big Ten.

2. Who’s the best freshman in the land? Take your pick between Kentucky Wildcats. Center Anthony Davis — he of the unibrow so famous it’s already a feature on Bluegrass T-shirts — could be the first player drafted this summer, but forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist has been the Big Blue’s MVP to date, scoring 24 points against …

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For Georgia State hoops, it was a happy and shoeless night

Corner of Decatur & Collins Street, 11:31 a.m., Thursday morning. (Photo by M. Bradley)

The corner of Decatur and Collins, 11:31 a.m. Thursday. (Photo by M. Bradley)

It was a big night for Georgia State basketball, a program that hasn’t known many big nights. The coach went shoeless. His team wore orange. There was a grass-roots attempt to pack the GSU Sports Arena, which even the showman Lefty Driesell couldn’t do on a regular basis, and the result, if not quite a full house, was the fullest GSU had known since December 2008, when Florida State was the guest.

And halfway through, athletic director Cheryl Levick was ready to pull the plug — at least on the orange shirts. “There were so many distractions,” she said. “I wanted to say, ‘Get rid of those orange jerseys and get back in your white.’ ”

At halftime, see, Georgia State was tied with North Carolina Wilmington. With 10:14 left, the game was still even. Three minutes later, it wasn’t. The Panthers had surged ahead by 10 points and would win by 14, their 12th victory in the past 13 games. All this because of …

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College basketball insider: Georgia State, conference champ?

Georgia State's Ron Hunter: Setting his cap for a title? (AJC photo by Phil Skinner.)

Georgia State's Ron Hunter: Setting his cap for a title? (AJC photo by Phil Skinner.)

(A word of explanation: This feature was part of our first weekly college basketball package, which is scheduled to run every Tuesday in the print AJC. I offer it to you in the interest of full digital disclosure.)

Hoops hysterics

1. Who’s the third-best team (behind North Carolina and Duke) in the ACC? Right now it’s Virginia, but there’s some question as to how the deliberative Cavaliers have gotten to 14-1. Their only win over a ranked team came against Michigan, and their loss was to unranked TCU. Their next two games are on the road — at Duke and then at Georgia Tech. We’ll know more soon.

2. Who’s the second-best team (behind Kentucky) in the SEC? Florida lost its conference opener at Tennessee. Mississippi State lost its conference opener at Arkansas. The team to watch is Vanderbilt, which lost four times in pre-conference play (twice in overtime) but has won five in a row and …

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It’s a miracle! Mr. Wrong actually got some things right in 2011

Yay, me! (AJC photo by Mr. Ben Gray; whiteboard stylings by Ms. Mandi Albright.)

Yay, me! (AJC photo by Ben Gray; whiteboard stylings by Ms. Mandi Albright.)

This year ends in a way few years have ended for this famously erring prognosticator. It ends with me getting to say, “Know what? I actually got some stuff right.”

For once, the annual Accountability Scoreboard isn’t a tale of woe. I picked Georgia to go 10-2 and win the SEC East, which it did. I picked Georgia Tech to finish its regular season 8-4, which it did. I picked LSU to win the SEC, which it did, and finish as the BCS titlist, which it well might. I picked Auburn, which won the last BCS title, to lose five games, and sure enough …

I picked the Hawks to beat the Magic in Round 1, which indeed occurred. Heck, I even picked VCU to crash the Final Four. (OK, now I’m embellishing.)

About the only thing I got close to right in 2010 was picking the Falcons to go 12-4 and win the NFC South. (They actually went 13-3.) This time I was right, sort of, in the grand scheme — I picked the 2011 team to grab …

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