Five Questions on Duke vs. UNC

Ladies and Gentlemen, it’s finally that time of the year again.  After a Super Bowl weekend full of national anthem gaffes, provocative Groupon commercials, and a whole lot of Greg Jennings puttin’ the team on his back, we can finally focus on what really matters in the world of sports (at least to us). It’s finally time for us to shift our focus back to the hardwood as we approach what arguably is the greatest rivalry in sports: Duke versus UNC.   In anticipation of tonight’s matchup, Crazie-Talk compiled our own “Top 5” questions surrounding the game:

Mason Plumlee, showing off his post game against the Wolfpack (photo courtesy of DukeBluePlanet.com)

1)   Will the real Mason Plumlee please stand up?

One of the keys to a Duke victory is how well Mason Plumlee plays on both sides of the ball.  In Duke’s two losses thus far, the Sophomore Forward has combined for a measly 5 points, coming off of only one made field goal.  The volatile play, coupled with his 38% free-throw rate, remain key challenges that Duke must overcome if they expect to make a deep run in the tournament.  I expect Mason to have a solid shooting performance on Wednesday, and hopefully we’ll be seeing more of those baby hooks he pulled against NC State.  But if he doesn’t show improvement in his shooting by mid-March, expect the “Hack-a-Plumlee”  to become a defensive staple among opposing teams.

2)   Can Duke hit free throws?

Though problems at the line primarily involve Duke’s big men, this year’s squad has uncharacteristically underperformed from the charity stripe.   Duke shot 53% from the line while missing 15 free throws in their last game against NC State, a stark contrast from the usually reliable teams of the past.  While the team successfully masked its free-throw deficiency against State, don’t expect for that trend to continue as conference play begins to heat up.  One can simply rewind back to the Derrick Rose-led 2007-2008 Memphis Tigers (or any Clemson team of the last 10 years) to see a prime example of how a talented squad can cripple under lackluster free-throw ability.

After weeks of tenting, K-Ville residents are finally ready for the biggest game of the year (photo courtesy of DukeBlue Planet.com)

3)   Will the three ball drop?

I know, I know—this entire article seems to revolve around shooting.  But on a team without the senior leadership of Zoubek and LT, it’s time to accept the fact that this squad will ultimately rely on its perimeter play.  It’s no secret that this team, similar to previous Blue Devil squads, relies heavily on the 3-point shot.  A good shooting night can lead to a blowout, but a poor performance can plague an entire team into defeat (see: St John’s game).  If Duke wants to beat a talented Carolina team tonight, they’ll need to find a balance in their offense if the 3’s don’t start falling.

4)   Does UNC’s return to the Coaches Top 25 mean anything?

It seems that John Henson and Co. took the “making other peoples’ lives relevant” concept to a whole new level.  As UNC re-enters the top 25,  The Tar Heels coincidentally have finally made themselves relevant again.  Sarcasm aside, this team has improved tremendously from the beginning of the season. Carolina has won three straight ACC games by 20+ points, the first time that has happened since the 05-06 season.  The recent success, which occurred in the midst of Larry Drew II’s sudden departure (validating the concept of ‘addition by subtraction’), hinges on the strong play of Henson, Barnes, and Drew’s replacement, Kendall Marshall.  They are coming into the tonight’s rivalry game with a lot of momentum, so expect a strong performance from UNC.

Larry Drew II, and his turnovers, will be sorely missed on Wednesday (photo courtesy of DukeBluePlanet.com)

5)   Who wins the game?

Had I written this post at the beginning of the year, I would’ve easily given the nod to Duke in this matchup.  The Blue Devils simply had more experience, offensive firepower, and coaching than their counterparts at Chapel Hill.  However, after the world’s most famous toe—no, not you Mrs. Rex Ryan—took away the nation’s most dynamic point guard, the two teams should enter tonight’s game on much more equal footing.  I expect for this game to be much closer than most may predict—a Duke victory with a margin of around 3-5 points.  At the very least, UNC will play much better than they did in last year’s epic fail (see video below).  Watch for the Cameron Crazies, as usual, to push the Blue Devils past the Tar Heels in a very physical matchup between the two rivals.

