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A Few Items

-- From Northwestern's student newspaper comes this article about former Wolfpack baseball/basketball player Tim Stoddard:

There have been 71 winners of the NCAA Division I men's basketball tournament since its inception in 1939 and 69 teams crowned World Series champions during that time span.

Only one player holds the distinction of winning one of each: Northwestern pitching coach Tim Stoddard.

Stoddard was the starting power forward for the 1973-74 North Carolina State team that won it all, and he came out of the bullpen for the Baltimore Orioles in their 1983 title season.

For the past 16 years, he has served alongside manager Paul Stevens in the Wildcats' dugout.

"Anybody who can play top-of-the-line college basketball and make it to the major leagues and pitch as well as Tim pitched at many different stops is a wonderful athlete," said current Chicago White Sox broadcaster Steve Stone, who was Stoddard's teammate for three seasons with the Orioles.

To win the national championship, N.C. State had to knock off UCLA, which had won the last seven NCAA tournaments. The Bruins were led by star center Bill Walton, and Stoddard was responsible for keeping him in check.

"I was big for that type of player," said the 6-foot-7 Stoddard. "I just used my strength to really try to keep him under control as much as I could. I tried to muscle him around."

-- The Fayetteville Observer's Dan Wiederer writes about the immediate pressure that will be facing Lorenzo Brown this winter:

A natural wing, he’ll also likely be asked to man the point guard position for significant chunks of time as the Pack continues its search for a reliable floor general.

"There’s going to be a tremendous pressure for Lorenzo to really emerge early — out of necessity," said Dave Telep, the national recruiting director for Scout.com. "They need the minutes, they need the points out of him. And they’re probably going to need him to man a position that he’s still transitioning to.

"That’s a lot for a young guy to handle. Does he have the talent to handle that? Absolutely. But you better understand that there’s going to be a learning curve for a kid who’s a) learning the college game but b) learning to be a guy who’s asked to shoulder a whole lot for his team."

-- Only one of NC State's three major sports finished above .500 this past year, no match for South Carolina's 3-for-3 effort, but I'm laughing at this anyway. If the N&O did something similar during the Fowler era, it would be construed as another move in the ongoing conspiracy to keep NC State's mediocre leadership in place. Those fears would be confirmed when an additional lifetime extension was promptly added to Lee Fowler's current deal, ensuring his role as Athletics Director well into the 22nd century, a tenure that would eventually be made possible thanks to advancements in robotics by NC State scientists.

"This here's a little ditty about Paul Derr Geodome locker room improvements."