Some teams mesh well immediately. With some teams, it takes some extra time. With others, they never really do. I’m not talking about off the court. I mean on the court.
When a team is really firing on all cylinders, it’s like there is a collective conscious guiding them all. Each knows where the other four players are, what they’re going to do next, and where the ball should go. That’s rare. But when it happens, its almost unfair.
When it isn’t there immediately, which is pretty much every team ever, sometimes it can be gained gradually. Sometimes, there is a catalyst that brings everything together (like the jail scene in The Replacements or the evil owner in Major League or whatever the opposite of dating Jessica Simpson is). Sometimes, there is a factor that will never ever allow it to happen (like bad karma, bad feelings on the team or dating Jessica Simpson). Sometimes it just isn’t meant to be.
Think of the 2012-13 Tar Heels as a play in no fewer than three acts. We are still early/mid act one. It’s way too early to draw conclusions on the collective of this team and what it can eventually become. We saw a young team lose their first road ACC game in the last 3 minutes. They were right there. Then their collective youth showed. Players that we hoped would step up did not. At least not this time.
We are still in the first act. That doesn’t make losing any easier for the kids or for us as fans. But try to see the long game. They hung in until the last 3 minutes and withstood a pretty good Virginia run before the pressure got to them. I’m more interested in seeing how they rebound from this. They need to have some good things happen. Some defining, unifying play to win a game. It may be a defensive stand. It may be a great shot. It may be a perfect pass. It may be a foul shot. You never know what can spark this team to reach the next level. We only know one thing for sure. We’ll likely not know it when we see it. It’ll only be in looking back at the season and the first act for this team that we can identify where it did or did not happen for them. Hopefully we point to something besides the last 3 minutes of the Virginia game.