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  • shwineka 12:28 pm on January 4, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: best of, feature, top ten, UNC,   

    The Top UNC Basketball Moments of 2012 

    Top Tar Heel Connie Britton

    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:

    Honorable Mention

    Roy REALLY IS a nice guy!

    Roy 31-ups Calipari on the recruting trail

    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.

    dextercheesin

    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.

     

     

     
    • Will 1:24 pm on January 4, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      Naming that game number 1, in the face of the horrid last three minutes of officiating and several no calls going Dook’s way…ruins this article completely.

      • admin 2:32 pm on January 4, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      • Frank 9:04 pm on January 27, 2013 Permalink | Reply

        “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.”

        Yeah, with the beatdown NCSU laid on UNC last night and DSuck’s paltry “contribution” of 6 points, it’s safe to say that the Pack isn’t too worried about Dexter Strickland, either.

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  • shwineka 2:02 pm on December 17, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , , , UNC   

    Wrap-up: East Carolina 

    eoT2T.St.156

    UNC 93, ECU 87

    Box Score

    I’m gonna be honest, sports fans. I was kind of in-and-out on this ECU game. Maybe I’d been lulled to sleep by the lack of important games since Indiana, maybe the lack of games period. Who knows? For whatever reason, my typically super-critical eye was more focused on menial chores to do around the house while I had the game on in the background. After an emphatic “Easy B with the start!” tweet in reference to Brice Johnson getting to start, I was half watching.

    I figured it’d be OK. I mean, it was just ECU, right? Man, nothing makes you feel more “less-than-confident” than a six-point victory over ECU, particularly when you’ve lead by double figures for most of the game.  UNC has assumed this mentality that it can outscore anyone a la 2009. This is not the case, and there needs to be a major improvement defensively for us to have any hopes of doing some damage in the spring. I did fully tune in for the final four minutes or so, and it wasn’t pretty.

    Takeaways

    • Brice Johnson finally got the start, but didn’t do much in his 15 minutes of burn, tallying five points and four boards. After that performance, we wouldn’t predict another start in the Texas game, which is probably backed up by the fact that he only got those 15 minutes against ECU — not quite starter’s PT.
    • Reggie Bullock and P.J. Hairston both played well. We’d like to see more game action with both of them on the floor at the same time. P.J. has that Rashad-McCants-like unconsciousness where he doesn’t let what’s happened in the game affect how he plays. When he’s playing well, it’s great to have a guy like that on the floor.
    • No frontcourt player recorded an offensive rebound. Only Bullock, Hairston and Tokoto managed to grab any. Certainly not indicative of that aggressive frontcourt we asked for, for Christmas.
    • Dexter Strickland led the team in assists for the second straight game. He tied with Paige in the previous game and hit double digit assists this time around. He was definitely seeing more stretches at point with Paige on the bench. After the last two games, we’re honestly not sure if UNC’s best lineup has Strick or Paige at the point. Paige is certainly the better point guard, but with Strickland running the show, it allows the Heels to keep his lock-down defense on the floor and have both Hairston and Bullock on the wing at the same time. If he keeps dishing assists like he has, it might actually be the best way to go.

    Superlatives

    Player of the Game: Reggie Bullock (14 pts, 7 rebs, 4 asts) The Heels need to get games like this from Bullock consistently.

    Stat Stuffer: J.P. Tokoto (10 pts, 5 rebs, 1 ast, 1 blk) The first stat stuffer of the year goes to Tokoto for his crazy efficient game. He went 5-5 from the floor and two of his boards were offensive in only 10 minutes of play.

    Play of the Game: I think we all said “FINALLY” when McAdoo took that alley-oop over two ECU defenders and thundered it home. Please, please, please more of that.

     

     
  • admin 11:56 pm on December 2, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , UNC, ,   

    The Rafters Podcast Episode 5 

     

    Week 5 of the inaugural season of the podcast and it’s a full show.We relive the nightmare that was Indiana and the return of the “mayor of Chapel Hill.”

    We of course bring up all our Twitter buds, what we want for Christmas from the Tar Heels, who got trolled on Tuesday and all the positive change we affected throughout humanity (and more importantly Marcus Paige’s Twitter).

    On a less entertaining note to come from the pod, Benn has vowed to quite making predictions and Sam brings up the worst person on the Internet. The show was saved, however, when we dissected where PJ Hairston would fit into a fantasy football lineup.

