Sam: Time to recount an interesting, if uneventful, season in Carolina hoops. The theme of this year, for me anyway, was “meeting expectations.” The Heels seemingly did that time and time again. They never really performed below what we were expecting from them at the beginning of the year, but they also never really outperformed our expectations to pull off some resume wins. If this season were made into a movie, it would be a really boring ass movie.
Benn: Would it? Sure, now that we’re stepping back and looking at it the season didn’t quite have the highs and lows of past years, but think about it as it progressed.
We went into the year with high expectations and a lofty preseason ranking. Got exposed by a Butler team in Maui causing early season trepidation. Regained confidence in the nonconference before being blown out by a Texas team without its best player, starting the NIT train. The Heels built up some trust going into the ACC docket with a solid win vs. a UNLV team we expected would finish the season better, then immediately found themselves in an 0-2 conference hole with losses to teams who proved to be viable competitors, but at the time we didn’t realize it.
This is where Carolina fans became delusional in one of two ways. It was either the Tar Heels were not even going to make the CBI because Ol’ Roy had lost it and UNC couldn’t get the talent it was once used to, or North Carolina was going to begin in improbable run to a NCAA championship because we all remember the last time UNC was 0-2 in ACC play they won it all in 2009.
Roy and the Tar Heels would level off at this point (although you can make the argument they never peaked or dipped at all through the year) meaning you were stuck in one of your two ridiculous opinions for a couple weeks. That is until that fateful night in Cameron Indoor when small ball became a thing. Yes, Duke won, but P.J. Hairston was now starting! And Roy did something different! Now ushered in the weeks of undeserved arrogance. We all felt great and the new-look Heels seemed unstoppable — until the second Duke game.
At that point I would agree that most Carolina fans finally decided that the season was mediocre by UNC standards and that it wasn’t all that bad but it definitely could have been better. But think of all the lows and highs we did feel, as false as they ultimately were. You say this would be a boring ass movie, I say it would be one of those shallow thrillers that get re-run on TNT for eternity. You’ll always turn it on but you don’t mind walking away.
Sam: You’re right. In the moment, the season was a volatile stock market of ups and downs. After some tough losses, notably Texas, everyone was selling on UNC. UNLV happened and everyone wanted in on the action. Twice they even pulled the roller coaster act on us in the span of one game, the first Duke game and the Kansas game. In fact, those two games could almost serve as microcosms of the whole season. Unlocked potential and amazing ability paired to give us hope for something we didn’t think was possible, but ultimately the Heels fell a bit short of greatness.
Those up-and-down emotions all related to the game results, but while we’re in reflective mode, I’d also like to comment on the likeability of this team. Despite some frustrating play, I really enjoyed watching them. We were able to watch Marcus Paige get incrementally better every game. We saw P.J. go from a bench player who couldn’t hit the broad side of barn as a freshman to a dominant force and leading scorer. We saw glimpses of the future in Brice Johnson’s touch around the basket.
I have to feel a little bad for James Michael McAdoo, who was expected to be “the guy” this year. We found out that he wasn’t quite ready to be the focal point, but as P.J. emerged, even JMM improved in finding a better role and becoming much more efficient. Instead of those 9 for 21 nights, he was converting more like 7 of 10 by the end.
Benn: Funny how media and press (I’ll include us in this generalization) put these unreal expectations on a player like JMM in the preseason based off a couple games where he could play with no abandon on a stacked team and then get disappointed and feel sympathetic toward him when he doesn’t produce. We of course realized this around early in the season but by then it was too late. Luckily it seems like it hasn’t affected him much.
But I kind of wish it had.
This is a likable team, I agree with you there. But it’s likable because some of these youngin’s have been showing actual emotion on the court. Save #JMMFace it was a rare occasion when JMM looked like more than a lamb. That’s why P.J. is so fun to watch. He’s got that Rashad McCants factor about him. Marcus is vocal as well. That was my only gripe with Reggie. He’d get into the action, throw some hand signs up, but was pretty reserved. I’m still going to miss Reggie, but reservations were similar to what kept me from becoming more enamored with Harrison Barnes. The lack of emoting doesn’t mean they don’t care or aren’t passionate, but it takes more convincing at times.
