Something strange... is going on, in the neighborhood, something ominous maybe.
Something that I can’t remember ever having witnessed or felt before is going on... there appears to be a paradigm switch happening... right now in Chapel Hill, NC... perhaps over the past two college basketball seasons.
Who you gonna call? Dukes zone-busters?
As far back as I can remember watching, Carolina does not blow 10 point leads in the Dean Dome over the last two minutes of any game. Didn’t happen before... But it just did.
And even further back... Carolina does NOT get blown out by over 30 to Florida State or anybody else for that matter. Didn’t happen... just happened.
Perhaps fittingly on the night the iconic Dean Smith was passed by a Coach from... huh, Syracuse? on the all-time win list, UNC melted like the normal Hot-Buffalo-Wing-Dings late Spring fold-thing. Syr-excuse? Don’t they play in a giant air conditioner or something? Didn’t...do.
True, Duke has beaten Carolina in the Dome before, but never and NOT like this. Once upon a time the story of a game like that would be safely sent to the Daily Tarheel with two minutes left, and them up 10 with..."North Carolina holds off furious late Duke rally to remain atop the ACC standings". Or better yet, it was usually ..."North Carolina rallies from down double-digits, erases (fill-in-the-blank) lead, and wins by five in the final two minutes".
Seriously, I’ve hated and respected the Tarheels for so long I could write the script for most of their games in the past... or during the Dean Smith era at least. Dean awed and annoyed me more times than I can count, but... I always felt it the moment the momentum had swung back toward the baby blue direction, and always knew that I would be soon disappointed... and, that they would win like that AGAIN. Disgusting!
Maybe it would be a charging call, a missed free throw, a clumsy turnover...something... which would spell the opponent’s eventual doom, but you could ALWAYS feel it... everyone ALWAYS KNEW the Heels would rally to win the close games when they NEEDED to win.
As College basketball fans have long expected, I ALWAYS KNEW the Heels would win, and I hated them for it. Has Duke flipped the script?
But listen; Something has definitely changed down on Franklin Street... and it isn’t very good for the Heels. But, what is it really?
Has Ole Roy finally shined his sterling good-ole-boy legend so much so that it doesn’t REALLY matter to him as much? He has alluded to this post-game weak think after some painful season ending losses... that either way he is ALWAYS proud of his team, dadgummit!
It seemed to salve their pain, especially when Tar Heel fans could always point to... NEXT YEAR.
The fever pitch in NC this year had never been so high during an off season as any that I can remember... beginning immediately when most of the team that lost to Kentucky in last year’s NCAA decided to forego the NBA and remain in Chapel Hill for "some unfinished business".
Around Chapel Hill it has been a foregone conclusion that Roy was going to work his magic again this year and the Heels would skate on ice all the way home with a Natty banner from "The BIG Dance".
But so many of them had forgotten (or chose to forget) their embarrassing late-mid-season smackdown from Georgia Tech, literally last year’s perfect version of The Rambling Wreck. Right then... last year I felt a crack... something was amiss in the Hill after that lopsided game... something unkindly and sinister. The floors didn’t creek at the Four Corners bar anymore. I loved it.
Then I felt the icy cold blast when Florida State made a Seminole and Swiss with Bacon of their once vaunted, now Laissez-faire defense, en route to the ass-thumping-bone-jarring-rim-shakin’-twine-smokeout... the likes of which the ACC (nor anybody else) had ever seen until a just few short weeks ago. NEVER... NOW.
Something critical is missing but it ain’t mass. In fact there may be too much mass when you stack them butt-to-butt. I happen to think it’s more like "sass" that’s missing in these Heels. They’re just too nice, too likeable, too in love with the word Tarheel.
Everyone knows that Roy Williams has a dark side to his Andy of Mayberry routine. But does his team know it yet?, the way he runs to their defense to protect them from so many real world threats, like EVIL alumni ticket buying fans who sold their seats in Vegas, choosing the lure of the Strip over the gym while in LV town? C’mon Roy... do you walk your boys to class too?
Oh my Roy... did a fan just call Barnes "a lump of brick-laying coal?" Somebody call security! Ban him from Franklin County. Harrison is a nice young man, just nervous about his future...
How bout this Roy...?
The next time a Duke... or worse... a Kentucky smacks your little boys down till they bleed dark blue... at the post-game press conference... leave off the "it hurts sooo bad whimper"..
Try out a "I’m SOOO f&^K*n pissed!" instead.
Maybe then they’ll get the picture?
-UNC hater who feels their fan’s pain.