Prediction: Duke wins 73-70

BONUS QUESTION:

What will Rashad Mccants’s father post on Facebook after the game?

Appetite for Destruction

Shortly following Duke’s 82-50 decimation of North Carolina on Saturday, injured Tar Heel big man Ed Davis tweeted a single word: “Unreal.” Unfortunately for Ed, Roy Williams and the silenced legions of sissy blue, the game was very real. And it was beautiful.

Dan Shulman noted in the ESPN broadcast that the game was a 2 hour party for the Cameron Crazies. We had a lot to celebrate: senior night for Jon, Brian and Lance, a share of the ACC Championship, recruits watching in the stands, and so much more. There’s a lot to talk about, so let’s get started.

A Fond Farewell on Senior Night

I think a lot of people teared up as Jon Scheyer was introduced before the game. For four years, Jon has been a consummate leader at Duke. An uncommonly intelligent player, Jon always has his game under control and is able to make the right decision. The fact that he was recruited as a shooting guard and is now a finalist for the Cousy Award, which honors the nation’s best point guard, speaks for itself. Jon is an extension of the coaching staff, a true team captain, and should be an All-American this season. I love the guy and wish Duke could keep him forever.

On Saturday night, Jon made his statement for ACC Player of the Year, finishing with 20 points and 7 assists (all of the helpers came in the first half). When he came out in the final minutes, his parents were emotional, particularly his mother. They are fan favorites and come to nearly every game. After three years of home losses to UNC, I’m glad the team gave Jim and Laury something to cheer for.

Lance and Brian played fewer minutes than Jon—with 16 and 20 respectively—but each made his presence felt. Zoubek is making me so sad; his play in the second half of the season has been such an improvement over the rest of his career. He had 8 points and 13 boards, and even had a little Dream Shake and jump hook on the baseline. Lance contributed two points and six rebounds before fouling out with about six minutes left to a rousing “LT! LT!” chant from the student section. His tough D, which earned him a spot on the All-ACC defensive squad, was once again stellar (although, what UNC player did he really have to shut down?) Lance may have the regal tattoo, but both he and Zoubs were Kings of New Jersey Saturday night.

ACC Champs!

In our ACC preview of the Tar Heels, we figured that it would be a race between UNC and Duke for the regular season title. Well, we were right about Duke at least. The victory put us at 13-3 and tied with Maryland for another regular season championship, our 12th. Although it’s tough to share anything—especially with the insane Turtle nation—it’s always good to hang a deserved banner.

Once again, the three (All-ACC) S’s led Duke to victory; Nolan, Kyle and Jon scored 65 combined points. So essentially, K could have thrown them out there with two mannequins and they would’ve beat the defenseless Holes by 15. (Also, Duke could have gone scoreless in the second half and still won 53-50.) Nolan crossed so many people that I lost count. In the first half, he left Larry Drew cemented to the floor and drove for a thunderous dunk. Kyle had 19 in the first half alone and was beating UNC by himself for several minutes. The Big Three came to play, and UNC was left cowering on the bench.

Having three legitimate 20 point scorers is a luxury that could translate to more postseason success. And as Coach K has repeatedly stated, even at the expense of a certain Chronicle sportswriter, our stars are not tiring out—and their continued dominance proves it. Earth, Wind and Scheyer (copyright!) will lead us deep into March.

The Crazies respond to Roy's equation (UNC's Season=Haiti Earthquake) with a little humor. (Courtesy DukeBluePlanet.com)

Coach K>Roy

With UNC’s season becoming more disastrous every game—even more so than Haiti, per Roy—attentive basketball fans have started to doubt Williams’ ability as a strategist. The guy can definitely recruit and is a great salesman of the powder blue program. And he has one great system predicated upon speedy point guards and forwards who can get up and down the floor. But this year, UNC has neither of these things. And Roy simply hasn’t adjusted.

