Saturday, March 14, 2009

ACC Men's Tourney

It is another basketball weekend. This time it is cold and rainy outside and the games are on local TV. Also all the games are being covered by the Tar Heel Sports Network (Woody and Eric) on local radio. But what I found interesting is that the same four schools made the semifinals though in slightly different match ups.

Recall the Women's tournament:
1. MD
2. FSU
3. Duke
4. UNC
Where UNC lost to MD and Duke won over FSU in the semifinals.

Now look at the Men's tournament:
1. UNC
7. MD (beat #2 Wake Forest the day before)
3. Duke
4. FSU
Where UNC lost and Duke won.

Does that say something about the overall programs of those school? I don't know but it is an interesting thought. I do know that, like the Women's program, the ACC is one of - if not the best conference. The quarter final games on Friday were decided by 3 points, 2 points, 9 points, and 1 point. The semifinals today were differences of 3 points and 6 points.

Tomorrow is Duke vs FSU - Duke has been in the championship game 27 other times and has 16 titles in 55 years. This is Florida State's first time in the finals since they joined the league in 1992.


Friday, March 13, 2009

Not a hardware person

I am not a hardware person. Given a working system that supports the operating system, I can get things installed and configured. Even the many cases where the software is not really supported but it can work are fine. Oh sure, I can deal with hardware but it is definitely not my favorite activity.

I built a machine from scratch one time. I had a number of colleagues and friends who loved the activity. A bunch of us went to one or more computer shows at the fairgrounds and picked out parts. Then a friend came over to my apartment and we put the box together. I remember at the end signing the date and our names on the inside of the case as a sign of accomplishment. The friend was bouncing with excitement, I was just exhausted. At least that was over and now I could do the fun stuff of installing an operating system which at that time was probably OS/2. The friend wandered off bored and I started having fun. But then, I also had fun helping customers get a DOS box to connect to TCP/IP, IPX, and Netbios networks all at the same time with a bunch of tweaking to memory management and protocol.ini configurations. Now that was fun.

Why do I mention this? Well, a couple of weeks ago I finally moved my home desktop from Fedora 7 to Fedora 10. This involved a complete reinstall since when I ordered the machine with the "defaulting partitioning" I assumed it was Fedora 7 default partitioning including LVM. It turned out to be the company's default partitioning which did not include LVM and because of a few other issues, I did not reinstall it until after I was sure I would not need to return the whole thing and by then I would have to backup some stuff so I might as well wait for the next release which was due soon and the comedy goes on and on.

Then this week I discovered that I don't have enough memory to boot the F11 alpha in KVM. So I am spending some time looking at the book and the machine and the BIOS to figure out my options. The first book I find says the motherboard has 3 slots for 184 pin DDR DIMMs and a max on 3G RAM. The system (dmidecode) tells me I have 2x1G in there now and 4 slots, a maximum of 4G, and a bunch of supported speeds but unless I am missing something, it does not tell me anything helpful for ordering additional memory. Taking the case off reveals 4 slots and a pair of 1G DIMMs labeled PC2-5300 and with a part number that turns out to be 240pin non-ECC memory. I dig a bit deeper into the pile of hardware and manuals and find another book. This book now matches with the 4 slots and says I can have up to 8G which sounds much more like what I would have ordered.

Turns out I still had the book from a previous machine that used the same brand motherboard and I wasn't paying attention to the model numbers. No wonder I was confused. Sigh. Maybe I should go back to watching basketball now.


Sunday, March 8, 2009

For the record...

Maryland Wins 2009 Women's ACC Tournament
Terrapins beat Blue Devils in Overtime 92-89.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

So much for 5 in a row

No. 11 Carolina Falls To No. 4 Maryland, 95-84
It was back and forth. The final score isn't a good reflection since it was 83-81 with 2:38 left on the clock and 8 of Maryland's last 10 points came at the foul line.
There were some very good moments for the Tar Heels, just not enough. It was pretty even on assists, turnovers, blocks, and steals. Field goal percentage was close and UNC was better from 3 point range. MD got to the foul line a lot more, making more than UNC attempted, and ended up winning the boards but only by 7. In the press conference, Coach Hatchell mentioned that UNC got more points in the paint but couldn't get to the foal line and is not sure any team can keep MD off the foul line.

In the second game of the day,
Blue Devils Advance After Beating Seminoles 75-57. I stayed until partway through the second half. Duke led by about 20 at the half. FSU surged a bit at the start of the second half and got within single digits before Duke pulled away again for good.

