Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Tarheels Fall Flat Against Hokies; Duke Rolls Over Miami

Tarheels Fall Flat Against Hokies; Duke Rolls Over Miami


Patrick Kendall

So, after calling Duke out for two atrocious games, they put together a nice road win against a Miami team fresh from its own road win over Maryland. Duke shot over 60% from the floor, scored over 80 points for the game and hit consistently from the free throw line. They also held onto the ball in the second half and never led by less than 10 for the last 25 minutes of the game. They reminded me of a Duke team I once knew and it was nice to see the effort. I'll withhold judgment on their resurgence until after I'm sure that they are resurging.

Also, Greg Paulus showed up IN UNIFORM. Welcome back, Greg. You were missed my friend, missed. And I might have to rethink my assessment of Jon Scheyer leading the team in scoring given how he lit it up on Sunday. If he continues to play with that kind of confidence it's easy to imagine him becoming Duke's best overall threat. But he is still a freshman, and I still think that leaves them vulnerable as conference play continues and tournaments loom. But, as a half-full kind of guy, I'll take the win on the road (coupled with MD's loss last night – Bob from work is going to have a LONG day today—I can tell you that).

Now, let's move on the shortest #1 stint in the history of UNC basketball.

This is a test. There is only ONE right answer and no room for essay responses. Take your time, relax, and good luck.

Okay, one of two things is true regarding the 'Heels/Hokies' game this weekend:

The Hokies are the best team in the ACC
Carolina looked right over Tech and got blindsided

If you take the position that Virginia Tech is the better team then one of the following is also true:

You're an idiot
You went to Virginia Tech

If you knew going into the game that Tech would lead by 20 with 6 minutes to go you are either:

a genius
a point-shaver

If you believed, before the start of the game, that the better guard play would come from guys wearing blood colored uniforms with pumpkin colored accents then:

You're an idiot
You went to Virginia Tech

But sadly, Virginia Tech outplayed UNC at every position. They outran UNC in transition; they out-hustled them on the important plays; they played with more energy for the bulk of the game; and basically, after UNC let Tech storm back in the first half and take a lead into halftime, the game looked over from my vantage point (in front of an HD screen – not a bad seat all things considered).

Actually the game has made me rethink my assessment about Carolina as a championship-caliber team. Champions win with heart. Carolina showed none. For that I blame Roy Boy Williams. His JOB is make sure his team is prepared and the 'Heels weren't. They came out and played for about five minutes before they decided that it wasn't worth their time. For their trouble they nearly got blown out of the building.

Then, for another five minutes they come back to the court, made the score respectable, then ultimately lost – and make no mistake, they lost like losers no matter what the score was, not winners. Winners play for an entire game; they don't turn it on and off the way the 'Heels did.

I get it; it's one game, but talk about lousy timing. They barely had the #1 ranking long enough to hold it above their heads and show it off before a team with the ugliest colors in the conference streaks past and rips the ranking from their hands and gives it directly to the chest thumping, long haired girl of a guy from Florida who I despise – so thanks 'Heels for THAT as well!

Carolina has no true point guard – Ty Lawson is a great talent, but I don't know if I believe he is a great basketball player. Not to put too much of a fine point on it, but Greg Paulus led the ACC in assists last year with only TWO true weapons at his disposal. Lawson has 16 weapons to use and that doesn't include the team manager who once erupted for 27 in a Team Manager/Janitorial Staff game in the Dean Dome in the off season.

What I'm saying is that as long as he is struggling to run the team, the team is OBVIOUSLY vulnerable. Now they have to go and play Clemson, a team with a huge chip on its shoulder after losing for the first time this season. This should at least show me what kind of heart UNC has inside of it.

My fear is that Carolina may be one of those disappointing teams that is described as having "all the talent" and "tremendous potential," but disappears into obscurity simply because history is replete with teams that "should have done more" but didn't.

Remember the Fab Five? No? I didn't think so.

They had all the talent and tremendous potential and should have done more but that was it. Hopefully UNC wants something more.

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