Sunday, March 12, 2017

North Carolina all year, Virginia Tech in the end

Virginia Tech made huge strides in the Atlantic Coast Conference this year and now holds the Ear of Corn in men's college basketball entering the 2016-17 season. But no team had a 2015-2016 with the prize like North Carolina. (This piece originally was published on EarofCornAwards.com on April 7, 2016.)

Under Buzz Williams, Virginia Tech improved from 2-16 in the ACC last year to 10-8 this year, ending with an upset of Miami during the regular season finale (Virginia Tech Sports information photo).

We began the season with Duke holding the Ear of Corn as the defending national champion in men's college basketball. We must start somewhere. So, as is the practice when initiating one of these prizes, we start it with the defending national champion. We don't count the championship bestowed as an earned championship, but we do give credit for title defenses.

So, the Blue Devils defended the Corn for only two games (easy wins against Sienna and Bryant) before the prize set onto a tour of the other college basketball capitals.

Last Nov. 17, Duke went to Chicago to face Kentucky in the first meeting of high profile teams for the Corn. Kentucky won, 74-63, then defended it consecutively against Wright State, Boston University, South Florida and Illinois State before coming to Pauley Pavilion for a meeting with UCLA.

Inexplicably, a UCLA team that would finish 15-17 and 10th in the Pac-12 beat the Wildcats, 87-77. The Bruins defended the prize three times, including a 71-66 win at Gonzaga.

But when North Carolina visited Pauley Pavilion on Dec. 19, the true direction for the Ear was set. The Tar Heels captured the Corn for the first time with an 89-76 win, then went back home for a couple wins against local schools before taking it into the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) schedule.

The Tar Heels defended the Corn 10 times before a Feb. 1 trip to Louisville, which really wasn't playing for anything. Sidetracked by one of those sex scandals that crops up at Louisville, the Cardinals were going to self-sanction by disqualifying themselves from the tournament.

Here, though, they were playing for the Ear of Corn, and they pulled an upset, 71-65. After an easy (79-47) win at home against Boston College on Dec. 6, the Cardinals went to Duke on Feb. 8. And, there, the Blue Devils won the Ear outright for the first time, 72-65.

But Duke's first earned championship in this contest lasted barely longer than its earlier place-holder status. The Devils beat Virginia at home (63-62), then North Carolina on the road (74-73). And after those two hard-fought wins, the Dukies went to Louisville on Feb. 20.

This time, Louisville won, this time by a 71-64 score, becoming the first school to claim the Ear of Corn twice. The Cardinals defended their title for only one game, until they went to Miami on Feb. 27 and lost, 73-63.

The Hurricanes made one title defense, a 68-50 win at Notre Dame on March 2. On March 5, the Hurricanes went to Virginia Tech to finish the regular season for both teams. In other words, this would be the game to decide who would end the regular season with that version of the Ear.

It was no contest. Virginia Tech stomped the Hurricanes, 77-62, and, with that, secured the regular season Ear into the start of next season.

Nice finish for Virginia Tech, which made historic progress this year in the ACC. The Hokies jumped from 2-16 last year to 10-8 this year, the second season of Buzz Williams.

All together, though, North Carolina gets the nod here as Team of the Year. The Tar Heels won a title and defended theirs twice as long as anyone else, finishing 11-2 in games for the Ear of Corn.

But other teams were good, too. Duke was 5-2, including a title defense against North Carolina. Louisville was 4-2 with a title victories against Duke and North Carolina. UCLA was 4-1 with a title win against Kentucky, and Kentucky was 5-1 with a title victory over Duke.

Will any of those teams be the one to wrestle the Ear away from Virginia Tech? We'll find out next season.


