Luke Tkach, who I found out today, President of the U.S. Basketball Writers Association, will get to present an award, a Dean Smith Award, to Mike Krzyzewski. What has he done this year, Luke, to warrant an award? This is the proverbial career achievement award. And if you look at the history of winners of the Dean Smith Award, starting with John Thompson, Fran Dunphy, my good friend Fran Dunphy. We are going to honor Bob McKillip, who won it in 2019, and Tubby Smith, who won it in 2021, who haven't been honored yet.
We're going to do that in Greensboro next month. And then we'll do Krzyzewski and May at the Emily K Mother's Day Ball. You know, George Raveling, Dan Donahue at Dayton, like these are coaches who, you know, have done things in their career that go beyond basketball, to coin a phrase.
Some of them even have a radio show called Beyond Basketball. But no, and you know, look, this is obviously there are some people who don't really understand the dynamic here that Mike Krzyzewski and Dean Smith did become close at the end of Dean's life. And that, you know, the Smith family signed off on this. This was not against their wishes.
So, you know, I understand that this caused a bit of a kerfuffle back home today. But for us, this was just an absolute no brainer. We didn't want to do it last year in the middle of his retirement, you know, sort of procession. And Tubby was a great winner, like Tubby Smith is someone else who's been a trendsetter and a trailblazer and done so much that's not limited to basketball over his career. So, you know, this is, you know, it's a little ironic that I'm the president while this is happening. But, you know, in the end, on May 6th, it'll be, you know, John Feinstein. And this award was his brainchild, his baby. He obviously has a very close relationship with Mike Krzyzewski. And I'll be there, but John will be presenting him with the award because it's going to mean a lot to both those guys. It had, he had, John did, a pretty good relationship with Dean Smith, too.
As well. Yeah, no, I mean, John, this award really connects those three guys in a lot of ways. And that's, you know, part of the story of the ACC. Speaking of the ACC, I know you're in Dallas at the Women's Final Four right now, but I know you're going to be in Houston later. What does Miami's appearance say about the ACC?
You know, I think it says two things. One, it says that there is some validity that the ACC is better than the metrics would indicate because they do keep sending teams deep into the tournament with the exception of 2021, regardless of how many sort of bids or seeds or whatever. And certainly Miami getting to the Elite Eight last year and the Final Four this year, despite not being seeded that way, is an accomplishment and having two teams in the Final Four last year is an accomplishment. But I also think that that obscures to a certain extent, the reality of the situation is you and I have discussed the ACC is losing non-conference games.
It has never lost before ever. It's losing non-conference games to bad teams, and that's not a scheduling issue. You can schedule those teams. You just have to beat them, you know, and then you got to play some good teams too. You can't just play all, you know, all Ken Palm to 85 up teams, but the ACC never used to lose those games.
You go back to 2019 when the ACC had three number one seeds, it didn't lose to a team with a Ken Palm rating, a final Ken Palm rating worse than like one 18. It lost 20 games, none worse than that. And then this year it lost those 20 games and another 20 teams worse than one 18.
And so that's why you don't get seated well. And you can complain about it and say, our teams get better. And you know, we play 20 conference games and that there's, that's true, but that never used to be an issue. You used to win those games.
So go win those games. And then we're not having this conversation, but I do think it does give some validity to the idea that that's not the only thing going on. And that the ACC is potentially a little better than people are giving it credit for. And that's one of the things that Jim Phillips, despite his focus on football, since he got the job is now sort of looking at what basketball, like, how do we change the perception of the league? My argument is stop losing to bad teams.
Right. But it obviously runs a little deeper than that. Well, the perception of the league is driven by the metrics. And that's the, that's the reason, because that's how we get the narrative of, oh, look, the Mountain West is ranked higher than the ACC. We're not, by the way, we're not sitting here saying the Mountain, the Mountain West and Conference USA were better than we thought because they have teams in the Final Four. We're only doing this about the ACC because of the history of the league.
And what I would say is that, and I guess I will, so I shouldn't even say what I would say because I'm about to say it. What you're saying. The Miami is a team that happens to play in the ACC. Miami as a team was undervalued by the committee, by being seeded at a five, by the metric, by, I think their final net was 35th, because they play in the ACC. Not because there were 34 teams better than Miami, which I do not believe there are 34 teams.
