Anyone who was channel surfing last Sunday had to stop and marvel at the Carolina-Miami game and how great that first half was. Even if they didn’t know the teams.
That’s how good, and at such a high level, the ACC championship game was played. Both teams scored better than a point per possession, shooting so well and really not turning the ball over much. That’s almost unheard of.
If there are four teams in the country playing better than Miami going into the NCAA Tournament, I don’t know who they are. That Miami won both the ACC regular season and the tournament, and isn’t a No. 1 seed, something seems wrong about that.
I think all the ACC teams were seeded too low. How’d you like to play N.C. State as an eighth seed? When they’re playing well, they are as talented as any team in the country. Richard Howell played so well in Greensboro and looked like he was really hurting.
We have one tough draw in the first game. Villanova beat all the best teams in the Big East — Louisville, Syracuse, Georgetown. So we have our hands full with them.
But we’re capable of beating anyone as long as we’re making shots. That’s different from past years, when we could rely more on inside scoring and rebounding. But our coaches have done a great job getting us to this point.
And how about how Marcus? Those two baseline shots he made against Maryland… I’m not really sure how he even got in there to take them. He’s improved so much these last few weeks and I really like how he’s running the team.
As I’ve said, our team has to be shooting well to win. If PJ, Reggie and Leslie can all get hot at the same time, and stay hot for the weekend, we could beat both Villanova and Kansas. Playing in Kansas City will be tough — like two road games because the KU fans won’t want to play us Sunday. They’ll be in the arena cheering against us on Friday night too.
It’s like playing us in Greensboro, which is tough on the opponent. But we’re no longer an inexperienced team, and Kansas can be beat by keeping it close and they’ve been known to get tight down the stretch. But first things first. Let’s beat Villanova and then worry about Kansas.
Win or lose, I’m proud to be a Tar Heel with how far this team has come. Hope your bracket doesn’t get busted too early!
Phil Ford was a three-time All-American at UNC, 1978 ACC Player of the Year, NBA Rookie of the Year, an NBA all-star, and was recently inducted into the College Basketball Hall of Fame.