BC's Bell Is Pitch Perfect
Guard Has Visual Of Success
Two or three times a week, Boston College senior guard Troy Bell goes into his dorm room, pulls a blindfold over his eyes, plays what he describes as "techno jazz" through a pair of headphones and thinks about nothing but basketball. "I visualize my shooting form and how I'm going to defend my man," Bell says. "I kind of zone out until I feel centered. Then I'm ready to play."
The results have been spectacular. Before stumbling with a 15-point performance in me Eagles' 91-54 loss to UConn last Saturday, Bell had averaged 30.8 points over a span of 12 games while shooting 52.0% from the field. Most important, BC won nine of those games (the surprising Eagles were 17-10 at week's end, 10-6 in the Big East) to win a share of the league's East Division lead.
Bell, a 6'1", 183-pound point guard, was the Big East rookie of the year in 1999-2000 and was co-player of the year as a sophomore. But this season BC got off to a 6-6 start mat included losses to Holy Cross and Northeastern. After consulting with George Mum-ford, a sports psychologist who was coach Al Skinner's roommate at UMass and who has worked with some NBA players, Bell began doing visualization exercises regularly in January, and he credits them for his late-season scoring surge. In Big East play he averaged a league-record 27.8 points a game, in the process becoming the Eagles' alltime leading scorer (2,550 points). Says Bell, "I feel like I've won before I step on the court."
Carolina Finally Beats Duke
Tar Heels Prove Rivalry Isn't Dead
How badly did North Carolina want to beat Duke on Sunday? With little hope of going to the NCAA tournament, the Tar Heels' best chance to put a positive spin on a season mat has been marred by injuries and mounting losses was to beat their Tobacco Road nemesis.
Carolina had failed to beat Duke in 11 of their last 12 meetings, leading many to suggest that Duke-Maryland had supplanted Duke-North Carolina as the ACC's preeminent rivalry. But the Tar Heels showed that the rivalry was alive and well with an 82-79 victory. North Carolina's intensity mirrored that of coach Matt Doherty, who was involved in an altercation with the score tied at 63 with 8:16 remaining. Doherty exchanged words with Blue Devils assistant Chris Collins and was shoved by Duke reserve Andre Buckner after the Tar Heels' Raymond Felton took an elbow from the Devils' Dahntay Jones. "We've been taking punches to the face all year, and we've come off the mat each time," said Doherty afterward. "We played a great game against a great opponent. It was one of those classic Carolina-Duke games."