The North Carolina squad that takes the court to face Boston College in the ACC Tournament's second round will be only the fifth in 26 years without a first- or second-team All-ACC player, in the media's estimation.
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The ACC added a third team to its roster of all-conference honors in 1990. In the ensuing years UNC was shut out just once - no picks at all in 2010, when it tied for ninth in the ACC, qualifying only for the NIT.
This season the Heels did no better than place Marcus Paige on the All-ACC third team, a major comedown for the preseason conference player of the year. Besides what the vote says about the injury-limited Paige, less effective in his first season being used off the ball instead of controlling it, the overall verdict about Carolina is not particularly kind.
UNC appears quite talented, but the balloting at least calls into question how well-developed that talent is. Watching the '15 Tar Heels in action might similarly raise questions about how well they're harnessing their abilities, as the squad's intensity and effectiveness wax and wane from game to game.
The 2015 season is the 10th in the past 26 in which no North Carolina player made first team and, more telling, the fourth since 2010. For those of us accustomed to the sense of power and command the Heels have long projected, this is an unexpected trend.
Then again, maybe the ongoing weight of scandal has dragged down the program, which isn't unexpected at all.
Finally, in the 26 seasons there have been three all-conference squads chosen by the media, UNC has had players on the first team 16 times, the second team 14 and the third team 17. That's 60 percent of the possible units with at least one Tar Heel on board.
To use the most obvious contrast, since 1990 Duke has had at least one All-ACC player every year; one or more first-team players in 22 of 26 years; and had members on 68 percent of the possible all-league squads.
North Carolina Players on All-ACC Squads Since 1990,
When League Added a Third Team to Its Honors
|Season||First Team||Second Team||Third Team|
|1997||Jamison||None||Carter, S.Williams, Zwikker|