Sam: Since the departure of Tyler Hansbrough, we’ve definitely seen a lack of emotion on the court for the Heels. I’m not quite sure how to feel about it. In the case of Hansbrough, who was the de facto leader of the team for several years, it was a great asset in how he could inspire his teammates. When Barnes was in Chapel Hill, a definite void existed when the arguably best player was more reserved. Plenty of articles were written about the very topic of “Who will emerge as a leader” for that 2012 team. Luckily for that them, Kendall Marshall’s adept facilitating ability covered up for a lack of leadership. It didn’t matter if someone was playing with emotion or not because he was going to get them the ball in the right spot.
This year, the catalyst was, without question, P.J. When he came off the bench early in the year, he provided an instant spark. Then after the much-ballyhooed move into the starting lineup he emerged as UNC’s best offensive threat. It’s exciting that he’s coming back next year. It could be a special season for him.
If Vegas took wagers on such a thing, I’d bet that P.J. will be the leader of next year’s team, regardless of whether the Heels snag Andrew Wiggins, who would likely be the best all-around player. Knowing that we have a leader already in the clubhouse is a nice feeling. We haven’t had that since the days of Psycho T. In 2010 it was supposed to be who? Marcus Ginyard? In 2011 the general consensus might have been freshman Harrison Barnes, junior Tyler Zeller or, gasp, junior Larry Drew? In both 2012 and 2013 the very question of who the leader would be was a hot topic for comment sections and bloggers alike. I want to get out in front and declare that this year, finally, we have one, and it’s P.J. Hairston.
Benn: Log that under things I would not have said in 2012. I like how that should set up the rest of the team as well.
We already mentioned that taking some of that leadership role off Marcus Paige was a good thing this year, and having P.J. still around to handle the heavy lifting scoring wise in the backcourt means Marcus can focus on facilitating for others and letting the game come to him. There’s going to be a glut of PG talent the next couple years with sophomore Marcus, frosh Nate Britt, possible 3x Mr. Basketball for the state of Florida Joel Berry in the 2014 class and the possible return of Stilman White in 2014 with three years of eligibility left, not to mention Luke Davis still chilling on the sideline. What happens this year between Britt and Marcus will be interesting. It’s crazy that I feel so confident with ball handlers even after losing the nation’s leading assist:TO guy (yeah, Dexter Strickland finished tops in the country in that category).
The 2 is PJ and Leslie McDonald. We know what PJ can do and will be leaning hard on him. Leslie was good for a couple double-digit outings last season, and we’ll need him to do that again as a spark off the bench. I mean, I guess these guys are both the “2,” right? Who’s the 3 left on the team now with Reggie gone? J.P. Tokoto seems to be the only “fit” at the role unless Roy moves PJ to the “3.” But then who does that leave as the starting 2?
I’m not ruling JP’s development out as a player yet but I’m also not comfortable handing the starting role over to him either. You could maybe argue that what Jackson Simmons did last year at times could get him into the token 3 spot as the hustle defender Roy likes to start. This is where we could do a whole schtick about how Andrew “Ender” Wiggins is the perfect fit for this UNC team for this exact reason. We’ll save that for later but seriously, everything on this team is built for an athletic wing who can score. You have an inside presence and solid backcourt. A player with a high skill set could do serious work/damage here, that player just doesn’t seem to be on the roster right now. We don’t fault Reggie for leaving, but man he could have had fun in 2013-2014.
Down in the front court the Heels are all the sudden stacked again, at least on the number of bodies, not that we’re complaining. JMM is back, so is Desmond Hubert, Joel James, Brice Johnson and Simmons. Add two McDonald’s All-Americans to that with Isaiah Hicks and Kennedy “Sean May 2.0” Meeks, who are both expected to contribute immediately, and that’s a lot of big frames. Hicks could be the answer at the 3 with his Brandan Wright/John Henson/Brice Johnson frame but if scouting reports are to be believed he needs to improve his jump shot first, although his defense is apparently already there. I’d expect a possible JMM/Meeks starting line-up which sounds just wonderful right now. Who knows who elevates himself in practice though to get that 5 spot opposite McMug.
