UNC Men’s College Basketball Preview (sent to me by Dan Kane)

Despite my best efforts, UNC will be playing basketball this season. I have done everything I can, scouring PackPride for the latest rumors and gossip and seeking out classes where students wrote papers instead of taking exams for their final grade, to link the AFAM scandal and football player plagiarism directly to Roy Williams but so far I have not been successful. I remain hopeful, however, and refuse to let the matter die.

Don’t worry, folks, I’m taking the UNC basketball ship down!

So, unfortunately, UNC will take the court in the first game of the season with Roy still at the helm and no academic suspensions caused by my investigations this summer. The pressure will be on Reggie Bullock, Leslie McDonald and Dexter Stickland to be strong leaders on a very young team with players that will be question marks (and I don’t just mean about their eligibility). James Michael McAdoo, who by virtue of his last name stinks to high heaven of cheating, will have to step up and deliver on the promise he showed while filling in for John Henson after he was injured in the tournament.

P.J. Hairston continues not to dazzle, so it won’t be so bad for him when the season is vacated after I uncover that one of the classes he took last year did not have a text book, which is just another example of UNC’s long history of academic fraud. Whoever heard of a class without a textbook?

UNC is expecting big things from Marcus Paige, who I’m sure was paid $200,000 by UNC to attend because of some designer clothing I think I’ve seen him wear, but I just can’t prove it yet. UNC fans are also excited about J.P. Tokoto, who is being compared to that cheater Vince Carter, but I doubt he’ll get much playing time because he’s from Wisconsin, which is Big 10 country, a conference that features known cheaters Ohio State. I’m sure there’s a connection somewhere that will lead to his suspension midway through the season.

Final predictions: 0-28 (season will be vacated)
Vacated ACC tournament runner-up
Vacated 2nd round of NCAA tournament appearance

Sweet Emotions: Part II

Well, we can all breath a sigh of relief. At least two of those unbearable B1G teams can’t hurt our eyes anymore.

Thankfully, yesterday saw Syracuse pull out a close one over Wisconsin and those filthy Cards mercy-killed Michigan State. Now we’re left with an Ohio State team that does at least try to score and… Indiana. I feel better, don’t you?

Some sweet hot mama with a face like a gent
Said my get up and go musta got up and went
Well I got good news, she’s a real good liar
Cause the backstage boogie’ll set your pants on fire

Mr. Tyler is talking to you, UNC and UK fans. I think. Let’s move on to today’s games:

10 Xavier vs. 3 Baylor
This would seem like a match-up nightmare on paper for the X-Men. Baylor has a plethora of athletic lottery picks and dead-eye Brady Heslip, who can’t seem to miss when it matters. Thankfully for Xavier, games aren’t played on paper. While Baylor has top 3 talent, they seem to have a bottom 3 motor at times. When the Bears have lost, it’s been to tougher teams that have weathered the storm and delivered the kill shot. Xavier is a team that has been hammered by distractions and disappointments, and has seemed to come out stronger for it. Look for this game to be a lot closer than you might think.

The hat doesn't help, Steven.

13 Ohio vs. 1 UNC
With Wrist-Gate still in full force for the Heels, they must still feel kind of fortunate to draw an over-matched Ohio squad in the round of 16. Even without KM, UNC has an enormous talent advantage at nearly every position. Don’t get me wrong, Ohio is a good team, who has had a great run. There’s just no conceivable reason they should beat North Carolina. You could have said that about VCU and Kansas last year too, though…

4 Indiana vs. 1 Kentucky
As you all know, Indiana delivered the Wildcats one of their two losses on the season in dramatic, buzzer-beater fashion in Bloomington. The shot has been played over and over (and over and over) on ESPN all season long. While Indiana fans might cling to that game as proof that they will arise victorious once again, reality suggests this might be a bloodbath.  Anthony Davis, who played his fewest minutes of the season against IU, has grown into the (likely) player of the year. Marquis Teague, who started the season as a turn-over waiting to happen, has been molded into the poised floor leader that Calipari’s offense thrives on. Outside of the SEC tournament, Kentucky has looked nigh invincible. If teams focus on clogging the middle, then they shoot over them and beat them by double-digits. If opponents play them straight up, the Wildcats dish and dunk to double-digit wins. Add to that the revenge factor that Kentucky players have openly discussed, and you have to like their chances on a neutral floor.