    Music – “Default,” Atoms for Peace

     

     

     
  • shwineka 2:40 pm on November 27, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , , , , UNC   

    Maui Invitational – We couldn’t have been more wrong Part 2 

    We detailed the magnitude of our ineptness at predicting the Maui Invitational after UNC shot the lights out from three and destroyed Mississippi State. Then Thanksgiving happened and a tryptophan-induced coma caused us to miss wrapping the whole tourney — which undoubtedly turned out different than we predicted.

    UNC, we thought, would put up a sloppy W over the Butler Bulldogs and face Illinois in the final. What happened was Butler unleashed a shooting clinic and led the Heels by 29 before a too-little, too-late comeback effort sparked by P.J. Hairston. Yes, P.J. HAIRSTON.

    Let’s get right to the formula and give you some takeaways from the tourney, as well as the return of SUPERLATIVES!

    Takeaways

    • Roy is still fiddling with the lineup. We saw him start Desmond Hubert in the first two games, then start Joel James in the second half, then start Brice Johnson at the 4 against Chaminade. It seems that Paige, Strickland, Bullock and McAdoo are locked in, while that final starting spot is up for grabs. We like Brice Johnson the best of the three options we’ve seen. He brings a ton of energy and can score even with that wiry frame.
    • P.J. Hairston is stepping up. Hairston’s struggles last year have been well documented. He shot poorly and made dumb mistakes on the floor. This year he looks like a completely different player. He’s been averaging more than 10 ppg, and as we mentioned above, he put the team on his shoulders for a stretch in the Butler game. At one point in the second half, he put this sequence together, being the only contributor for the Heels in this span: Hairston 3-pointer; Hairston 3-pointer; Hairston drawn foul, two free throws; Hairston drawn charge. The 40-year-old Man Child has finally been awakened, we hope.
    • Teams are double-teaming James Michael McAdoo, like, all the time. It really frustrated him against Butler, and when he’s being taken out of the game, UNC struggles. The Heels have been shooting outside shots at a blistering clip, but the offense doesn’t get open looks without running through the post first.
    • About those 3-pointers. UNC is averaging more three-point attempts per game than Duke. Yes, you read that right. Through six games UNC has taken 134 attempts, and Duke has taken 118. This is obviously part of the game plan as the main culprits (Paige, Bullock, Hairston, McDonald) are all doghouse-free. For the first time in what seems like forever, it appears UNC will get a lot of its scoring from outside.
    • The freshmen are playing like freshmen. There have been some really nice moments for all of them. Paige has knocked down some shots, Johnson has been all around the rim, James has had some thunderous dunks and Tokoto leaped over a Mississippi State player so high for a rebound that he wasn’t called for over-the-back. Still, there has been a lack of focus and some dumb, freshmen-like turnovers to mix with the good. On the whole it seems like a really good class that just needs experience.
    Superlatives
    Player of the Tournament: P.J. Hairston – P.J. took up the slack when McAdoo was struggling and has improved his shooting touch and aggressiveness. While we wouldn’t have thought this before the season, his absence against Indiana will really hurt the Heels.
    Stat of Note: UNC has taken 134 3-point attempts, averaging 22.3 per game. Roy’s teams usually average around 15 per game.
    Lack of Mac Attack: JMM only recorded one Mac Attack during the tourney (backcourt steal into dunk). He needs to bring back his signature move in a big way tonight.

     

     
  • shwineka 11:10 am on November 20, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , DeAndre Haskins, , , , , , Myck Kabongo, , Rotnei Clark, , UNC   

    Maui Invitational – We Couldn’t Have Been More Wrong Part I 

    In an astonishing turn of events, your humble bloggers got some predictions wrong in our Maui Invitation preview. Actually, we got them ALL wrong. Let’s take a look at those miscalculations after the tourney’s first day.

    We suspected that this Mississippi State team would be down after losing Arnett Moultrie and Rodney Hood — not necessarily after losing Renardo Sidney.


    GIFSoup

    What we didn’t realize is just how TERRIBLE they would be. Without the injured Jalen Steele and suspended Colin Borchert, the Bulldogs didn’t put up much of a fight. They finally broke into double digit points with about eight minutes left in the first half against UNC, who shot lights out.

    Which brings us to another misguided thought, which was that we predicted UNC would feed McAdoo in the post and dominate the game that way. Nope. Instead the Heels, who were shooting 32 percent as a team from beyond the arc before the game, went 15-32 from three, and piled up 95 points. Leslie McDonald….ahem….LESLIE MCDONALD scored 21 to lead the team while McAdoo added 10 and 4. We mentioned on Episode 3 of the podcast that there seems to be a deliberate shift toward shooting more 3-pointers this season, and this game certainly continued the trend.