Nor he has been particularly supportive of his players in this difficult season, a point this blog has made several times. Coach K, on the other hand, is still one of the game’s best in-game coaches and motivators. Early in the first half against UNC, he ripped into the Plumlee brothers for a poor defensive effort. After replacing them with Z and Lance, Coach K turned and told Miles and Mason—’that’s how you get a rebound!’ When Miles returned to the floor, he made a fantastic defensive play, stealing the ball and advancing it to Scheyer in transition. K rewarded him with more playing time. Miles came through again late in the game, when he flushed Duke’s final two points off a perfect alley-oop pass from Nolan. He nearly tore the rim off on that one—see the pictures for evidence.

The thing to take away from this exchange—no matter how ordinary it seems—is the way K uses anger and frustration to motivate his players. Instead of throwing them under the bus as Roy does, Coach K rewards his players for improvement and celebrates it with them when they perform better. Miles had a lot to say on this point after the game: see the video from WRAL here.

The Future Meets the Present

Several recruits and committed players witnessed our embarrassment of UNC. In addition to 2010 commits Kyrie Irving and Josh Hairston, several players visited to get a better look at Duke’s program. ’10 forward Michael Haynes, ’11 wing Michael Gbinjie and ’12 shooting guard Shabazz Muhammad took in the action from behind Duke’s bench. The latter two are both top 10 players in their classes, and Michael Haynes may be another option for next year along with JuCo recruit Carrick Felix. It’s too early to offer any judgments on our chances with Gbinjie or Muhammad, but Duke’s dominance surely made an impression.

Kyrie Irving, along with his St. Patrick’s classmate and Twitter stalwart blank908, had a great time in the first row. Irving and Hairston jumped up several times during exciting plays and cheered like mad. You can tell that these guys are itching to get to Duke next year and join this team. Kyrie had this to say after the game: “Hard to say goodbye…but I’ll be back in the summer…” We can’t wait to see what Irving, Hairston and Thornton bring to next year’s team, which has an opportunity to be one of Duke’s best in several years.

Tough Weekend for John Henson

John Henson was easily the best player on the floor for Carolina on Saturday night, finishing with 14 points on 5-10 shooting, including some improbable buckets in the post. However, Henson was the Crazies’ primary object of scorn, drawing catcalls like “Eat A Hamburger” and “Gumby! Gumby!” Nor did John improve his lot with his attitude; after dunking in the general vicinity of Miles Plumlee, Henson got a little too pumped up and talked trash while running back up the court. Perhaps he didn’t realize his team was still down by 30 points. Roy quickly pulled him out of the game and Henson was left looking like a sad version of Lil’ Twist from Young Money. (thanks to “bmorecity_bear” for the spot-on comparison).

But the weekend got worse for Henson, in a way. His sister Amber, a top-5 recruit in the class of 2011, committed to Joanne P. McCallie and the Duke Women’s basketball program on Sunday. Amber had considered joining her brother in Chapel Hill, but Duke’s medical program was too attractive. (Yes! Academic superiority is paying off!) Henson conceded his ‘defeat’ in having Amber choose Duke on his already legendary Twitter. I don’t mind him coming to “dook” to watch his sister, but I hope Cameron is always hostile to him when he suits up.

John Henson promises to be one of North Carolina’s better players for the years that he stays in Chapel Hill. Hopefully his sister is just as talented and can lead Duke Women’s basketball to its elusive first national championship to go with the conference tourney title they won on Sunday. What a great few days for Duke fans, and what an awful stretch for Gumby.

Nearly every bench on West Campus was burned in celebration of Duke's first home victory over UNC in five years. (property of Crazie-Talk)

Onward!

With all the joy following this weekend, it might seem alluring to curl up and watch the game replay over and over again on ESPN360. But as the seniors vehemently said in post-game speeches, this season is far from over. Duke has the tools to accomplish a lot more this year—an ACC tournament title, a number one seed, and a run at the Final Four.

And for once, I am more optimistic in March than in January. I can’t wait to see how high this team can fly.

Crazie-Talk was present for some serious pyromaniacs on Saturday night as benches burned on West Campus. One guy even tried to climb up on one of them! We do not suggest that, even if it was hilarious to see his buddies pull him off (“No, man, that’s a huge fire, not a jungle gym.”)

Check C-T later this week for our review of the ACC Tournament! Go Duke, and may UNC always lose by 30+.

