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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.

Carolina Hurricanes coach Kirk Muller
Benjamin Reed / Flickr Creative Commons

Caniacs are heading back to the PNC Arena to start a new hockey season.  The Carolina Hurricanes' opening game is Friday night in Raleigh against the Detroit Red Wings. 

The 'Canes are coming off a disappointing season last year in which they led their division early, but suffered injuries and ended up losing 19 of their final 23 games.  Coach Kirk Muller says his team is ready to start over, and he expects the Red Wings to live up to their reputation as a powerhouse club.

Granny's Got Game

  

You might think basketball is a young person’s game, but one group of aging athletes aims to change that perception.

The “Fabulous 70s” are a group of women in their 70s who play basketball competitively. They’re the focus of a new documentary called “Granny’s Got Game.” Host Frank Stasio talks with filmmaker Angela Alford and the “Fabulous 70s” team captain Judy Barton.

NC State Athletics

The UNC football team faces off this weekend against in-state rival East Carolina.  North Carolina has won 12 of 15 all-time games against the Pirates from Greenville, but that won't dampen the pride that each squad will bring into the game at Chapel Hill.  Tar Heels head coach Larry Fedora says the game puts old friends and foes back on the same field.

ACC Logo
Atlantic Coast Conference

The North Carolina Court of Appeals will begin hearing arguments Thursday over a dispute between the Atlantic Coast Conference and the University of Maryland. The school has been a member of the conference since its inception 60 years ago, but announced last fall it plans to depart to the Big Ten Conference. However, prior to that decision, a majority of Presidents from ACC member schools voted to increase the exit fee for departing schools. The amount jumped from about $20 million jumped to $52 million.

gopack.com

The NC State Wolfpack will take the field tonight for their biggest game of the season to date. The Clemson Tigers are third-ranked in the national polls and an early contender for the national championship.

Greg Stott practices powerlifts in his training room in Sanford.
Jillian Clark-Ramey

Sanford resident and world champion powerlifter Greg Stott is not your normal weight-lifting competitor. He’s a 50-year-old used car dealer, father of two, and a former Army Ranger whose military career ended in prison.  He’s a piano player and self-identified evangelist. And he’s manic depressive.  In October, he’s slated to compete in the 100% Raw (meaning drug-free and without the use of belts or supports) World Championships in Las Vegas and hopes to set a Master Powerlifting Total World Record. A film production team led by his son, Nicholas Stott, is documenting the endeavor and is currently raising money on Kickstarter to turn their footage into a feature film.

UNC Suspends Hairston After Traffic Citation

Jul 29, 2013
UNC Guard P.J. Hairston
UNC Athletic Communications / goheels.com

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. - North Carolina has suspended leading scorer P.J. Hairston indefinitely after the guard was cited for reckless driving.

Humpy Wheeler oversees Charlotte Motor Speedway construction.
The Wheeler Company

Howard "Humpy" Wheeler has been involved with car racing since it was junkyard vehicles running on old dirt horse tracks. He eventually became the president and general manager of the Charlotte Motor Speedway, where he became the foremost promoter of Nascar. He was known for his publicity stunts and close affiliation with Nascar and its racers. Host Frank Stasio talks to Humpy Wheeler about his life in Nascar.

The Tar Heels are seeded number one in the NCAA baseball tournament.
Jeffrey A. Camarati, UNC

A night after sending rival NC State home, UNC finds itself in another do-or-die scenario. The Tar Heels topped the Wolfpack 7-0 on Thursday. Their reward for that victory: a date with UCLA (Friday 8pm, ESPN).

North Carolina advances in the College World Series after defeating N.C. State in a rematch.
Greg Echlin

Top-seeded North Carolina is still alive at the College World Series after shutting out North Carolina State Thursday night, 7-0.  After losing to the Wolfpack last Sunday, the Heels bounced back to beat their rival's ace pitcher.

As Tar Heel and Wolfpack supporters mixed in with the fans who entered the the stadium behind home plate, they immediately felt the 22 mile-an-hour breeze in their face.  Tar Heels coach Mike Fox also noticed it.

"Yeah, you can see the flags.  There was no doubt it was going to be a pitcher’s night," Fox said.

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