North Carolina 101, Duke 87
I'll be honest. I am NOT a Duke fan. Frankly, I'm not that much of a UNC fan either, but really, they're kind of the lesser of two evils, so when forced to choose between the two, I'll stick with the Heels. I realize it's a cliche to make the previous statements, so I'll say this: They bother me because they're always so good. If neither team was worth it, I wouldn't care. That being said, that doesn't mean I don't think both teams have talent and great coaching. They do. I may not be a "fan" but I know good basketball when I see it.
So hopefully, if you enjoy college basketball enough to be reading this, you most likely watched the game last night. I won't bore you with a recap beyond this: the first half = all Duke; the second half = all UNC. You know the rest. It was a totally awesome game and I appreciate the fact that Duke continued to play like they were down 2 the whole game regardless of what the actual score was. Their sense of urgency and the desire to win made it much more interesting to watch even after UNC built such a lead. But on to other topics.
Based on the various reactions I've been hearing whether it be media, coworkers, or the "man on the street", I'm blown away by the apparent "revelation" that UNC is a good team. Um, really? You're that surprised? They're still ranked #3....right? This is the UNC that everyone had picked as their hands-down, no contest, absolute favorite to win the title and make every other team look like morons...remember? Yes, yes, I get it. They had injuries--they lost Marcus Ginyard and Tyler Zeller for the season. But Marcus Ginyard was out before and everyone was STILL ranting about how good they were. Tyler Hansbrough was the most amazing player ever. Ty Lawson was the greatest, fastest, most amazing point guard in the history of point guards. I'm exagerrating a bit, I know, but I'm making the point that from about October to December, more than a few people were making it clear that there was NO WAY anyone could beat these guys. And then someone did....Boston College and Wake Forest both defeated the mighty Tar Heels and suddenly, no one talked about them anymore.
This is one of the things I simulanteously love and hate about college basketball: the fact that most of the time, the only consistent is the inconsistent. I don't believe that just because a team loses a game that makes them an inferior team. Yes, they were an inferior team THAT DAY. Again, that's the beauty of the sport. ANYTHING CAN HAPPEN. Just because UNC lost some games, doesn't mean they aren't the best. Now, if they lose EVERY game, then probably (see: Notre Dame). But that's a different argument all together. With so many games and so many teams and the level of play across the board, every team and player is bound to have an off-night at least ONCE in awhile.
I'm not asking for a lack of common sense or vigorous support for a team that's 5-20 to win the national championship. I'm just asking for us to be a little more forgiving.
PS--Props to my coworker, Chris, for sending me pics from his courtside seat at the game. Yes, I was EXTREMELY jealous, but at least I got to live vicariously through someone else. :)