UNC-Florida State: By The Numbers

I’m not going to lie- Florida State’s drubbing of North Carolina this afternoon was one of the more joyful experiences I’ve had in recent memory. The Tar Heels looked completely lost on the floor as Florida State poured in buckets from all over the floor and North Carolina had no answer. Some fantastic statistics stood out, so let’s take a look at this game by the numbers:

99- Points scored by Seminoles guard Deividas Dulkys in Florida State’s first 15 games this season. Dulkys was averaging 6.2 points per game entering their matchup against North Carolina.

32- Points Dulkys scored against North Carolina. Dulkys had not scored more than six points in a given game since November 26 and was in danger of losing his starting spot.

2- Shot from the field Dulkys missed all game. He shot 12-of-14 from the field including 8-for-10 from beyond the arc.

22- Turnovers on the afternoon for North Carolina, the most turnovers they’ve had in a game all season.

+8- The rebounding margin on the afternoon for Florida State. North Carolina came into the game as the top rebounding team in the nation.

19- Percent shooting for North Carolina from beyond the arc. The Tar Heels made just four 3-pointers on 21 attempts.

8- Assists for the Tar Heels on the afternoon.

9.9- Assists by North Carolina point guard Kendall Marshall per game this season.

3- Rebounds by John Henson on the afternoon. Henson is averaging 10.1 rebounds per game this year, which is tops in the ACC. The last time Henson recorded three rebounds in a game was during his sophomore year against Rutgers on December 28, 2010.

44.4- Shooting percentage from 3-point range for the Seminoles. Florida State is ranked dead last in the ACC in long range shooting this season, shooting just a 30.2% clip from beyond the arc before this game. They had not shot 44% from deep since they lost to UConn on November 26, 2011.

90- Points for Florida State on the game, their highest scoring output this season. The Seminoles had not scored 90 points in a game since their 97-63 victory over Stetson on December 15, 2010.

30-8- Run by the Seminoles to start the second half. Florida State only went into the locker room at halftime up eight, but exploded to go up 30 with 11:28 remaining in the game. For Tar Heel nation and apparently Tyler Zeller, it was all over but the crying from there.

42- Days since North Carolina’s last road game. After traveling to Lexington and falling to the Kentucky Wildcats 73-72, the Tar Heels enjoyed nine straight contests at home. Their lack of tests on the road certainly showed this afternoon.

14.2- Number of seconds remaining in the game when Roy Williams pulled his team off the floor. Williams left the floor as well, escaping the ensuing mob.

5- UNC walk-ons, a group that refers to themselves as “Blue Steel”, remaining on the court after the rest of their team left. After playing out the remaining seconds of the game, they had no choice but to face the ensuing stampede.

Hope you had as much fun watching this game as I did. Stay Crazie, my friends.

2011-2012 ACC Preview: #1 North Carolina

The 2011-2012 ACC season is about to begin. Over the next three weeks, Crazie Talk will preview each of the twelve ACC teams in order that we think they’ll finish this season – from the bottom up.

Let’s take a look at our projected ACC regular season champions, the North Carolina Tar Heels.
2011-2012 Record: 13-2

Key Wins:
November 11- North Carolina 67, Michigan State 55
November 30- North Carolina 60, Wisconsin 57

Tough Losses:
November 26- UNLV 90, North Carolina 80
December 3- Kentucky 73, North Carolina 72

Starting Lineup:[table id=28 /]Last Year Against Duke:
February 9, 2011 at Duke- Duke 79, North Carolina 73
March 5, 2011 in Chapel Hill- North Carolina 81, Duke 67
March 13, 2011 at ACC Tournament in Greensboro, NC- Duke 75, North Carolina 58

This Year Against Duke:
February 8, 2012 in Chapel Hill
March 3, 2012 at Duke

The Good: There’s no two ways about it. Whether you’re a North Carolina fan or a Duke fan or an anybody else fan, you must admit that North Carolina is an offensive juggernaut this season. The numbers don’t lie- first in the country in scoring at 88.1 points per game, first in the country in rebounding at 47.1 per game, second in assists with 19.7 per game. These numbers are absolutely absurd. The Tar Heels have scored less than 80 points in a game on just three occasions this season. They outrebound their opponents by 11.8 boards per game. North Carolina has gone at least nine deep in every game this season, and 15 players on their roster have played at least 11 games. This team has dominated the paint this year thanks to the play of John Henson and Tyler Zeller. Kendall Marshall is very difficult to stop in transition, dishing out 10 assists per game. Love them or hate them (and believe me, I hate them with a burning passion) this team is pretty damn talented.