Here’s a little video from the end of the game. Enjoy.


Day Two: Ten Heels We Love to Hate – Part II

Welcome back to Heel Week, everybody! Yeehaw!

What a great day to be a Duke fan. Shortly after our Blue Devils punked the petulant Bumble Bees of Georgia Tech, Roy, um, led his Tar Heels to another loss, this time on the road in Blacksburg against Seth Greenberg’s Virginia Tech Hokies. I have never liked Greenberg so much.

While Greenberg celebrates a somewhat anticlimactic win, Roy had this to say: “I thought it was two teams that tried awfully hard.” Another gem from sophomore point guard Larry Drew:

Q: Does it get tiring hearing about opposing guards scoring 20 points on UNC?

Drew: “Yeah. Yeah, it gets old. But it’s up to us to stop that from happening.”

In light of Carolina’s string of defeats—that’s six of the last eight—here at Crazie-Talk we decided to take it easy on the men in sissy blue and focus on some of UNC’s former, more successful players. It was easy to hate these five players. Mostly because they were good (ok, there’s one exception.) All of them, despite their talent, ground on my conscience and made me want to throttle the television screen. They cry, whine, pound their chests, bleed, get ridiculous tattoos, take awkward jump shots…am I giving up too much?

Presenting the top five most hated Tar Heels of the past 10 years. (If you missed it, you can check out numbers six through ten here).

5. Marcus Ginyard (Guard, 2005-forever)

I know I said I wouldn’t pick on current UNC players in this top 5. But as Ginyard is essentially a dinosaur, aka fifth year senior, he has provided enough vitriol in his overlong stay at Chapel Hill for me to squeeze him into the top five.

No, no, Marcus. The 'crouching tiger' defensive posture only works when you're facing the offensive player.

The irony here is that I once respected Marcus Ginyard. He took a job in Chapel Hill delivering pizzas at one point, something I did not expect out of any college basketball player, let alone a Tar Heel. (I wonder how much he made in tips from them Carolina faithful?). Ginyard always seemed to fade into the background among his more talented teammates, particularly when in 08-09, when an injury forced him into a medical redshirt.

This past summer, however, Ginyard decided to take a more proactive role as a Tar Hole. With Hansbrough and Co. gone to the league, Marcus found himself the elder statesman of the Dean Dome, and thought he’d school the rookies in Karolina Klass.

Before basketball even started, Ginyard was positioning himself as a Cameron Crazie favorite. In an interview with WRAL, he revealed his true feelings on his rival down Tobacco Road.

“A lot of their players walk the line between a good, tough player and like a little shady, dirty…I have a strong dislike for most of the players who play at Duke.”

What you want, cookie?

Ginyard was not done, though. After Duke’s loss to Wisconsin in the ACC-Big 10 challenge, he tweeted this message: “Big 10 can have this challenge. Duke loses, we all win…” Big words from a man named “Number 1 cheerleader” during his UNC’s 2009 title run.

Side-note: while looking through Ginyard’s twitter, @MG1NYARD, I found this gem:

Way to look out for your own, Marcus.

4. Danny Green (Guard, 2005-2009)

One reason:

Maryland won that game.

Danny, did you learn your style from another former UNC moron?

There’s also the infamous incident at Cameron in 2008, when the Crazies donned baby blue ribbons in memory of UNC student body president Eve Carson, who had tragically passed away days earlier. After defeating Duke in Cameron, Green went out of his way to pop his jersey towards the crowd.  Way to represent your school, Danny. Have fun bench warming for the Cavs, maybe LeBron will put him in one of his pre-game routines. That’s about all the attention you’re going to get.

3. Brendan Haywood (Center 1997-2001)

Where'd you get your...friends...Brendan? Brendan? You asleep big fella?

Ah, Haywood.

Brendan Haywood came to UNC in 1997. Like Kris Lang, he was a local yokel (Greensboro, NC) and earned a spot as a Burger Boy on the McDonald’s All-American team. At UNC, he averaged a respectable 10 points per game over his four year career. He blocked a lot of shots and set a few Tar Heel records. (Does that mean he gets his jersey in the rafters? No, can’t tell, too many worthless things up there).

