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Annabeth Barnes
AB Racing

Annabeth Barnes knows exactly what she wants. She wants to make it to the top level of NASCAR. She'd like to be the first woman to win the Daytona 500. Her family is fully behind her and is willing to sell their home to make it happen.

15 Mar 1997: Coach Dean Smith of the North Carolina Tarheels gives instructions to his players during a playoff game against the Colorado Buffaloes at the Lawrence Joel Coliseum in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. The Tarheels won the game 73 - 56 giving
Bo Gordy-Stith (PBoBS) / Flickr/Creative Commons

Former UNC-Chapel Hill men's basketball coach Dean Smith's 83rd birthday was last week, and several major news organizations have marked his life and legacy with extraordinary articles. Smith has dementia now, and that makes both of the articles we'll highlight here so moving.

The Tar Heel bench
J.D. Lyon, Jr.

In case you've been living under a rock, there's an exciting basketball game happening this weekend. Duke and UNC will play again. The last game, on February 20 was really a nail-biter.

basketball
mvongrue via Flickr/Creative Commons

Daniel Vermeer grew up in Iowa with a passion for basketball. When his academic studies took him to Nepal, he discovered an interesting influence of American cable television: local love for the Atlanta Hawks.

"So you can imagine," says Vermeer, "[I'm] in this little hut in Kathmandu, watching TV and an Atlanta Hawks game came on.  With these enormous guys, jumping through the roof, slamming the ball..." 

Atlantic Coast Conference

It's tournament time for Atlantic Coast Conference women's basketball. 

Wake Forest starts things off tonight in Greensboro against Pittsburgh.  Meanwhile, North Carolina, Duke and NC State have either one or two rounds off, thanks to good conference records. 

The Wolfpack is ranked number 14 in the country, and has an automatic bid to the tournament quarterfinals.  That's despite a flurry of injuries in the middle of the conference schedule. 

Head Coach Wes Moore said he wants to take advantage of the time off.

Duke Blue Planet

There's a group of students at Duke  called The Crazies. They are the kids who get all decked out and painted up and sit in the most coveted spot during basketball games at Cameron Indoor Stadium. The Crazies are the uber fans. They camp out for 6-8 weeks in order to be in the front row when Duke plays UNC at home.

Charleston Forge table featured on Sochi Olympic set
Charleston Forge

Do the Olympics seem far away? N0t many North Carolinians are competing. (Before the games, we told you about speed skater Heather Richardson, but her games were a bust.) And with no hometown heroes to cheer on, well, humph.

But then, with the swell of the Olympic theme...seemingly from nowhere....we find these three local connections to the world-wide games.

1. Handmade in Boone, NC-Made Table Dresses Up Set

Duke Photography

Last week's winter storm canceled the men's basketball game between fierce rivals North Carolina and Duke. 

Meetings between coaches, athletic directors and the Atlantic Coast Conference resulted in the contest being rescheduled for this Thursday night in Chapel Hill.  That means both teams will be playing four games in eight days. 

The Tar Heels beat Pittsburgh over the weekend while the Blue Devils got past Maryland.  Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski told Sirius-XM it's a challenging week.

Duke men's basketball head coach Mike Krzyzewski
D. Myles Cullen / defense.gov

The UNC/Duke men's basketball game has been postponed, and rescheduled for February 20th.

Originally, Steve Kirschner, the communications director for UNC Athletics said everyone who needed to be at the game, would be:

"The ACC policy is if the team and officials can safely arrive at the site, then we should try and play the game. And the ACC has three officials that are local that will be able to get here. Duke has said that it will be able to get here. Our kids are on campus and will be able to go as well."

Empty speed skating rink at the Sochi Olympics
Heather Richardson / Twitter

Heather Richardson was born to skate. She found success on rollerblades first, and then moved onto the ice. Before the Sochi Olympic games, she was favored to win three medals in speed skating. But she's come up empty.

Sports Illustrated writes:

The report aims at bringing a better balance between academics and sports at UNC at Chapel Hill.
Tnbailey09 voa Creative Commons

Over the past week, a new iteration of the UNC-Chapel Hill sports/academic scandal has been making headlines.

UNC Athletics Logo
UNC-Chapel Hill

The UNC football team meets Cincinnati Saturday at the Belk Bowl in Charlotte.  For a while this fall it looked like the Tar Heels would be home for the holidays. Carolina started the season with one win and five losses. The 5th defeat came by just four points at home to 10th ranked Miami.

Carolina Panthers

The Carolina Panthers have secured a spot in this year's NFL playoffs.  But, they now know they have a chance at being the top seed in their conference.   League officials have determined that a Panthers' victory over Atlanta this Sunday along with a San Francisco victory and a Seattle loss would give Carolina home field as long as they remain alive in the postseason.  Head Coach Ron Rivera said his message to the team will be to not worry about anyone other than the Falcons.  