11 NC State vs. 2 Kansas
The Wolfpack is back, or so it would seem. Mark Gottfried, who used to play a coach on TV, has ignited NC State from the last team in to a Sweet 16 success story. Just as admirable, Bill Self has taken a squad with little expectations going into the season and transformed them into a legit Final Four threat. From the outside, this game appears to be a strength on strength match-up of C.J. Leslie and Richard Howell versus Thomas Robinson and Jeff Withey. If that equates to anything close to a stale-mate, look for the guards to be the difference, as Tyshawn Taylor and Elijah Johnson use their new-found assertiveness to put away the Pack.

While not quite as sweet as yesterday’s match-ups, there’s still plenty to watch for with the  ultimate national champion probably emerging from this group.

1,001 Things Not to Do: Party Fouls

My name is not important. I’m a regular guy, like you and the people that you know. Only with two big exceptions. 1) I possess more ruggedly handsome features than you and 2) Although I’m a generally intelligent person, I tend not to put a lot of thought into my actions, which inevitably leads to getting myself into some pretty weird and sometimes frightening situations. Join me on my journey, where I take you through my misadventures as a guide of 1,001 things not to do.

It’s your typical lazy early Saturday afternoon and I’m doing what most college guys are doing. I’m relaxing on my couch, sitting back, and watching some college football, nursing a hangover with a case of cheap beer. Well, “hangover” may not be an accurate description, as most kids at that age are constantly alternating between a state of “hung over”, “drunk”, “wasted”, and then “hung over” all over again, and you’re never really fully immersed in any one state.

So, I’m hanging out in my room, flipping through the channels on my television, and the UNC/NC State game captures my attention for a bit. My friend Kyle stops by. We shoot the shit for a bit and he makes a suggestion that we should head to Chapel Hill, since it looks like UNC’s about to beat NC State and there might be some celebration parties around campus that night as it’s somewhat of a rivalry. I think it over and it adds up. Chapel Hill’s my home town, it’s about an hour drive, there are flocks of attractive women in that town, and we have plenty of places to crash at for the night. We round up a couple of others and we head out. Chapel Hill, here we come.

The other two guys that tag along are the Nicks, as in they’re both named Nick. I had met them through Kyle, who introduced them to me as “Nick” and “b-Nick”, because naturally one is black and that was his quick fix way of differentiating them. “b-Nick” is not particularly fond of this nickname, which is pronounced “Nick”, just with a slight “b” sound preceding it, but it stuck anyways. Despite the fact that he’s a block of muscle, being a former division one point guard, standing around 5’9 and 210 pounds, and he could rearrange any of our faces if he so pleased, he allowed us to call him that. He’s a good spirited guy, nothing but nice, and we’re happy to have him with us. The other Nick is a smooth talker Jersey kid who spoke as soft and reassuring as the game that he spat to the ladies. He doesn’t look or act like a kid from the shit-hole that is New Jersey, but he does wear a hat either sideways or backwards most of the time to keep in touch with his roots, despite the fact that he’s equally as likeable as b-Nick. We all get in Kyle’s SUV and we’re off.

I decide that now’s a good time to check my bank account and withdraw some cash to see how much damage I can afford in Chapel Hill. We stop by an ATM on the way to the interstate and I get out of the car, waiting behind a very large man who stands at least 6’6. I step up to the ATM, enter my code, and withdraw a pathetically meager amount of money from my shriveled checking account when I hear from behind me “Hey!…..Don’t you know to never stand behind somebody at an ATM?” I turn around and it’s the aforementioned very heavily muscular, tall man that was before me in line. His car’s running and he’s in the passenger seat as his driver appears to have stopped the car momentarily just so his friend could talk some shit to me from the passenger seat. Pffft, I pay him hardly any attention, as I give him an unimpressed sneer, turning back around to grab my fifty dollars from the machine. I had quit the track team last year and I’m now a man of somewhat impressive stature who had been kickboxing for the last year or so….I can handle my shit. I’m a former D-1 athlete in the prime of his life….I can handle myself, right?

Wrong.

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2011-2012 College Basketball Series Preview: UNC

Yes, yes, I know the season has already started. But since I haven’t watched Carolina play any games yet, I think I can still slip this in on the eve of the big game on the carrier against Tom “Roy’s my Daddy” Izzo’s team.

So, to get started, I would like to indulge my inner homer. UNC: All starters return. Giraffes will be slapped. 40-0.