Labels

Los Angeles Dodgers (117) Los Angeles Angels (90) St. Louis Cardinals (60) New York Yankees (50) Texas Rangers (48) San Francisco Giants (37) Cincinnati Reds (35) Matt Kemp (34) Minnesota Twins (33) Oakland Athletics (33) Houston Astros (32) Chicago White Sox (31) First Division (31) Kansas City Royals (31) Henry Aaron (30) New York Mets (30) Atlanta Braves (29) Clayton Kershaw (29) Cleveland Indians (29) Detroit Tigers (29) Albert Pujols (27) Baltimore Orioles (27) Boston Red Sox (27) Chicago Cubs (27) Don Mattingly (27) Center League (25) Andre Ethier (24) Dick Allen (24) Harmon Killebrew (24) Tampa Bay Rays (24) West League (23) Milwaukee Brewers (22) Second Division (22) East League (21) Pittsburgh Pirates (21) Third Division (21) Washington Nationals (21) Mike Scioscia (20) Mike Trout (20) San Diego Padres (20) Arizona Diamondbacks (18) Seattle Mariners (18) Fourth Division (17) Hanley Ramirez (15) Adrian Gonzalez (14) American League (14) C.J. WIlson (14) Dee Gordon (14) Miami Marlins (14) Toronto Blue Jays (14) Jered Weaver (13) Josh Hamilton (13) Philadelphia Phillies (13) National League (12) Yasiel Puig (12) Zack Greinke (12) Colorado Rockies (11) Howie Kendrick (10) Mark Trumbo (10) A.J. Ellis (9) Bryce Harper (9) Bud Selig East (9) Carl Crawford (9) Chub Feeney League (9) Dan Haren (9) Dodger Stadium (9) James Loney (9) Joe Cronin League (9) Jon Lester (9) Kenley Jansen (9) Billy Beane (8) Bud Selig West (8) Erick Aybar (8) Ernesto Frieri (8) Garrett Richards (8) Justin Verlander (8) Golden State Warriors (7) Yoenis Cespedes (7) Andrelton Simmons (6) Angel Stadium (6) Bobby Abreu (6) Bud Selig (6) David Ortiz (6) Hyun-Jin Ryu (6) Juan Uribe (6) Miguel Cabrera (6) Prince Fielder (6) Torii Hunter (6) Anaheim Ducks (5) Chris Capuano (5) Chris Sale (5) David Price (5) Ervin Santana (5) Harmon Killebrew Award (5) Jerry DiPoto (5) Jim Leyland (5) Joe Blanton (5) Joe Maddon (5) Los Angeles Clippers (5) Mark Ellis (5) San Antonio Spurs (5) Scott Van Slyke (5) Alex Rodriguez (4) Carlos Beltran (4) Chicago Blackhawks (4) Columbus Blue Jackets (4) Connecticut Huskies (4) Fredi Gonzalez (4) Henry Aaron Award (4) James Shields (4) Jason Vargas (4) Jose Altuve (4) Kendrys Morales (4) Mark Teixeira (4) Mat Latos (4) Matt Holliday (4) Minnesota Lynx (4) Ned Yost (4) Nelson Cruz (4) Nick Punto (4) North Carolina Tar Heels (4) 2014 World Series (3) A.J. Burnett (3) Adam Jones (3) Adam Kennedy (3) Alberto Callaspo (3) Alex Wood (3) All-Star Game (3) American League Championship Series (3) Andrew McCutchen (3) Billy Butler (3) Brandon Phillips (3) Chub Feeney (3) Cory Rasmus (3) David Dombrowski (3) David Freese (3) Dick Allen Award (3) Dustin Pedroia (3) Eric Hosmer (3) Florida Marlins (3) Francisco Liriano (3) Huston Street (3) J.B. Shuck (3) Jack Morris (3) Jacoby Ellsbury (3) Jerome Williams (3) Jerry Hairston (3) Joaquin Benoit (3) Joc Pederson (3) Joe Cronin (3) Joey Votto (3) LA Galaxy (3) Lance Lynn (3) Los Angeles Lakers (3) Magic Johnson (3) Major League Baseball (3) Miami Heat (3) Minnesota Wild (3) National League Championship Series (3) National League Division Series (3) Pittsburgh Penguins (3) Robinson Cano (3) Ryan Braun (3) Scott Downs (3) Stan Kasten (3) Tim Lincecum (3) Vin Scully (3) Winnipeg Jets (3) Adam Dunn (2) Al Alburquerque (2) Alcides Escobar (2) Alex Gordon (2) Alex Rios (2) Alexander Cartwright (2) Allen Craig (2) American League Division Series (2) American League traveling championship (2) Anibal Sanchez (2) Arte Moreno (2) Austin Jackson (2) Barcelona (2) Barry Bonds (2) Bartolo Colon (2) Baseball Hall of Fame (2) Bayern Munich (2) Billy Hamilton (2) Borussia Mochengladbach (2) Boston Bruins (2) Brandon Crawford (2) Brandon League (2) Brian McCann (2) Bud Norris (2) Buster Posey (2) Carlos Gomez (2) Central League (2) Chad Billingsley (2) Chase Headley (2) Chase Utley (2) Chicago Bulls (2) Chris Davis (2) Chris Iannetta (2) Chris Johnson (2) Chris Paul (2) Chris Young (2) Cleveland Cavaliers (2) Cliff Lee (2) Clint Hurdle (2) Cole Hamels (2) Corey Seager (2) Craig Kimbrel (2) Cy Young (2) Dallas Keuchel (2) Davey Johnson (2) Derek Jeter (2) Doug Fister (2) FC Dallas (2) Florida Panthers (2) Frank McCourt (2) George Springer (2) Gerrit Cole (2) Giancarlo Stanton (2) Gio Gonzalez (2) Greg Maddux (2) Hall of Fame (2) Hank Conger (2) Hisashi Iwakuma (2) Jacob deGrom (2) Jason Grilli (2) Jay Bruce (2) Jeff Bagwell (2) Jerry Sands (2) Jimmy Rollins (2) Joe Girardi (2) Joe Kelly (2) John Lackey (2) Jordan Zimmermann (2) Josh Beckett (2) Justin Upton (2) Juventus (2) Kelvin Herrera (2) Lee Smith (2) Logan Forsythe (2) Los Angeles Sparks (2) Luis Mendoza (2) Lyle Overbay (2) Madison Bumgarner (2) Manny Machado (2) Marlon Byrd (2) Melky Cabrera (2) Michael Wacha (2) Mickey Hatcher (2) Mike Fiers (2) Mike Moustakas (2) Mississippi State Bulldogs (2) Montreal Canadiens (2) Montreal Impact (2) Nathan Eovaldi (2) National League West (2) National League traveling championship (2) Ned Colletti (2) New York Rangers (2) Nick Swisher (2) Oklahoma City Thunder (2) Oregon Ducks (2) Paul Goldschmidt (2) Pedro Alvarez (2) Pete Kozma (2) Real Madrid (2) Ricky Nolasco (2) Roger Clemens (2) Roy Williams (2) Russell Martin (2) Ryan Vogelsong (2) Ryan Zimmerman (2) Seattle Storm (2) Shane Victorino (2) South Carolina Gamecocks (2) St. Louis Blues (2) Stephen Strasburg (2) Steven Strasburg (2) Ted Turner (2) Terry Francona (2) Tony Cingrani (2) Tony LaRussa (2) Toronto FC (2) Toronto Maple Leafs (2) Torri Hunter (2) Tottenham Hotspur (2) UCLA Bruins (2) Victor Martinez (2) Villanova Wildcats (2) Virginia Tech Hokies (2) Washington Capitals (2) Werder Bremen (2) Wil Myers (2) World Series (2) Yu Darvish (2) interleague traveling baseball championship (2) A'ja Wilson (1) AC Milan (1) AS Roma (1) Aaron Hamilton (1) Aaron Harang (1) Adam Dunn (1) Adam LaRoche (1) Adam Wainwright (1) Al Campanis (1) Alabama Crimson Tide (1) Alan Wiggins (1) Alejandro De Aza (1) Alex Avila (1) Alex Guerrero (1) Alexander Ovechkin (1) Alysha Clark (1) American League West (1) Andrew Heaney (1) Andrew McCtchen (1) Andrew Miller (1) Andy