Super Sports Sunday

Last Sunday will be hard to beat as far as sports fans are concerned. In addition to having three top flight basketball games, there was the Daytona 500 for those who like to have two events going at the same time. There must be something I am missing here because I don't understand how or why the networks scheduled two top flight sporting events at the same time when it wouldn't have been difficult to avoid. Maybe the answer is that neither knew what the other was doing but it seems to me that it would be better for everyone concerned if the Duke-Maryland game and Daytona would have been scheduled for different times. It was somewhat predictable that the Duke-Maryland game would be a big game even before the season started since the game has supplanted, at least temporarily, the UNC-Duke game as college basketball's best rivalry. The game could have started later in the day and sports fans could have seen both in their entirety. Far be it for me to tell the networks how to run their business, but sometimes their decisions appear to defy common sense.

Here are a few observations on Sunday's games.

Duke-Maryland

This game was more than just a game to me since it was probably the last big game to be played in Cole Field House. Virginia is still left on the home schedule but the Wahoos appear to be folding and their game at Cole will certainly not receive the attention the Duke game did. I have not witnessed a lot of games in Cole but the ones I did attend were significant.

The first one was in 1966 when I was lucky enough to get tickets for the Final Four and saw Texas Western defeat Kentucky. No one could believe what they were seeing. I hung around after the game trying to absorb every minute of the experience I could because I sensed it would be the only Final Four I would ever attend and to date I have been right.

The second game I saw was the UNC-Kentucky in 1977. I had not gone to the Notre Dame game which was played on Thursday night but after Carolina won, I received a telephone call from some friends who had gone up for the game asking me to come up. I asked about tickets and they assured me that tickets were available so Mrs. RamFanatic and I drove up on Saturday morning. I remember meeting Rich Yonaker's father on the floor after the game as we all rushed out to wish the Tar Heels well. He certainly was a big one and I learned later that he had played football for Notre Dame. Remember Rich. He would always run to the foul line to shoot his free throws. John Rocker reminded me of Rich in one aspect of his game only.

Why does Billy Packer refer to Duke as "Duke University" rather than just plain "Duke?" It is not my imagination because I kept score until my point was proved. The only time he says "Duke" is when he is pressed for time and is trying to make a point quickly. If he has time, it's "Duke University." It doesn't bother me all that much, I just don't understand it. He doesn't refer to his alma mater as "Wake Forest University". It's almost as if Duke can't be referred to as other schools are. I laughed at first when some suggested that Duke receives different treatment from the press but when things like this happen, you have to wonder. Have you ever wondered if there are state schools that are never referred to as the "University of -----------?" They are always referred to as "----------University." I had this lesson proved to me the hard way by, without thinking, referring to West Virginia University as the University of West Virginia. I was reminded of my error by an alum who didn't bother to explain the reason for the difference. I later learned that the same thing applies to Indiana University. Maybe it's like why are some states referred to as Commonwealths rather than states such as Pennsylvania, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts and yes, even Virginia. I have never found out the difference between a Commonwealth and a State or anyone who could explain the difference.

I knew it was going to happen someday, I just prayed that Carolina wouldn't be the victim when it did. I'm talking about the steal right before halftime when Jason Williams was 'consulting' with Coach K while the ball was still in play. Steve Blake made the steal and was successful in scoring. What better way to go into halftime for the Terrapins. The rap on the ACC in the rest of the nation is that it is a coaches' conference and this incident makes the point. I think there is such a thing as overcoaching and it seems to me that the strategy for this type of situation should be developed in advance. As a coaching friend of mine is prone to say. "It makes you wonder what they do in practice." I agree. Matt Doherty should take note because it has occurred to me that we are prime candidates for this type of situation to happen to us. I can't speak for the players but for me, it would be a distraction to have to look to the sidelines for instructions while the ball is in play. Several ex-players I have talked with agree with me but what are you going to do if that's what the coach wants to do.

I don't mean to slight the UNC-FSU and Wake Forest Forest-Virginia games but I'm reaching the word limit my machine can handle. Maybe next time I will throw in a few observations on these games.

So, not only were there 3 fine basketball games this past Sunday, the results met with my approval also. Now if Earnhardt Jr. had just won at Daytona. On second thought, I don't know if I could have stood to see him don that damn red UNC cap. Maybe so if he would have put it on backwards, as he usually does, so you couldn't see the interlocking NC.