    Desmond Hubert also showed us why he’s been getting the nod in the starting five. While he didn’t show up big in the box score, he was extremely active around the rim altering shots and getting a few blocks. He also had a really nice put-back dunk in the early going that was huge for UNC’s momentum. UNC didn’t shoot well from the charity stripe yet again, but only went to the line 9 times.

    And leading the team with blocks? P.J. Hairston. We’ll say we called that one.

    Our Marquette pick was off by one playground heave at the buzzer as Rotnei Clark hit a last-second three to knock off the Golden Eagles. WHERE WAS ROTNEI IN 2010?

    UNC will now play Butler tonight for its second Bulldog fight of the Invitational. Butler takes care of the ball (7 TOs) and Khyle Marshall looks legit after going 11-15 against Marquette. This team won’t make near as many mistakes as MSU did so it will be a much different ballgame. Heels fans shouldn’t expect another 95-point demolishing.

    In one final insult to our well-meaning predictions, Texas was blown out by Division II Chaminade. Yes, a 13-point loss to host Chaminade, who apparently doesn’t even have a logo.

     

     

    Not having Myck Kabongo certainly played a role, but did anyone really see this coming? DeAndre Haskins scored 32 for the Silverswords and seems just like the kind of player that would hang 40 on the Heels. We’re picking against them again tonight just to prevent that.

    We didn’t even bother picking the Illinois-USC game, but it appears Brandon Paul can still ball a bit. He scored 26 last night, and the Illini look to have the fast track to the finals on Wednesday.

    Picks for tonight

    UNC 72, Butler 66

    Illinois 80, Chaminade 54

    Let’s hope our track record improves.

     

     
  • shwineka 4:21 pm on November 7, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Caulton Tudor, , hater, , , , , The Tudor Files, , UNC   

    The Tudor Files 11.7.12 


    Caulton Tudor is a columnist for the Raleigh News & Observer and Charlotte Observer. According to his bio, he’s been writing for North Carolina papers for more than 30 years. If you’ve ever been around a sports desk, you know that the most senior guy in the room usually has his own column, and you are not allowed to question his column. Caulton is that guy at the N&O. Good thing we don’t work in newsrooms anymore! These are the Tudor Files……

    Caulton is paying attention to basketball again! It’s been a while since we’ve heard from our buddy in Raleigh. Other than a quick “I have no idea who will win the NCAA tourney” column, he’s been mostly focusing on football. Maybe he’s been focusing on football a bit too much, though? This one was just phoned in.

    One way or the other, this will be one of those benchmark basketball seasons for folks who believe Roy Williams wins big only when he can hit opposing teams over the head with a fistful of NBA first-round draft picks.

    This will be an important season to Roy’s haters whether or not UNC wins a lot of games.

    The North Carolina men’s basketball coach will begin his 10th season at his alma mater with only one player – sophomore forward James Michael McAdoo – rated as a certain first-rounder in the 2013 NBA draft.

    Junior wingman Reggie Bullock is listed by most of the scouting services as a likely first-rounder and several other Tar Heels are routed as eventual first-round possibilities.

    So to recap, this season is important for people who think Roy Williams can only win with lots of NBA talent. He only has one first-round NBA talent guy this year. But then again, he does have another first-round guy and several others who will be first-rounders…….EVENTUALLY.

    Caulton then goes on to say that because UNC lost so many players, Carolina fans are expecting a season like ’05-’06, when UNC outperformed expectations to make the tournament and win a game. Then comes this:

    But there’s one big difference. That 2005-06 team had freshman Tyler Hansbrough but barely stopped Murray State in its first NCAA tournament game before losing to George Mason.

    Clearly it was a masterful job by Williams, who was voted league coach of the year.

    There are so many things wrong with this passage. His “one big difference” here is describing what the ’05-’06 team did in the tournament. That’s not a difference. This year’s team hasn’t played a single game, let alone a tournament game. It’s kind of impossible to make that comparison. He hasn’t even defined some kind of expectations for this year’s Heels. What is this big difference?

    He then says that after barely beating a mid-major then losing to another mid-major that it was “clearly” a masterful job by Williams. So Roy is a good coach?

