The pressure is building in Chapel Hill, on
the basketball program, but also the athletic program in general. Here's a
fairly lengthy discussion about the direction of the program and what the author
sees as needed reform - but he hastens to add that he doesn't expect to see any
Clearly Duke is putting a lot of pressure on UNC, and the reality has set in
that Duke has, by and large, passed Carolina. The question now is brutally simple: will the demand to keep up with the neighbors force Gut out?
After Guthridge, pressure is bound to be mounting on AD Dick Baddour. The
football program nearly imploded this season, basketball is clearly down, albeit
by UNC standards (Northwestern would love to have their problems, and so would
FSU or Clemson), and the one area where UNC is still close to leading the
conference in is arrests, which pleases no one in Chapel Hill except the lawyers.
The next few weeks promise to be very interesting and, potentially, very
dramatic. Certainly, while the rest of the conference has likely enjoyed seeing
UNC humbled somewhat (a salient remark someone made earlier this year: you can't
learn humility from a book), the reality is this: a weakened UNC means a
weakened ACC.Â As much as you might enjoy it, it's not good for anyone in
the ACC to have UNC turn into a weak sister.
Odds are though we won't have to worry about it for too long. Like Kansas and
Kentucky in basketball, and Oklahoma and Texas in football,Â UNC fans and
boosters will not readily accept second class statusÂ and if Guthridge, universally hailed as a good and decent man, can't get it done, or if he decides to bag it after this season,Â they will do whatever it takes to get back to at least parity. Chances are they'll try and stay within the UNC family (and we expect they will), but if they don't or can't, as we said before, they'll throw Dean Smith and his family out of the lifeboat and head straight for SS Pitino or Donovan or whatever it takes, short of the Pirate Ship Tark.