All I know is bench squad is going to be deep this year. #BENCHSQUAD
But seriously, who’s the fifth starter after a presumed Paige/Hairston/McAdoo/Meeks line-up? Or am I just off the mark here?
Sam: Well, ideally it’s Wiggins, but he’s the longshot, so let’s work with what we know. Given Roy’s (sometimes frustrating) loyalty to upperclassmen, I think P.J. moves to the three, and Leslie McDonald starts at the two. Leslie’s game is kind of one-dimensional, but as a spot-up shooter he’s pretty good. He even had some great defensive spurts at times last year.
And say P.J. does play small forward, do we really think he would play like a small forward? P.J. was third in made 3-pointers in the ACC last year PLAYING POWER FORWARD. Dude will get his shots.
I think you’re on to something saying Meeks will get the nod. All the scouting reports say he’s a traditional back-to-the-basket center, and we know Roy loves him some traditional back-to-the-basket centers. But I’m going to throw another hat in the ring – Joel James. James is something of a project, but really, he’s one “go-to” move away from being a nice player. He’s really athletic for his size, which is considerable, and if he were a threat on offense it would open up things wonderfully for the Heels. Plus, all that stuff about Roy loving his veterans.
Given that Desmond Hubert got every chance he could have hoped for to earn a starting spot last year, I think he’s missed his opportunity and Roy will be looking for something new. My final starters go like this: 1) Paige 2) McDonald 3) Hairston 4) McMug 5) James.
First guy off the bench? Brice Johnson.
Benn: I could see Leslie getting the start, as well as Joel. At this point it is totally plausible. Brice coming off the bench with his Antawn Jamison-like quick shot would be the offensive spark that Leslie used to occupy and provides a quick sub for Joel in that scenario. It also keeps the freshman trio of Meeks, Hicks and Britt together as a second unit. For them to be practicing together as a squad and coming off the bench together could be huge for chemistry and would limit the fall-off production-wise from first to second team.
As for Desmond, I think he’s just destined to be Byron Saunders 2.0. He’s a talented big body that works hard in practice – which is obviously great for players like Meeks and James – and gets between 0-6 minutes a game as a purely defensive stopper. Of course, Byron has a ring to show for it. One can dream…
My biggest hope is that this team figures itself out earlier than 2012-2013. The constant shuffling was nerve-wracking and at times entertaining, but it did make me pine for those seasons where Roy just essentially plugged and played with the same starters and subs.
Is it too early to be talking about preseason predictions?
I’m a bit worried about those completely unnecessary preseason polls that come out the day after the NCAA Final. I will say though that this year’s preseason spots are more earned than last. ESPN’s Jason King has UNC at 11, Dickie V at 10, SI’s Luke Winn has the Heels at 9 in his power rankings and Seth Davis said they were 15 (pre McAdoo draft decision). Because you hate going into the season with too high of expectations I personally like Davis’ spot, close to where they were heading into 2012-2013 but with games to back it up.
I will say, however, that I EXPECT them to make it out of the first weekend of the 2014 tournament whereas this year I was on record saying I would have been ecstatic had they made it.
Sam: That would mean winning only one more tourney game than this season, so I think reaching the Sweet 16 is definitely a reasonable expectation. With potential big jumps coming from Paige and Hairston, and a more natural role for McAdoo, I think we can think even bigger — like Elite Eight?
To make the Elite Eight, the Heels would likely have to beat a No. 1 or No. 2 seed (or actually be a No. 1 or No. 2 seed themselves). Given that scenario, I’m not ready to declare Elite Eight yet, but depending on how the sophomores progress — namely Paige, James and Johnson — we could get our hopes up this November.
7:46 a.m. – Resist the Tart-tation. We have breakfast plans.
8:05 a.m. – Depart D.C.
9:05 a.m. – Stop for breakfast at Chick fil A in Stafford, Va. Bojangles and Chick Fil A give us the most fast-food nostalgia of going to school in the south. Cook Out is another one, but it was breakfast.
12:45 p.m. – Park illegally in a lot off Skipper Bowles Drive and make our way to the Basketball Museum, where we saw this parked outside.
