There are countless news stories to be found regarding North Carolina defeating Duke last night, but for a true-blue Tar Heel fan, Adam Lucas’ Tears in Heaven is the best.
The scoreboard still says Carolina 83, Duke 76. That is not enough. What it should say is this: Too young, too under-talented Carolina 83, senior-dominated, homestanding on senior day for one of their greatest classes ever Duke 76. There is not room on the scoreboard for all of that. That should be fixed. Immediately.
North Carolina lost their top seven scorers from their 2005 National Championship team. Before this season started, I was optimistic, but not so much as to be naive about the upcoming season. My carefully chosen words when asked would always be “no one really expects a team to win two championships in a row” but that always hurt me a little to say it. Fast forward a couple of weeks. After travelling to Chapel Hill to watch the Heels vs. Gardner-Webb, I knew that we had a talented, but very young group of basketball players. I didn’t see the depth that night that has developed over the course of the season, but overall, I saw their raw talent and the drive that they needed. I commented to several of my friends on our ride home that this season would show Roy Williams’ talent as a coach – and indeed it has. Most journalists and broadcasters are saying that Roy will likely win Coach of the Year, and I, for one, will be greatly disappointed if he doesn’t. He’s taken the youngest Tar Heel team ever, and polished them into the #2 team in the ACC – arguably the toughest and most competitive conference in college hoops.
Beating the #1 team in the country, our arch-rival on the road is something to write home about. I couldn’t be more proud of this year’s team if I was actually a North Carolina alum. Beating Duke is the perfect end to near perfect season for this team. I’m really looking forward to the ACC tournament this weekend and even more so to the NCAA selection show on Sunday and the tournament to follow. How far will this team make it? Personally – I’m not settling for anything less than the Elite Eight.
And finally – here’s the icing on the cake. We’re only graduating ONE starter (David Noel) and one other key senior (Byron Sanders) AND UNC has the #1 ranked recruiting class coming in next year. Let’s face it Heel fans – this season, Roy Williams has replaced the bar at the height it was when Dean Smith was holding the reigns. The height at which it belongs.