When we remembered that UCLA had Rico Hines, an NC native, we thought that
might work against UNC, and
it did.Â But we didn't realize how brutally frank his family would be
about UNC's strengths and weaknesses, nor did we anticipate young Hines
discussing them so freely as he apparently did with his teammates before the
game, and the rest of the world after.Â Consider the following comments
as relayed by Lenox Rawlings:
- ''That's what my mom and them have been telling
me (that UNC isn't what it used to be)''
- ''The guys were thinking this was like Arizona and (Stanford's) Maples Pavilion and
Cameron. I said, 'Naw, man.' It was funny, because I remember growing up and listening to Sam Cassell say they have a wine-and-cheese crowd. That's the example I've been using all week: 'Like, look, man, it's a wine-and-cheese crowd. Don't think it's like Arizona. Don't think it's like Maples or Cameron Indoor. They're pretty laid back.' Once the guys got in here, they said, 'Hey, man, they're not that loud.Â
Man, it's OK.' I feel I did a good job preparing them for it.''
- Rico'sÂ mom: "I said to take it at 'em. She thinks they're soft.''
- [Rico's Uncle: "I told them take it at the Carolina big men because they're
soft. I told them that if they'd be aggressive with them, they would back off and tend to go into a shell.''Â
Ouch, ouch, and triple ouch. That's just brutally honest - and keep in mind
his mom is a UNC grad.Â It's not entirely a shocking defeat - it's not like
UCLA has no talent - but
it is sobering.Â Ed Cota is muttering
now about underachieving.Â Bizarrely, despite being a dominant news
story, there's not a
word on the Greensboro's ACC page. Fayetteville
remembered to post a story, though, and the
Chapel Hill News has a story and also a
column by Eddy Landreth which is deeply pessimistic about UNC's season. Is
it justified? Maybe, maybe not.Â There's no question they have
But as we said yesterday, the perception that this team can be had is
spreading, and Julius Peppers, among others, is starting to notice, telling the
Chapel Hill News that "every time somebody sees us on the schedule, it's like they want to come out and play their
best. They play as hard as they can against us. We know that, but it really doesn't sink in until we are down by 17. We've got to be ready and know everybody is going to give us their best shot."
If the Heels really assert themselves, that perception will go away. But if
they don't, it will accelerate, and the other ACC schools will pile on in a big
way. Next up, as noted, is a younger, East Coast version of Weber State, UVa.Â
Last season they almost beat UNC with six walkons playing critical roles.Â
Anyone else think there are a bunch of Hoos salivating in Charlottesville? That
doesn't mean they'll win, but they probably think they can.
One other note worth mentioning from this game - Earl
Watson is a heck of a nice guy.
In Atlanta yesterday, Tech
really stuck it to Maryland, pushing the former (after today) Top 25 team as
far in the cell as possible, with only 0-4 Clemson to cushion the fall. Here's
an artcle from the Journal-Constitution,
and here's another.Â We didn't see the game up here, but the funny
thing is, it sounds like
the same Tech we've seen all season.Â So what happened to Maryland?
Later today, Wake goes to State, and Dave
Odom counsels against artistic expectations. It's gonna be ugly, folks, so
hide the kids!Â And if there is anyone in the front rows, keep your eyes
out for free throws.Â You know how they warn you on baseball tickets about
line drives? That should be added to the tickets for this game,
because the ball is going to come off the rim in painful ways.Â State
has improved a great deal, in our judgment, but
free throws are a big, big problem.