It’s not Haywood’s game that drives me nuts. It’s his attitude. The guy complained about every call in college, flailing his arms around and screaming after the officials. Like Danny Green, he was a dancer. He would jump up and down after he got called for a foul, tapping his toes like Fred Astaire. I distinctly remember Brendan being named “College Hoops Biggest Crybaby” after his senior season. That same issue had Shane Battier on the cover. Haywood should have learned from Shane how to take it like a man.

What makes Haywood’s antics all the funnier is his recent call-out of LeBron James during the 2008 playoffs. Haywood plays for the Wizards, one of the worst franchises in sports, who had somehow managed to make it to the post-season. The Wizards employed “Hack-a-Lebron,” fouling James extremely hard to try to get him out of his rhythm. When James fought back in the media, Haywood had this to say:

I love Jay Mariotti’s response in that video: “Who is Brendan Haywood to talk about Lebron James like that?”

Like his number (and probably his UNC GPA), Haywood is a zero in the NBA. He has averaged a whopping 6 points over his career, and only gets burn because the Wizards literally have no better big men.

The irony of Haywood, the world’s biggest whiner in Tar Heel blue, calling out a superstar is stifling. Take a seat, Brendan. Or go back to Carolina, I’m sure an assistant coaching spot will open up for you soon.

2. Tyler Hansbrough (Forward, 2005-2009)

Wait, my socks are still on?

Hansbrough is a college basketball legend. He was a great player at North Carolina. OK. I said it.

Tyler Hansbrough will go down as the most polarizing player in ACC basketball history. (JJ Redick may be #2) He was devastatingly effective at playing basketball in the ugliest possible fashion.

"Photo grapher! Get me some more mousse!"

Unlike many of the previous players on this list, Hansbrough did not piss me off out due to his off the court antics. It was his incredible feats of awkward basketball that drove me out of my wits. I cannot deny his intensity, or his desire to win a championship. He was the face of college hoops for at least two years, and he set a good example by staying for four years.

But really, can you fault me for hating the guy? He created a new era in ACC officiating, drawing hundreds of undeserved fouls and traveling to his heart’s content. His stumbling monotone voice during interviews made me cringe. And when things didn’t go his way, he got all teary.

Since graduating from Carolina, Hansbrough has gotten some attention from the ad world. What was AT&T thinking? At least they didn’t let him talk, unlike the geniuses at Performance Acura. TEST WOW!!!

Don’t get me wrong, I’m extremely grateful Hansbrough finally moved on the NBA. Just don’t make me watch him flounder his way to the free throw line for the Pacers.

Oh, and he celebrates like a Jesus Lizard.

1. Rashad McCants (Guard, 2002-2005)

And the winner is…RASHAD!!!

McCants, before he got stole on by Lamar Odom.

Let me explain why Hansbrough is not number one. Hansbrough deserves my respect. Even if he plays the game like an angry kangaroo, he gets the job done.

On the other hand, I have absolutely no respect for Rashad McCants. He was an absolute punk during his three-year stay at UNC. I’ll admit my personal animus against Rashad here—he hails from Asheville just like I do. It’s sad that he represents my town.

The main thing that separates McCants from the rest of this list is simple: everyone hated him. He even gave his own fans a reason to resent him, comparing Chapel Hill to a prison: “You’re not allowed to say certain things, but once you get out of jail, you’re free. (I’m) in my sentence, and I’m doing my time.”

Why celebrate McCants? Why hang his jersey among the rafters with illustrious stars like Jordan and Worthy? I don’t understand it.

Since his “prison stay” at UNC, Rashad McCants played a few years with the Minnesota Timberwolves, and was recently traded to the Sacramento Kings, black hole of bad contracts. Apparently they didn’t want him, so they traded him to the Rockets. New beginnings? Not quite. The Rockets have dropped him, and now McCants has fallen off the face of the earth, along with his legendary website.

Rashad’s most notable achievement since leaving Chapel Hill Penitentiary was briefly dating MTV-star Khloe Kardashian. It didn’t pan out, though—she is now married to Lakers star Lamar Odom. I guess Kardashian wanted a guy with a steady job.

