February 05, 2010
I know a lot of you probably don't care about the ongoing tire fire that is the North Carolina basketball program, but we're talking about a Hall-of-Fame coach at a top-three national program coming off a national title-winning season ... and this group can't get it together.
I find it pretty damn fascinating.
How is this all happening and why is it happening? I haven't seen a reason I can buy yet. There's a plethora of problems, and maybe that's the big problem: It's something new every night with these guys.
UNC couldn't pull it together to win on the road last night at Virginia Tech, falling 74-70. Baby Blue is now 2-5 in the ACC.
Roy Williams is trying to adjust his roster, but that seems like a futile attempt. The team isn't responding. It's lost five of its last six. It's gotten so bad in Chapel Hill, Matt Doherty's name is being brought up on a daily basis.
We're talking about a 13-9 team now. The question isn't whether or not UNC is on the better side of the bubble. The question is: Are they even close?
North Carolina started out the season with a 7-1 record and owned wins over Ohio State (who had Evan Turner at the time) and Michigan State. It looked very bad in a loss in Madison Square Garden to Syracuse.
The game effort against Kentucky that ended with an L wasn't too disconcerting, but I think the Texas game was the real sign this team would have a handful of troubles in 2010. The defense was terrible, Larry Drew II had five turnovers and a team filled with terrific athletes was thoroughly out-schemed by a team with equal-caliber specimens.
With each passing day, those wins over Ohio State and Michigan State fade further and further into the black. What is UNC's third-best win? It's against the team it lost to last night: a 78-64 home win over the Hokies on Jan. 10. Opportunities are running out. If UNC didn't get to a .500 finish in the conference, would all at-large hopes be gone? Maybe. It simply has to win at least one of its games against Duke and can't afford to lose to Virginia, N.C. State, Miami or lose a second game to Georgia Tech.
Poor College of Charleston. It gave us what we thought was, at the time, going to be one of the 10 best moments of the season when it stormed the court after a win over UNC just over a month ago. Now C of C is just another team who slayed a once-mighty beast.
Next up for Roy's boys, a road game at Maryland, which is showing signs of actually wanting a tournament berth this season. Strangely, UNC can't identify with that behavior.