ECUPirates.com

Vinatavious Cooper rushed for a career-best 198 yards, setting a Beef `O' Brady's Bowl record and leading East Carolina to a 37-20 victory over Ohio on Monday. The Pirates (10-3) grabbed the lead for good on the first of Cooper's two touchdowns runs in the fourth quarter, a 31-yard burst with just under 10 minutes remaining.

ECUPirates.com

In college football, East Carolina meets Ohio in the Beef ‘O’ Brady’s bowl this afternoon.  The Pirates of ECU face off with the Ohio Bobcats. East Carolina had one of the nation’s best passing offenses this season and won nine games.

"We have an acronym called OPAAT – one play at a time – OPAAT. And we get better at one thing a day and yesterday it was routine plays. And to be successful in our bowl game we will have to make routine plays," said head coach Ruffin McNeill

Jessica Jones
Jessica Jones

Every college football season, there’s usually one team that turns out to be a surprise. This year, it’s Duke.

The Blue Devils have won ten games-- the most in school history. It’s a big turnaround for a team long overshadowed by basketball and a laughingstock of the Atlantic Coast Conference. But now, Duke is headed to the ACC championship game.

The team earned its invitation to the ACC over the weekend, after it beat UNC.  At a sports bar near campus, lifelong Duke fans Larry Goss and Bobbi Harris hugged each other with tears in their eyes.

Kenan Stadium
goheels.com

Number 24 Duke and North Carolina are getting ready for their annual football rivalry matchup. 

The Tar Heels host the Blue Devils on Saturday in the final game of the regular season.  There's a lot at stake for Duke, which needs the win to advance to the ACC championship game against Florida State.  It would be the school's first trip to the title game. 

Duke head coach David Cutcliffe says it's fitting that the deciding game is against UNC.

"It's enough that it's just Duke and North Carolina," Cutcliffe says.

Dean Smith Center, UNC Chapel Hill
Dave DeWitt

The University of North Carolina basketball program is considering renovating or possibly replacing the Dean Smith Center.

The school's Athletic Director, Bubba Cunningham, would like to add premium seating to the arena.  Similar changes were recently made to the football stadium in Chapel Hill to become what is now called the "Blue Zone." Cunningham said the seats may largely pay for themselves.

Nicholas Dawidoff's new book Low Collision Crossers is a look inside a year in the life of the New York Jets.
Little, Brown

  

To outsiders, football may look like bone-crushing mayhem.  The headlines coming out of the NFL center around concussions and bullying.

Alumni Game Dean Smith Roy Williams Michael Jordan
totomaru / Flickr

At a ceremony at the White House Wednesday, President Obama awarded former UNC basketball coach Dean Smith the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

The president bestowed the nation's highest civilian honor on a class of recipients including civil rights activist Bayard Rustin and women's rights advocate Gloria Steinem.  Smith was lauded not just for his many athletic achievements, but also for his impact on the community he calls home.

NFL Plays near the goal line
beefy_n1 / Flickr

The NFL Players Association announced a partnership with the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on Thursday to provide medical services and support to former football players. 

The program is called "The Trust".  It's the result of a multi-million dollar collective bargaining agreement reached after the 2011 league lockout.  Bahati Van Pelt is executive director of The Trust. He said the UNC Brain and Body Health Program and its director, Kevin Guskiewicz, were natural partners for the NFLPA.

Kenan Stadium
goheels.com

Two more indictments have been unsealed in the case of alleged improper benefits for UNC Football players. A former N.C. Central quarterback is one of the latest people who stand accused of acting as an intermediary between a sports agent and then UNC football players. 

Michael Wayne Johnson is alleged to have provided thousands of dollars in cash to amateur athletes on behalf of agent Terry Watson. William James Barley was also indicted, he’s the fifth person charged in this scandal. The agent is accused of using a series of runners to lure prospective, NFL-bound clients.

Mike, via Flickr

  

Obesity is a significant problem for many in the United States. But for some high school football players, weight gain means success.

UNC's Sylvia Hatchell Diagnosed With Leukemia

Oct 14, 2013
UNC Athletics

North Carolina women's basketball coach Sylvia Hatchell has been diagnosed with leukemia.

In a release from the school Monday, Hatchell said she would temporarily step away from her coaching duties to focus on treatment. She said she would remain involved with the team and expected to "return to my sideline responsibilities as soon as possible."

Duke Photography

The Duke Blue Devils return to the gridiron Saturday after an open date last weekend.  The Naval Academy will come to Durham for a 12:30 p.m. kickoff at Wallace Wade Stadium. 

Last week it appeared this contest may have been in doubt.  The Midshipmen faced the possibility of canceling their appearance because of the ongoing government shutdown.  Duke head coach David Cutcliffe said Navy kept Duke in the loop on their travel plans.

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