UNC’s confident entering Duke rematch (and then some)


Every Duke-North Carolina game receives a massive amount of hype. But sometimes it’s justified when the game promises to be fantastic.

Like Saturday.

The ACC regular-season title is at stake when the Blue Devils (27-3, 13-2) play at Chapel Hill against a Tar Heels team (23-6, 13-2) that’s growing more confident by the day.

In fact, they’re confident enough to go all Joe Namath on us.

“I’m glad it’s home; that will give us a little advantage,” Kendall Marshall Dexter Strickland told the Charlotte Observer. “I feel like the last time we played them, we just made mental errors that can be mentally corrected. I think that on Saturday, we’re going to win. I know we’re going to win on Saturday. I have a lot of confidence in myself and in my teammates. And if everybody has the same attitude I do, I know we’re going to win.”

Brash? Yes. But Strickland’s not trying to glib. He’s just calling it like he sees it. When you have that much talent on the roster, it’s an easy thing to say.

“I knew my potential, and my team’s potential,” he told the paper. “All-Americans … we just have to play to our potential. If everyone plays to our potential, who’s going to stop us?”

That confidence can’t be all bad. With two freshmen and three sophomores getting loads of playing time, they need all the confidence they can muster. Be brash. Be bold. It’s doing wonder for Harrison Barnes.

As Mike DeCourcy writes, the freshman wing isn’t shooting well, but his confidence is off the charts. He’s playing aggressively on offense, which is creating opportunities for his teammates (when he’s not hitting game-winning shots).

Their oldest rival comes to town Saturday. They’re going to need all the confidence they can get.

Avoiding a cold spell in the second half also would help.

You also can follow me on Twitter @MikeMillerNBC.

Colorado’s Tory Miller reprimanded by Pac-12 after biting opponent

Dusan Ristic, Tory Miller
AP Photo
Leave a comment

Colorado sophomore forward Tory Miller has been reprimanded by the Pac-12 and he also apologized for biting Air Force’s Hayden Graham earlier this week.

During Colorado’s win over Air Force on Wednesday, Miller was assessed a Flagrant 2 Dead Ball Technical Foul and ejected with 12:25 left in the second half after biting Graham during a loose ball.

In a release from the Pac-12, they announced reprimanding Miller, but he will not be suspended.

“All of our student-athletes must adhere to the Pac-12’s Standards of Conduct and Sportsman-ship,” Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott said in the release. “Regardless of Mr. Miller’s frustration and emotion, such behavior is unacceptable and he is being appropriately reprimanded.”

Miller also released his apology in the same release.

“I would like to apologize for my actions during the Air Force game. I would like to apologize to Hayden Graham, Air Force, my teammates and fans. It was a heat of the moment thing. I’m an emotional player, but I let my emotions get the best of me. I will use this as a learning experience and focus on helping my teammates and respecting my opponents for the rest of the season and beyond,” Miller said.

For Miller to not be suspended for this is good news for him and Colorado since he won’t miss any additional action, but did the Pac-12 make the right decision on this?


Michigan State’s Tum Tum Nairn battling foot injury

Lourawls Nairn Jr.
Leave a comment

Michigan State has climbed on the back of star senior wing Denzel Valentine early in the season but they’ll undoubtedly need more help as the season goes on if they want to sustain their current top-5 ranking. One of the keys to the Spartans could be the on-going health of sophomore point guard Lourawls ‘Tum Tum’ Nairn, who is battling a foot injury.

According to a report from Kyle Austin of MLive.com, Nairn has been putting on a protective boot the last few months to help battle plantar fasciitis as the guard has been playing in practices and hasn’t had his minutes reduced in games.

The injury looked like it was hurting Nairn’s early-season play, but he’s been very good in two games at the Wooden Legacy in California this week, so it could be that he’s getting more used to playing through the pain of the injury.

If Nairn is healthy and capable of contributing, he’s a huge boost to Michigan State because he’s one of the fastest players in college basketball and an additional ball handler on the floor. Through six games so far this season, Nairn is averaging 5.3 points and 4.7 assists per game as he’s been one of the team’s best distributors.

Plantar fasciitis can be a tough injury to fight through, so we’ll have to see if this affects Nairn as the season goes along.