Jan 19, 2013; Chapel Hill, NC, USA; North Carolina Tar Heels forward Joel James (0) reacts on the bench late in the game. The Tar Heels defeated the Terrapins 62-52 at the Dean E. Smith Center. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

UNC Basketball: Guys, there may be Hope


Well guys, I would like to introduce myself to my new and faithful reading audience.  I am Matt Allred, I am a Junior at UNC- Chapel Hill, and I’m going to teach math to little kids one day.  Are there reasons that I am now part of the Keeping It Heel team?  I think there may be.  My father is the most knowledgeable Carolina fan that I know (when I say knowledgeable, I mean human sports almanac knowledgeable), and being a math major and all, I can safely say that there is a 95% chance that I have retained 72.8% of the information that he has taught me.  Being a pre-service teacher and all, I can safely say that 72.8 is a passing grade.  Therefore, I will begin.

With the Tar Heels sitting at 12-5 overall and 2-2 in conference play, the campus seems to have lost a little but of drive to care about basketball, and the players on the team are not nearly as visible on campus as, say, last years team.  For example, last year I could pretty much count on seeing most of the team walking around or lounging around campus each day.  This year?  Oh, this year I don’t think I have even seen Joel James or Marcus Paige but once or twice.  This is indescribably different from the sensation that was the 2011-2012 UNC men’s basketball squad.  Yet, this is of no fault to them.  Frankly, if I was 12-5 and playing at a school like the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill then I would be in the gym putting up shots during any free time that I had.  Fortunately, I believe most of the team to have taken to this particular approach.  The last two games (on the road at Florida State and at home against Maryland) we have looked solid.  I would say we have nearly looked like an actual Roy Williams Tar Heel basketball team.

Against Maryland, Reggie Bullock came out of the gate as if a) someone had said something mean about his mother or b) he hated Maryland’s ridiculous two different shoe get up that they had going and decided to end that idea for good.  Reggie scored scored 24 points on 7-15 shooting including 4-7 from three-point land, but most of that came in the first half as he outscored Maryland BY HIMSELF 21-20.  No big deal.  In the second half, he decided to be a little nicer to the Terrapins scoring only three points in an almost classic heels blunder of a giveaway.

However, we did not add another to our list of ‘games we should have won by 25 but we kept them in the game unitl the end where they came back and won’ games.

So, what am I saying?  I am saying that if, and only if, we play basketball close to if not at the point of greatness that we played those first 20 minutes against the terps, then we could make a splash back into the polls and be a sweet sixteen/elite eight squadron of overachievers.

We have two games this week.  We got Georgia Tech at home on Wednesday night at 9 on ESPN, a series that UNC leads all time 60-23.  Then, we have State at State on Saturday at 7 on ESPN, in a series which we lead all time 147-75 (LOL).  Needless to say, I think that we need to play 40 minutes of the brand of basketball that we saw for 20 on Saturday.  If this occurs, then we should be 4-2 in conference play by 9:30 on Saturday.  Also, I forgot to mention that we have defeated State a whopping 13 times in a row, and I like even numbers (being a math teacher and all) so we should make that happen for my sanity.

Georgia Tech is a team that I cannot say I am a huge fan of.  Ever since Jarret Jack cussed us out that one time in 2004 I have held a grudge.  He had a fairly decent reason to do so, I guess.  He made this shot,

But it still makes me mad.  Not as mad as the Laettner shot against Kentucky, I have still never seen this shot go in (true story).  First chance I would have had to see it my father said from across the room, “son, make sure you never see this shot go in, close your eyes.”  And I have listened ever since.  Even when they show it on CBS during tournament time I put my head between my knees for about 7 seconds.  Silly habit.

But back to the point.  Even though I’m probably the only person who even remembers this shot from Jack, that is enough reason for me to want to beat the sin out of Georgia Tech on Wednesday and move above .500 in the conference for the first time this year.  So take hope, Tar Heels.  It is not a 2010 repeat quite yet.

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