Monday, March 9, 2009

Heels should look beyond this week

CHAPEL HILL -- North Carolina wrapped up another regular season title and likely another No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament thanks to another win over Duke on Sunday night.

But as Ty Lawson limped off the court with a sore right big toe after beating the Blue Devils, it became pretty apparent that what the Tar Heels don't need is another ACC Tournament title.

Coach Roy Williams has always placed more emphasis on the regular season crown for a reason: it's a sign of what the team has accomplished over a matter of months, not days. And let's face it, with two conference tournament titles but two NCAA tournament meltdowns under their belts over the last two years, the veteran Tar Heels are certainly focused more on the weeks to come than the week.

That's not to say UNC won't hoist another trophy in Atlanta this week, or shouldn't try. But with Lawson obviously needing to heal, and the Heels needing to look at the bigger picture (i.e., getting to, and winning in Detroit), a loss in the semifinals to a team like Florida State wouldn't be a stretch. Or surprising. Or necessarily a bad thing.

The Tar Heels, who own the top seed in the ACC tournament, could use a win over the winner of Thursday's Virginia Tech-Miami game on Friday to keep any fretting in the fan base from setting in. That should also triply solidify a top seed in the NCAAs.

But Williams' teams at Kansas and UNC have only reached the Final Four once after winning the conference title crown -- last season -- proving that returning home early and resting up for another day tends to pay bigger dividends down the road. -- Robbi Pickeral


David said...

Agreed and as a Heels fan, I could care less about the ACC Tourney. I'd rather have a healthy team for the real Tournament.

Just as long as either Wake Forest, FSU or Clemson win the ACC …NOT DUKE…

Then again, it would be nice to beat the Dukies one more time in ’09 perhaps we will see them later in the Big Dance for round 3 (or 4)…

Anonymous said...

I agree... UNC needs at least 1 maybe 2 wins in the ACC Tourney and then bring on the NCAA's

GO Heels!!

and "ANYONE BUT DUKE!" for the ACC Crown as well.

Anonymous said...

"...proving that returning home early and resting another day pays dividends down the road."

Robbi, the extra day of rest Duke missed when they won the ACC Tourney in 1992 and 2001 didn't seem to "affect" them that much, did it???

Anonymous said...

Losing is stupid, plain and simple.