All Things Carolina
by Eric Gilmore

As the elite high school football players in North and South Carolina plan to do battle this weekend, I figured it was as good time as any to survey both states’ basketball programs. I for one, revolve my sports world around football. Because J.H. Rose was still playing until this past weekend, I turned a blind eye to the first month of basketball season. That is, until now.


I, along with many others (I hope) didn’t realize that there are a total of 26 schools competing within the Carolinas. Here (for fun) are my rankings based solely on what the programs have done thus far. If you think I’m a bumbling idiot or preferably somewhat of a prodigy, then feel free to shoot me some feedback.


Carolina’s Top 26
(Rankings of Dec. 15)

1. Duke

Last Game: vs. Texas 97-66 W
Next Game: vs. Valparaiso (Dec. 18)

Doubters questioned lack of blowout wins, Redick’s 41 point outburst against then-No. 2 Texas silenced critics, solidified Carolinas’ and nation’s top ranking

2. UNC

Last Game: vs. Saint Louis 75-63 W
Next Game: vs. Santa Clara (Dec. 17)

Tar Heels could roll into 2006 with only one loss, may show possible rust after a 10 day lay-off for exams, cross-country showdown with streaking USC looming

3. Clemson

Last Game: vs. E. Tenn. St. 80-72 W
Next Game: at PR Mayaguez (Dec. 19)

Undefeated Tigers have four players averaging in double figures, may finally get that coveted win in the Dean Dome, NCAA tournament invite isn’t out of question

4. N.C. State

Last Game: vs. UNC Asheville (Late)
Next Game: vs. Miami (Dec. 18)

Wolfpack must win in the RBC Center for the ACC opener versus Miami, only have one quality win over Notre Dame on the road, Cedric Simmons must continue hot shooting touch


5. Wake Forest           

Last Game: vs. DePaul 84-81 L
Next Game: vs. Princeton (Dec. 17)

21-game home winning streak ended abruptly by former UNCW head man Jerry Wainwright, DePaul had lost previously to Bradley, Northern Ill. and Bucknell


6. Winthrop

Last Game: at South Carolina (Late)
Next Game: vs. ECU (Dec. 18)

Eagles are three points away from being undefeated, Gregg Marshall has a really talented team that could do big damage in both the Big South and NCAA Tournament


7. South Carolina

Last Game: vs. Winthrop (Late)
Next Game: vs. Wofford (Dec. 17)

Gamecocks need to regroup from embarrassing Clemson loss, veteran team doesn’t have a freshman, NIT champions tout Tarence Kensey who is averaging 17.4 points per game


8. UNC Wilmington

Last Game: at Wisconsin 54-51 L
Next Game: Coastal Carolina (Dec. 17)

Buzzer beater road loss to nationally ranked Wisconsin a heartbreaker, Seahawks already have two CAA wins, surprisingly ranked No. 24 in Sagarin ratings


9. Charlotte

Last Game: vs. Valparaiso 80-77 L
Next Game: vs. Indiana (Dec. 19)

49ers got popped by Crusaders, Bobby Lutz hasn’t found pieces to replace Eddie Basden and Martin Iti, home win over Hoosiers could solve problems


10. Davidson

Last Game: vs. Catholic 80-56 W
Next Game: vs. St. Mary’s (MD) (Dec. 15)

Still excited about upset home over Missouri, Wildcats will have to keep poise to be a bracket buster at Syracuse on Dec. 18

11. UNC Greensboro

Last Game: vs. Gardner-Webb 76-68 W
Next Game: Greensboro College (Dec. 16)

Mike Dement’s club had big wins over ECU and Gardner-Webb last week to climb up the rankings, Spartans will have trouble cracking top 10

12. Gardner-Webb

Last Game: at UNC Greensboro 76-68 L
Next Game: Western Carolina (Dec. 22)

Bulldogs suffered bad loss to UNCG, travel to Western Carolina before possible upset bid at Ohio St. after Christmas


13. Charleston Southern

Last Game: at St. John’s 64-50 L
Next Game: at Robert Morris (Dec. 17)

Buccaneers played St. John’s and Clemson tough, have nine players that average more than 10 minutes per game, could make noise in Big South play

14. High Point

Last Game: at Elon 73-71 W
Next Game: at Longwood (Dec. 17)

Panthers have wins over Western Carolina and Elon, in the middle of a five-game road trip, JUCO transfer Arizona Reid averaging 22.5 points per game

15. Western Carolina

Last Game: at ECU 56-48 W
Next Game: vs. Citadel (Dec. 18)

Larry Hunter’s Princeton-style offense confused ECU, could slide in the rankings with tough schedule looming

16. East Carolina

Last Game: vs. Western Carolina 56-48 L
Next Game: at Winthrop (Dec. 18)

Most disappointing team in N.C. outside Charlotte thus far, Wake transfer Jeremy Ingram eligible will help improve perimeter defense

17. App. State

Last Game: at N.C. State 92-68 L
Next Game: at Marshall (Dec. 17)

Mountaineer football team in I-AA finals for first-time ever, basketball team could beat Marshall on the road, 5’8” point guard D.J. Thompson averaging 17.1 points per contest


18. Wofford

Last Game: at Miami 71-40 L
Next Game: at South Carolina (Dec. 17)

Terriers beefed up non-conference schedule is destroying confidence, have close losses to Purdue, ECU and Clemson, will improve ranking when SoCon play starts


19. Coastal Carolina

Last Game: vs. South Carolina St. (Late)
Next Game: UNC Wilmington (Dec. 17)

Buzz Peterson is struggling in his first year in Conway, Chanticleers had tough loss to Jacksonville St. to open the season, upset at UNCW would boost Coastal up the rankings


20. College of Charleston

Last Game: vs. North Florida (Late)
Next Game: at VCU (Dec. 17)

Normal tough schedule thrown out the window, Tom Herrion’s club have only played five games and only two have been against Division I opponents

21. Elon

Last Game: vs. High Point 73-71 L
Next Game: at IUPUI (Dec. 17)

Heartbreaking home loss to High Point, Phoenix now start tough five-game road trip before SoCon play begins

22. UNC Asheville

Last Game: at N.C. State (Late)
Next Game: vs. Brevard (Dec. 17)

Bulldogs got first win over Furman, size isn’t a problem with two 7-footers and a 6’8” shooting guard, killer schedule likely will leave two wins heading into Big South play


23. Furman

Last Game: at UNC Asheville 79-65 L
Next Game: vs. Sewanee (Dec. 15)

Paladins’ only Division I win is over Campbell by a single point, another Moussa (Diagne) is averaging 11.7 points per game


24. South Carolina State

Last Game: at Coastal Carolina (Late)
Next Game: at Rutgers (Dec. 17)

Bulldogs have wins over Southern Utah and N.C. A&T, depth not a problem as eight players average more than 20 minutes per game

25. Campbell

Last Game: vs. N.C. A& T (Late)
Next Game: at Evansville (Dec. 17)

Fighting Camels loss to Furman was brutal, Eric Smith averaging 18 points a game, have already totaled last year’s win total

26. N.C. A&T

Last Game: at Campbell (Late)
Next Game: Nebraska (Dec. 19)

Aggies two games into brutal eight-game road trip, Jerry Eaves is 9-51 since taking over the program, ranked No. 331 (of 334) in Sagarin ratings
Eric Gilmore