Tag Archive: North Carolina Tar Heels



The frist ever game to be played on a ship will take place this Friday! The game will be on a Navy carrier on Veterans Day in support of the duties and sacrifices all service men and women give freely to this great country, America. 

The first ever Carrier classic is between, highly favored to win the National Championship, North Carolina and Michigan State.  Needless to say this should be an interesting season for the Spartans. Having lost almost all of their starters and leading scorers from a season ago should lead to a frustrating season for Spartan fans.  But, never count Tom Izzo out. He’s one of the best NCAA coaches and has potential to surprise the doubters, which includes me. 

Let’s take a look at this matchup.  The Tar Heels have a loaded team.  They literally lost just under 10 points per game from a season ago (Justin Knox and Larry Drew II who together averaged 9 ppg).  They also have an incredible freshman class coming into Chapel Hill this season.  With Barnes and Zeller teaching the young guys what it means to be a Tar heel and to lead this team NC fans will have a lot to cheer and brag about.

Now compare that to the Michigan State Spartans. The Spartans had a promising team last season and high expectations but, they didn’t perform well and lost a few games in non-conference play and were slaughtered by a Purdue Boilermaker team that was hosting the College Gameday staff.  On top of that disappointing season the Spartans also lost practically their entire team. Draymond Green returns, which should give some light and hope, to lead this dwindled down group.  The Spartans, in their entire returning class, have a lousy 38% of their scoring returning.  Compare that to the Tar Heels who have 93% of last years scoring coming back. 

With many unanswered questions on this Spartan squad this is not the way I would want to start the 2011-2012 season.  Taking on this tough and favorable North Carolina team could lead to a beat down.  I see the Tar Heels walking away with the first Carrier Classic Trophy: ( Pictured Below). 

 

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The ACC is set to have an epic season battle for 1st place.  Too bad this battle will only be between two teams this year, North Carolina and Duke.  Although, Virgina and Virginia Tech have chances to pull some upsets against these two teams to make things interesting.  The rest of the ACC? Honestly, it’s one huge toss up to see who will finish between 4th and 12th.  Here is how I see it playing out in the ACC.

1. North Carolina

The Tarheels are ranked  #1 in all of the preseason polls.  I hate to follow the mainstream here but it’s hard to argue that North Carolina has the best team on paper.  Some would argue for Ohio State but lets get real.  North Carolina is returning all of their top 7 scorers from a year ago. This includes both Plumlee brothers and Tyler Zeller.  They’re also bringing in 2 ESPNU 100 recruits to add support. 

                                                                                                     2. Duke Blue Devils

I see Duke being an extremely difficult team to beat this season. They’ll definitely give North Carolina a run for their money.  The only set back Duke has? Losing Kyrie Irving, Nolan Smith, and Kyle Singler.  However, Duke is bringing in 5 extremely high quality recruits. Did I mention those 5 recruits were high quality? Try having the pleasure of bringing in 5 ESPNU 100 recruits in a single season. Good things are bound to happen. 

 

3. Virginia Vavaliers

Virginia has a pretty solid team this season. They’ll battle every game and give Duke and the Tarheels some nail biters! Though the Cavaliers lost Mustapha Farrakhan (second leading scorer with 13.5 ppg last year) they’re bringing in two ESPNU 100 recruits.  Experience and young talent will allow them to compete in the ACC this year.

4. Virginia Tech Hokies

The loss of Malcolm Delaney and Jeff Allen will really hurt the Hokies this year. But, they’re bringing in 3 ESPNU 100 recruits that’ll help them suceed this year.  Due to the lack of talent and experience elsewhere in the ACC this year I put the Virginia Tech up this high.

5. Miami Hurricanes—-> The Hurricanes have solid experience coming back to lead this bunch.

6. Maryland—-> Maryland lost many keys to success from last season but they have a stud returning in Terrell Stoglin. He’ll be able to carry this team to at least a 6th place finish in the ACC this year.

7. Boston College Eagles—> Losing most of their staff from last season they’ll struggle early on.  But, I see their recruiting class catching stride late in the season and pulling the Eagles out of the depths of the ACC.

8. Wake Forest Demon Deacons—> The Deacons are losing some good talent from last year.  Luckily Travis McKie is returning and looking for a breakout season.  They should be alright but will struggle with ACC oponents this year.

9. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets—> The loss of Iman Shumpert will hurt the Yellow Jackets significantly.  They do have 1 ESPNU 100 recruits coming in but, it won’t be enough to catapult this team into the top half of the conference.

10. Florida State Seminoles—> Losing one of the most feared defensive players and rebounders in the league from a season ago, Chris Singleton, should have a huge negative impact on this Seminole team.  Antwan pace (ESPNU 100 recruit) should be able to put points on the board but his lack of defensive and overall college experience will keep him from having the same impact as Chris Singleton had.

