Posts Tagged ‘UNC’

North Carolina Tar who?

February 24, 2010

The past years national champions are not recognizable this season, especially in tonight’s game.

The University of North Carolina Tarheels are playing Florida State Seminoles at home tonight, and at halftime, they trail by 15.

Not only are they not playing like the Tarheels fans and other ACC teams know them to play, they also are not playing with their trademark baby blue jerseys in honor of the 25th anniversary of the air Jordans.

Under coach Roy Williams, the Heels have won 185 games and lost 50 from 2003-2010, giving him a winning average of 0.787.  The Heels for years have been one of the best teams not only in the ACC, but also a deadly team to face in the NCAA tournament in March.

This year, the boys NOT in blue are not going to be playing March Madness NCAA basketball. Instead, they will be heading to the NIT tournament–most commonly called the Not In Tournament Tournament; one that is for the teams that just couldn’t cut it in the regular season to play in the big games.

Do the Heels belong there? After the way they have been playing this season, I would have to say yes.  The team itself isn’t terrible; they are just new and need to start building again after losing big name players like Tyler Hansbrough.

Coach Williams, with stats after 22 seasons of coaching Kansas and UNC, winning 603 games and losing 151 (101 of those at Kansas).

He also has had 20 NCAA tourney teams , seven final four teams and two NCAA tourney titles since 1980. He also has had 26 draft picks from his teams (all stats can be found at statsheet.com).

Don’t be fooled, Maryland, Duke, Clemson, etc. The Heels won’t be kept down for long. This season might be down the drain for them, but they will soon be back to the team to beat in coming years.

sNOw basketball tradition for rivalry game

February 11, 2010

Every year for the University of North Carolina and Duke University basketball games, I am sure to amuse anyone who happens to be out in public with me.

Two of the biggest games of the year for me…for one of the biggest rivalries in sports.

I get decked out. I wear the shirt I made myself declaring my support for the Tar heels and my disdain for the Blue Devils.  Everything I wear is blue and white…and there was one year I do believe I painted my face.

photo from rushthecourt.com

This would be acceptable if I was in Chapel Hill, NC watching the game, or even at my first college, East Carolina University.

But no, I show my fanatic side just uptown at local bars in Towson. Towson, a place where school pride in their sports teams is nonexistent.  Do I look crazy? Absolutely.

The huge snowmageddon kept me inside to watch the game on my couch and only talk ‘smack’ via text messaging and IMing others through Facebook. Would you be able to get excited and intensely into a game this way? Yea, I couldn’t either.

Why is this game so important?

For those who have never heard me during one of these games, or don’t keep up with sports, a poll conducted by ESPN in 2000 ranked the UNC versus Duke rivalry as the third greatest American sports rivalry of all-time. Sports Illustrated on Campus named it the #1 “Hottest Rivalry” in college basketball and the #2 rivalry overall in its November 18, 2003 issue.

The hugeness of the rivalry, which started in a game on Jan. 24, 1920 and played twice a year, is intensified by the proximity of the two schools, located eight miles apart.

Having lived in NC for two years, this rivalry is even a bigger deal than these stats, what you see on TV and what you may have heard.

As Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski once said about the uniqueness of the two school’s geography, “Forget the Big Ten … we share the same dry cleaners … There is no other area like this. It produces things, situations, feelings that you can’t talk to other people about. Because they have no understanding of it.”

Snow would never keep these two teams from playing each other,or ending the rivalry. A tornado wouldn’t keep this game from being played.

But in last night’s defeat to Duke 64-54, UNC buried itself and its season is now over. The chances of the Heels going to the big NCAA tournament this year are as good as all the snow here in Maryland melting by tonight.

Maryland men’s basketball beat 2009 national champions Sunday night

February 8, 2010

The University of Maryland Terrapins did not let the ‘white haze’  of snow blur their vision as they outscored last seasons national champions, the University of North Carolina TarHeels, on Sunday night 92-71.

This was the worst loss in Carolina history under their head coach, Roy Williams. The reigning champions are long off their normal path that leads them to the final four–and Maryland is picking up their slack.

The Terps (16-6, 6-2) have beaten the Tarheels (13-10, 2-6) four out of the last five matches; last season was a nailbiter as the Terps pulled ahead of the Heels to win 88-85 in overtime.

Maryland head coach, Gary Williams, said he was nervous in the second half when the Heels cut what was once a 16-point lead to a 4-point lead with about 13 minutes to go.

“That second half, that five-, six-minute period where they were making their run, they were a very good basketball team,” Williams said of the Tar Heels. “If you give them that run, if you let them continue that, you know, obviously they can win the game.”

Williams had no reason to worry as his boys worked to get the lead back and that they did as they clobbered the Heels and sent them back to NC with another loss to add to their already high loss record.

Vasquez scored 26 points against UNC Sunday night (photo by Toni Sandys, Washington Post)

In other news, Maryland senior guard Greivis Vasquez was named the ACC Player of the Week for Feb. 8. It is the second time this season and the sixth time in his career he has been named Player of the Week.  He was confident in winning Sunday.

“Everybody was expecting us to win. That’s the way it should be,” Vasquez said after the game.

Maryland being led by players like Vasquez will continue to be a consistent team that will be ranked as a favorite. Their moves now will only effect their journey to March Madness.