And I believe this during the season, not just based on what I've seen in this tournament. I believe that the league got treated accordingly based on the metrics because the bottom, not just five, because Syracuse, where they were as the 10th best team in the league, or whoever were the, I guess they were 10th. Syracuse was basically the bottom of the league in terms of the metrics in most years, where the worst team would be in the 125-130 range. We had five teams worse than that. That is the problem.
Yeah. It's the same as the non-conference loss thing. You've got the ACC in positions. The ACC was never in before, and that's why your seating isn't as good. And that's why not many teams make it or as many teams make it.
And I, look, I wrote this on selection Sunday. The ACC got what it deserved. We all know the ground rules going in. We all know how teams are seated. We all know how that's generated.
We know the quadrants and we don't know the net formula, but we can approximate it and all those things. The ACC got what it deserved. It also had a chance again to redeem itself. And that's exactly what Miami has done. It's shown that an ACC semifinalist is one of the best teams in the country, which it is. Nobody who watched that game in Greensboro between Duke and Miami didn't think that those two teams weren't among the five or 10 best teams in the country.
That was a great game. Now, it's a single-elimination tournament, so Duke gets into a game that isn't a style that suits them and they lose, but Miami's here because they've got great guards and they're a good team. And Jordan Miller may be the most underrated player in the country.
Absolutely love that player. All right, let's talk a little bit about the Hurricanes. Your thoughts on where they are and what their biggest problem is right now. And I say that the Hurricanes are still in first place. Yeah. I mean, I do think when you clinch a playoff spot, even when you were playing for division title and look, I wrote this too. You have all, everything in the world to play for, to avoid playing the Rangers in the first round. Because just as you have the mojo on the Bruins, the Rangers have the mojo on you. There is still a motivational dead zone when you see that X next to your name in the standing.
It is human. It is unavoidable. It's the same as remember that game. They've gotten beat by Arizona at home in November on a Tuesday. Like there was a motivational dead zone there too, for a contending team. Heck that's how the hurricanes used to beat good teams as they catch them. And when they were, you know, taking the night off against the hurricane, it happens. It's an 82 game season. Players are human. This happened. So, you know, you go into Detroit and you lose and, you know, do I have concerns about the hurricane?
Yes, absolutely. Goal-tending and the power play, number one, because you always want to go into the playoffs talking about how bad your special teams and goal-tending are. Because Lord knows they don't matter in the playoffs. But I also think there's a bit of a motivational dead zone there, given the circumstance there and playing Detroit on the road on a Thursday or whatever day. Thursday, yes. It was a Thursday. You got that right.
That's one thing I got right this week. So, at any rate, yeah. Do I have issues? Am I worried about the hurricanes? In some ways, yes.
Does last night make me worry more? No. Luke Tkach is joining us here. Because I did a segment with Joe Ovious yesterday about it. The goal-tending is my number one concern. I keep hearing about goal scoring. That's the easiest thing to point to because Carolina had trouble scoring goals in the playoffs last year.
They lost all these games on the road. Power play was a huge part of it. But they had trouble big picture scoring goals. And I understand that is a concern, but it's always a concern for this team. Because that's what we know has been their downfall. But for the first time, goal-tending has looked like it has no chance to bail Carolina out here.
And that is my biggest concern. And frankly, all of the other stuff doesn't matter if the goal-tending isn't good enough. And Freddie's just been, like the first goal, can't go. Like Pyotr Kuchetkov. The two goals he allowed to...
The first two Tuesday nights. Yeah, they can't go in. And that's the problem. I know you and I differ on who should be the goalie at the start of the playoffs.
I'm not sure it matters. I'm not sure we're arguing over goalies that can help. Yeah, we're shuffling deck chairs at this point. I think the best thing for the Hurricanes is going to be if Ante Ranta can get himself healthy and informed by the time they start the playoffs and you create a three-way competition. Because right now, it's hard to look at the way the goal-tending is playing at this moment and say, oh, this is a team that can make a long playoff run. That said, that's not the kind of thing that requires a month to turn around. The goalie can get hot on the flip of a coin.
