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On May 8, the hottest items on the N.C. ballot will be picking a candidate in the Republican pimary and voting on Amendment One, which bans all forms of legally recognized marriages other than those between and man and a woman.

Will even one of these two reasons be enough to draw N.C. college students to the polls?

Taking into account that final exams for UNC, Duke University and N.C. State University end May 4, May 5 and May 9 respectively, meaning many will have no structure on May 8 because the semester has ended and their summer job hasn’t started, here are the predictions for who would bother to fill out a ballot in the May primaries.

With an assignment of reporting on voter apathy, I started with asking friends.

“Yes, I am an apathetic voter. Why do you care?” was a common response.

College students might have Tweeted about Rep. Anthony Weiner sending a lewd picture of himself to all his Twitter followers, or shared a campaign video of Rick Perry’s on a friend’s Facebook wall for a good laugh, but they are unlikely to turn out at the polls to vote for or against these politicians.

They, like the rest of America, are suffering from voter apathy.

But one friend caught me off-guard when I asked him if he voted.

“Of course I vote! I have to exercise my civic duty,” said Jack Zapple, and it should be noted that his father is running for county commissioner of New Hanover County. “If anything, it’s because so few in the world can.”

Very true. Let’s compare the U.S.’s voting situation to Afghanistan’s. Afghanistan held its first election in 2004, which had an 83 percent turnout from the registered voters and 67 percent turnout from the voting age population, according to the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance. Although the voting day was relatively peaceful, nearly 1,000 people, including U.S. troops, election workers and Afghan voters, were reported killed by Associated Press in 2004 before the election. 

Threatened by attacks from the Taliban and other armed opposition groups, Afghans have voted less in subsequent elections. In 2010, possibly plus or minus a few fraud ballots, 45.8 percent of the registered voters and only 29.7 percent of the voting age population cast a ballot.

Now let’s think about voting in the U.S. Those passionate about U.S. citizens exercising their civic duty popped the champagne bottles in 2008 when 5 million more people voted in the presidential election than in 2004, with a total of 49 percent of the registered 18-to-24-year-old  voters and  64 percent turnout for the voting age population, according to the U.S. Census.

In other words, for the two countries’ most popular elections of the past decade, four out of five registered voters cast a ballot in Afghanistan despite insurgent attacks, compared to three out of five registered voters in the U.S.

Some complain that the right to vote is still threatened in the U.S. by states passing laws requiring identification cards at the polls, or adding other steps to the voting process,  but the real problem is that people just don’t care or bother.

On May 8, the North Carolina ballot will include democratic governor nominations, Republican presidential candidate nominations and Amendment One, banning gay marriage and unrecognizing all relationships other than marriage between a man and a woman.

In the May primaries for 2008, Wake County, where N.C. State University is located, saw a 39.2 percent turnout; Orange County, holding UNC, saw a 48.5 percent turnout; and Durham County, containing Duke University, saw at 51.27 percent turnout. There are hot issues on the ballot for both registered Republicans and Democrats, but since none of the Republican candidates have made as trendy campaign posters as Barack Obama did in 2008, it is unclear whether the actual candidates and issues at hand will be enough to get the Triangle Area college students to vote.

Taking into account that final exams for UNC, Duke University and N.C. State University end May 4, May 5 and May 9 respectively, meaning many will have no structure on May 8 because the semester has ended and their summer job hasn’t started, here are the predictions for who would bother to fill out a ballot in the May primaries. What do you think?

UNC and Duke University  students are facing off in a competition that’s just for laughs.

Student-comedians from the two Tobacco Road Rivalry schools are vying for the top spot in the National College Comedy Competition to perform at TBS’s Just for Laughs festival in Chicago.

Four comedians from each school advanced to regionals after a live showcase on March 20 and online voting, which factors into the comedians’ scores, begins April 1. The competition is sponsored by Rooftop Comedy, TBS and Wendy’s restaurants.

Eight comedians from each team competed in the live showcase at DSI Comedy in Carrboro, but only four were selected by local judges to make it to regionals.

Regionals is the third level in the six stage competition where UNC and Duke will face-off, and the winner will advance to the quarterfinals against the winner of Florida v. Florida State.

The four UNC comedians that advanced to regionals after the March 20 performance are Kyle Rainey, Cody Hughes, Ben Long and Kenan Stewart.