    Faced with a similar inexperience after Hansbrough led the 2009 team to an NCAA title, Williams provided his critics with some fodder when his 2010 team failed to land an NCAA bid and stumbled to 5-11 in the ACC.

    OHH, so he’s NOT a good coach? Either way, this season will be important to Roy’s haters.

    With a freshman – Marcus Paige – at point guard and a rebuilt interior, this North Carolina team more resembles 2009-10 than 2005-06. Unless, that is, McAdoo is a new Hansbrough.

    I kind of agree that this year’s squad is a little more like ’09-’10 because it doesn’t have any seniors like David Noel in the post. But this is just a ridiculous way of making a comparison. Larry Drew II, while inexperienced, was a sophomore when he started for ’09-’10. Bobby Frasor started his first game as a freshman…..for the ’05-’06 team. So by Caulton’s own logic, this year’s squad would actually be much more like that team.

    If the recruit rankings are on target, Williams’ talent pool is not overwhelming by past standards. …… No one in the group was rated as a top-25 player, much less top-10. 

    Except that the WORLDWIDE LEADER IN SPORTS has Marcus Paige at No. 22.

    This season will be an adventure for Williams, 62. On paper, he doesn’t have Final Four material. For that matter, he doesn’t really have regional top-four seed material.

    So on paper UNC doesn’t even have material to be in the top 16 teams? AP Preseason No. 11.  Coaches Preseason No. 12. 

    I hate this non-argument kind of column. He’s not saying that Roy is a good coach, though he says there’s some evidence to that theory. He’s not saying Roy is a bad coach, though there is some evidence to that theory. He’s just saying, “HEY GUYS, we’re going to add more evidence as to whether Roy is a good coach or bad coach THIS SEASON.” As if there was a season in which that wasn’t the case.  You could say he’s trying to put more stock in this season because Roy doesn’t have “a fistful of NBA talent,” except that he told us in the very beginning that this team does have a fistful of NBA talent. Dumb.

     

     
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  • bwineka 10:22 pm on November 4, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , UNC,   

    The Rafters Podcast Episode 1 

     

    As promised, we actually followed through and began our weekly podcast just in time for this week’s tipoff of the 2012-2013 season.

     

    Expect the podcast to be a free flowing conversation, often straying off topic but reeled in before ever jumping the shark. Actually, we have a whole tank of sharks just waiting to be used as props to our shenanigans. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.

     

    The Wineka ‘Broughs (see what we did there?), Sam and Benn, will lead you through love/hates of the week, the “Starting Five” topics we find most pertinent to speak on, a look around the ACC and national basketball scene, what to look forward to in the upcoming week in sports and pop culture and what to check out on The Rafters. Again, don’t expect this to be the case every week.

     

    For Episode One, The Rafters was joined by fellow UNC Alum, Yankee RB – Ryan Barry – while we got out all our pent up summertime basketball talk and went on about everything from new Tar Heels in the NBA to NC State, of course a couple digs at Coach K and what we expect from the freshmen (Or do we have to call them first years? Damn you, gender neutrality!) and the rest of the season and ACC.

     

    Get comfortable, the first Rafters podcast is a doozy at an 1:26 runtime.

     

    Enjoy, and don’t forget to send us suggestions or tell us how awful we are  over at Twitter @TheRafters.

     

     

     

     
  • shwineka 2:04 pm on October 31, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , , UNC   

    Rivalries Renewed 

    After the recent loss of the victory bell, and the COMEBACK STORY OF THE YEAR against State in football, I’ve been thinking a lot about rivalries. Some added fuel to this mental fire came from none other that the Tar Heels’ senior guard Dexter Strickland, who recently had this to say to CBS’ Jeff Goodman regarding N.C. State topping the preseason coaches poll in the ACC:

    “They talk those guys up every single year and we beat them every single year,” Strickland said. “They are the least of our worries. Beat us one year and then they can talk smack. Until then, you can’t put them in the mix.”

    I imagine this picture when I read that quote:

    Sounds pretty confident, eh? While most of us armchair coaches would call that foolish — even call it the dreaded “bulletin board material” like the hack headline writer as CBS did — consider the source. Strickland is a 22-year-old senior who’s never lost to State in his career despite the Wolfpack’s recent recruiting success (Remember C.J. Leslie and Lorenzo Brown are JUNIORs. That heralded class, despite losing Ryan Harrow, was supposed to lift State’s program a while ago.) So why should he view the new State team any differently? I’m getting off topic.

