Art Chansky

Art’s Angle: A Day To Remember

Kentucky was taller and more talented. Carolina was tougher. That about sums up how the Tar Heels outlasted the Wildcats in one of the greatest games (if not the prettiest) in Smith Center history. In its 29th season on campus, the old girl was never louder, never better looking and never happier when the horn sounded on UNC’s 82-77 victory over the 10th-ranked ‘Cats, as Carolina became the first basketball team this season to take down three top-ten opponents. First off, most every seat was filled long before tip-off, a tribute to the marquee match-up, the convenient 5:15 starting time and all the hype about the 36th renewal of the early December rivalry that took a year off in 2012. And when patrons arrived, they found white Carolina t-shirts draped over the back of every chair, a planned “white-out” compliments of UNC supplier Nike. A few people refused to put them over whatever they were wearing, and video cameras catching those culprits shamed them into joining the crowd. It was one of many cool and colorful promotions in a building whose atmosphere has been completely made over the last two years – from the booming voice of PA announcer Tony Gillam, to an electronic ribbon board all around the fascia of the upper deck to enhanced graphics and features by Ken Cleary and his UNC New Media staff. Between...

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Chansky: What Were They Thinking?

Surely, the terms of paying off fired football coach Butch Davis include that he cannot disparage his former employer. If so, Davis may have just flushed the two remaining payments of nearly $600,000 each (due in January of 2014 and 2015) down the toilet with comments he made in the recent cbssports.com article. Reading that will cause local jaws to drop. Davis, who can’t seem to find another coaching job, tells the story of his firing from UNC in exhaustive detail, basically claiming he had no prior knowledge of the impermissible benefits and that the seeds of the academic scandal preceded him by more than 10 years. He also trashes Holden Thorp, saying the former chancellor fired him to save his own job. We’ve heard it all before, perhaps in not such gory detail. The most damaging parts of the article are comments from former Chancellor James Moeser and ex-athletic director Dick Baddour, who attempt to legitimize Davis’ claims. They are retired and should retire from interfering in a controversy that their school wants to let die; Moeser and Baddour also throw Thorp under the bus, which does not serve the university they both claim to love. Moeser says in the article that, if he were still chancellor at the time, he would not have fired Davis. And Baddour reveals that it was not his recommendation to release the...

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Chansky: Go Figure (It Out)

Congratulations, Wes Miller, and watch out, Kentucky! If the Tar Heels’ wacky season stays true to form, they will either lose to or be taken to the wire Saturday night by UNC-Greensboro, which is coached by Miller, another former member of the UNC program. Then they’ll come back a week later and run (soon to be) second-ranked Kentucky out of the Smith Center (probably with another Roy Williams hissy fit in between). And if that happens, the Heels will have struggled with four mid-majors (including Holy Cross) while defeating the No. 1, No. 2 and No. 3 teams in...

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Art’s Angle: Duke Sharper, Smarter

After carrying confidence and momentum into the regular season finale, Carolina found itself outplayed, out-coached and, yes, outsmarted by a Duke team that now calls itself ACC Coastal Division champion. How could that happen when almost everything (including a 5.5 point spread) seemed to favor the Tar Heels at home on Senior Day before a capacity crowd that mostly arrived on time after causing a massive traffic jam surrounding Kenan Stadium? Well, the 10-2 Blue Devils made one mistake all of the sunny, brisk day under clear Carolina Blue skies, a muffed punt by their star Jamison Crowder that...

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Chansky: Don’t Worry About Duke

As the Duke-Carolina football game with the most at stake in the last 50 years approaches, many Tar Heels fans are fretting more over the Blue Devils than usual this time of the year. After all, who would imagine that Duke might reach the ACC football championship game before Carolina? That’s what a Duke victory (9-2 and 5-2 in the ACC) produces Saturday in Kenan Stadium. And what about all these basketball superstars Mike Krzyzewski continues to sign when his own Hall of Fame career is supposed to be winding down, not revving up? Well, nothing is ever as...