Pettitte (1) Annibal Sanchez (1) Anthony Rizzo (1) Aroldis Chapman (1) Astros (1) Atlanta Hawks (1) Atlanta United FC (1) Auston Matthews (1) Babe Ruth (1) Baltimore Orioles Kansas City Royals (1) Barry Larkin (1) Bayer Leerkusen (1) Ben Wade (1) Benji Molina (1) Bert Blyleven (1) Bert Campaneris (1) Bill Foley (1) Billy Buckner (1) Blake Griffin (1) Bo Porter (1) Bobby Cox (1) Bobby Thompson (1) Borussia Dortmund (1) Boston Celtics (1) Brad Ausmus (1) Brad Havens (1) Brad Lidge (1) Branch Rickey (1) Brandon Maurer (1) Brandon McCarthy (1) Brandon Morrow (1) Brandon Moss (1) Brandon Snyder (1) Breanna Stewart (1) Brendan Ryan (1) Brett Lawrie (1) Brett Wallace (1) Brian Cashman (1) Brian Harper (1) Bruce Bochy (1) Bryan Price (1) Buck Showalter (1) Buffalo Sabres (1) Bundesliga (1) Butler Bulldogs (1) Buzz Williams (1) C.J. Kron (1) CBS (1) Caleb Joseph (1) California Angels (1) Candace Parker (1) Carlos Correa (1) Carlos Frias (1) Carlos Gonzalez (1) Carlos Marmol (1) Celta Vigo (1) Chad Qualls (1) Charlie Coyle (1) Chelsea FC (1) Chiapas (1) Chicago Sky (1) Chris Archer (1) Chris Carpenter (1) Chris Perez (1) Chris Tillman (1) Christiano Ronaldo (1) Citi Field (1) Clay Bucchholz (1) Clemson Tigers (1) Cleveand Indians (1) Club América (1) Colin Cowgill (1) Colorado Avalanche (1) Columbus Crew (1) Coors Field (1) Cornbelt Conference (1) Cotton Nash (1) Craig Biggio (1) Curt Schilling (1) Dale Murphy (1) Dallas Wings (1) Dan Straily (1) Daniel Nava (1) Danny Duffy (1) Dansby Swanson (1) Darryl Sutter (1) Darwin Barney (1) Davey Lopes (1) David DeJesus (1) David Murphy (1) David Ousted (1) David Peralta (1) David Wright (1) Dawn Staley (1) DeMar Derozan (1) Dean Chance (1) Detroit Red Wings (1) Devan Dubnyk (1) Devon Travis (1) Dick Jacobs (1) Didi Gregorius (1) Dillon Gee (1) Dioner Navarro (1) Don Mincher (1) Don Sutton (1) Dr. James Naismith (1) Draymond Green (1) Drayton McLane (1) Drew Hutchison (1) Dries Mertens (1) Duke Blue Devils (1) Dustin Byfuglein (1) Dusty Baker (1) Earl Weaver (1) Ed Creech (1) Edinson Volquez (1) Edmonton Oilers (1) Edwin Jackson (1) Efren Navarro (1) Eintracht Frankfurt (1) Elena Della Donne (1) Elian Herrera (1) Empoli (1) Ender Inciarte (1) Endy Chavez (1) English Premier League (1) Eric Sogard (1) Eric Staal (1) Evan Gattis (1) Evan Longoria (1) Everton FC (1) Farhan Zaidi (1) Felix Hernandez (1) Football Association (1) Frank Viola (1) Frank Wren (1) Fred McGriff (1) Freddie Gray (1) Freddy Galvis (1) Garrett Williams (1) Gene Mauch (1) Geno Auriemma (1) Genoa (1) German traveling soccer championship (1) Gerry Hunsicker (1) Gonzaga Zags (1) Goran Dragic (1) Grant Green (1) Green Bay Packers (1) Greg Holland (1) Guggenheim Baseball Management (1) Halle Berry (1) Happy Chandler East (1) Happy Chandler West (1) Harry Carey (1) Hassan Whiteside (1) Heath Bell (1) Henry Aaron Award. (1) Houston (1) Howard Kendrick (1) Ian Kinsler (1) Ichiro Suzuki (1) Indiana Fever (1) Indiana Pacers (1) Italian traveling soccer championship (1) Ivan DeJesus (1) J.B. Schuck (1) J.J. Hardy (1) J.J.Hardy (1) J.P. Howell (1) Jack Kent Cooke (1) Jack McKeon (1) Jackie Robinson (1) Jake Marisnick (1) Jake Odorizzi (1) Jake Peavy (1) James Paxton (1) James Shielss (1) Jamie McCourt (1) Jamie Wright (1) Jared Weaver (1) Jarrod Dyson (1) Jarrod Saltalamacchia (1) Jason Giambi (1) Jason Hammel (1) Jason Heyward (1) Jason Isringhausen (1) Jason Zucker (1) Javy Guerra (1) Jeff Samadrzija (1) Jeff Samardjzia (1) Jhonny Peralta (1) Jim Abbott (1) Jim Eppard (1) Jim Eppel (1) Jim Fregosi (1) Jim Hickey (1) Jim Johnson (1) Jim Palmer (1) Jimmie Hall (1) Jimmy Nelson (1) Jimmy Piersall (1) Joc Pedersen (1) Joe Mauer (1) Joe Morgan (1) Joe Saunders (1) Joe Thatcher (1) Joe Torre (1) JoeGirardi (1) Joel Berry II (1) Joel Hanrahan (1) John Angelos (1) John Farrell (1) John Helyar (1) John Jay (1) John O'Donnell Stadium (1) John Roseboro (1) Johnny Cueto (1) Johnny Giavotella (1) Jon Niese (1) Jonathan Papelbon (1) Jonathan Quick (1) Jonathan Schoop (1) Jordan Lyles (1) Jose Abreu (1) Jose Bautista (1) Jose Peraza (1) Jose Quintana (1) Jose Reyes (1) Jose Valverde (1) Joseph Wapner (1) Josh Donaldson (1) Josh Harrison (1) Jozy Altidore (1) Juan Marichal (1) Juan Pierre (1) Juan Rivera (1) Justin Jackson (1) Justin Turner (1) Kansas City Royals Pittsburgh Pirates (1) Ken Rosenthal (1) Kentucky Wildcats (1) Kevin Correia (1) Kevin Jepson (1) Kevin Kiermaier (1) Kevin Malone (1) Kevin Tapani (1) Koji Uehara (1) Kole Calhoun (1) Kris Bryant (1) Kris Jenkins (1) Kris Medlen (1) Kwami Leonard (1) Kyle Kubitza (1) Kyle Seager (1) L.J. Hoes (1) La Liga (1) LaMarr Hoyt (1) Lance McCullers (1) Larry Dolan (1) Leicester City FC (1) LewWolff (1) Liga MX (1) Ligue 1 (1) Liverpool (1) Logan White (1) Lords of the Realm (1) Lorenzo Cain (1) Los Angeles Kings (1) Louisville Cardinals (1) Lyon (1) Major League Soccer (1) Major League Soccer standings (1) Marcell Ozuna (1) Marge Schott (1) Mariano Rivera (1) Mark McGwire (1) Mark Mulder (1) Mark Reynolds (1) Mark Scheifele (1) Martin Prado (1) Marvin Miller (1) Masahiro Tanaka (1) Matt Adams (1) Matt Carpenter (1) Matt Dominguez (1) Matt Harvey (1) Matt Joyce (1) Matt Moore (1) Matt Shoemaker (1) Matt Wieters (1) Max Kruse (1) Max Scherzer (1) Maya Moore (1) Memphis Grizzlies (1) Miami Hurricanes (1) Michael Bourn (1) Michael Cuddyer (1) Michael Roth (1) Michael Young (1) Mikael Granlund (1) Mike Bolsinger (1) Mike Ilitch (1) Mike Illitch (1) Mike Leake (1) Mike Matheny (1) Mike Minor (1) Mike Mussina (1) Mike Napoli (1) Mike Piazza (1) Mike Zunino (1) Mikko Koivu (1) MilwaukeeBrewers (1) Minnesota United FC (1) Mookie Betts (1) NBA (1) NBA Ear of Corn (1) NBA East Ear of Corn (1) NBA West Ear of Corn (1) NBA east traveling championship (1) NBA traveling championship (1) Napoli (1) Nashville Predators (1) National Football League (1) National Hockey League (1) National League Divisional Series (1) Nebraska Cornhuskers (1) Nes York Yankees (1) New England Patriots (1) New Jersey Devils (1) New Orleans Saints (1) New York FC (1) New York Knickerbockers (1) New York Red Bulls (1) NewYork