    The point of this is to examine what makes a good rivalry, and I think Strickland’s comments are the type that helps keep them alive and well. When I was a student at UNC (2004-’08) many of my fellow students were apathetic toward State. After all, it wasn’t much of a rivalry during those years, although Sidney Lowe’s single win against UNC did come in the 2006-’07 season. The State game (a very important one to me as I had many friends attending NCSU) wasn’t as big a deal to my out-of-state friends or even fellow North Carolinians who had only recently become aware of basketball after arriving at UNC. Frankly, that sucked. Besides the Duke game, I wanted tickets to no other game more than I wanted State tickets. The fact that UNC was beating them handily and regularly only added to my desire.

    One downside to attending these games, however, was the inevitable “Not our rival” (Clap, clap, clap-clap-clap) chant that would always surface near the end of the game. Sure, most any student would agree that Duke is Carolina’s MAIN rival, but to just dismiss the Wolfpack seemed ignorant, both of history and of proximity. A rivalry with State is only natural, and the passion is there on the State fans’ side of it FO SHO. The passion is clearly there among the players. You can tell by Strickland’s comment that he’s not pleased with all this talk that State is the best team in the area this year.

    Passion among the fan bases is what makes the Triangle the best area of the country for college hoops, and now that State seems poised for a return to prominence, it can only help UNC in terms of recruiting players who want to play in the rivalry and making the Heels’ regular season resume that much more impressive — or daunting depending on how you look at it.

    So please, when you’re out there, parading about as some Tar Heel born or bred fan, do your part to stoke the flames. Have you insulted a State fan today?

     

     
  • shwineka 11:29 am on March 16, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , March Madness, , , Temple, UNC,   

    Midwest Bracket Breakdown 

    After yesterday, I proved to myself once again that among individuals watching more than 50 hours of college basketball per season, I am the worst bracket picker of the lot. But while Wichita State and Long Beach State let me down, there’s an entire region kicking off today that will save my spirits. If the Midwest plays out like my bracket, I’ll be one happy camper for the foreseeable  future, and obviously that’s because I have UNC advancing out of it to the Final Four.

    For the first time in what seems like forever, Carolina got a decent draw. You will certainly remember last year’s bracket of death with Ohio State, Kentucky, Syracuse and Marquette thrown in the mix with UNC.  Even in the 2009 title year, UNC’s bracket included Blake Griffin-led Oklahoma and the Wes Johnson/Johnny Flynn Syracuse team, which had several members of this year’s Orange squad as well. Gonzaga then fielded one of its best squads in years. Even some of the lower seeds were dangerous in 2009 with All-American James Harden on 6-seeded Arizona State.

    This year is no cakewalk, but it’s certainly a fair draw. Below is a breakdown of UNC’s potential opponents if the higher seeded team advances, and then a few more in case of upsets.

    Second Round

    Vermont – The Catamounts advanced to play UNC after beating Lamar in the First Four. Their starting front line doesn’t include anyone over 6’8″. We’ll keep this short. A 16 has never beaten a 1, and we dont’ anticipate this being the first time that happens, even if John Henson doesn’t play.

    Third Round

    Creighton – The storyline here is that Creighton’s leading scorer, All-America candidate Doug McDermott, played high school ball with Harrison Barnes. The Blue Jays are first in the country in field goal percentage, and seventh in scoring. Carolina ranks 54th and second in those categories respectively. Both teams like to run and put up points, however Creighton is 90th in rebounding, where UNC is fourth. The Jays don’t like defense, and are 182nd in the country in defensive efficiency according to Kenpom.com. Carolina is eleventh. Could this game end up with more than 200 points scored? Possibly. Would Carolina lose this game? Probably not.

    Sweet Sixteen

    Temple – The Owls put up respectable scoring numbers (around 30th in the country in major categories) but rebound even worse than Creighton. They don’t have a ton of height, though their guard play makes up for that. If Henson is healthy, we see a fate similar to Vermont’s for Temple.

    Michigan – The likely opponent for the Heels, Michigan sports a good tactician in Coach John Beilein, and potent scorers in Tim Hardaway Jr. and Trey Burke. While they’re not far behind UNC in adjusted offensive efficiency, they are significantly behind in defensive efficiency (Kenpom). They’re also TERRIBLE at rebounding (311th in the country), which is one of Carolina’s strengths. If Hardaway or Burke get’s hot, it could make this a tough match-up, but as long as the Heels put their heads down and play their game, it’s a winnable game.