USS Carl Vinson all decked out and ready for the Heels and Spartans

Now that I’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s get down to business. Analysts and fans alike are very excited about this UNC team and, for that reason, UNC is ranked No. 1 in the pre-season polls, the eighth time they have earned that preseason ranking since its inception. My inner hater is happy to report that that is one more time than Duke (another thing we now dominate them in), and ties us with UCLA, which is also very nice. It cements that blueblood label that bluebloods are proud of and that any team that isn’t one denigrates.

Last season’s results
29-8
14-2 ACC
ACC Regular Season Champions – the real ACC championship
Lost 56-55 to Kentucky in the Elite Eight

Returning players that will make an impact/slap giraffes
Does anyone really not know? Okay, just in case:
Tyler Zeller
Harrison Barnes
Kendall Marshall
John Henson
Dexter Strickland
Reggie Bullock

Freshmen to watch
James McAdoo
P.J. Hairston

I have now muzzled my inner homer so that I can write with the slight pessimism that many long-time Tar Heel fans exhibit, especially alumni. I really shouldn’t be a pessimist because I’ve been alive for and watched 4 of UNC’s national championships (and my father was at UNC for their first).

Strengths
This team really does have what it takes to win it all. Harrison Barnes has the kind of work ethic that makes him keep trying to improve his game even when others might feel he’s on top of it already. Reggie Bullock is back and he’s the team’s dark horse, but I’ve had a good feeling about the guy since I saw some youtube clips of his performance when he was still in high school in Kinston. I also hear he played well in games over the summer. Kendall Marshall has adapted to the intense pressure that Roy Williams puts on his point guards faster than I think I’ve ever seen one adapt. So, he might not have the speed of Ty Lawson, but he got the savvy faster than Ty or even Raymond Felton.

Look for some awesome long-armed antics from John Henson, who has put on a few pounds in the weight room, but still has the wingspan of an aircraft carrier (what an amazing coincidence) and the amazing ability to know just when to block a shot. There’s been some questions about Tyler Zeller and some analysts feel that he has not lived up his recruitment hype, but people tend to forget that he’s been seriously injured two times and those injuries have not been ones that it is easy to come back from. He really stepped up at the end of 2010-2011 and, if he doesn’t get hurt again, I think he is the key to the possibility that the Tar Heels could win it all.

James McAdoo and PJ Hairston also have the talent and promise to contribute off the bench. I don’t really like to make predictions about freshmen based on their recruitment because college ball is different from high school ball and kids that look great in high school don’t always transition well to college and kids that were maybe 2 or 3 star recruits out of high school often end up thriving in the college environment and upping their talent and play antes.

Then there’s the 2011 ACC Coach of the Year, Roy Williams. He’s won two National Championships in a span of four years and has demonstrated what many other excellent coaches (especially the young ones) have been unable to: he knows how to coach a team to a championship—and we’re not talking conference tournaments here—we’re talking the real deal.

Weaknesses
Losing Leslie McDonald to injury is a blow. That makes UNC very thin at the point guard position, so I know that a lot of Tar Heels are hoping, praying, rubbing lucky stones or whatever that Kendall Marshall doesn’t get hurt. Also, except for Justin Watts, our bench is kind of an unknown. The freshmen could be great or they could make a lot of mistakes. However, as I see it, our biggest weakness is also our strength: Roy Williams and his substitutions. The guy substitutes like he’s the coach of an NHL hockey team instead of a basketball team. His crazy substitution patterns were why we lost games that we shouldn’t have in the 2006-2007 season. He just doesn’t always seem to understand that although a team should be the sum of interchangeable parts to a certain extent, a rhythm is often established on the court during the game and incessant substituting breaks the rhythm and causes mistakes.

Predictions
I hate this. I really do. I’m afraid to predict that we’ll win it all in case we don’t. I’m afraid to say we won’t win because that doesn’t show support for my team. What is also hard is that everyone knows that a UNC National Championship is difficult to come by without a loss to Wake Forest (the only time we haven’t lost to them before winning it all was in 1957 and that’s probably because we went undefeated that season) and possibly Georgia Tech (we lost to Wake Forest and Georgia Tech in 1993, 2005 and 2009). As you can see, we Tar Heels take our superstitions seriously. However, with Paul Hewitt out at Georgia Tech and Wake Forest slated to be at the bottom of the conference and with a new coach, losing to either team won’t be easy. However, I can guarantee a loss to Seth “Cry Me a River” Greenberg’s team at Blacksburg, because he has to have some kind of argument for getting them into the tournament even though a win over us is their only decent win in their whole schedule.

