It just took an extra week to settle it officially.
Sunday UNC beat NC State in the ACC Final to seal the Conference Championship. This caps off a 28-6 season where the Tar Heels would win big games, and lose some they shouldn't - but when other big teams falter in their conference, ala UCLA, Carolina now finds itself with a number one seed in the East Regional.
And I was hoping for a two at best. Pardon me faithful, logic said that the Bruins would get a number one nod... Guess not. The Tar Heels' speed bump of back-to-back losses late to Maryland and Georgia Tech were the reasons for calling the faithful into therapy and revival.
But they recovered, and shone when the spotlight was on them. The big win late against Duke, and then sailing through the ACC... Which actually wasn't so much Carolina doing - it was others NOT doing. For NC State took down shorthanded Duke (thanks, and how do you like that, Gerald Henderson?), then turned around and dropped Virginia 24 hours later, then handily beat Virginia Tech - who had beaten UNC twice this year. So it was a great run for the Wolfpack - but it came up one game short. Yet one of UNC's six losses on the season came at the hands of the Wolfpack on February third.
Carolina bowled through Florida State and Boston College by 15 each, and then won the final over State by eight.
The ACC, I would argue, is the best conference in college basketball. I'll argue this just like I say the SEC is the toughest in football, and the ACC is well-represented in the tournament with seven teams.
The North Carolina Tar Heels have high expectations put on them each and every year. And each and every year they're a threat to go deep in the tournament. But this year's men's team is young - three starting freshmen and two seniors, but the team is typically led by sophomore Tyler Hansbrough - who is playing with a mask protecting his broken nose.
This team should worry the rest of the ACC, and the country - period. For this youth means that they will only get better over the course of the next two to three years. This level of success breeds success, as Coach Roy Williams and the school's name will be able to recruit top talent from anywhere they want.
The road the Roy Williams' second NCAA title with the Tar Heels starts with Eastern Kentucky on March 15th.
Go Tar Heels!
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