One mistake that we all make every year before tournament time is that we undermine teams who recently put on a poor performance, or we judge them using the What-Have-You-Done-For-Me-Lately mechanism. We use phrases such as “No way they can. . .” or “It would be impossible if. . .” And even “With the paltry way they’re playing. . .”
It’s a farce, isn’t it?
The 2008-2009 North Carolina Tar Heels are a scary bunch of underachievers. I call them ‘underachievers’ because the media rode them for the majority of the first half of the season. Tyler Hansbrough was touted to be a two-time player of the year (back to back; by the way, you know my thoughts on the kid). Hell, the entire team was touted to go undefeated and relish in a clean sweep in the tournament en rout to the NCAA championship game in Detroit, Michigan.
“Not happening” is being said by a lot of people.
Losses to Boston College, Wake Forest, and Maryland mar them.
Three games left for the regular season (Georgia Tech, @ Virginia Tech, Duke) and tournament time is right around the corner.
The problem with listening to these analysts deafeningly run their mouths about how Carolina played subordinate offense and paltry defense on Saturday against Maryland is more almost as annoying as listening to the Alex Rodriguez story. Look, the Tar Heels aren’t going to keep playing this way (the way I’m talking about? Well, in simple terms, ‘bad’) for the rest of the season. They’re going to get it in gear, Tyler Hansbrough is going to put on a show, Ty Lawson is going to be Ty Lawson by racking up assists and scoring baskets like a midwestern lady running a flee market in the middle of June, Wayne Ellington is going to drill 3s like fat guys ordering three different sandwiches off of the Wendy’s dollar menu, Danny Green is going to be the usual pest that he is, Deion Thompson is going to be the usual menace that he is, etc.
This is the time of year where some teams face down periods and then go into an invincible zone during the tournament. It’s all about getting hot at the right time and the Tar Heels are poised to do it. They have everybody where they want him. You see, if the Tar Heels would have been waltzing into the tournament with a flashy record, being number one or number two in the nation, other teams in the tournament would beam their eyes on them and think to themselves, “We gotta gameplan for these guys.” Instead, it’s not going to be so much of that.
The pressure is currently off. Carolina can take a breather and relax. For now.
Unfortunately, that’s a deal breaker for the rest of the country.