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Art’s Angle: 80 In Switzerland

What would have happened if Larry Fedora hadn’t told his team to literally lay down with an 80-20 lead over Old Dominion in a mercy-shortened massacre Saturday at Kenan Stadium? Well, one more touchdown or even a field goal would have allowed the Tar Heels to surpass the ACC record for points in a game (82). Either/or would have also outscored the UNC basketball team, which posted a hard-fought 82-72 win over Richmond at the Hall of Fame Tip-off Classic up in Connecticut. And, since the 80 came in the first three quarters, they might well have scored 100...

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Chansky: On Smith, The Man

It is more than appropriate that Dean Smith received the Presidential Medal of Freedom two days before the 50th anniversary of JFK’s assassination. It was President Kennedy who began bestowing the honor on what is now 550 American heroes but, more importantly and to use a little sports jargon, Smith was a huge fan and supporter of the 35th President and mourned deeply with the rest of the world when JFK was slain in Dallas on November 22, 1963. Smith had just been named to succeed Frank McGuire when Kennedy spoke at UNC on October 12, 1961, and the...

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Art’s Angle: Winning By A Switzer

SAN JOSE DEL CABO, MEXICO – Hola! For years, Woody Durham used to say “See it on the radio,” and that’s what I had to do Saturday in a country where football means something completely different than what we know. Thanks to the ACC Network (which together with Raycom must rent space on the smallest satellite in the solar system), the best sports bar in this tourist town could find every event up there on ABC, CBS, ESPN and Fox, but not the Carolina-Pitt game. So through the magic of WCHL, I “saw it on the radio” by calling...

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Art’s Angle: Staying Relevant

For Carolina, call it a weekend of staying relevant. The football Tar Heels spanked a bad Virginia team to win their third straight and keep their drive alive for a winning season and bowl bid. Their continued improvement is no less than remarkable, as they played perhaps their most complete game of a season that once looked disastrous. On an emotional Homecoming weekend, sophomore Marquise Williams wore the jersey number (2) of his injured mentor Bryn Renner and became the first quarterback in UNC history to run, pass and receive touchdowns in a single game. He ran for one, threw for two and caught one on the third reverse pass touchdown Larry Fedora’s offense has scored this season. At 4-5 after a 1-5 start, Carolina now faces a season-defining trip to Pitt (5-4), which made the challenge more daunting by upsetting No. 23 Notre Dame Saturday at Heinz Field. The Tar Heels will have to shut down veteran Panthers’ quarterback Tom Savage and find a way to solve a stout Pitt defense in order to reach .500 and play for bowl eligibility in their last two games. Looming on November 30 is an unlikely showdown with Duke, which moved to 7-2 by beating beleaguered N.C. State with a second half surge. Carolina cannot win the Coastal Division, but could keep the Blue Devils out of the ACC Championship game...

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Art’s Angle: With Your Own Eyes

Hold up your right hand and close your index finger and thumb to within an inch of each other. That’s how far Carolina is from becoming a very good football team after the Tar Heels’ 27-19 win at N.C. State Saturday. Though still marred by a few mistakes and too many penalties, the Heels showed so many good signs in winning their second straight game and third of the season – and notching their first victory in Raleigh since 2005 — that it is becoming far easier to envision what Larry Fedora’s finished product will look like. Carolina spotted State 10 points with an interception and botched reverse deep in its own territory, giving a capacity crowd at sun-baked Carter Finley Stadium reason to believe the Wolfpack could actually win the game. Not so fast, Wolfies, who were to settle for only three more field goals. Behind an array of offensive weapons and a defense that’s coming on strong, the Tar Heels rallied to take a lead they lost only momentarily and might have extended by two or three touchdowns if they had completed a couple of late drives. Their first two touchdowns showed their resiliency and that Fedora’s second-year roster is far superior to Dave Doeren’s rookie State team. Sophomore Marquise Williams, the heir apparent on the offense, drove them 75 yards while completing all four of his...

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