Which Tar Heel Team Will Show Up In Blacksburg?


“Once again, your action news reporter in the booth at the gym, covering the disturbance at the basketball playoff.  Pardon me, sir, did you see what happened?”- Ray Stevens “The Streak”


What was that Saturday afternoon? And did the Heels get it all out of their system in time for tonight’s game against VPI? Logic would say for one game at least there is liable to be a concentrated effort to expunge the memory of that dreadful performance. Yet the Heels face an opponent who will be playing in complete desperation. The Hokies have to get things together now. Greenburg’s teams have always had a mercurial quality and they have a history for getting up for high ranked teams since joining the league.

If the Heels come out with intensity on the defensive end, in particularly regarding closing out on shooters then I have confidence in Carolina’s ability to come out of Cassell without further scars. If Va. Tech takes it to Carolina on their end early, then one has to wonder if the bad memories of FSU will start to percolate. I am not sure if this team is soft and gets down on itself when the breaks are going against them, or if this is a team that just gets impatient and tries to gobble everything back in one fell swoop. Thus far in the two games Carolina has gotten down significantly, the tendency has been for too many players who try to play hero and jack the ball up inadvisably. Or force passes in tight spots. Or over compensate on defense and end up out of position.

Some suggest, and I concur, that there needs to be someone who steps up emotionally on the court to ensure proper focus. In 1993 this was George Lynch. This time around I feel that burden will be borne by Tyler Zeller. However, if Mr. Barnes truly wants to be like Mike, he need not fear becoming more vocal on the floor. MJ not only expected the best of himself, but he demanded it of those around him, and he was never shy about verbalizing it. This is especially important on the defensive end. At this point the Heels’ problems point to that end, and it all comes down to communication.

Roy Williams style is predicated on the ability to make switches instantaneously. When communication between players on the floor break down then that style becomes inept rather quickly. If this team continues to show an inability to galvanize those communication efforts then Roy will need to dust off his point zone and have this team play station to station. Roy is wed to his style. Deviation is seen as a desperate measure. In the end despite the occasional hand wringing with three-point shooting, it has worked well. But the state of this season in the long term comes down to this team either grasping the defensive concepts put forth, or Roy making adjustments to compensate. If neither occurs then it could be a arduous stretch drive.

Then again maybe it was not Roy’s fault or the players fault. Or even Dulkys having the game of his life, trust me that guy will be lucky to score 32 the rest of the season. Maybe it was because Art Chansky in his column over at chapelboro.com put the whammy on the Heels by treating the contest as a gimme. Even going so far as to hope Carolina would win in a close one to test their mettle. If you’re looking for a culprit, look no further. Art will be glad to take the bullet for this one I’m sure. Actually I have loads of respect for Art as he is one of the few journalists out there who has been given complete access, but who has not become a complete bootlicker like many who cover the Heels. Blue Blood is compulsory read for all levels of fan in Tar Heel nation and the perfect primer for the uninitiated. Art however has lost a lot of zip on the fastball over the years. In his prime his scathing wit was always the proper counterbalance.

Maybe it was because we were all unable to go where we go and do what we do to change the karma? Is it me or does Jones Angel seem a little miscast? He is competent, knowledgeable, and you can tell he loves Carolina. Yet his style and delivery seem more suited to someone who would specialize in baseball or sports talk radio. Thus far it is my view in that while not intolerable, Angel still comes off as not second rate, but second tier. Being someone who has worked in sports talk and produced play by play broadcasts, I just don’t see how he can be a long term solution. The voice just does not have the proper timbre. It makes me wonder, did the folks at Learfield get the man they wanted, or the one they had to settle for? Again nothing personal against Jones, I just would like someone with a little more panache. However it does not make me pine for the latter era of Woody Durham. Nor does it make want to replicate him thru his son. It kind of makes me wonder if Mick Mixon could be pried away from the Magical Mystery Tour of Cam Newton and company to pull a Roy and come on home. What It really makes me wonder is if anyone at Leerfield has contact info for Jim Lampley in their rolodex. Aside from the occasional prize fight Lamps seems to have nothing pressing on his plate and add in former UNC grad Lewis Black on color and you have radio gold my friend. Tar Heel sports broadcasts would go from a occurrence to an event. Yeah sure the advertisers will have to cough up a few extra bucks, but I’m sure “Smitty’s Homemade Ice Cream” would be happy to foot the bill.