Call me an unforgiving soul, but I’ve been waiting for this match-up against Kansas for eight years…
Maybe it’s the competitive nature of fanaticism over who’s elite program is the best. And yes…I’m still bitter over the ’91 Final Four loss. Yet, I feel the reason is due to program comparisons. If I hear howKansas basketball and Allen Field House has the most pure and has the most fervent fans in college basketball, I’m turning Celtic Green.
Although Kansas had two Final Four berths in ’71 & ’41, the program was moribund in the ’60s, and deflated until Larry Brown arrived in ’83. Here’s a comparison for you in that time. North Carolina produces Larry Brown, Billy Cunningham, Larry Miller, George Karl, Charlie Scott, Mitch Kupchak, Bob McAdoo, Phil Ford, Walter Davis, Tom LeGarde Al Wood, James Worthy, Sam Perkins, and MJ. Kansas produces Jo-Jo White, Darnell Valentine, and Paul Mokeski.
And the pontificating of what a pristine program they had in the ‘50s…please. Wilt Chamberlain goes all the way out to Lawerence because of the serenity and the legacy of Phog Allen…Yyyye-ah.
In 2000, the antics of KU fans surrounding Coach Williams staying in Lawrence were appalling for Heel fans. At least, Coach Doherty got ’em in ’02 in the Garden…That was nice, but the sting wasn’t enough. From this point of view, I wish that we could have played them more in the ’90s.
The arguments need to be settled. Here are some match-ups that I enjoy:
Match-UP 1 – I agree that Darrell Arthur and Sasha Kaun will be tough match-ups for Tyler Hansbrough. Yet, how much firepower actually comes from them and not Darnell Jackson, who should be matched up with Deon Thompson. And can Kaun keep up with Hansbrough running up and down the court?
Also, who on KU has really dominated from the outside this year? Although he has great percentages from the outside, Mario Chalmers is more of a slasher. Brandon Rush is nice, but from the outside…?
When Coach Bill Self won on Sunday, he appeared to have just given birth to a small monkey. Someone sent me an email that mentioned how Brandon Rush stated “Their goal was to get to the Final Four.” Getting to the Final Four and stating they want a National Championship. Big difference.
Match-UP 2 – Danny Green vs. Brandon Rush – Another match-up that I would love to see is Danny Green on Brandon Rush. Bring this for the Long Island roughneck…A lot of the attention upon Danny Green has been the story of his relationship with his father. This could be the game for Danny Green to step out and garner national attention with his play. If Green shuts Rush down, wonders will occur for his story and deserved attention will be brought to his athleticism.
Green did a great job on Earl Clark last week and North Carolina should look for a shut-down on Rush…Just my call.
Match-UP3 – Sherron Collins vs. Tywon Lawson – Help me out with this one…Does anyone remember the war that these two had during the All-American circuit two years ago? They couldn’t stand each other, and supposedly the battle between Collins and Lawson was more than just words on the court. . The two of them had a major rivalry over who was the best point guard in high school in 2005-06, and this rivalry seems to have been destined to come into the Final Four. For Tar Heel fans, they should hope that Lawson maintains his cool.
Collins is West Side Chicago tough. From one of the roughest areas in the country, he’s the pride of Crane High, and he likes to get gritty and he’s a former football player who could have played at a big-time level. His strength presents a challenge to any point guard.
For Heel fans, the good thing is that Collins can get caught up in trying to out-do his opponent. Collins is a great benchmark for Tywon to have a great game. I don’t know if Collins will start the game, but he’ll have ample time to match-up with him.
From this point of view, what I adore about Lawson’s game is that he’s not into woofing and he keeps an even keel. My only hope Tywon is that he doesn’t get caught up into their past bump-ins by trying to take someone one-on-one, which I don’t anticipate happening.
The Heels should be strong on this one…
** KU ‘Get Over It’ – A lot of attention has been placed upon Coach Williams departure from Kansas, and the animosities stirred from both Kansas and North Carolina fans at that time. The attention and peppering of questions about Kansas may be deserved…He has avoided a lot of talk around that time in ’03 because of his soft fondness for KU.
From the UNC standpoint, many Tar Heel followers never understood and accepted his move of holding a press conference at the KU football stadium in ’00. That move was way more than grandstanding, and he should come clear with a lot his “I’m staying” and “they’ll bury me here”, “I’ll be here for twenty more years” and other statements from that day. Coach Williams never has addressed those antics during that day. In a lot of ways, he really stuck the face of his alma mater in the mud with that move. Hopefully, this weekend he can put the whole thing to bed.
Regardless, if Heels do get to the final, I don’t want to miss the national press conference on Sunday. Those conferences have great stories and tidbits, and they are always super strong.
** Final Four Memories – ”Stop Jinxin’”- I don’t know if memories are brought up more with anniversaries or what. Yet, more people around town and email discussion lists seem to consistently bring up the ’98 Final Four. Dude, stop the memories of losses at this time…Seriously, stop them.
I don’t care what anyone says that loss is one of the Top 5 losses in UNC history, and I don’t want to harp on Carolina tragedies right now with the vibe going into this game. So, let’s save those rankings for
That team was the best mix of talent that was assembled, and on a personal note, is probably my second favorite UNC team ever.
We were rolling, and Rick Majerus just not only knew too much about our offenses, but also exposed the huge weaknesses of Antawn Jamison’s inability to go left. If there was an underrated upset for the Final Four, that game should be the one. We had all the pieces at every position, experience, talent, and savvy coaching. We were a far stronger team, and the shooting slump throughout the game slipped through everyone like mad cow disease.
That game is also the first game that I contemplated whether or not Vince Carter had the killer will to truly carry a team or become a second lieutenant.
To top it off, that loss let the one of the finest, coolest, and wildest girls that I have ever known in Chapel Hill slip through my hands that night at He’s Not Here. The whole night went from the best 1-2 combo of Chapel Hill revelry into a mad disaster in a matter of minutes.
I’m still crushed…We let a Swede and Mike Doleac work out on us. Let’s drop it.
** The Mob Lives On – Donnie Walsh as the Knicks GM…The North Carolina Mob lives on.
Walsh is one of the last icons from the Frank McGuire’s times in Chapel Hill. He’s true a Frank McGuire and Buck Freeman product from the Bronx. He is a UNC Law Grad, and he dresses like John Gotti. The dude is the mack. I love this article.
Now, will Larry Brown be back with the Knicks? Life is never that good. My call is that he’s making plans for the Bobcats sidelines by mid-May. I’m telling you..Just say that I called it.