11. North Carolina State Wolfpack—> Not much going for the Wolfpack this year.  They’ll struggle throughout the entirety of the season.

12. Clemson Tigers—> The Tigers only have one double-digit scorer per game returning from last season. They’ll struggle just like the Wolfpack this season.


I recently read an article where the writer announced the top 10 toughest places he thought there was to play. You may or may not have heard of him but he writes for Yahoo Sports, his name is Jason King.  Here’s his rankings, and I’ll spoil it now Wisconsin was his 4th toughest and Purdue was his overall 9th toughest place.  But, like promised, here you go:

  1. Allen Fieldhouse = Kansas
  2. Cameron Indoor Stadium = Duke
  3. Carrier Dome = Syracuse
  4. Kohl Center = Wisconsin
  5. The Pit = New Mexico
  6. Rupp Arena = Kentucky
  7. Comcast Center = Maryland
  8. Petersen Events Center = Pittsburgh
  9. Mackey Arena = Purdue
  10. Bramlage Coliseum = Kansas State

Also mentioned were: North Carolina, Oklahoma State, Villanova, Arizona, Michigan State, Illinois, Vanderbilt, Texas, BYU, and Memphis. 

I agree with most of his rankings. However, I don’t see how The Pit for New Mexico made the list at all and I disagree with the Comcast Center’s placement.  What in the heck has New Mexico done in the last 20 years basketball wise? Nothing is what I can think of.  And Maryland hasn’t been good in years. To me when considering what arena’s should be thought of as “tough to play in” I think of the program’s recent success.  How well do they thrive off their crowd? How dominant is this team? Especially at home? When I think about the toughest places to play I don’t think about how the arena was constructed, how many people can fit inside, nor how loud it could get if everybody in the stadium was screaming.  Personally, New Mexico and Maryland just don’t cut it.  If you ask me North Carolina and Michigan State (or even Texas) should be moved onto the list in place of New Mexico and Maryland.  Oh well I suppose. Everybody has the right to their opinions and has the right to express them.  Shortly I will post my rankings of the toughest places to play in the Big Ten.  And, if you’re a Nebraska fan I apologize now, I have them 12th out of 12. So, stay tuned for my opinions on the toughest Big Ten arenas to play in!

 

Thanks for reading!

 


Ohio State has hands down been the most consistent and dominating team all season.  Only slipping up to two tough Big Ten teams during the regular season.  Both losses were on the road at Wisconsin and at Purdue.  However, when they played these two teams at home both margins of victories were 20+ points.  That’s impressive.

David Lighty and Jon Diebler have had the hot shooting hands since the Big Ten tournament.  With Aaron Craft at the point distributing the ball to these two guys and Jared Sullinger Ohio State is a force to be reckoned with.  There’s not much that hasn’t been said about the Buckeyes this year and I have to agree with all that’s been said.  I dogged these guys late in December saying they would fall off once Big Ten play started but they shut me up quickly.  I have nothing but respect for this team.

Sullinger (0) and Buford (44) are the Buckeyes two leading scorers this season

Sullinger is leading the team with 17.2 ppg as a true freshman on the Big Ten regular season Champion team and the Big Ten Conference tournament Championship team.  The kid is a monster.  Just like Kansas he has a great supporting cast in William Buford, second on the team in scoring averaging 14.4 ppg.  I’ve already mentioned the likes of Jon Diebler and the hot hand of David Lighty.  These guys can score and shoot lights out on any given night.  I don’t have the numbers and couldn’t find them but I would guess they have the best shooting percentage of any team remaining during tournament play.

Not only can these guys score but they get after it on the defensive end.  Good old fashioned Big Ten basketball.  You have to love it.  They’re scrappy and in your face.  Their hardwork and focus is a complement to their talent.  I’ve always lived by the saying that, “Hardwork beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard”.  Well good luck beating talent that does work hard.  Thad Matta has gotten his team to hit on every cylinder so far in this year’s tournament (all year for that matter) and I expect them to continue to do so.  I don’t see Kentucky being able to pull of the upset but they’ll give the bordering Buckeyes a good game.  To be honest I don’t see Marquette or UNC giving Ohio State much of a fight either. Once Ohio State gets by Kentucky it should be an easy Elite 8 game to advance to the Final Four.

Something to keep in mind.  Back in December I heard some “experts” talking about how Sullinger has given his word that he’ll play at least 2 seasons at Ohio State.  If he gets to the title game and even wins a national championship it could be the end of a beautiful relationship between Sullinger and the Buckeyes.  Just something to keep in mind.

To wrap it up I have my Final Four looking like this.  Ohio State meets the Uconn Huskies  in Houston while the Kansas Jayhawks face off with the Butler Bulldogs! There you have it folks.  I hope my picks have peaked your interest and I thank you for reading my posts!

–Ryan K.