I guess the best I can do is to say, once again, that there is absolutely no reason why we shouldn’t win it all, barring an injury to Kendall Marshall or Tyler Zeller. The ACC is down this year, with only Duke being a threat (and mostly because of the rivalry and not because K has assembled a set of formidable opponents—except maybe mouthy Austin Rivers and Seth “I Flop Like an Italian Soccer Player” Curry). The rest of basketball is down, too, but we have a tough game against Kentucky at Kentucky, which I don’t see us winning.

Final record: 36-4
ACC Regular Season Champs
ACC Tournament: Who cares? That’s for also-rans
National Champions, I think. GAH!

I’ve Been Experienced: Chapter 67

I Have Been Experienced, by Jose Kortez
Table of Contents
In the beginning of college, I was a drinker more than a student, but as I got in to my third year, I realized I needed to do some work to help me stand out to folks who would hire me after graduating. So, I started studying to get my GPA above the 2.76 it had been following my sophomore year. And then I decided that an internship would also help.

Women always seemed surprised by my actions even when they had heard from friends what would happen.

Women always seemed surprised by my actions even when they had heard from friends what would happen.

Finding an internship as a drunk, exceptionally average college student is remarkably difficult. It turns out that free labor is readily available and people fitting my bill are regarded as criminal threats moreso than the future workforce. So, after some looking, I managed to talk two biologists in to letting me do an internship on a research cruise of theirs. This meant they wouldn’t have to spend 7 weeks at sea and I would have to do a good enough job of collecting samples that they’d be able to publish a paper based on the results.

The boat was set to leave on February 2nd and return on March 24th. This in 1998, so the most horrible part for me was missing UNC’s dream season and then getting back just in time to watch it all fall apart. My parents were good enough to record the UNC Duke game from that year when UNC won by 27 and Vince Carter barely missed what would have easily been the greatest dunk in UNC history.

But more importantly, I was briefed by the two scientists a week before leaving and then, rather than returning to school for my spring semester, I flew out to San Diego, where I made my way to the Naval Yard. The boat I would spend the next 7 weeks on was 224 feet long and would house 28 of us – mostly permanent crew. There weren’t too many rules – the only one of any significance was “no beer.”

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Al’s Completely Biased NCAA Tournament Bracket Thoughts

Never one to quibble about originality, I am hot on the heels of Small Arms McGee with my thoughts in the aftermath of a SethNonSelection Sunday I am now calling “Weakest Year Ever Day Brought to You By Weakest Committee Ever.” In my mind, this has been one of the ugliest years in basketball, with everyone swimming in a sea of mediocrity that was most notable for the number of dolphins identified as sharks (aka the Big East teams). In keeping with the season, one of the ugliest selection committees in basketball created a truly lopsided bracket that puts the hammer down on OSU, the supposed No. 1 overall seeds. (I was going to link to the Meet the Committee page to laugh at how ugly they are, but apparently they’ve taken that page down due to fear of backlash or personal threats to their families made by Seth Greenberg. So now I’m laughing at them.)

Seth Greenburg's Tears for Fears

So, here are my thoughts on the brackets.

East
I was worried that Gene Smith’s ties to Ohio State would mean that their road to the Final Four would be strewn with rose petals ala Duke last year, so I was shocked to see how difficult that bracket is. However, it’s difficult for everyone, I think. I used to wonder why UNC always gets put in these difficult brackets until I saw that one of the committee members is from Wake Forest, and their feelings about UNC border on some sort of psychotic pathos. I’d almost rather have someone from Duke be in charge of our seeding. UNC might end up playing Ohio State, but I’m not optimistic. Unless Roy told the team to hold back and not wear themselves out in the ACC Tournament (knowing that Duke had the Number 1 seed once they made it to the ACC Tournament final, just as I had expected–not even a loss would have stripped them of that seed), UNC looked wretched in all three of its ACC Tournament games. A fall before the Sweet 16 is looking likely for the Tar Heels.

West
I don’t expect Duke to be challenged in the West. They put some teams that on paper look like they could challenge Duke, but Duke should come through all that unscathed and make it to the Final Four. If Texas makes it past the second round, I’ll be shocked. If Arizona and Tennessee make it past the Sweet 16, I’ll be even more shocked. Pearl is too out of control and Arizona has the same problem that UNC does – youth and inconsistency. Duke has gotten their second wind now and should be able to beat any of them. And, of course, one of the weaker 2nd seeds, SDSU, will be right there to fall apart in the face of Singler’s nipple twisting intimidation and Seth Floppy.