This ends a UNC winning streak of 13 consecutive ACC Tournement wins. The last time UNC was not in the championship game was 2001. UNC has been in 13 of the last 15. One other realted note - The last time no teams from the state of NC - or even more specifically, the last time that neither UNC or Duke - was in the final was 1993 (VA over MD in triple overtime).

On the other hand, Coach is still very optimistic about the NCAA tournement. It is hard to win in conference where the other teams know your style. This year particularly, where the conference is so balanced, so talented, and all in such a fun style. She said this was a fun game - except for the last 3 mintues. I also noticed that in the 10 games so far, every team - win or lose - scored over 50 points in the game. That is well over 100 points scored in 40 minutes of play in every game. That is fast basketball, that is fun basketball. The Maryland vs Duke game tomorrow should be fun too.

Meanwhile in the SEC, the Lady Vols fall in the semifinals to top seeded Auburn who will take on the winner Vanderbilt vs LSU game.


Corrected Mar 8, 2009 - VA beat MD in 1993. MD last won an ACC championship in 1989.

Friday, March 6, 2009

The ACC - day 2

So far the predictions are holding true.

Tar Heels Rout Clemson, 74-55 after only a 2 point lead at the half. The most impressive items appeared not in the recap, but in the game notes. "The crowd in today's game is the largest in ACC Tournament history with 13,599 fans." and "The Tar Heel rebound effort is fifth-best all-time in the history of the ACC Tournament." UNC got 59 rebounds - more rebounds than Clemson had in points.

Offensive wins fans, defence wins games, rebounds win championships.
I am sure someone deserves credit for that quote since I have heard it a number of time.
If I had to guess, it was probably first said by Pat Summitt but I think I have heard it from other coaches too including Sylvia Hatchell.

In the afternoon game,
Terrapins Survive the Deacons 72-70. Wake lead through much of the second half but Maryland went on an 11-0 run to regain the lead.


Thursday, March 5, 2009

ACC Tournement Round 1 evening sessions

The evening of Round 1 goes much more as expected.

Boston College knocks off Miami 76-59 and will meet Florida State tomorrow.
Virginia downs Hokies 66-57 and faces Duke tomorrow evening.

Meanwhile a bit to the west...
Second Half Surge Sends Lady Vols to SEC Quarterfinals. This is one of the rare time they have had to play in the opening round of the SEC Tournament.


The ACC "Upset central" Tourney

Maybe I should not have made any predictions. So far I am 0 for 2. Though I will stick to my predictions for tomorrow's winners.

Everyone said it was a good conference, balanced in talent, and the tourney is very much up for grabs. After all, 5 teams are nationally ranked in the top 20, all teams lost at least 2 conference games, 8 teams have overall winning records, UNC is the 4th seed with 4 conference losses, all on the road and by a TOTAL of 19 points (4, 6, 7, and 2).

First up this morning: 12th-seeded Tigers upset 5th-seeded Jackets in Game One in "the biggest on-paper upset in the ACC Tournament's 32-year history". GT beat Clemson twice during the regular season. This morning it was tied at the half. Clemson came out with the will to win and some fundamentals. Clemson out rebounded GT 50-38 and shot 94.7% from the free throw line (18-19). Now Clemson faces UNC tomorrow morning.

In less of an upset, the afternoon game saw NC State's saddest season come to an end. Wake Forest wins, adding to observations that is very hard for any conference match up to result in a 3 game sweep. Although my Tar Heels did over Duke last year :) NC State won the two regular season match ups with Wake Forest but could not make it happen a third time.

There are 2 more games tonight.


Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Keyboards do not like milk.

When I was a kid, my mother never let me take food or drink out of the kitchen (unless it was for a picnic outside).

Most data centers do not allow food or drink at all.

There is a reason.

Luckily this geek has plenty of spare parts around the house.
And good thing it wasn't the laptop.


PS: old IBM PS2 keyboards are heavy and click very loudly.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Tourney Time

The pairings have been announced.

Here are my predictions for the ACC Women's Basketball Tournament:

#5 Georgia Tech beats #12 Clemson. GT is a very athletic team that plays good fast basketball. They have had some time as a ranked team and deserve more recognition than they get.

#8 NC State beats #9 Wake Forest. State already has 2 wins over Wake this year. I think they can do it again.

#7 Boston College beats #10 Miami even though Miami has been playing really well late this season. BC's new coach played at UNC and knows ACC basketball.

#6 Virginia beats #11 Virginia Tech. Virginia already has 2 wins over VT but this rivalry game is always a toss up. I'll take a close game with the win to the nationally ranked Virginia.


