Somehow, the hydra monster that is the Heels’ NCAA hopes continues to live despite opponent after opponent lopping off one of its heads - tonight marks the last stand for this horrific beast, kept alive by desperate message board threads in denial of the state of our team. Carolina’s dream of making it to the big dance either dies tonight, or magically sprouts another head and grows slightly.
Unfortunately, as alluded to in this post’s title, the chances of Carolina winning the ACC tourney are slim to negative. You know it, I know it, and everyone in Greensboro knows it as well, and don’t think UNC will have the element of surprise going for it, either, because unless Tyler Hansbrough finds an extra year of eligibility (*surprise!*) this team still isn’t very good. Roy Williams is talking the talk about going all four rounds, but let’s review the obstacles UNC would have to overcome in order to achieve this:
- Barring a rather improbable run by NC State, Carolina would have to beat four teams that have all beaten them handily at some points this season: Ga Tech, Maryland, Clemson/FSU, then Duke/VT/Wake/UVa in the finale (yes, even if UNC plays the Hoos in the final, that is a team they have still been badly beaten by. shoot me now).
- The Heels would need to suddenly find an offensive flow that they have lacked all year - they showed a few signs of this on occasion but a team playing with a sense of forced urgency isn’t usually a team that cuts down its ridiculous turnover percentage and shoots better than the below-average rate they’ve been hitting on all year. Let’s just say this one isn’t likely either.
- They will have to do it with a shortened rotation, as injuries continue to destroy the Heels.
- They will have to do it without fan support, as Carolina fans probably won’t come out in droves to watch this team and everyone else’s fans aren’t going to root for UNC as an underdog; the perennial also-rans love kicking the big dog when he’s down.
- They will have to beat a Georgia Tech team that has already beaten them twice (some people are listing this as an advantage for Carolina, which I refuse to believe - I fling poo in the face of the theory that “it’s hard to beat a team three times in a year”) and is also desperate for a win to make themselves a better candidate for the NCAA tourney. Thank goodness for Paul Hewitt, who knows what it takes to lose at all costs.
If Carolina somehow manages to do this thing suffice it to say that it would be the most epic ACC tournament fans have experienced in ages. Or perhaps a major scandal with every team except the Heels having been found guilty of major NCAA violations right… NOW! No, that didn’t happen? Ok, then I maintain that UNC doesn’t have a great chance of pulling this off.
A few more links to keep you busy while you wait for the impending moment of judgement:
- Duke really broke out the karma wagon to make sure they broke that four-game home losing streak against Carolina, as they gave a front-row seat at Cameron Indoor to the Presbyterian fan Roy had kicked out of the Dean Dome. Suffice it to say that tactic worked.
- The Dagger hilariously chronicles UNC fans experiencing the five stages of grief.
- UNC commit Harrison Barnes wins the 2010 Morgan Wooten Player of the Year Award for both his on-court and off-court excellence.
- Ginyard reveals that the Heels got their butts kicked by Vandy to the tune of a 30-point loss in their closed-door preseason scrimmage, so they claim the team felt something was up then. But how do you explain the wins against Ohio State and Michigan State and the promising early-season performance? Trying to say you knew this could go badly feels like revisionist history a bit to me.
- The ACC-SEC Blog has a compilation of all the participating blogs’ answers to the recent ACC Roundtable we were a part of.
Georgia Tech in less than three hours… once more into the breach, dear friends, once more.