During round two, Kenan Stewart got the crowd bursting with laughter for his stand-up act on being a senior still living in campus dorms.

“I try every day, even when I’m not performing that day, to make at least one person laugh, and to laugh at least once myself,” Stewart said.

The stand-up acts had a variety of characters and a variety of topics. The topics ranged from testing how men react to women’s tears, the glorification of the airplane magazine, “SkyMall” and deaf people.

One of the comedians who did a stand-up act about his interaction with deaf people was Duke Comedian Rob Zaleski.

Zaleski and his teammates—Ann Krabbenschmidt, Charlie Molthrop and Lawrence Nemeh—advanced to regionals, though Zaleski thought he did not get the audience to respond as he expected.

“I was kind of disappointed with my set,” Zaleski said. “I thought it would do better than it did.”

“I thought maybe the crowd wasn’t that warmed up yet, and maybe my first joke rubbed them the wrong way.” Zaleski, majoring in psychology, said he hopes to do better in regionals.

Comedy School Instructor Tom Keller, who was a judge for the competition, performed comedy acts in college and said he was impressed by the talent of the student-comedians in the showcase.

“If Tom Keller in college had been in that competition, he would have been booed off the stage,” Keller said.

“I’m just continuously blown away by the level of intelligent humor that I see around here on the college level,” he said. “There is no stronger scene for comedy than right here in North Carolina.”

With regionals beginning in less than two weeks, the comedians have expressed concern in the online voting process that will begin April 1.  Some comedians said that after regionals the competition becomes based more on popularity instead of the quality of stand-up.

UNC senior Matt Krantz, who did not advance to regionals this year, has had past experiences with the competition’s online voting.

“The regionals come down to how much you can leverage social media,” Krantz said.

Rooftop Comedy Representative Laura Furney Howe said that Rooftop is trying to avoid that situation by combining student online voting with the voting of an online judging panel made up of professional comedians.

Rooftop Comedy had a difficult time ensuring that comedians from larger universities would not win simply based on their school’s size. Comedians representing smaller schools, like Morehouse College in Atlanta could lose against the votes of Penn State University, who won the NCCC in 2011, if online voting turned into a school size game.

UNC made it to finals in 2008, and were regional champions in 2009 and 2010.

This article was written for the JOMC 253 Reporting class at UNC’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication.

UNC received a No. 1 seed in the Midwest region in the bracket reveal Sunday.

The team will play the winner of the Lamar/Vermont game in Greensboro on Friday, and if they win, play again in Greensboro on Sunday.

Link to full NCAA men’s basketball bracket

The number 1 seeds are Kentucky (South), Syracuse (East), UNC (Midwest) and Michigan State (West).

Duke recieved a number 2 seed in the South, a tough region that includes Kentucky, UConn and Indiana.

Check back for updates on UNC’s schedule in the tournament.

The team, heading back from a loss to FSU in the ACC championship Sunday, Tweeted their reactions:

There is one thing that Tar Heels and Blue Devils may agree on: every time the men’s basketball teams face off on the court, it feels like it’s for all the marbles.

This Saturday there actually is a title on the line–the ACC regular season champion–as North Carolina and Duke meet for the season title for the seventh time. With the two rivals’ records equally matched at 26-4, and 13-2 for ACC play, the 7 p.m. tip-off at Cameron Indoor Stadium will decide who takes home this year’s top spot.

In the spirit of the seventh ACC regular season title match-up between the teams, let’s look at seven reasons why this season’s conference championship comes down to UNC vs. Duke:

UNC

AP ranked no. 6

1. Dishing it out: Sophomore point guard Kendall Marshall has passed himself into the assist leader boards. The point guard broke Ed Cota’s first place UNC single-season assist record Wednesday’s win against Maryland with 289 assists so far this season, and going into this week, Marshall was second in the nation with 9.6 assists a game and first in the nation in assist/turnover ration with an average 3.66 a game. North Carolina would not be able to execute as it has on offense without Marshall’s passing vision on the court.

2. Kings of the boards: The Tar Heels lead the nation in rebounding margin with a team average 11.1 rebounds a game more than opponents. Junior forward John Henson, first in rebounds in the ACC with an average 10.3 rebounds a game, and senior forward Tyler Zeller, third in rebounds in the ACC with an average 9.3 rebounds a game, have ruled the glass this season as the only two ACC players to average at least 9.0 rebounds a game in conference play. These second chances to score and the limitations on opponents to one shot have given the Heels an edge this season.