I’ll leave you with a sample of Rashad McCants’ bizarre poetry. It puts JJ’s to shame:

“Love Thief” by Rashad McCants

I’m not a Grinch that stole love but I’m a thief with no love.
Eyes bright like city lights when she enters my life.
Every morning after yawning we make love to sweet nothing and birds chirping.
My tongue lurking for that spot that says stop and makes ya mouth drop.
I’d spit you out just to taste you again.
And again I’d have this dream during the day where my eyes lay wide shut.
Love has culture shocked my brain and blindsided my heart,
my skin crawls with butterfly touches that tickle my smile.
Her eyes drown me in her deep blue sea. I openly swim naked in her fresh water.

So natural she smells like rain….

Poignant, Rashad.

*     *     *

Wait, I forgot someone.

Honorable Mention: Harrison Barnes (Forward – 2010 – ?)

This guy could one day end up at the top of this list. But he hasn’t stepped foot on campus as a student, so we’ll write him in as an honorable mention. In one of the most public recruiting battles between Duke and UNC in recent memory, Barnes led the Duke coaching staff to believe that he was theirs (for a long, long time), only to commit to Roy Williams via Skype on Friday, November 13th. Many of the student efforts designed to lure Barnes to Duke were organized by the Crazies who run this very site. Duke fans, coaches, and players were all, in essence, betrayed by Barnes & Ignoble, Backstabbers Inc. And it is for that reason that Harrison Bryce Jordan Barnes will be considered (by us, anyway) as one of the most hated Tar Heels ever.

As UNC throws their season away before our very eyes, we hope Harrison is wondering if he has made a huge mistake.

Day One: Ten Heels We Love to Hate – Part I

"What?! Dagnabit what's that say?! Graves get my Sprite or you'll ride pine all next week!" (graphic by Catherine Stanley)

Welcome to Heel Week, everybody!

In the next seven days leading up to February 10—when Duke plays UNC in Chapel Hell—Crazie-Talk will be adding a daily post commemorating the many things we love about this rivalry, which we consider the best in American sports. The posts will range from comical (like today’s) to critical. But we’ll err on the comic side, because although this is UNC, we’re not sure how seriously to take Roy’s Boys this year.

Since we have a week and two big conference tests before the team bus rolls down 15-501 to the Dean Roy Dome, we’re starting off the week with a bit of acerbic humor. As young Duke fans (all born in the years before our first two titles), our collective memory centers on the past 10 years of the Duke-UNC rivalry. Many Tar Heels passed through the tutelage of Guthridge, Doherty and Roy Williams under our watch.

We have seen them all, respected few, and hated many. Here we’ll focus on the latter category: the Ten Heels We Love to Hate, all from the recently concluded decade (the 00’s? the oughts?)

10. Tywon Lawson (Point Guard, 2006-09)

Lawson was an extremely frustrating player to watch, particularly as a Duke fan. By his junior season, his once speed-driven game had come full circle: he could shoot the three, make the right pass, and conduct his team with aplomb. I still think—and many Heels agree—that UNC would not have sniffed a title in 2009 save for Lawson. Say all you want about Tyler Hansbrough (and we will soon) but Lawson made UNC tick all the way to Detroit.

I respect Lawson’s game. And I’ve heard through reliable sources that he is a nice guy. But the entire situation of his return to UNC is maddening. After a June ’08 misdemeanor for underage drinking, Lawson withdrew from the NBA draft and completed the UNC ‘dream roster’ along with Tyler, Wayne Ellington, etc. The irony is infuriating to a Duke fan: if Lawson had been smart enough not to drink and drive, he would have probably gone pro, leaving UNC with a gaping hole at point guard. After a minimal suspension at the start of the 08-09 season, Lawson tore through the ACC, winning league Player of the Year en route to a National Title.

Personal anecdote #1: in the final seconds of Lawson’s dismantling of Duke in Cameron, I watched as he flipped the ball over his head, looked directly at the Crazies, and screamed “F*** You!” That’s what you call “Karolina Klass”.