Yankees (1) Newcastle United (1) Nick Markakis (1) Nick Saban (1) Nino Niederreiter (1) Nolan Ryan (1) North American traveling soccer championship (1) North League (1) Oakland Raiders (1) PNC Park (1) Pachuca (1) Palermo (1) Paris Saint-Germain (1) Paul Maholm (1) Paul Molitor (1) Paul Splittorff (1) Pedro (1) Pekka Rinne (1) Pete Carroll (1) Peter Bourjos (1) Phil Hughes (1) Phil Jackson (1) Philadephia Eagles (1) Pittsburgh Steelers (1) Preston Tucker (1) Prince Fielder (1) Quad Cities Angels (1) R.A. Dickey (1) R.A.Dickey (1) Ralph Garr (1) Randy Choate (1) Real Sociedad (1) Reggie Jackson (1) Reims (1) Rich Gale (1) Rich Hill (1) Rick Monday (1) Rick Reichardt (1) Rickey Henderson (1) Robert Cannon (1) Robert Lurie (1) Roberto Hernandez (1) Roger Scruton (1) Rogers Hornsby (1) Rohinson Cano (1) Ron Cey (1) Ron Washington (1) Roughned Odor (1) Rubby De La Rosa (1) Ryan Howard (1) Ryan Ludwick (1) Sacramento Kings (1) Safeco Field (1) Salvador Perez (1) Sam LeCure (1) San Francico Giants (1) San Francisco Giants (1) San Jose (1) San Jose Sharks (1) Sandy Koufax (1) Scott Diamond (1) Scott Dres (1) Scott Kazmir (1) Sean Marshall (1) Sebastian Giovinco (1) Second Divison (1) Seimone Augustus (1) Serie A (1) Seth Smith (1) Sevilla FC (1) Shin-Soo Choo (1) Sonny Gray (1) South League (1) Southern California Trojans (1) Spanish traveling soccer championship (1) Sporting KC (1) Staples Center (1) Starlin Castro (1) Stephen Drew (1) Steve Carlton (1) Steve Garvey (1) Super Bowl (1) Swansea City (1) Sylvia Fowles (1) Taijuan Walker (1) Texas A&M Aggies (1) Texas Christian Horned Frogs (1) Tim Federowicz (1) Tim Holbrook (1) Tim Hudson (1) Tim Raines (1) Todd Frazier (1) Toluca (1) Tom Glavine (1) Tom Seaver (1) Toronto Raptors (1) Toronton Blue Jays (1) Trevor May (1) Trevor Rosenthal (1) Tronto Blue Jays (1) Ty Cobb (1) UNAM (1) Utah Jazz (1) Vancouver Whitecaps (1) Vernon Wells (1) Victor Vázquez (1) Vladimir Guerrero. (1) WAR (1) Wade Davis (1) Wade LeBlanc (1) Wade Miley (1) Walter Haas (1) Walter O'Malley (1) Wandy Rodriguez (1) Warren Giles League (1) Washington Mystics (1) Washington Natinals (1) Washington Redskins (1) Washington Senators (1) Watford (1) Wellington Castillo (1) West Ham United (1) Will Myers (1) Wilmer Flores (1) Wily Peralta (1) Wins Above Replacement (1) Wisconsin Badgers (1) Yadier Molina (1) Yan Gomes (1) Yankee Stadium (1) Yuli Gurriel (1) Zach Britton (1) Zach Parise (1) Zack Cozart (1) baseball continental traveling championship (1) baseball traveling championship (1) college football (1) continental traveling hockey championship (1) drug testing (1) eastern hockey traveling championship (1) hockey traveling championship (1) pro basketbal traveling championship (1) pro basketball Ear of Corn (1) realignment (1) steven Souza (1) test (1) traveling championship (1) western basketball traveling championship (1) western hockey traveling championship (1) western pro hockey traveling championship (1) women's pro basketball First Division (1) women's pro basketball traveling championship (1)