Monday, April 04, 2005

NCAA Final

Washington Post has the meme down: Team versus Talent. When it comes to UNC, anyway, it's what I've been saying all along. UNC has got fantastic players at every position who pretty much go out playing three or four different games of basketball all at the same time. Illinois has a stronger team ethic, and you've been seeing it the past couple of weeks, especially against Arizona.

UNC, as a program, they've been here before. And Roy Williams, as a coach, has been here before. And that's the problem. You don't know is Roy's going to conquer his demons tonight or reach a new level of frustration. Consider this: this matchup tonight is ALL Roy Williams doing. He has come to Carolina with the blessing of the Dean to lead Carolina back to the promised land. Mission accomplished. Additionally, however, Williams left a vaccuum at Kansas, which was filled by Bill Self, who in turn precipitated a vaccuum into which Bruce Weber has stepped to similarly take his charges to the title game. Sounds like the karmic winds are blowing, baby.

UNC is pretty aware of this team versus talent distinction. Williams has apparently harped on it, not that the recognition has evidenced itself on the court. An evening with UNC still includes a bevy of bad jumpers, fast and loose play from Felton, and we all know McCants thinks he's a lot better than he really is--too often, it seems, he sees the press that Starvin' Marvin gets and hears footsteps. McCants is the type that win the big game for you, if he's not looking to make his mark instead.

I read in the Post that Sean May's been doing some motivational jujitsu on the VCR, showing his Dad's undeafeated Indiana team slicing and dicing on their way to a national championship. "I just want everybody to see the celebration they went through, the enjoyment they had. They had five NBA players on that team that got drafted the very next year. They were willing to sacrifice a lot for the cause of winning the national championship."

I like that he's paying lip-service to sacrifice, but I think it's telling that the words "celebration", "enjoyment", and "NBA" get better billing.

The run of play in sports these days has been ominous in its consistency. Pistons, Patriots, Red Sox, Greeks winning the Euros...did you see that Baylor's women's team only allowed four LSU players to score? FOUR? It's the age of team ethic, baby. Someone call the NHL and give 'em the news. The sports superstar is walking the million dollar mile to a town called also-ran. I like McCants, but I want a kid like Deron Williams on my side on Judgement Day, someone who can bang, board, drop, finesse, sniper-shoot, and put the lockdown on any guy on the floor I point him to--as McCants may well learn.

That being said, it's notable that I called Illinois the efficient killing machine. You can't root for them. They've been number one all year. Lost one game. They aren't Hickory. They are the antagonist in every sports movie script that's ever been pitched. And I'm an ACC man--I don't give love to the Big One Zero. Glory of the conference and all that. I've been saying that all around.

You know what, though? The efficient killing machine...the past couple of weeks...they've sort of grown on me. I've allowed myself to become seduced--and perhaps a little grateful after bouncing Pitino. That efficient killing machine turns out to be one hell of a team. I've misjudged you, Illini. You're forgiven for Jeff George. I just can't love these Heels. So go win, Illinois. Go finish the job.

8 comments:

PK said...

Thank God you've seen the light. This Illinois team has a lot to like, and not much to hate. Unless you hate seeing team basketball being played really, really well. Then they have a lot to hate.

I figured since you're an open Hoos fan and a semi-closeted Dook fan, you would stumble your way out of the Tar-filled darkness eventually, anyway.

The Deceiver said...

I've twice backed the Heels in title games, against Michigan and against Georgetown.

But I think there's an awful lot of truth to what you've been saying. I guess I once was lost but now I'm found.

The Deceiver said...

I've twice backed the Heels in title games, against Michigan and against Georgetown.

But I think there's an awful lot of truth to what you've been saying. I guess I once was lost but now I'm found.

Anonymous said...

Sorry. The things that will happen on Franklin Street tonight. ACC. UNC. No deviation. I can't relate to the state of Illinois in the slightest. Even Duke fans will cheer UNC tonight. It's just too bad UNC fans wouldn't if the roles were reversed.
ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ

PS It's sad that even to be the best bunter in the big leagues you gotta be clearly creaming in the medicine cabinet.

The Deceiver said...

I've twice backed the Heels in title games, against Michigan and against Georgetown.

But I think there's an awful lot of truth to what you've been saying. I guess I once was lost but now I'm found.

The Deceiver said...

oh yeah, are you talking about that Devil Ray who got caught ragin' on roids. Whoop-dee-who-dat-doo? Who the fuck was that guy? His name was like a villain from 24 circa 2003-2004 season steez?

The roid patrol reminds me of the NCAA. Big programs skimming, cheating, chiseling? No worries, NCAA's on the case! Who'd they catch! Howard University? As Charlie Brown would say, "Good Grizzy."

Anonymous said...

North Carolina come on and raise up take your shirt off and swing it around like a helicopter!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

National Champions!!!!!

Not Illinois!!!!

Thank God!!!!!!!

Go UVA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!ZZZZZ

PK said...

The silver lining in the Heels' win... pretty much ALL of those mfs are going to go pro and leave the rest of us alone next year. David Noel will probably be their best returning player.

I'd be more excited about the ACC winning the NC if it was EVER a team other than Duke or Carolina. Ah well...