Déjà vu

Somewhere about the midway point of the second half of Carolina’s collapse against Georgetown I said to the people who I was watching the game with that it was starting to remind me of the Maryland game exactly one month ago, the similarities, stunning. The results the same, a Tarheel loss, and it is from those two losses that this teams faults were exposed.

Carolina in both games played porous defense and failed to make adjustments the entire night. This however was a theme that haunted the Heels all year long. From time to time Carolina showed tremendous defensive ability, especially in the ability to force bad passes and to obtain steals. However this can lead to lots of backdoor lay-ups and open three pointers, especially when you have a team that was youthful like this one. This team never developed the defensive habits that the squad in 2005 mastered so well, and it is because of this Carolina’s season is over. In both games the inability to get big stops allowed teams that otherwise would have been beaten both mentally and on the scoreboard to stay in the game.

In both contests Carolina first became impatient on the offensive end, then hesitant. In both games way too many three pointers were shot down the stretch, and when they did not drop not only did the opponent’s confidence rise. But eventually Carolina turned tight. Down the stretch, and especially in overtime no one in both games wanted the ball. In both games the opponent was much better prepared mentally for crunch time, there was no confidence far as I was concerned once the game went to the extra period. And in both cases Carolina did not provide play worthy of confidence.

Actually the blueprint for tonight’s meltdown was conjured in the second loss to VPI.  All three losses contained the same tenants. All three teams had guards who could penetrate and kick out for the three, and all had shooters who were hitting from the outside. In the end all three were eerily similar and it is those three losses that told the tale of this edition of Carolina basketball. With the real possibility that multiple members of this team will leave for the NBA we may never get to find out how much this team could have matured. But if by chance this team manages to stay intact in terms of the returning players then this team will go into 2008 as odds on favorite to be national champion, however if the lessons of 2007 then history will repeat itself.

With all of that being said, in the end the credit must go to Georgetown for playing a superb contest they rightly deserved to win. Jeff Green and DeJuan Summers were brilliant and Roy Hibbert’s presence influenced the contest even when he was out with foul trouble. When Georgetown managed to stay within striking difference without him it was obvious that Carolina was not going to be able to put the Hoya’s away. And of course one cannot mention the Hoya’s without bringing up the legacy that this second generation of Ewing’s and Thompson’s represent and what a great thing it is they have revived this proud program so swiftly.

Paul Lambeth II


2 thoughts on “Déjà vu

  1. The only championship Roy has won was with someone elses players—I do not think Roy has what it takes to win the big one.

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