3. The backup: North Carolina has not had to worry about the level of play dropping when the starts leave the game with consistent players on the Tar Heel bench. Senior guard Justin Watts has seen 60 minutes off the bench and earned two UNC coach-chosen defensive player of the game. Freshman guard P.J. Hairston started the season with making the Las Vegas Invitational All-Tournament Team and displayed standout performances like his five-point scoring run that closed the gap as the Heels rallied to beat Virginia. Freshman forward James Michael McAdoo also had a notable performance against Virginia with five points, two rebounds and a steal, as well as the team’s second-most drawn charges with five for the season.

DUKE  

AP ranked no. 4

4. For the three: Duke leads the ACC in 3-point percentage, with 39 percent, and with the most 3-pointers made, with 252 baskets from outside the arch. Many of those Blue Devils 3-pointers have come from four players who have each hit at least 40 of the shots this season: Andre Dawkins with 66 3-pointers, Seth Curry with 53 3-pointers, Austin Rivers with 52 3-pointers and Ryan Kelly with 40 3-pointers. While the Duke’s average 10.6 points more than their opponents, the team’s average 25.2 points a game from behind the 3-point line has propelled the Blue Devils through this winning season.

5. Whose house: The Blue Devils are the 13th team in ACC history to go undefeated on the road in conference play with an 8-0 travel record. This dominance away from home has silenced many many crowds and left no doubt that Duke can finish even without the roar of Cameron Indoor to cheer them on. Of the 13 ACC teams to ever go undefeated on the road, North Carolina has achieved it the most with six season and Duke is second with four seasons.

6. Skin of the teeth: When the game comes down to the last seconds, Duke has been able to pull ahead for the win. In games decided by 10 points or less, the Blue Devils are 15-3, including the buzzer-beating, one-point win against North Carolina in this season’s last meeting. The team’s 15 wins by 10 points or less is the highest for a season in the school’s history.

The Rivalry

7. Blue at the top-spot: While some may think that seven meetings for the ACC title may seem a little low for Carolina and Duke, the numbers show that in recent years either the Tar Heels or the Blue Devils take the ACC’s top spot. This is the ninth season in a row that one of the two legacy programs will be the ACC regular season champion. It’s the eight time since 1980 that the teams take the one and two spots. While the Tar Heels are 4-2 in the six previous UNC-Duke season title match-ups, there is no doubt that both schools’ boys in blue have been a force to be reckoned with in the ACC.

Follow @reesenews and @reesesport on Twitter during Saturday’s 7 p.m. game for updates.

Related:

The private life of Ramses

UNC vs. Duke: the numbers behind the rivalry

Inside K-ville


Inside Krzyzewskiville

Many Duke students have been rallying in line since Jan. 15th for the home game against UNC on Saturday March 3rd in a phenomena called Krzyzewskiville. The undergraduate students have tented in line for a spot in the student section amongst the other Cameron Crazies. Students have been tenting on campus since 1986, and it’s been a Duke tradition ever since.

With the recent drop in attendance, some of the most dedicated students have shown spirit by ditching their comfortable dorm-rooms and tenting through the confusing quandary of North Carolina weather.

Related:

Seven reasons why the ACC season title comes down to UNC-Duke

The secret life of Ramses

UNC vs. Duke: the numbers behind the rivalry

Editor’s note: This graphic was produced by the J484 Information Graphics course. This is part of a series about UNC basketball. Continue to check reesenews.org and reesesport throughout the NCAA tournament to see updates to the series.

The 2011 Tar Heel basketball series of graphics

Each year, one in 10 Americans will fill out a March Madness bracket. They will wager about $7 billion on their picks, but they have only a 1 in 9.2 quintillion chance of picking perfectly. So what’s the best way to fill it out?

Click on the image below to explore the science behind the bracket, and download the pdf version of this graphic.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Related:

Seven reasons why the ACC season title comes down to UNC-Duke

ACC basketball attendance has fallen to a average combined 9,406 fans between the league’s 12 teams, while the Heel’s have averaged 19,960 fans in attendance after just 16 games, according to a recent post on the ESPN North Carolina Basketball blog. There are two more home games in the 2012 season, and each have sold out the Smith Center’s full capacity of 21,750 tickets.