    Elite Eight

    Kansas – Here’s where it gets dicey. Is it possible that Georgetown or even Belmont could put on Cinderella’s slipper and upset the Jayhawks? Yeah, it’s possible. Is it likely? Absolutely not. Kansas is well-coached and has Player of the Year candidate Thomas Robinson. Robinson, however, isn’t the only problem Kansas presents for Carolina. PG Tyshawn Taylor has been a scoring machine in Big 12 play and would be a tough guard for Reggie Bullock. Couple that with 7′-0″ Jeff Withey’s improvement, and the Jayhawks are one of the only teams in the nation that can stack up with UNC’s size. We all remember what happend the last time UNC played Kansas in the tourney, and we’d rather that not happen again. Hopefully that game got all of Roy’s jitters about playing KU out of his system, and this time the Heels will just get down to business.

    The best part is that Kansas has plenty of time to get upset before the Elite Eight, the worst part is that if they make the Elite Eight, the game is close to home for them in St. Louis.

    We think the draw for Carolina is pretty good. While any team could prove a challenge in the early going, on paper at least, it’s not likely that there will be a really tough game until the Elite Eight against the 2-seed. This is much better than previous years, and it has us excited for the run.

    Go Heels.

     

     
  • shwineka 3:41 pm on February 10, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , UNC   

    Duke Post-Mortem 

    Usually a loss to Duke is followed by utter despair. As the seconds start to wane, and it becomes evident that the Tar Heels aren’t going to pull it out, you might switch the channel to avoid the eminent celebration, or at least mute the TV. This was not the case Wednesday night. Instead we were left with confusion and mixed emotion. There was surely some despair after the loss, but with the sheer unbelievability of it, there was befuddlement. You couldn’t shake the feeling that you’d just seen a legendary game, so naturally you wanted to be excited, but the result of the game deterred that ability. It’s taken a day of mourning and avoiding ESPN at all costs, but it’s time to think about this game in a two ways: it’s implications for the rest of the season and where it falls in the UNC/Duke rivalry writ large.

    First, the obvious one: This was one of the best games in the already legendary series between the two schools. I can’t say the outcome was particularly energizing, but consider all the interconnected factors in Duke’s comeback, and it seems like something that could only happen on Tobacco Road.

    There was the timely shooting, with Duke hitting three 3-pointers in the final two and a half minutes. There was a no call on a travel violation by Seth Curry (No, this is not me blaming the refs. It happens, but it doesn’t change the fact that it DID happen.) There was the eerily precise deflection by Tyler Zeller. I mean, that thing was a swish — a perfect fucking swish. Call it an own field goal. There were missed free throws, and of course, the big last shot.

    If just ONE of those doesn’t happen, the game is different. How many of you felt sick when you saw that Duke was only down two with 13 seconds left? I personally felt like throwing up. It didn’t make sense for them to come all the way back just to miss the last shot. This is Duke-Carolina. Something was about to happen — a tie and OT, or like what actually happened, a loss.

    The fact that Austin Rivers — the recruit who chose Duke over UNC and who has the classic, JJ-esque arrogance in his game — had the ball should have tipped me off. This wasn’t going to end well.

    Chapter written.

    As for this season, this game’s implications aren’t the end of the world. An otherwise masterful 37 and a half minutes was nullified by a horrific two. Harrison Barnes (25 pts, 3 rebs, 2 stls), Tyler Zeller (23 pts, 11 rebs, 2 blks) and John Henson (12 pts, 17 rebs, 2 asts) have been playing like All-ACC candidates. Kendall Marshall (14 pts, 8 asts) is finally turning into a scoring threat with his penetration. Beginning with a run at the end of the first half, UNC played like the better team, but just couldn’t quite put the game out of reach.

    It raises the point that’s been made about this team before. It lacks killer instinct. Being up 10 with less than five minutes left to play is the time to put your foot on a team’s neck and stomp away, not to get lackadaisical.

    On the bright side, if the Heels play like they did Wednesday night, they’re going to be quite tough to beat. Currently, many observers are projecting UNC to grab a No. 2 seed. I know I wouldn’t be happy to see Carolina as the two in my bracket — a team with a huge, high-scoring frontcourt that can run the floor and block shots? Please. The Heels biggest worry is not ability, but mentality coming off this loss. They’re going to be in the tournament next month, but will they be able to make something happen?

    As we saw Wednesday night, anything is possible.

     

     
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