Tom Sorensen

Short takes: Which ACC teams will go deep in NCAA tournament? ... Panthers offense?

Give Virginia coach Tony Bennett credit for enticing players who would like to run and score to play careful offense and superb defense.
Give Virginia coach Tony Bennett credit for enticing players who would like to run and score to play careful offense and superb defense. AP

▪  I like to see Virginia ranked No. 1 in men’s basketball. I don’t know if the Cavaliers have the offense to remain there come the NCAA tournament. But give coach Tony Bennett credit for enticing players who would like to run and score to play careful offense and superb defense. Bennett, 48, was a pretty good NBA reserve point guard when he backed up Muggsy Bogues from 1992-95 with the Charlotte Hornets. He’s a better coach. …

▪  If Virginia does not go deep into the NCAA tournament, which ACC team does? I still like Duke. But Mike Krzyzewski has struggled to entice his one-and-done freshmen to play Duke defense. …

▪  North Carolina, of course, looms. When senior Theo Pinson is on, the Tar Heels usually are. You have to admire a player 6-6 who sees openings the way he does and is adept at making passes that take advantage of them. …

▪  N.C. State is still a season away but what a difference the right coach makes. In Kevin Keatts, the Wolfpack finally has hired the right coach. …

▪  Such coaches are out there. The Wolfpack found theirs at UNC-Wilmington. There is intense pressure on the Charlotte 49ers to find the right coach. Like N.C. State, they don’t necessarily have to look far. Winthrop’s Pat Kelsey is a short drive away. …

▪  In 1989, Davidson made the right choice when it hired Bob McKillop. The Wildcats were 8-4 in the Atlantic 10 going into their road game Wednesday against Virginia Commonwealth, and 13-10 overall. The 13-10 is a testament to the tough nonconference schedule on which McKillop insists.

The Wildcats are easy to take for granted. McKillop is the head coach; therefore they win. But they made the transition from the Southern Conference to the A-10 appear seamless. …

▪  I promise I won’t write about this again. But I had knee surgery Monday. I don’t mind the rehab. I mind that on Sunday I missed Robert Plant at Ovens Auditorium. He’s the greatest vocalist to emerge from the rock era and, after all these years, is still true to the blues. Whatever genre he inhabits he makes his. …

▪  Mike Shula is an interesting hire. He’s the new offensive coordinator for the New York Giants. Was Shula a good offensive coordinator for the Carolina Panthers, who dumped him last month? The last offensive coordinator fans of the Panthers embraced is – they haven’t. The only way for a Carolina offensive coordinator to be popular is to leave before he becomes unpopular.

I thought Shula had one flaw. He’d take chances, some of which would work, but invariably return to what was safe. He’d draw in. The offensive coordinator’s philosophy reflects the philosophy of the head coach. Curious to see what Shula’s replacement, Norv Turner, will do next season. Turner does not draw in.

Tom Sorensen is a retired Charlotte Observer columnist. Sign up for his newsletter, and follow him on Twitter: @tomsorensen

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