The Bad: You can put this team on the line as much as you want and have little consequence. North Carolina is shooting a lackluster 64.0% from the foul line this season. In fact, only four players on the entire North Carolina roster are shooting above 70% from the free throw line on the year. This is a glaring weakness for a team with such an efficient offense. In the Tar Heels’ loss to UNLV, they shot just 20-for-33 from the line. Their woes from the line could certainly come back to haunt them if they get caught up in some tight games during their conference schedule. The question is, on how many occasions is their poor free throw shooting really going to matter? If they continue to build up 20 or 30 point leads on teams, not too much.

The Crazie: This team is almost perfectly put together, with five seniors, three juniors, three sophomores, and five freshmen on North Carolina’s roster. This provides them with the perfect blend of experience and youth. Their tournament experience is fairly extensive as well. North Carolina’s seniors were a part of their last national championship team during their freshman year, and all players excluding the freshman made a run to the Elite 8 last season. It’s hard to think that just two years ago the Tar Heels went 20-17 on the year, finishing 10th in the ACC with a 5-11 conference record, and missed the NCAA tournament for the first time under Roy Williams.

Player We Love To Hate: Well considering they play basketball for Roy Williams, wear that ugly shade of blue, and call Chapel Hill, North Carolina their home, we love to hate every single player on that team. But if I had to pick, I couldn’t narrow it down to fewer than three players we love to hate the most. You have to start with sophomore Harrison Barnes. Not only is he the most talented player on the team and therefore the biggest target (see Redick, J.J.), but he also chose North Carolina over Duke after the consensus was that Duke had Barnes all but wrapped up. If going to the University of North Carolina doesn’t make you a big enough villan at Duke, that’s a good way to up your street cred. We also love to hate John Henson, who averages 15 points, 10 rebounds, and three blocks per game and is one of the most efficient big men in the country. He’s given us fits on defense in the past, and is one of those “you hate him because you can’t stop him” players. Luckily for us, Henson’s younger sister Amber made the right choice and is playing basketball at Duke. And we can’t talk about hating on North Carolina without mentioning Kendall Marshall. You may also know him as @KButter5, or as we like to call him, the most ridiculously obnoxious guy in the entire Twitterverse. Though his tweets do often provide a fair amount of comedy, ranging from the fairly ridiculous to the…fairly more ridiculous. Not to mention he’s also a fantastic point guard, and Duke has had some pretty big problems with North Carolina point guards in the past (see Lawson, Ty). Oh and honorable mention for Tyler Zeller, whose brother Cody at Indiana is simply better at basketball than he is. What you mean you didn’t expect the “Player We Love To Hate” section to be the longest section of the UNC post?

The Bottom Line: This is a very complete basketball team with only one glaring weakness. It shouldn’t lose more than a couple games in the ACC regular season, and will more than likely split its matchups with Duke like it has in years past. They more than likely won’t win the ACC tournament, because typically Roy Williams doesn’t seem to care too much about that. Though I don’t think they’ll win it all, this very easily could be a Final Four year for these guys. Biased or not, anyone that says North Carolina isn’t the best team in the ACC is kidding themselves.

* * *

Crazie-Talk’s 2011-2012 ACC Preview:

Boston College | Wake Forest | Clemson | Miami | Georgia Tech | Maryland

North Carolina State | Virginia Tech | Florida State | Virginia | Duke | North Carolina

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


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

Barnes Nominates Self to Replace LeBron in Cleveland

CHAPEL HILL, N.C.–Shortly after LeBron James announced his decision to sign with the Miami Heat Thursday evening, residents of Cleveland, Ohio—a place fraught by every imaginable misfortune—began mandated preparations to burn their city to the ground and move to Florida like everyone else.

Stop, drop and roll, Cuyahoga County—you have a new savior to call your own.

In a unprecedented move, incoming University of North Carolina freshman basketball star Harrison Barnes declared himself available and eager to sign with the ailing Cavalier franchise.