9. Makhtar N’Diaye (Forward, 1996-98)

I know, I know, N’Diaye didn’t play in the past 10 years—he was one of Bill Guthridge’s “six starters” on the 1998 team that miraculously lost to Utah in the Final Four. The rap on N’Diaye in his short stint at UNC, though, was extensive. He accused Maryland fans of yelling racial slurs, had to be restrained by Guthridge after fouling out of a game against Duke, and made obscene gestures during UNC’s second round game against Charlotte. The icing on the cake was his accusation of Utah player Ben Johnsen after losing to the Utes—N’Diaye again claimed racial slurs. (Johnsen on the other hand claimed that N’Diaye spat on him, which is entirely probable).

N’Diaye was a fool then, and he apparently hasn’t lost his knack for acting like a buffoon in front of millions of people. During UNC’s national title game against Michigan State last year, N’Diaye appeared on the coattails of his actually famous former teammates. The picture says it all.

I bet Roy was wondering, “Who is that guy? Who gave him Carolina tickets? Cheer for us or out you go!”

8. Kris Lang (Forward, 1998-2002)

My feelings for Kris Lang are a mixture of hatred, pity, and schadenfreude. Lang was the ubiquitous moron of ACC basketball: always on the floor, and always looking like a complete tool. He was the Matt Doherty era embodied—ugly, angry and horrible at basketball.

A 1998 McDonald’s All-American, Lang was a local hero, hailing from Gastonia, N.C. He averaged 14 points in Carolina’s trainwreck 2001-02 season. I’m pretty sure all of those points came from his awkward jump hooks and flailing layups. Think Tyler Hansbrough. Except no skill, more complaining, and significantly more mouthguard. I always wondered if he and Neil Fingleton had ugly contests in the locker room. Maybe after losing to College of Charleston?

Personal Anecdote #2: Kris Lang once played for the Asheville Altitude, the short-lived NBDL team in my hometown Asheville, NC. One day the Altitude showed up at my school to run a basketball clinic. Lang was there, smiling like a moron and showing us fifth graders how to do jump hooks. Poor guy, I thought, what had he been reduced to?

7. Matt Doherty

To put it lightly, Matt Doherty was a disastrous coach. After Roy Williams turned down his alma mater in 2000, UNC Athletic director Dick Baddour hired the unproven Doherty. The first season went well: 26-7, number 1 seed, and second round exit. Oh, and National Coach of the Year. (???)

Then the ball dropped on Doherty. The next year brought a delightful 8-20 record, which most Tar Heels conveniently forget when bashing Duke for its “horrible” 22-11 campaign several years ago. Doherty was apparently a control freak: he fired legendary UNC point guard Phil Ford from the coaching staff. What, was he uncomfortable with having another former star on his staff?

Doherty also took a potshot at the Duke cheerleaders in his tenure. I guess he was working on that ‘competitive edge’ that landed him at 10-22 ACC record in his final two seasons at Carolina.

Although Doherty has ‘landed on his feet’ at Southern Methodist (where he has compiled a 33-58 record in three seasons) he will always be known as the guy who just didn’t come through at the helm of UNC. For Baddour’s sake, I’m glad Roy ‘gave a s***’ about North Carolina after all.

6. Sean May

Sean May just should have just stayed in Chapel Hill. He had it all: great teammates, a coach who loves him, cover of Sports Illustrated, unlimited brownies. Because once he left the friendly confines of North Carolina, his once promising career went spiraling down.

May likes to eat. And party. But mostly eat. He became so out of shape that Charlotte Bobcats coach Larry Brown deemed him physically unfit to play. That’s Larry Brown, former UNC player and coach, and Tar Heel apologist extraordinaire. Larry Brown told one of his own that he was too fat to play on his team. Now that’s not the Carolina Way!

Luckily for May, the Sacramento Kings had a spot at forward this past season after trading former Duke star Shelden Williams to the Celtics. May signed a one year deal for nearly a million dollars, contigent upon him passing his physical (aka lose enough weight to fit into his uniform).

Why do we pay professional athletes so much money if they need the Atkins diet as bad as the average middle aged mother? I guess we’ll just have to ask May.

Check Crazie-Talk tomorrow for our final five most hated Tar Heels. A little hint—a certain Muppet look a like made the cut.