A quick look at North Carolina basketball message boards suggests that Elisabeth Kubler-Ross's five stages of grief can apply to defending national champions that begin the year ranked in the top-five of the rankings but end it with a 10th-place finish in the ACC.
1. Denial -- "If UNC wins the ACC tournament ... what will our seed be in the NCAA tournament?"
2. Anger -- "You guys are wasting a chance than many of us could only dream of having. you guys need a reality check. i hope someone from the team reads this and if you want to go to the NBA or transfer than get the heck out and make room for kids who want to be here."
"Its time to take the names off the back of this teams' jerseys! This team doesn't care about the name on the front." [I find the most angry notes to be the least punctuated ones. -- ed.]
3. Bargaining -- "[On winning the ACC tournament.] The best team rarely wins the ACC tourney, it all depends on the matchups and upsets that might happen. I say our chances are at least as good as anyone in the tournament...and alot better than teams that have to travel further and won't have the fan support we will have."
4. Depression -- [After Duke loss.] "This is by far the lowest point in the season. I can honestly say I am sick to my stomach. It really hurts to see a team so lifeless and not seem to really care. Losing to dook this way is totally unacceptable. Not sure this can fixed in 1-2 years. Just ready for season to over. Too painful to watch."
5. Acceptance -- "If UNC wins the ACC Tourney, there is still a 50/50 chance they don't get invited, even WITH the automatic bid. That's how bad it is.