12:55 p.m. – Take a gander at the staggering list of recruits that are scheduled to visit the museum today (sorry the pic is sideways.) Seriously, if you don’t recognize the names, google these guys.
1:10 p.m. – Realize that Hubert Davis and C.B. McGrath are showing a recruit around the museum and get really excited. It’s Rashad Vaughn with them.
1:12 p.m. – Fail to ask for a picture with Davis because I’m too nervous. I know he won’t mind, he’s taken a few pics with some other people, but I can’t bring myself to do it. I’m kind of a pansy in this regard.
1:14 p.m. – UNC has always had style
1:30 p.m. – Leave basketball museum and kick myself for not taking a picture with Hubert.
1:45 p.m. – Arrive at Milltown and meet up with my parents for beers and the PRIME RIB SANDWICH. You guys, this is the best. thing. on. the. menu. Don’t say I didn’t tell you.
4:30 p.m. – Leave Milltown and head to He’s Not Here for blue cups. Before arriving, I was worried I’d stick out as the old guy. But there were kids playing cornhole outside. Like 5-year-old kids. Their parents were inside. Now I feel young again! Also, it’s hard to see in this pic, but the blue cups are actually Carolina blue now instead of that weird in-between color they used to be. Crazy!
7:40 p.m. – Quick bite at I Love NY Pizza. With this stop, we’re fully in the college-kid zone now. Milltown didn’t quite have the same crowd as we’re seeing at He’s Not and NY. This stop is also to soak up some of the rowdiness that is creeping into our systems.
7:50 p.m. – Stop by Walgreens to get some 5-hour Energy. I’m too old for this shit.
7:50 p.m. – Also grab a small 8-oz. or so bottle of wine at Walgreens for covert sipping on the walk to the Dean Dome. I’m NOT too old!
8:30ish p.m. – Arrive at Smith Center ready for action. This is the height of excitement for the weekend.
8:45 p.m. – LINEUPSSSSSSSSSSS ANNOUNCEDDDDDDDDDD
9:15 p.m. – WHAT IS HAPPENING!? No pictures of this.
11:00 p.m. – Begin walking back to Franklin St. “I can never go to another Duke game EVER!!” *sniffles* (I’m 0-3 for my career)
11:30ish p.m. – Arrive at Carolina Coffee Shop. Proceed to order LITs and beers.
2:10 a.m. – Leave Coffee Shop. Need noms. Make way over to [B]ski’s.
2:30ish a.m. – See a drunken argument between a UNC and Duke girl end with Duke girl getting slapped. P.J. Hairston, Dexter Strickland and Reggie Bullock make an appearance. Again, too embarrassed to try and take a pic.
It’s that time again. Not only is the ACC Tournament upon us but it’s also that time where we roll out another themed edition of our very own ACC Power Rankings.
This time we chose something near and dear to our hearts. An import that trickled down from our northern neighbor and found a place in our pantheon of great television. Even more exciting than the seven seasons of TV this product gave us, it also threw in several movies to the universe it created and another film is on the way.
If you don’t already know this classic series, it’s Trailer Park Boys. Chronicling the lives of three felonious buds-Julian, Ricky and Bubbles-TPB delves deeper into the underbelly of circumstances that lead to the “fucked” lives all the residents of Sunnyvale live. There are few franchises outside of The Wire that have more story lines and characters you’ll care about — or more cursing.
1. Miami – Cyrus
Always in trouble with the law. Cyrus takes over the trailer park when they boys aren’t around, much like Miami capitalized on a down ACC to become king of the conference.
2. Duke – Mr. Jim Lahey
Drunk bastard. You sometimes want to sympathize with Lahey (Duke) but never can because he does too much shifty stuff. Like the Trailer Park Boys (Julian, Ricky and Bubbles) finally reach a sort of ceasefire with Lahey, the rest of Tobacco Road (UNC, State and Wake) has learned to deal with Duke. It doesn’t mean they don’t hate the fucker; they just have to live with him.
3. UNC – Julian
Leader, general good guy, always looking in the right direction even when his “teammates” are getting him into trouble. He’s trusted to keep others in line and loves them despite their flaws — be it YOLO jumpshots or the ability to always find a way to get arrested. Much like UNC, he never admits mistakes.