“I invited you all to this press conference today, heretofore, to discuss, with your willingness, my immediate future plans,” Barnes said Friday morning.

“That is, I would like to be the next LeBron James, please and thank you.”

Holding forth in the nasal voice that has become his trademark, Barnes outlined his plans to solicit a hefty contract from distressed Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert, and told members of the press that he had already discussed his uniform number with incoming coach Byron Scott.

“After a few weeks of shooting hoops here in Chapel Hill, I just really think I’m ready for the next level,” he said. “The NBA just calls to me.”

Barnes’ mother Shirley flew in from the family home in Ames, Iowa to provide “some moral support” for her son in a transitional period.

“Harrison Bryce Jordan Barnes just has so much to give,” the proud mother said.

He started watching Nova at three years old, and he asked for the complete works of Bill Shakespeare for Christmas. Now how many young men do that?”

Mrs. Barnes added that Harrison had maintained a 6.0 grade point average at Ames High. A recorded greeting at the office of Barnes’ former high school revealed that it, too, is moving to Cleveland.

In an e-mail, Ames freshman Kayla Rasmussen declared, “We go where Prince Harry goes!”

Prince, indeed. Barnes has a chance to start at small forward from his first day in Cleveland, and should usurp several veterans still in search of the Rust Belt city’s elusive first NBA championship.

“Anthony Parker, Jamario Moon, they’re nice fellas,” Barnes gesticulated with a chuckle. “Didn’t Moon have like, six rebounds against the Raptors once last year? I look forward to teaching them all I’ve learned this summer here at UNC.”

When reminded that former Tar Heel stars Danny Green and Jawad Williams would likely be his teammates in Cleveland, Barnes momentarily fell silent.

“Oh, right! Danny really cut the rug at the Alumni Weekend Ball last year. I’m sure he’ll be the life of the party on the team bus.”

But Tar Heel country is unlikely to be partying after this jolt of news. Last season, the team salvaged a 5-11 conference record with a daring run to the NIT championship game, but fans were jumpy for Barnes to lead their team back to their rightful place—the Big Dance.

As such, early afternoon patrons of the popular Chapel Hill bar Players were predictably distraught.

“But, he promised!” said sophomore Leigh Anne Clayton, a lifelong UNC supporter from nearby Pittsboro. Turning around on her barstool, Clayton pointed out a tattoo near her waistline. “That’s H, for Harrison. And the heart and crown, ’cause he’s the king of my heart, you know?”

Regardless of the local mood, Barnes insists his weeks in Chapel Hill were highly educational. He cited a correspondence course at the Barack Obama Center for Elocutional Studies, whose office in the Dean E. Smith Center basement opened last fall.

“Listen: the hard-scrabble, Main Street folks in Cleveland deserve a second chance at victory,” Barnes said. “It’s not only what I believe, it’s what’s right.”

Shirley Barnes noted that Harrison’s early acceptance into the University’s prestigious Kenan-Flagler undergraduate business school still holds weight.

“With Harrison’s 13 A.P. [Advanced Placement] credits, he’d be only a few courses away from graduating if he ever wanted to come back and get his degree.”

It’s doubtful, however, that the hoops-rabid community would welcome him. John Swofford, commissioner of the Atlantic Coast Conference and a former UNC Morehead Scholar, issued a press release from his home in Greensboro Friday afternoon.

“In light of this recent news, the ACC will re-open the voting for conference Player of the Year,” the release read. “We will also withdraw our nomination of Mr. Barnes for the Barbara Walters Most Fascinating People of 2011.”

But Swofford was only the tip of the iceberg.

In his wood-paneled office, beleaguered Tar Heel coach Roy Williams was stunned by the announcement from his “thoroughbred.”

“It was just last weekend we were out shopping for suits,” an aghast Williams said, pausing to grab a Coke from his mini-fridge and fiddle with his cell phone.

“Do you know how to use these things?” Williams asked, tapping the phone’s screen. “I’ve been trying to Skype him all morning.”

Deviled Eggs: June 28th, 2010

Every Monday morning, Crazie Talk culls Duke basketball news, articles, and videos into a half dozen of the best “Deviled Eggs” on the interwebs.

Here are this week’s best.