Do you and I disagree on this? I feel like Freddie is going to give them the best chance to win the Stanley Cup if he's playing well. But that's the biggest and the way he's played lately and really over the course of the season compared to the last regular season doesn't evoke a ton of confidence, but he's a veteran guy. He's got a Rocky playoff history, but he's playing behind a really good team that does not allow a ton of chances.
And so if they can just get a little bump on the goal-tending and a little bump out of the power play where they actually convert one of the 1.5 power plays, they get a night, you know, they're going to be in, they'll be in decent shape. So I feel like, you know, it all, this team, and I think it has to do with the playoff drought. Everybody's I've said this before, and now you're, you're a former partner and yesterday's reunion had sold on this. Everybody's kind of got Stockholm syndrome where they just expect everything to go wrong because it did for so long. It really did for so long.
And there was danger lurking around every corner. I kind of feel like this team may be the opposite where there's actually sort of success working around the corner and we can't see it because we're so conditioned to expect the worst. I maybe that's wishful thinking because I'd like to see the hurricane do well, cause it's good for business and you know, I'd like to go to Boston and go to Pittsburgh and go to New York.
Cause I enjoy that. And it's the fun part of the job is covering a playoff series full of drama and intrigue and cheating and coaches screaming at each other and Todd Reardon messing up and all those things. But to be fair, if they started the playoffs today, looking at their goaltending and their power play, which are the two things that matter the most in the plan, it's hard to see them beating anybody. There's absolute, which is what they were talking about last night. It was Brian Boucher, former hurricane's legend, Brian Boucher, who, who was like the hurricanes have to win the division because they don't want to play the Rangers in the first round.
I'm like the way the hurricanes are playing, the Islanders would be a tough out too. Yeah. Yeah. No. And, and, but look in the big picture, you know, I, I wrote this Tuesday and he's, he's Brian.
I agree with Brian. The hurricane best chance to win the Stanley cup is avoiding the Rangers until the second round and hoping the devil's beat them. Cause I feel like the hurricanes and the devils.
One there's, there's, there's none of that sort of psychological baggage. And I feel like the style just seems to fit the hurricane better, whatever it is about the Rangers, whether it's Igor or. Uh, Mika's advantage.
Mika, whatever you can throw a number of things in there. I mean, Panera now has even been that good against them over the years. You know, that, that, you know, it's, it's, it's just, it's not a good matchup and they lost the playoff series of the Rangers last year that they shouldn't have lost and they were the better team and they lost.
And that always has a thing. I'm sure the Bruins feel that way, um, about last year to a certain extent, although this is a completely different Bruins team to be fair in terms of their account level and confidence and all of that. But, um, you know, the, in the end, the hurricanes are still capable. They, they've just, they got to get going a little bit here and that's probably mental as much as it is. Well, last thing on this, I thought that the Saturday win over Toronto, when Kuchetkov stood on his head, that right there was a goaltender that could carry him, but he didn't follow it up on Tuesday. We needed another one of maybe not that we just didn't need bad goals.
Uh, unfortunately we couldn't, uh, we couldn't sustain that. Who's one of the fun. Who's one of the men's championship there, Luke to cock. Uh, you got me. I mean, if you look at my bracket, it's a disaster. I picked Miami to get to the final four.
That's good. I didn't. Um, I, I thought I had Kansas state. I thought that was my big sneaky winner.
Um, which it was not, uh, no, I, I honestly don't know. I think Yukon is the best team here, but I also think that Miami has shown over the course of the season. It's capable of beating anybody. And if, uh, if Isaiah Wong gets hot, um, that is a really tough team to beat because man, he can, we've seen it in the ACC.
That guy is a stone cold killer who can make shots. My women's brackets in great shape. I feel much better about that. Yeah. South Carolina going to run the table. I think so. I just think that, you know, Caitlin Clark aside, I just, South Carolina is the best team. Um, and then, you know, it's, it's, it can be a sport of dynasties at times kind of see Yukon feels like South Carolina is kind of in that conversation in this moment for this generation. They're amazing.
Uh, but to watch Caitlin Clark is just an absolute show. So, uh, enjoy that coming up tonight. Luke to cock. I appreciate your time, sir. We'll see you at the, at the rink maybe, uh, next week or in the playoffs.
Sounds good. Luke to cock from the news and observer just, uh, following basketball teams around the country. Yeah. Why not? Uh, that's, uh, that's great.
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