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Tarheels 8 men out; Lady Heels in Nashville

March 20, 2006

Damn, knocked out in the second round. Talk about ignominy. Well, it was not particularly surprising; a team that plays four freshman primarily, three of whom were not highly recruited superstars, can be expected to crumble under the intense pressure of the NCAA tournament.

However, it wasn’t the pressure that got to the Heels. It was overconfidence. I suppose that is a plague that could affect kids who ended their season with a pretty impressive win streak and a climb from the bottom 20 to the top ten in the rankings. The Heels weren’t overrated. When they play well they can play with anyone, including the best in the nation. They weren’t, as we all know, last year’s star studded team. They weren’t good enough to take it easy, especially against hungry teams looking to prove themselves. All Tarheel basketball players have to remember that people aren’t just playing against you, they are playing against the Carolina blue and white. A win against a UNC team is not just a win, it is the defeat of a mystique, a legend, a perennial powerhouse.

George Mason was making those noises all week, talking about being Kryptonite to UNC’s Supermen. They’d come off an upset and were looking to make a run. They were also one of the best defensive teams in the country this year.

Meanwhile, tonight the Lady Tarheels roll into my city to play Vanderbilt on their home floor. This is surely a detriment to our chances, yet the Heels are far and away the better team. The tournament atmosphere and home town juice might help Vandy to make it a close game . . . maybe.

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