4. Virginia – Randy
Another smart school like Duke/Lahey. Randy packs cheeseburgers in his gut just as well as UVA runs the pack-line defense. He sometimes asserts himself, but then undoubtedly falls back to Earth. Virginia can sometimes pull out the big win, but also lost to half the CAA this year.
5. NC State – Ricky
Bumbling sidekick of Julian. Can be counted on for a laugh (NC State sheeeet). Never can get his act together but always seems to get people to think that he does. Ricky’s on-and-off again girlfriend Lucy is always ready to give him another chance while the ACC media picked State to win the league this year. Sometimes you have to call a spade a spade.
6. Florida State – J-Roc
This year were really trying to be something that they’re not. Not fooling anyone but we let them go with it. “You know what I’m sayin’?”
7. Maryland – Cory & Trevor
Cory and Trevor have to be lumped together because they are effectively one person. They want to run with the big dogs (Julian and Ricky), but constantly get left hanging. They finally flee the park in the last season because they think they can do better elsewhere (B1G, anyone?) by not being around Julian and Ricky, but not before Ricky hits them up for smokes one last time (ACC exit fee).
8. Boston College – Ray
Ray fakes his disability and BC seems to think its hard to recruit in the Boston metropolitan area. We know that ain’t right. Ray is always talking about the “way of the road,” and Donahue runs a “good program,” with that Ivy League pedigree and all. Oh yeah, Ray pisses in jugs.
9. Georgia Tech – Conky
Conky is a dummy. Georgia Tech is as well, but somehow they keep terrifying the shit out of UNC (Julian.)
10. Wake Forest – Bubbles
True friend of Julian and Ricky (Tobacco Road) until he finds himself caught up in their schemin’. While he seems to have his head on his shoulders, he’s proven to be inept even though he’s trying hard. Sound familiar, Deacons? Both Wake and Bubbles have catchphrases (Bzdelik’d and “deee-cent” respectively) and would probably rather be playing with model trains, or kitties.
11. Clemson – Sam
The “goddamn caveman.” No one in the park likes Sam, and he’ll never win the election for trailer park supervisor. Similarly, no one likes Clemson, and they’ll never win (in Chapel Hill).
12. Virginia Tech – Bottle Kids
So atrocious you just run and hide and hope you don’t get hit by Erik Green’s jumper.
Do you like beer? I do. Do you like talking about Tar Heel basketball? Me, too! Let’s do both of these things in Chapel Hill today! Your humble Rafters editor here is making a #RaftersRoadTrip down I-95 to take in the wondrous scenery and do some good ol’ fashioned Duke bashing. Perhaps you listened to our latest podcast and want to state your defense for Woodford Reserve Bourbon? Although I feel Bulleit is a superior drinker, don’t worry, bro (or bro-ette), I won’t judge you. Let’s meet up anyway!
A rough schedule, sketched out by my traveling companion, RBIII (@rbarry1), is in place, but we’re not married to to it. And since the Franklin Street businesses of our undergrad heyday seem to be dropping like flies, we’re not even sure if our favorite haunts still exist. So show us some new ones if you dare!
The point of this story is, IF YOU WANT TO MEET AN INTERNET T-LIST CELEBRITY, tweet @TheRafters today. Maybe even hashtag it #RaftersRoadtrip – that’ll score you extra points – and let’s talk Carolina hoops, enjoy each other’s company, and maybe, just maybe, we’ll help the Heels pull out a win.
We’re on the record as being big anti-bracketology proponents. The whole idea of giving teams seeds in the NCAA tournament early in the season is ridiculous.
What we do care a bit more about? Rankings. Not so much that we think UNC deserves to be ranked at all times or even deserves to be ranked as we’re typing this. We know that rankings actually don’t mean a whole lot either. I guess it perturbs us that press members and coaches have put sometimes illogical thought into determining which teams are good and bad, and we want to call them out. Actually, are we calling out anybody? We don’t really know where we’re going with this.
Here’s the main question we have about the AP and Coach’s Poll: What goes into casting these votes?
Actually, no, here’s our biggest quandary: Over the past several weeks, why is N.C. State viewed as a better team than UNC?
