Welcome to the “Special” Season!

It’s been a while. Nice to see you! We hope you haven’t given your blog loyalty to someone else! Have no fear, we’re back. We’re back and better than ever.

Truth be told, it’s been pretty busy for us Rafters bloggers the past couple of weeks, and aside from some technical log-in difficulties, we’re finally ready to start the season — only five days after practice began. We had such plans! We meant to start back mid-September, then we rolled it back to beginning of October, then we said, “OK, we’re going to do it for Late Night with Roy. We’re SO going to do it then!”

Turns out both Benn and I were out of town, working too much, or in my case, getting engaged (#humblebrag) the past few weeks. So, what we meant the whole time was we’re going to start right now.

Not sure why it took so much effort to get us started this year. I mean, have you seen the preseason projections?

When Harrison Barnes, John Henson and Tyler Zeller all turned down staying at home during the NBA lockout, college basketball suddenly gained an elite team, the likes of which hasn’t been seen since say, 2008-’09.

In fact, it’s eerily familiar to that other special season, when a different Tyler, and some fellows named Ty, Wayne and Danny all decided to come back for one more shot. We all know what Barnes said about his reasons for coming back. Hansbrough said the same, one-track-mind kind of thing.

The Heels return all five starters from an Elite 8 squad that was No. 1 in the country in rebounding, 24th in points-per-game and 30th in assists-per-game. According to Ken Pomeroy’s adjusted defensive efficiency rankings, UNC was the 6th best defensive team in the country last year. Roy Williams’ hallmark has never been defense, but with the length of UNC’s frontcourt, particularly Henson, and the speed of guards like Dexter Strickland, that sentiment appears to be changing.

Don’t let us forget to mention the daggum passin’est, tweetin’est, sneaker headin’est Tar Heel we’ve seen in Ol’ Roy’s tenure, Kendall Marshall. And also, the crop of top recruits coming to Chapel Hill, headlined by James Michael McAdoo and the Tar Heel bred P.J. Hairston.

We might not have gotten started blogging when we originally planned, but man, is it ever going to be easy to get excited. To get you just as excited, here are some links from around the web that are worth shrugging off work for a little while today:

  • Grantland is doing a weeklong series on college basketball. You’ll probably be most interested in this one on UNC, but just to get that hatred flowing, you should probably read this one in defense of, who else, Duke.
  • As we mentioned earlier, Midnight Madness hit last Friday with the official start of practice for teams around the country. Here’s a round-up of a bunch of different teams’ activities, and here’s the down low on Late Night with Roy.
  • This is probably the most underrated news of the offseason. Roy Williams has signed an extension through 2018.
  • So, Carolina is supposed to be pretty good this year. Probably why it has four players on the preseason Wooden Watch list. Who’s No. 1? #BlackFalconStrikesAgain
  • UNC will wear some of those sweat-back-looking uniforms this year, a la Duke’s hideous Singler-sweat-backs from last year. Maybe they won’t look so bad?

See you this year,