Southwest
This could be the most exciting bracket of them all. I don’t have a lot of confidence in Kansas this year, which probably means they’ll win it all. Why? Because I stopped being able to make decent predictions about the NCAA Tournament in the mid-1990s. I hate Pitino, but Louisville always makes whatever bracket they’re in exciting. I don’t think Florida State will make it out of the first round because they have no offense to counter their defense. Sure, they beat Duke, but that’s because Duke went in there overconfident. After they beat Duke, they got scouted more and people began to see that defense doesn’t always “win championships.” If Singleton plays and is healthy, they might make it to the Sweet 16, but I wouldn’t hold my breath.

Southeast
Could the announcers on CBS yesterday have been more scathing about Pitt’s number 1 seed? I couldn’t help laughing. I think they were upset that it wasn’t Notre Dame. No one thinks that Pitt can make it to the Final Four, and I agree. The Big East really needs to put its money where its mouth is in this tournament, but I don’t see Pitt as being the one to do that. I think Wisconsin will have no trouble with Belmont – unlike lots of UNC fans, I don’t think that “almost beats” count as wins. I’m hoping St. John’s takes out Gonzaga so we don’t have to put up with them after the first round. They always mess up my bracket. ODU could make some noise this year; they’re the sleeper of the CAA but they haven’t had many tough opponents.

Overall
I still can’t decide who’s going to win it all, though. I don’t feel as strongly about Kansas as everyone does and I fear that if Singler is out of his slump, Duke could beat any one of the one seeds. OSU would be most likely to challenge them, but by virtue of their being in the toughest bracket, they could lose before they face Duke or be so exhausted that they just lay down and die in the face of a Duke that will have cruised into the Final Four (even with out Kyrie “The Toe” Irving). Of course, if Duke loses early, we’ll hear nothing but wails that there should be an asterisk on the game because they didn’t have the point guard on the All-Galaxy team–otherwise they would have beat all their opponents by 40+.

So, there you have it. My completely biased and basically irrelevant thoughts on March Madness. See y’all in Houston (I wish).

Al’s preseason predictions for NCAA men’s college basketball

Al for most of 2010

This has been one of the worst years to be a UNC fan. First, there was the horrible performance of the men’s basketball team that began in January of this year. Then there was the nightmare of the Duke national championship, which was all but gift-wrapped and handed to them by the NCAA selection committee and the other #1 seeds who laid down and died for no discernible reason. And then, UNC fans learned that a group of football players and an assistant coach (now former) figured that they could violate NCAA rules without getting caught while others looked the other way. And all for—get this—a team that until recently, had not beaten UVA or N.C. State in four years and lost every bowl game it was in.

I have seen no signs that this new basketball season will erase the pain of the last 10 months, so with that in mind, I submit these predictions, aka “Al’s nightmare” for the ESPN/USA Today preseason top 10:

1. Duke: Despite finishing second in the ACC regular season behind Maryland, Duke will remain ranked no. 1 throughout the entire season and will easily win the ACC championship, landing a #1 seed in whichever is the most advantageous region for them in the NCAA tournament. In a final four that consists of Duke, Seton Hall, Michigan State, Bowling Green State University (I’d like to thank Small Arms McGee for furnishing the name of this team), Duke will beat Seton Hall and Bowling Green State to win it all. The name of the Naismith Award will be changed to the Krzyzewski Award. People will conveniently forget that Wooden had more championships and call K the best and most successful men’s basketball coach in the history of the game. By 2012, Krzyzewski will be credited with inventing the game.
2. Michigan State: Despite a slow start to the season, which will include a loss to #1 Duke and to Texas and two inexplicable back-to-back losses to Northwestern and Penn State, knocking them down to about 11 in the rankings, they will finish strong to defeat Ohio State in the Big 10 Conference Championships. This will land them a no. 2 seed in the region least advantageous to them, where they will have to play the toughest opponents. This will wear them out so that they are too tired to beat Bowling Green State in the Final Four, setting Duke up for yet another win. Izzo will continue to be admired by most rational basketball fans but mocked by Duke fans for always coming up short in the NCAA tournament.
3. Kansas State: Kansas State will start out strong in the early season with a nice win over Florida in December and move into the No. 2. spot after Michigan State loses to Northwestern and Penn State in December. They will hang onto that spot until losing at Kansas in January. Despite an embarrassing loss at Nebraska, they will end up in the Big 12 Championship game and lose to Kansas. However, the NCAA selection committee will still give them the second No. 1 seed, but it will be in a region as far away from Manhattan as possible given the tournament venues. Sadly, they will exit the tournament in the Sweet 16, falling to Temple.
4. Pittsburgh: Pitt will beat all of their opponents in December and January (including Tennessee) only to lose to Georgetown, Syracuse, West Virginia and Louisville so that they end up in 4th or 5th in the conference and bow out early in the Big East tournament. They’ll be given a courtesy No. 3 seed in the NCAA tournament and lose in the Sweet 16 to Bowling Green State.
5. Ohio State: The Buckeyes will not seriously be challenged by any out of conference team, squeaking by opponents with scores like 57 to 54, and will probably be ranked #4 after Pitt loses to Georgetown. They will win the Big 10 regular season and will beat Wisconsin in the Big 10 tournament in a game that is about as exciting as watching your laundry spin in a front-loading washer or waiting for water to boil, only to lose to Michigan State in the final. They will still be the third #1 seed in the NCAA and will make it to the Elite Eight only to lose to Seton Hall 71 to 68, which will be their highest score of the season.
6. Villanova: Jay Wright’s team will stay in the top 10 for most of the season, losing only to Syracuse and Pitt and ending up in the Big East Championship final game after beating Pitt in a rematch, only to lose to Seton Hall, who will end up being the Big East Champ. However, based on their finish as #1 in the Big East, Villanova will earn the fourth No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament, but will lose in the Elite Eight, again to Seton Hall.
7. Kansas: The Jayhawks will have a tough year, because they will be without Josh Selby until the NCAA clears him on January 1, 2011 (this hasn’t been a very good year for Kansas fans either). They will most likely lose to Arizona, Memphis, Cal and Michigan (the score in that game 60 to 58 will be the lowest number of points Kansas will score all season) until Selby gets in the groove and leads them to the Big 12 Conference championship, which they’ll win. They’ll get a no. 3 seed and lose in the Elite 8 to Bowling Green State.
8. Purdue: The loss of Hummel will be felt by the Boilermakers, but because they play in the Big 10, they’ll still have a solid season. They’ll beat Virginia Tech handily in the Big 10 – ACC Challenge, but this will set them up for a loss at Alabama, just as Purdue fans are beginning to think they might be contenders without Hummel. They’ll recover and go on to win several more games before losing to West Virginia 64-54. After that, their season will be a series of ups and downs and they’ll exit the Big 10 tournament in the second round. They’ll land a no. 4 seed in the NCAA tournament and lose to Tennessee in the Sweet 16.
9. UNC: The Tar Heels will go 7 – 4 in November and December and fall out of the rankings, after Barnes trips over the goal post in the Hofstra game and hits his head on Zeller’s knee, breaking Zeller’s kneecap and falling into a coma. One bright spot will be a win over Kentucky. After squeaking by St. Francis of Pennsylvania on January 2, the Tar Heels will learn that Barnes has come out of the coma. In his excitement, Roy Williams will leap up and accidentally smack a female reporter in the face, which Duke fans and other ABCers will describe as “Roy punches female reporter in the face” while the UNC Sports Information Office declines to comment. Trying to make amends, Roy will apologize to the reporter, explaining that it was an accident, but will make matters worse by adding, “I was just so happy. That li’l rascal coming out of the coma is even better than the rescue of those miners in Chile.” UNC ends up 3rd in the ACC (only because the rest of the conference is so horrible), after Barnes rejoins the team the last week in January. They end up with a No. 6 seed in the tournament, but lose in the second round to Syracuse. UNC fans pretend they’re happy that UNC made the tournament at all and won a game, but actually they are seething with rage and disappointment.
10. Kentucky: Out of conference, Kentucky will lose only to the ranked teams, including UNC and in conference, they’ll lose to Tennessee, Florida and Mississippi State (in double overtime). They will play Florida for the SEC championship and lose, but will still end up with a No. 2 seed. They’ll lose in the Elite Eight to Gonzaga only because I will have picked them to win in that bracket and Gonzaga has spoiled every bracket I’ve ever made since they started going to the tournament. There will be lots of predictions that their season will be vacated as Calipari haters and bloggers come up with extremely convoluted stories of corruption and agents, but in the end, Kentucky’s season will stay intact as the NCAA decides to take another look at Baylor’s recruiting instead.

Luke Warm Linkage

Chugging, the Carolina Way.