#4 UNC most likely plays Georgia Tech. GT won at GT and UNC won at UNC during the regular season. I think UNC can win on the neutral court of the tourney. Clemson's only chance against UNC is if UNC players try to coast through it and not play Carolina ball.

#1 Maryland plays NC State or Wake Forest. MD will likely beat either.

#2 Florida State plays Boston College or Miami. FSU ended up with a piece of the regular season title but they had a puff schedule with all the top ranked teams on their home court. Lets see what happens in neutral territory. Both BC and Miami have a chance here but BC is more likely to pull off this potential upset. As much as I would like to see BC win, I expect FSU to push on through to the next round.

#3 Duke plays either Virginia or Virginia Tech. I think Duke can hang on, even if it faces the very good Virginia team which will likely want revenge on their loss during the regular season.

Which brings up to the semi finals on Sat where I still have top 4 seeds playing.

#4 UNC vs #1 MD
#3 Duke vs #2 FSU

And Sunday's Final game where I predict UNC beats Duke in another great game.

We shall see. The ACC is a great conference with 5 nationally ranked teams and a couple more that should be ranked and will likely go the NCAA tournament. This year is even tighter than years past. This is good for the game, good for the conference, good for the teams, and good for the fans.

Go Heels!

This doesn't look like March in North Carolina...

And in the morning light:

I think this is the most snow this year. Definitely more than November. Also more than I got in the January snow that covered Raleigh. At least it is snow. Much of this area got a lot more ice than snow and a lot of people are without power.


Sunday, March 1, 2009

Slip sliding away

A friend has done a ground hog day thing about the weather this winter. There has been a lot of snow in the north-east. I am having a similar feeling. Back in November I posted a picture of my car covered in snow for the second time before Thanksgiving which is very unusual for North Carolina.

December, January, and February sure seemed cold and windy and wet. In reality I do not think they were all that unusual weather wise. It just seemed that every time I wanted to be outside it was cold. Signs of spring began appearing this week. There are daffodils all over town and there is something up in my back yard. Trees are beginning to show leaves and the critters have started to shed. I was going to take some photos and post when suddenly....

It is March and it is snowing - and accumulating. This is very unusual for North Carolina. I count 10 times ever in all of central NC according to the NOAA site. It was 58 Saturday morning and gradually got colder as the day went on. It was 38 and rainy on Sunday. I drove home from the basketball game in sleet. They can't put the salt brine down until the rain stops or it just gets washed away. Luckily most people were not on the roads and overall they were not that bad but I did slide a tiny bit on one turn.

By the time I got home the mulch in the front yard was turning white. By 10pm the car is white too and it is just beginning. The prediction at that point was for 1-3 inches in Raleigh, less than an inch further south and east, and 3-6 inches north and west towards my place. While many counties had called of or delayed school by early evening, my county waited until 11:30pm.


Another Senior Night

The Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) regular season ends with Duke vs UNC - in both the men and women. It is senior night for one team or the other (alternating) each year. It is always a big game known nationally as the battle of tobacco road and compared to Yankees vs Red Sox rivalries. It is often a battle of top teams.

The women played today at Duke and once again senior night was special even though it didn't turn out exactly as I hoped. The rankings nationally had UNC at 9 and Duke at 10. They were tied for third in the ACC. UNC won the match up earlier this season in Chapel Hill. UNC played better overall this time around. Duke played incredibly well. The end result was Duke winning 81-79 in overtime.

During the post game press conference:
"We will use this game as motivation," Hatchell said. "Everything happens for a reason, and this may be a blessing in disguise. I hope so."

Maybe she said or intended to say "had better" instead of "will"? I predict some rebounding practice between now and Friday.

Besides motivation, there are a few other positives out of tonight's game:
1. A point from Coach that this was a televised game and probably the best one all season. It was a great game for women's basketball. The radio commentator for the Tar Heel Sports Network reiterated that point as well but her take was that "If you didn't care so much about the outcome" it was a great game.

2. Playing at 11am on Friday means a few hours more rest before Saturdays game (assuming we can win). They might even get to stay and watch the next game for a bit. The coaches will definitely get to scout the next opponent after a win instead of with their minds on an upcoming game.

3. The end goal is a NCAA Championship. A good seeding for the tourney can help. UNC has lost 5 games this year. All 4 conference losses were on the road. They have a chance to fix those mistakes and show that they are better now as they go through the conference tournament. Some say that a win over MD would help our standings considerably. Well, we are now in that side of the bracket.

Rebound ladies. From here on out is one and done.