Phog Blog noted more than a month ago (and discussed openly in the Jayhawk circles in which I run), that UNC, despite its high octane offense and blinding transition game, might have some troubles come tournament time if things got slow. Thanks to the ever-watchful eye of CBB wonk Yoni Cohen, I have learned that others in the media are now getting off the Carolina bandwagon. This is an interesting transformation. Take a look: Zach Rocha of the South Coast Daily:
The Tar Heels have garnered a ton of praise this season for running teams off the court. They blew out seven of their eight ACC opponents before falling in the Tobacco Road showdown Wednesday at Cameron Indoor. But teams like Duke and UConn and even Indiana have shown that if you can limit Roy Williams' boys opportunities to play their style, they are beatable. And Wake Forest showed that you can even beat them at their own game.
Skip Myslenski of the slightly larger Chicago Tribune:
That scar tissue has been broken down, Williams says, and only rarely do the Tar Heels slip back into their selfish ways. But that's just what they did against Duke when they angered Williams, and that's why questions remain about the Heels, no matter their outsized skills.
In 2003, during a timeout in Kansas' Midwest Regional game with Duke, Jayhawks forward Nick Collison told his teammates, "Get it in gear right now. I'm going to the Final Four, so either help me out or get out of the way."
That's the kind of leader all great teams have but the Tar Heels lack.
None of these should be new revelations (although how about that Nick quote!), but the poppy dust seems to be wearing off the national media. Also common this week, will be all sorts of warnings to Illinois to stay focused. They're looking like we did before getting boatraced by 'Nova, and I'm actually hoping that they can steady the ship until the tournament. They can possibly go something like 39-0, which would be pretty remarkable. History says no.