You can say that the Wolfpack, at their best, or even their mediocre-est, pass the eye test easier than the Tar Heels would in the same scenario. And we saw N.C. State beat UNC earlier this year, so you could say our argument ends there. But this is a UNC blog, so it doesn’t.
Week 12 of the rankings. North Carolina has won two ACC games after dropping its first two. In that week’s rankings, UNC has 3 points in the AP and 0 points in the Coaches poll. Not nearly enough points to break in, but the Heels were getting attention for putting together a couple of wins and playing well. In the week (week 13) leading up to the January 26 game in Raleigh against the 18th-ranked Wolfpack, UNC beat Georgia Tech. Not a resume win, but doing what they were supposed to. UNC obviously lost to State that week.
N.C. State lost two games against Maryland and Wake Forest (WAKE FOREST!) in the two weeks prior to the first UNC game and was still ranked 18th going into the UNC game. Still fine. The Wake game was midweek a couple of days before UNC, so it wouldn’t have been factored in to that ranking. After beating (an unranked) UNC that week, NC State dropped one position in the week 13 rankings to 19th. Eh, apparently beating UNC at home means a lot even though the Heels weren’t ranked or expected to win the game. Still fine, though, we guess.
State decides to come out and lose two games last week, dropping them out of the rankings for week 14.
Look down there at the bottom though. Voters still think N.C. State is in the top 30 teams in the nation after dropping two close games to pretty good opponents. Whatever. During that same stretch, UNC won two games they should have, but they don’t get one vote in the rankings.
Take a look at what ESPN’s Eamon Brennan said about the two teams in his Bubble Watch feature:
North Carolina State [16-6 (5-4), RPI: 18, SOS: 16] The Wolfpack may not be living all the way up to their too-lofty preseason expectations — they’ll have to defend better to do that — but their win over No. 1 RPI-holder Duke, and a dearth of bad losses, makes them a likely NCAA tournament team at this point. Thursday night’s trip to Cameron Indoor would be a massive win, but at this point for NC State, avoiding a bubble slide will be just as much about avoiding bad losses.
North Carolina [16-6 (6-3), RPI: 32, SOS: 40] The Tar Heels’ at-large resume doesn’t have much to recommend it. The numbers are merely OK, borne of a few tough dates on the nonconference calendar, but this young, formless team’s only “good” win came against UNLV at home. On a weak bubble line, this current profile might be good enough to sneak into the tournament, but UNC has to put away some quality wins.
I guess what we’re trying to ask is, what makes State such a better team in voters’ eyes than UNC? State has exactly the same overall record (16-6) as UNC. Both teams have one signature win (Duke for State, UNLV for UNC). Both UNC and N.C. State are 1-2 vs Top 25 teams. Both have lost at home against Miami and on the road at Virginia.
Statistically, Carolina is sixth in the country in points per game (State is 11th); third in rebounds per game (91st); second in assists per game (62nd); and 103rd in field goal percentage (fourth). If you’re more of an efficiency guy, as of this writing, N.C. State is 32nd in Kenpom’s ratings, while UNC is 36th. Beyond field goal percentage, there is not a lot of statistical advantage to N.C. State’s case either.
Is it because UNC relies on freshman? That’s a thing, we guess. UNC can also play more than six people. With Lorenzo Brown going down for N.C. State recently, it’s shown how shallow the Wolfpack bench is, much like when Kendall Marshall went out last year for the Heels.
Oh, and there’s the fact that State has lost FOUR OF ITS LAST SIX games, while UNC has won six of its last seven, with the one loss being to State. UNC is even ahead of State in the ACC standings. Really coaches and AP voters? That team is still getting votes? We’ll overlook the fact that y’all immediately forsook UNC after its loss to State (some votes in week 12 then nothing after one loss and a solid stretch of wins?) The Heels honestly haven’t done anything above average to deserve being ranked. That’s cool. But, again, when State loses FOUR OF ITS LAST SIX, many of you are still ranking them?
Basically, poll voters think that one awesome win cancels out several bad losses. If you can win the biggest game on your schedule, but lose to a bunch of conference bottom feeders, you’re tournament material!
Call us crazy but we’d prefer the squad on a hot streak. Poll voters are dumb.
