February 01, 2010
North Carolina fans weren't ready for this.
A step back was to be expected after winning a national title last season ... but this? A 2-4 record in the ACC and no signs of any leadership on the floor? A coach who is admitting he's gotten dumber in nine months? The Grammy's were more watchable than Tar Heels basketball last night, and the Grammy's were pretty bad, boys and girls.
Virginia had its way with Carolina inside the Dean Dome, winning 75-60, and the 12,000 fans who risked their lives (that's not hyperbole; road conditions were brutal in icy Chapel Hill last night) to watch this game had to leave facility with a feeling of disgust and confusion over what on earth has happened to this team.
Sylven Landesberg, the Virginia guard who is quickly making a name for himself, went for 29 points and helped the Cavaliers go on an 18-0 run at one point in the second half.
I repeat: The Virginia Cavaliers went on an 18-0 run at one point in the second half against the North Carolina Tar Heels.
It's the second time in program history North Carolina has dropped three straight games at home to ACC opponents — the first time came in 2002, under Matt Doherty. Those are days most Tar Heel fans thought they'd never see again.
What was predictable: Roy Williams continuing to be the Dick Vermeil of college basketball.
"We've got a lot of problems, and staying in front of the basketball has been one from Day One with this team,’’ Williams – who was tearing up in frustration – said after the game.. “And I really thought we could be a good defensive team, and we haven't shown that. Two or three games I thought we were really good defensively. Last game, I thought we were really good defensively … but we’re not really good defensively on a consistent basis."
Williams' credentials as a coach can't be questioned, but what kind of a message is crying to the media after a January game? If fans have questions about UNC's toughness, their answers lie with Williams' actions. Cry after you win a national title or lose in heartbreaking fashion in March — not after a loss to Virginia in the regular season.
The biggest question now seems to be: Is North Carolina even a tournament team anymore? How could you argue they are?