“The numbers still haven’t reached the level of the 2007-2008 and 2008-2009 seasons when UNC made the Final Four and won the NCAA title…But they’re getting closer,” ESPN blog writer Robbi Pickeral wrote.

Following two less than successful seasons, the 2011-2012 Carolina basketball team has a current record of 23 wins out of the 27 regular season games played thus far. Carolina basketball fans hope for the best as the ACC tournament and close of the season approach, but also as Carolina’s March 3 reunion with Duke looms.

Ron Wellman, athletic director for Wake Forest and ACC representative on the NCAA tournament selection committee, speculated in a recent Washington Post article that the decline is due to a decreased competitiveness in the division.

The ACC has won more NCAA titles than any other conference since 1981, eight of them belonging to Carolina and Duke. Despite Carolina’s recent devastating loss to Duke, the UNC basketball team continues to bring a more consistent turn out of fans while, in the past month, Duke has resorted to selling student tickets to the public in an effort to sell out more games.

Three days after the shocking one-point loss to Duke, UNC fans can’t forget the final moments of the game.

Scoreboard gallery from the game

UNC beats Duke in stunning buzzer beater

News round-up: The best reporting on Duke’s stunning victory over UNC

 

Time lapse of UNC’s loss to Duke at the Smith Center. Austin Rivers sunk a three-pointer in the final second to lead the Blue Devils to victory in this matchup of the tobacco road rivalry.

For a recap of the game, click here.

To view our scoreboard gallery from the game, click here.

Duke rallied against a 10-point deficit in the last few minutes against UNC on Feb. 9 to win the game in the last second on a three-pointer.

Scoreboard gallery from the game

UNC beats Duke in stunning buzzer beater

Here are some of the best stories on the heartbreaking loss for UNC:

UNC’s Adam Lucus on Duke’s final shot:

The highlights will show that [Austin Rivers's] buzzer-beater is how Carolina lost the game. It was not how Carolina lost the game. Up ten points with under 2:30 to play, it takes an unbelievable series of events to create a comeback. Like, for example, a pair of three-pointers off an offensive rebound and an uncharacteristic turnover, another offensive rebound that led to two more points, a Tar Heel tipping the ball into the Duke basket, and a last-second mismatch that leads to some uncertainty. All of that had to happen. If any one of those five things doesn’t happen—over a 150-second span in which the Tar Heels did not attempt a single field goal—this is a very different story. But they all happened. All five of them.

Lucus on blaming Zeller for the loss:

Understand this: to get anywhere close to blaming the loss on him is foolhardy. If Zeller hadn’t shown up in the first half, Duke might well have taken a double-digit lead into the locker room and coasted through the second half. He had 23 points and 11 rebounds and was a couple of made free throws away from this story being about his epic Carolina-Duke performance.

Roy Williams said Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski apologized for the Blue Devil celebration after the shot, but Williams told him that no apology was necessary, ESPN reports:

“I told them they should be excited about that; that doesn’t bother me at all,” Williams said. “When you’re a coach, they coach with a passion, just like we do. They had a passion that they showed when the shot went in … it’s two great teams fighting as hard as they can fight.”

CBS Sports on what the loss meant for UNC:

After he had made the game-winning jumper, got covered in teammates and completed an interview that was broadcast live to a national audience that must’ve been just as stunned as the rest of us, Duke’sAustin Rivers jogged off the court beside the North Carolina student section and delivered one last parting shot while looking at and saluting the heartbroken undergraduates. ”See y’all,” Rivers yelled with a big smile on his face. One student cussed at him. The rest just seemed too confused to respond.

Fox Sports on the improbability of a Duke victory:

Duke freshman guard Austin Rivers came up huge (29 points) and drained the final 3-pointer, securing a win that, for most of the second half, seemed highly improbable. Surely there was no way the struggling Blue Devils could come into this massive hallowed hall and beat perhaps the most talented team in the nation, a UNC squad playing its best hoops of the season. Not this Duke team fresh off a home loss to Miami — its second home defeat to a school from Florida in three weeks. Not these Blue Devils, who had been openly criticized by their own Hall of Fame coach the past few days. Are you kidding?

The players were left not knowing how to react, The Daily Tar Heel reports:

Immediately after the game, the typically positive Barnes hadn’t quite figured out just what to make of the whole situation. “You go out there, you don’t play well in the first half, you play well in the second half, and then you blow a 10-point lead and lose on a last-second shot,” Barnes said. “What can be said about a game lost like that?”