Yeah, we know, most of these kinds of posts come out BEFORE the new year hits, but with a potential moment-creating game in UNLV occurring on Dec. 29, we couldn’t write our homage to 2012 before that or we’d have missed out on one of the top 10. So before the end of the world!… (Editor’s note: Sam, you imbecile, that already happened, too.) let’s count down the Top Tar Heel moments of 2012:
The Nashville Rankings were good, just not as good as the ones getting the recognition below.
10. Podcast history is made
Or forever tarnished depending on which way you look at it. But yeah, shameless plug, we started a podcast.
9. Dexter Strickland says he’s not concerned with N.C. State
Ha! Dex told CBS that he’s never lost to State so he wasn’t going to be worried about facing them again this season.
8. A new villain has risen
Lots of things went wrong for UNC last season. The worst: Creighton. Of course it has to be a private school that wears blue. Creighton, you have been forever scorned by the Tar Heel faithful.
7. UNC comes back at UVA to pull out win
This was a close game but it proved that the 2011-’12 squad had the toughness to grind out a win – when they were entirely healthy, natch.
6. Carolina avenges loss to Duke by thrashing them 88-70 in Cameron
After a back-breaking loss in the Dean Dome, the Heels returned the favor in Durham in a game that was never in question.
5. UNC Beats UNLV 79-73
This one should be fresh! Just when people were starting to write off this Tar Heels squad as destined for the NIT, it beat a very talented UNLV team by leading practically the whole game and being short one of its best players in Reggie Bullock. Hope springs eternal in 2013.
4. The Rafters released its ‘The Wire’ Power rankings!
Monumental television met monumental sports analogy prowess and produced this.
3. Tyler Zeller named ACC Player of the Year
Tyler Zeller got the deserving nod as ACC Player of the Year after putting up some crazy – and crazy improved at that – numbers in his senior season.
2. Roy Williams gets past health scare and “plans to coach for a while”
Roy had a tumor removed from his kidney, which proved to be noncancerous. Despite the health scare, he said he plans to coach 6-10 more years, ensuring the Heels will have steadfast leadership and recruiting for the foreseeable future.
1. Classic Duke game ends in loss
OK, so it’s not exactly a shining moment of victory, but the Duke game in Chapel Hill, in which Austin Rivers hit a buzzer-beating 3-pointer to beat Carolina will go down as one of the best in an historic rivalry. So it’s a top moment.
The ACC POWER RANKINGS are back! You might remember past editions that chronicled the trials of the conference as characters of LOST, Mad Men, The Wire, heck, even the characters of the Mad Max trilogy, and this time around we do not dare disappoint. To sum up this young season of nonconference games, we’ve taken on everybody’s (read: everybody who writes for this blog’s) favorite guilty pleasure, ABC’s Nashville. What drew us to this show? Why, Tami Taylor, naturally, but what we discovered was a RICH NARRATIVE, my friends, and plenty of characters that just begged to be written into power rankings lore.
As always, there are plenty of SPOILERS within the rankings, so if you haven’t caught up through the winter finale, DO NOT READ ON! Or do it anyway, we already got your click.
1. Duke – Lamar Wyatt: Old blood and money, Lamar used to run Nashville as mayor and continues to do it again behind the scenes. He seemingly always has a hand in something, much like Duke’s always got a hand in your business not getting any touch fouls called on them. Lamar and Duke are both well regarded, and you don’t really want to cross paths with them.
2. Maryland - Teddy Conrad: Both Maryland and Teddy are in the business of not letting themselves fail. Teddy couldn’t let his real estate deal go belly up while Maryland couldn’t let its decimated Athletic Department suffer the same fate, so they went for the money, whatever that took. Maryland, much like Teddy at this point, is completely untrustworthy yet sitting on the winning side. Maryland is working it’s way up rankings and Teddy is in the lead of the mayoral race.
3. NC State – Juliette Barnes: In Nashville, Juliette is the Taylor Swift-type, pop-country sensation that is overshadowing Rayna in every way, much like State’s preseason hype over UNC. After some miscues (small scale Winona Ryder-esque thievery), Juliette’s public image plummeted like NC State did down the polls after a couple losses and flaws were exposed. Now UNC and NC State are both at low points and living with the realization that they kind of need each other to get back to the top and knock off that other Triangle rival, again, much like Juliette and Rayna need each other to tour.
