Keith’s Carolina BBQ – Short spurt with a long road ahead

By: Keith Hartley
4 games in 7 days. This is a rare occurrence for most CBB teams but not necessarily an unwelcome one given the lineup. The matchups lined up nicely with the toughest competition to start out and then descending each game.
First up was a pretty solid Michigan team but after having a few days to stew in the loss against MSU, our boys came out to prove that the lack of energy and tenacity exhibited in that previous game was only a blip on the radar rather than a worrisome trend. This was evidenced by the 34-7 run they went on to close/open the half. Led by a career night from Luke Maye (27 pts on 11/16 shooting) and JB (17pts,5reb,4ast), Big Blue really had no answer for the pace and depth at which a Carolina team running hot, plays with.
Next up was a seemingly always overlooked and underrated Davidson team. The Wildcats came out punching and were up by 7 early on before the Heels really knew what hit them but the boys took it in stride and even looked a bit like the team we fell in love with last year dominating the glass to grind out the game.
This is not something that we should get used to though as this team is not built like last years to continue this trend against the big boys of the ACC. And previously when I said Luke Maye had a career night, well he one-upped himself in this one finishing with 24 & 17, while Joel Berry poured in 27 of his own on 8-15 from the field.
The next two games looked like they should be blowouts and thankfully they were as it didn’t seem like the packed schedule took much of a toll on the team. Luke Maye continued his streak of excellent performances and double-doubles. A bit of a coming out party for freshman Jalek Felton as well against Western Carolina who finished with 15 & 5 ast. This was especially impactful as it was his defense and energy, especially in the second half, that really got dialed up and allowed him more trust/playing time with Roy.
Looking forward to the post-finals break and upcoming matchups, a road matchup against a stingy and athletic Tennessee team will be one of the final tough, out of conference matchups for the year. Coach Barnes has started to transform this program again and they are certainly on the rise. This game is going to be a close one and may very well come down to the final few possessions and timely 3-point shooting.
Since it was such a big hit in my last post, I figured I should continue my Mount Rushmore of sports tangents. This week features a more team-specific facade as I will try to limit the UNC program to it’s four most influential players (not coaches, this might be coming later). So without any further ado, lets get to the unveiling:
– Michael Jordan: You can start and end any conversation with God in the flesh made into a basketball player and you’d never be wrong. He has transformed the UNC program, the Chicago Bulls, the shoe industry, the NBA and global marketing to name a few. He would make it on any Mount Rushmore of greatness and is the second most singularly dominate athlete in a team sport behind only Wayne Gretzky.
–  Tyler Hansbrough: If you were to remove the names and just look at career accolades you might have a tough time thinking there are 5 players in all of college basketball history to have a more esteemed career than this man. You may say this is hyperbole but if you’re saying that, you haven’t looked much into the matter without bias. The list of accomplishments and records he holds is incredible and unmatched in UNC history.
– Phil Ford: This man was before my time but if you spent any time around any UNC alum, boy do they have some stories about Phil.  They will tell you how dominant he was with the ball in his hands. For you young bucks, he was James Harden before James was even born, lulling people with his hypnotic dribbling and movements. He was Dean Smith’s perfect orchestrator for the 4 corners offense and the ultimate UNC point guard.
– Vince Carter: This spot probably deserves to go to James Worthy but I put Vince here because to a 10-year-old boy obsessed with Michael Jordan enough to become a fan of his college team just for his sake, VC is the guy that cemented my lifelong love of Carolina basketball. I don’t know of any college player in memory that truly embodied the moniker half man/half amazing. The combination of Ed Cota and Vinsanity is still to this day my favorite backcourt of all time and two of the most purely talented basketball players in UNC history.
Thanks y’all for stopping by and we’ll see you next time in Keith’s Carolina BBQ
North Carolina plays Tennessee on Sunday then gets to catch their breath against Wofford. 

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