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Halifax accepts process for taking down Clarkton Bridge

Two arrested in connection with attack at Alford home

North Carolina authorities are reporting the arrests of two men in the Friday home invasion in Littleton, N.C. that left Nancy Alford dead and her husband, Brodnax pastor John Alford,…

Bluestone student fatally shot; juvenile suspect in custody


Tennis hopes to keep winning tradition





Sports today for March 9, 2009 / March 09, 2009
Here are some relevant numbers regarding the North Carolina men’s basketball team heading into the postseason. 8-2 on the road this season
Successful overall in 21 of their last 23 road dates Winners of 14 of their last 16 Atlantic Coast Conference road dates.
The Tar Heels, who were seeking an outright ACC title over archrival Duke last night, held off Virginia Tech in their final road game of the season Wednesday night. The Hokies forced three ties but never established decisive momentum in their 86-78 loss.
The Heels, who travel to Atlanta for the ACC tournament this week, are set to play at ‘neutral’ sites the rest of the postseason. Carolina is widely expected to get two early round games in a friendly venue like the Greensboro Coliseum, especially if the Heels emerge with one of the coveted no. 1 seeds on Selection Sunday.
From there, however, the Heels will be playing at true neutral sites, either in the East regional (Boston); the Midwest (Indianapolis), the South (Memphis) or the West (Phoenix).
The Heels, who kept their collective cool in a very difficult atmosphere at Hokieland, will be trying to take one final step forward towards that national championship that has eluded Tyler Hansbrough and Co. so far.
The Heels had a Final Four appearance in their grasp two seasons ago, but a memorable collapse to Georgetown in the shadow of New York City erased that opportunity. Last spring, Carolina all but disappeared in a brutal first half against Kansas, only to fall short in a second half run.
There’s no question this Tar Heel edition has the necessary talent – with an older team – to seize a second national crown for Roy Williams.
The loss of Marcus Ginyard proved significant, especially in the recurring issue of the Heels’ ability to play lockdown defense.
Carolina had so much talent that earlier in the season, there was considerable buzz about an undefeated national title run. Boston College took care of that issue.
But the Heels remain national title contenders heading into perhaps one of the most wide-open NCAA tournaments in years.
Will Hansbrough, who spurned the NBA and made an admirable choice to complete his college eligibility, celebrate by cutting down the nets in Detroit?
Or does searing disappointment await Carolina again, in another short-circuited postseason?
Carolina showed necessary toughness in Blacksburg, and the Heels have rebounded from their 0-2 start in the ACC. The win at Tech assured Carolina of at least a tie for first place in the final ACC regular season standings.
“It’s really rewarding,” said UNC coach Roy Williams after Wednesday’s gut check. “Everybody was jumping ship after we were 0-2…the call in shows, I got somebody asking if we were checking the DNA of our players, junk like that.”
Carolina got superb leadership at Tech from Danny Green, who had key contributions and also had to guard Tech’s A.D. Vassallo, who led Tech with 25 points Wednesday.
“It feels good. We know what we’re capable of doing,” said Green afterwards. Hansbrough, who finished with 22 points and 15 boards at Virginia Tech heading into his final game at the Smith Center yesterday, said the Heels had been thinking about their collapse at Maryland.
“The Maryland game was on everybody’s mind…It was big for us to come out and make sure we got (the win).”
UNC’s Ed Davis had some dazzling moments Wednesday, finishing with eight points, six blocks and three boards in 17 minutes off the bench.
“We got the win, that’s all I’m happy about,” said Davis, with typically modest fashion.
“I just feel I’m getting better every day … we go so hard in practice, nothing is relaxed, everything is just full intense, 100 percent,” said Davis.
Virginia Tech, playing at Florida State yesterday, may be headed back to the NIT. (Early deadlines prevented coverage of the league yesterday).
The Hokies could redeem themselves at the ACC tournament, although Tech missed late opportunities to get the job done against Carolina. 14 of Virginia Tech’s games have been decided by five points or less, but the Hokies need a strong charge in the tournament to seal an NCAA bid.
Tech coach Seth Greenberg noted after the UNC loss, “everything we can do at Virginia Tech to build a program that can stand the test of time is built on toughness and competitive spirit. We’ve got to keep on hammering away at it. That’s who I am. I’m not going to let up.”
Greenberg added, “I like our team, I think we’re making progress … We’ve got to be a little bit more resilient.”
Boston College held off Georgia Tech Saturday to finish 9-7 in the ACC regular season. The Eagles are 21-10 overall, and appear to be one of six ACC teams (UNC, Wake Forest, Clemson, Florida State and Duke) definitely headed to the NCAA tournament.
Miami recovered to beat NC State, leaving the ‘Canes at 7-9 in final regular season league play. Miami had a split decision last week, including a tough loss at Georgia Tech, and heads to the ACC tournament 18-11 overall.
The ‘Canes may need at least one win in the tournament, but you can be certain that the league coaches will be campaigning for seven bids to the NCAA tournament, if not more.
State is now 6-10 in the ACC and 16-13 overall. The Wolfpack will be in the postseason, but State would have to win the ACC tournament to make the NCAA field.
Maryland squandered its chance to finish 8-8 in the league by losing to Virginia, as the Terps finished 18-12. Afterwards, Terps’ coach Gary Williams often sounded like a witness giving out only the absolutely necessary information for a deposition.
Maryland, like Miami and Virginia Tech, probably needs a deep ACC tournament run to land on the NCAA big board Sunday night.

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