OK, it's not funny ... there are all those people who now have to deal
with their insurance agents, and folks who were stranded at their jobs, and
embarrassed weather forecasters who had to apologize ...
But can you believe an inch of snow basically brought Raleigh, N.C., to its
knees this week? OK, I know it froze over, and the streets were quite
hazardous, and people who live there aren't accustomed to driving when you really shouldn't be driving. (Hint: Go really slow. No, go slower than that. I said, "Go slower!" Oh, never mind. Just
stay away from your car.)
However, even a blizzard couldn't have stopped coach Kay Yow. It was great to see her back on the sidelines for North Carolina State. In the past few months, Yow has dealt with health issues, including a recurrence of breast cancer. She decided to enter a nutritional modification program that she hopes will bolster her immune system. That caused her to miss two games, but Thursday she was running the show again for the Wolfpack, which beat Miami 73-59.
Yow is a gem in collegiate athletics, as much a true educator as a basketball coach. And she's one of those people who is liked and respected by everyone in the sport. But Yow dislikes having any attention on her, and prefers the talk be about her team. The Wolfpack is there in the middle of the ACC, along with Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina and Virginia Tech.
Standing in second place right now in the league is Florida State. Leading the way is Duke again, ranked No. 1 and doing it once more with just eight active players, as was the case in 2002 when the Blue Devils went to
the Final Four.
Because so many of the ACC teams are NCAA Tournament contenders, pretty
much every game has important implications. And this Sunday and Monday, there
are some noteworthy matchups that will be televised.
On Sunday, N.C. State at Maryland is the ACC game of the week at 1 p.m.
ET. Those are telecast on Comcast Sports Net, FSN South, Sunshine and
wherever else they might show up. You know the drill if you have the DirecTV sports package: Just flip around until you find what you're looking for.
While you're doing that sometime, you might also run into the 13-episode "reality" show called: "Maryland Women's Basketball: Under the Shell," produced by Maryland alum and former NFL place-kicker Jess Atkinson. The
show airs each Sunday at 11:30 a.m. on Comcast, and then re-airs at different times and on different stations. Go to the Terps' Website and click on the "Under the Shell" logo for a complete schedule. It's a well-done and innovative program.
On Monday, the ACC game of the week is Florida State at Virginia Tech at 7 on the regional sports networks ... and then there's a conflict as Duke meets North Carolina at 7:30 on ESPN2. This is why they invented the "previous
channel" button on your remote control, though.
After beating North Carolina on Thursday in overtime, surely Florida State
will make it into the national rankings this coming week. Of course, I
thought the Seminoles were shoe-ins last week, too, but now they really
should be. Virginia Tech has spent some time in the polls this season, and
this has the makings of a very good game.
As for Duke-Carolina ... OK, it's Duke-Carolina. But the Blue Devils have won the last 12 matchups in a row between the schools, and 15 of the last 16. Duke has virtually turned this into the ACC's version of the so-called
Tennessee-Vanderbilt "rivalry" (cough) in the SEC.
Many predicted that this season, the tables would finally turn in North
Carolina's favor against Duke, and there's no doubt the Heels have a lot of
talent. But whether they translate that into toppling Duke is once again the
In many of the Heels-Devils games, it has been as if Duke was just waiting
for an inevitable stretch of North Carolina flipping out: throwing away the
ball and rushing shots and helping the Blue Devils add to their "charges
UNC fans probably have watched a lot of these matchups with the Blue
Devils and shouted to the Heels the same advice as mentioned above for North
Carolina drivers facing that inch of snow: Slow down.
Other times, Duke has made a key play at just the right time to
permanently take momentum. And then, the Heels also have just run into some
bad bounces and bad luck (like when you're going 2 mph on ice and still
slide into something).
But even if the "forecast" might call for another Duke victory, it bears
repeating that the women's hoops Doppler radar nationwide has been sketchy
this season. It has been hard to see a lot of what might be coming.
Mechelle Voepel of the Kansas City Star is a regular contributor to ESPN.com's women's basketball coverage. E-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.