4. UNC - Rayna Jaymes: The industry heavyweight struggling to find herself right now, Rayna is experimenting with a new sound (UNC’s small, 4-guard lineup) and seems poised to reclaim her throne at any moment, but has to put the pieces of her personal life together. Similarly, UNC has got to find out how to put its pieces together and settle on a solid, starting lineup. Both Rayna and UNC have the hardware from past accomplishments, but now they have to prove they’re still on top. It’s almost too easy.
5. Miami -Scarlett O’Connor: Of all the talent on the show, it was little Scarlett that turned heads during a performance at the Bluebird Cafe and got a recording deal out of it. As far as hidden talent goes, Miami has been more successful that many of us were expecting, knocking off Michigan State in the Big Ten Challenge. Only thing is, Scarlett’s non-singing voice is beyond annoying, kind like Miami’s inhouse DJ. Actually, having a DJ at a basketball game is awesome. We cannot say the same for poor Scarlett’s voice. GOD, THAT VOICE.
6. Virginia Tech -Deacon Claybourne: VT has been lost for years like Deacon has been while backing up Rayna. Now that they’ve come out of the shadow of Greenberg and Deacon has come out of the shadow of Rayna, things are starting to look bright (and sober).
7. Virginia - Gunnar Scott: Gunnar seems like a nice enough guy. He seems to be doing the right thing, but he’s messing up on reaching his ultimate goal of winning Scarlett’s affections. UVA always seems to be doing the right thing with its pack-line defense and deliberate pace, but does it really accomplish the goal of becoming a winning basketball team? We’re not so sure.
8. Florida State - Coleman Carlisle: We know Leonard Hamilton is Bunny Colvin from The Wire, who is now Coleman on Nashville, so this choice is obvious. Coleman is currently down on his luck and pulling out all the stops in the mayoral race, exposing those photos of Teddy like FSU exposed those co-eds to Andrew Wiggins. Can’t help but cheer for him as he’s up against the old guard of Lamar (who’s backing Teddy) like FSU is up against UK in the Wiggins recruiting race.
9. Georgia Tech -Avery Barkley: Besides that voice, Scarlett is a doll. That’s why we hate what the doucher Avery put her through. The former live-in BF of Scarlett is in his own band (is everyone in Nashville attempting a career in music?) and been trying to make it. After finally getting some looks at clubs, he sleeps with an agent to get him and his boys ahead, causing the demise of Scarvery (Averlett?). We figure this is like the demise of the Thriller Dome. UNC was awful playing in Atlanta but GT has a brand new arena. Good riddance, right? Problem is, the bones of the new Thriller Dome are the same as the old, as is the roof, so it’s not like it really went anywhere. Avery is sure to stay around and meddle with Scarlett’s life. Poor girl.
10. Clemson - Liam McGuinnis: Liam is helping Rayna get her groove back, he’s kind of a drunk, and a wild card. Clemson seems to be getting its groove back under Brad Brownell after years of getting Purnell’d, but the Tigers are also a wild card. They’ll go out and get beaten by an absolutely TERRIBLE Purdue team, and then take Arizona down to the wire almost a week later.
11. Boston College - Sean Butler: Nashville’s requisite Tim Tebow character. Sean’s the golden boy QB who was a stud in college but his first year in the NFL has been awful. BC is a good Catholic school that was decent inDonahue’s first year but has fallen to a godawful state. Sean gets set up with Juliette to help clean up her image and make him look like a real person, but, surprise, he won’t have sex with Juliettebecause he’s saving himself for marriage. In the winter finale Juliette decides she’s had enough and proposes to him. Basically, Sean is a little BITCH! BC lost to Harvard for like the 5th straight year and is also a little BITCH. Ergo, BC=Sean.
12. Wake Forest - Jolene Barnes: Juliette’s drug addict mom, probably sees those ugly yellow tie-dye shirts every time she closes her eyes. Juliette just can’t get her out of her life completely like Wake can’t get Bzdelik out.