Published 12:00 am Tuesday, March 7, 2006
Exactly 44 days after falling to Virginia by four, my beloved Tar Heels went into Cameron Indoor Stadium and knocked off the top ranked Blue Devils.
For those that don’t know yet, this is the greatest rivalry in all of sports, and Saturday’s game did nothing to disprove that.
Only in such a heated rivalry could the number 15th ranked team in the country, armed with a senior and four freshman, pull out a victory in what is inarguably the toughest place for an opponent to play.
Those four freshmen by the way outscored the Blue Devils’ four senior starters 55-51.
Talk about ruining Senior Night at Duke.
Anyone who doesn’t think that Roy Williams deserves to be talked about for coach of the year doesn’t know or appreciate college basketball.
We’ve all heard the statistics.
Carolina lost their top seven scorers and like 94 percent of their scoring after last years championship season.
Tar Heel fans across the country (myself included) prepared for what we thought might be a rocky season at best.
Who knew David Noel could be such a leader, and where exactly did that three pointer come from?
Who knew Tyler Hansborough, a freshman, could be the ACC’s best post player?
Who knew Wes Miller would find his stroke from outside, then lose it?
Who knew Bobby Frasor would find it and use it himself?
Who knew Quentin Thomas would finally start to show the skills we all heard he had coming out of Oakland?
Who knew Byron Sanders would be able to contribute as much as he has, without turning the ball over every other possession?
Who knew Rayshawn Terry could be a fearless sharp shooter at times?
Who knew Danny Green, by season end, could play the two guard or small forward position with such ease?
Who knew Marcus Ginyard could help put the defensive clamps on J.J. Redick (he missed 15 of his last 16 shots)?
Roy Williams knew.
He talked all pre-season about how smart this team was.
I dismissed it because I thought he was trying to say something nice about them but didn’t feel comfortable saying they were athletic, quick or even talented.
What does smart have to do with it?
Now I know.
A large number of these freshman are the sons of coaches, and it shows.
They have already learned and bought into Roy’s system.
Because of this, they are far more along than anyone not named Roy could have imagined.
Fact is, the most dangerous team in the country right now is in Chapel Hill.
I would have never guessed it, but I sure am enjoying it.
Irregardless of how far this team advances in the ACC or NCAA tournament, they will be forever loved and remembered by Tar Heel fans.
Now, I bet Duke fans will remember them too.
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