UNC Basketball: Tar Heels finally shaking off the championship hangover


The 2017-18 Tar Heels have had their struggles, but now they appear to be finally shaking off that championship hangover

After three weeks of what seemed like some dysfunction, everything returned back to normal for the North Carolina Tar Heels following their win against Duke on Thursday.

We all have come to expect the Tar Heels to come into form around February and March. It is a Roy Williams tradition.

Every December and January, the Tar Heels trip up, but then proceed to finish the regular season strong.

More from UNC Basketball

This year seems a little different though.

Sure, many people say that this Tar Heels team has issues guarding the three and there is no disputing that. But at the end of the day, it has always come down to effort with this team.

When they bring the firepower, they win games.

North Carolina has had the talent since day one, but they have not had the effort every night.

When the chips were on the table against Duke,  the Tar Heels proved to have the firepower to cut the nets down again.

There are no excuses for the poor performances against NC State, Clemson, and Virginia Tech. But there is something that happens to nearly every team that wins championships: The dreaded championship hangover.

This Tar Heel team has seen it all and been through it all. They’ve been on the biggest stage and did not finish the job before returning and finally earning some redemption.

And now, a lot of those players are back on the team, trying to do it for a third time.

The Tar Heels have been on the biggest of stages, which can make most other games pale in comparison. When you play in a game with the magnitude of a national title, it is tough to go and play on a random Monday night in January at Virginia Tech.

The energy just is not the same.

But when you put this team on their biggest stage of the season, a rivalry game against Duke, they put together their best performance of the season.

We have seen this movie so many times. Most recently, the Chicago Cubs went through this. They won their first championship in 100 years but the next season they were slow out of the gates.

Whenever their backs were against the wall, they mustered up their best performances.

A mark of a good team is that they play hard all the time, regardless of the score. The mark of an even better team is that when their backs are against the wall, they answer with more fire than ever before.

I think you can say that about these Tar Heels.

North Carolina still has plenty of regular games left, including Saturday at NC State. That game will go a long way in showing if they are truly over the championship hangover.

They can work through this, seeing as how every game from here on out has real postseason ramifications.

So even with the championship hangover cloud hovering over this team, there are no more excuses. They showed their ability, now the effort needs to match the ability.

Related Story: 2019 five star prospect attends UNC vs Duke game

If we see those two things together, a trip to another Final Four might be in the cards for the Tar Heels.