1. Congrats Marcus and Brice!
Former Tar Heels, Marcus Paige and Brice Johnson, returned to their alma mater to have their jerseys honored at halftime of UNC's game against Virginia on Saturday night. Paige and Johnson become the 50th and 51st players to earn the distinction.
These are two of my all-time favorite players at Carolina so it was great to be there to celebrate this amazing moment in their lives! Congrats, Marcus and Brice, on this well deserved honor!
2. More on Gottfried
The more I sit here and think about it, the more I question Mark Gottfried's firing. Although this season and last have been disappointing to say the least, Gottfried did lead his Wolfpack clubs to four straight NCAA Tournament berths and two Sweet 16's. I also question the timing of it all. You don't see college coaches being dismissed in the middle of the season unless something egregious occurs. The entire situation is just weird.
That being said, it's time for the replacement talk to commence. There have been several names floating around but here's my take. Like I said last week, the only former player N.C. State should even entertain is Dayton's Archie Miller. However, I don't see him leaving for Raleigh. He's got a good thing going with the Flyers and I think it would take a lot (times a million) of swaying on the part of the Pack to tender a deal. He may surprise me, though.
If Archie Miller is off the table, who could be a logical next step? I think either UNC-Wilmington's Kevin Keatts or VCU's Will Wade. Keatts has done some very good things with the Seahawks in just two - and change - seasons at the helm, improving the team offensively and earning NCAA berths in those two seasons. A couple things, though, he doesn't have much head coaching experience at the collegiate level and his UNC-W teams are not as good defensively, which has also been a huge problem for the Pack this season. At just 34, Wade is in his second season with the Rams after returning to takeover when Shaka Smart left for Texas. He's maintained the success that Smart started at VCU, with his first team making it to the NCAA Tournament and this year's squad is well on its way to another trip. However, once again, Wade doesn't have much of a head coaching track record. This is always a risk.
There have been some other names floating around: Wichita State's Gregg Marshall, Butler's Chris Holtmann, Indiana's Tom Crean and Cincinatti's Mick Cronin. Of those, I could possibly see Marshall taking the job but that would be a stretch.
3. Rick Pitino
UNC defeated the Louisville Cardinals in a huge Top-10 matchup on Wednesday night. With the win, the Heels opened up a two-game lead in the ACC race with just three to go. But an overarching story from the game had nothing to do with the game itself.
Louisville head coach, Rick Pitino, was seen having to be restrained by several people as he was walking into the tunnel at halftime after a Carolina fan apparently said something to him. It all began with a video on Twitter and blew up from there, with several hottakes and rumors floating around about what was said. Mark Armstrong, a sports broadcaster from local news station, ABC11 tweeted after speaking with Smith Center security that the fan apparently shouted "you suck" to Pitino, causing him to lose it. The fan was reportedly ejected from the game as well.
Okay, there are a couple issues, here. For one, why in the world would a fan yelling "you suck" get Pitino so fired up? I mean, I've been to several sporting events throughout the years and I've heard a lot worse things being shouted out and nothing happens. I'm sure Pitino has heard worse things from fans in his 30+ year coaching career. In my opinion, Pitino reacted poorly and it was a poor decision to toss the fan for saying a phrase that's probably uttered a hundred times at a ballgame. The Heels play Duke at home to finish out the regular season. If Smith Center security tossed a fan for saying "you suck" half the dang arena will probably be ejected during the Duke game! All joking aside, Pitino should have acted in a more professional manner. It's too bad this incident cast a cloud over what was a great win by Carolina.
4. Broadway at N.C. Theatre
North Carolina Theatre announced its six show lineup for the 2017-18 season on Thursday. The shows include: Gypsy, Love Letters, The Wizard of Oz, Bright Star, The Wonder Years (yes, based on the hit television show) and Newsies. I just about fell off the couch when I saw this lineup. There are classics like Gypsy and The Wizard of Oz. Two shows in Bright Star and Newsies that I've always wanted to see. Plus, a musical based on one of my all time favorite television shows, The Wonder Years. I've never purchased any type of season tickets for Broadway shows but I think that's going to change. N.C. Theatre has offered three-show packages in the past and I sure hope they do for the upcoming season. There's no doubt that I'll be buying a package for this season!
5. The Oscars
It's that time! The Oscars will air Sunday night. In case you didn't know, I'm a film buff and I always love to catch a good flick at the movies. That especially goes for ones nominated for Oscars. I've seen four of the films nominated for Best Picture this year and you can check out my review of each below...
You probably want to know my predictions, right? Here's what I'm thinking for the "big" categories...
Likely to Win: Damien Chazelle, La La Land
Dark Horse: Barry Jenkins, Moonlight
Likely to Win: Viola Davis, Fences
Dark Horses: Octavia Spencer, Hidden Figures and Nicole Kidman, Lion
Likely to Win: Dev Patel, Lion
Dark Horse: Mahershala Ali, Moonlight
Likely to Win: Emma Stone, La La Land
Dark Horse: Meryl Streep, Florence Foster Jenkins
Likely to Win: Ryan Gosling, La La Land
Dark Horse: Denzel Washington, Fences
Likely to Win: La La Land
Dark Horse: Lion
What do you think? Sound off in the comments below!
Thanks for Reading