North Carolina has made it obvious that they are one of the 20 best teams in America. They are playing with tremendous confidence, flying around on offense like Roy teams of old, and Harrison Barnes is turning into that star we thought we’d see from the beginning. But hold on just a second.
The way they beat Clemson, the comeback at Miami, the snoozer against State, the eye opener at BC, and destruction of FSU all were impressive. Carolina is playing smart, playing together, and having fun. Even Drew quitting on his teammates has seemed to only make their bond tighter. But are they really ready to beat Duke in Cameron?
PG Kendall Marshall has been brilliant of late, while SG/PG Dexter Strickland has been steady. Leslie McDonald and Reggie Bullock have come off the bench and been fantastic. But all four of those guys are young (2 freshmen, 2 sophomores) and their biggest challenge BY FAR will be to stop Duke’s back court. Carolina hasn’t played any team (Texas included) that have the experienced guards that Duke does. And I include Kyle Singler in that mix. I don’t care how tall he is he plays like a 2 or a 3. So the Heels back court is going to have their hands full on defense. Plus, I don’t care how much Drew quitting may galvanize the Heels, they needed him this Wednesday night. In my opinion he was their best on ball defender.
Most importantly, how will these young pups handle Cameron Indoor? Strickland, McDonald, Zeller, and Henson are the only ones that have ever been there and they got DRILLED last year. How will Barnes react to a crowd that is seething over how he broke their hearts for the Heels? How will the entire team respond to a hostile environment (Illinois is really the last one that would qualify). And how will UNC fare against great competition (they haven’t played any since Texas)?
After saying all of that I think UNC has a chance. They’re too talented, playing with too much confidence, and finally have become an extension of their head coach. But this challenge is light years harder than any game they’ve played all year.