The 2009-10 UNC basketball season reminds me of 50 Cent's third studio album, Curtis . The album hit the charts at No. 1 with the hot single "Ayo Technology," but that was all you heard about it. This album ended up being Fifty's lowest selling album of his career.
Like 50 Cent, Carolina started off their season with plenty of hype. They were ranked No. 4 in preseason and returned key contributors from their national championship team. Also, the Heels brought in many high profile recruits and were ranked No. 5 by rivals.com .
They even showed some substance on the court, beating veteran Big 10 squads, Michigan State and Ohio State, and then barely losing to a loaded Kentucky squad led by John Wall and Patrick Patterson.
But this team didn't show the physical dominance of Carolina's earlier dynasties. Instead of blood in the mouth, sometimes awkward, Tyler Hansbrough, Carolina had Deon Thompson and Tyler Zeller, who would rather shoot the guarded 15-footer than brawl inside like Hansbrough.
North Carolina also didn't have the dominating post defense they had in the days of Sean May and Hansbrough. Instead, Carolina's Ed Davis and Zeller were pretty much pantsed by Dexter Pittman and Damion James in the Texas game, when they gave up 48 points and 30 boards.
Their weakness extended to the perimeter. Carolina's young guards were burned by College of Charleston for 13 three-pointers in an upset loss. Into ACC play, they have struggled defensively, giving up 34 points to Demontez Stitt and Tanner Smith of Clemson (who are not elite scorers) and and 42 points to the seasoned Greivis Vasquez and Eric Hayes of Maryland.
North Carolina's sloppy play is getting them nowhere in the tough ACC play. They have great athletes but cannot make basic plays. Larry Drew is averaging over three turnovers a game, and I have seen him throw many passes out of bounds. Also, supposed freshman phenom John Henson tries to dunk the ball instead of drawing contact and getting to the line (see: the Duke game last night).
Carolina's lack of leadership has gotten them in this hole. No player has stepped up and taken a lead scoring role. Ginyard is great defensively, but his offensive game has holes. Ed Davis has pogo stick hops, but his post moves are limited, and he did not hit double figures against Duke or Texas.
All these factors have contributed to the decline of the Carolinian dynasty, and at 13-11, the Heels are one of the bottom-feeders in the ACC and have virtually no chance of making the big dance.