Scheyer and Zoubek will get their chances at NBA rosters. (Courtesy of DukeBluePlanet.com)

1.  Hairston, Miller, and Rivers Interview at the FIBA Americas U18 Championship

Duke Hoop caught up with Josh Hairston, Quincy Miller, and Austin Rivers following their 131-63 victory over the US Virgin Islands Saturday night to talk Duke, team chemistry, and their futures.

2.  Now that the 2010 NBA Draft is over…

Andy Katz gets a head start on who to watch for in the 2011 draft.  4 Blue Devils made the list:  Kyrie, Mason, Kyle, and Nolan.  While we love the praise being given to Kyrie and Mason, we’re certainly hoping they stay at Duke a little longer than Katz thinks.

3.  New-Look ACC

A quick rundown of some of the changes you’ll see in the ACC this year.  In the article, here’s what Ole Roy had to say about last year:

“It didn’t bother them that we weren’t any good when they were beating the dickens out of us at Cameron. But if we’re both really good, I think it helps us.”

I suppose Roy may actually have a point.  While 32 point beatdowns are enjoyable, good competition might be nice every once in a while.

4.  Speaking from Experience

Interesting read on JJ Redick as he looks back on his transition from college to the NBA, reflecting on where he is now and giving some advice to the new draftees.

5.  Scheyer and Zoubs to get their shots

Though both went undrafted, Jon Scheyer and Brian Zoubek have been named to summer league rosters and will get their chances to make it to the NBA.  Best of luck to both of them, as well as to Elliot Williams, drafted 22nd by the Portland Trailblazers!

6.  Duke gets ESPY Nominations

Coach K’s in the running for Best Coach as well as the national championship for Best Game.  Be sure to log on and vote!  (Link included in article.)

Finally, just wanted to give a special thanks to all our readers on Crazie Talk’s 1 year anniversary!  We can’t believe how many followers we’ve gained over the past 12 months.  As always, we encourage you to send us feedback at email@crazie-talk.com!

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.

The Difference Between Coach K and Roy

I’ve always wondered why Coach K is the most hated coach in the country. He runs a squeaky clean program, gives back to his community and profession, is a committed family man, a fervent patriot and a former captain in the Army. He seems, if anything, to be a model American: loyal, honest, hard working, ambitious. I know, I know, when a program maintains a high level of success with a nearly spotless record of conduct, you are hated for your attributes, despised for your lack of corruption. That’s why everyone loved it when the Patriots got caught, and perhaps why Tiger is falling so hard in the media these days.

So when people hate Duke, I understand it as a mixture of jealousy and contempt for success. Notre Dame football is sort of the same way (sort of).  I can deal with people calling Coach K “Ratface” and comparing him to evil dictators and comically spelling his name wrong (making them look pretty ignorant, of course. Irony!). Just as Duke will continue to win at a high level under Coach K, people will hate him for being just so good.

My logical thoughts run askew, however, when I gaze down 15-501 toward Chapel Hill. There resides Roy Williams, one of the country’s best coaches and winner of two national titles at his alma mater.

Short pretext: I rarely “disrespect” teams for being good. As a Duke fan, that’d be hypocritical. I hate UNC with a passion, but could I deny Ty Lawson’s speed, Wayne Ellington’s jumper or Hansbrough’s awkward but astounding efficiency? No. I can’t sacrifice credibility by calling UNC’s stars what they aren’t: bad basketball players. (Sadly, Danny Green’s dance skills didn’t make above list).

But when I gaze dejectedly from the Dean Dome court to the pastel-blue-clad Williams, my eyes contract with rage and hatred swells from my bowels to my brain, my head gets light and the same burning question bursts from my lips: why does everyone seem to love this man?

For Roy Williams is guilty of the same things that makes Coach K the most despised college basketball coach. Here’s a sampling.

Corny Commercials

Remember Roy’s touching story in the Coke ad? That commercial, unlike K’s more direct spots for Chevrolet or Alltel, was forgiven because of its heartwarming message. Roy’s mother worked hard to provide him with a dime so he could buy a Coke (in a old-fashioned glass bottle, mind you) on the way home from school, like his other friends did. As Roy is such an “American Dream” success story, he should be able to take advantage of his fame, and make some money from Coke (although it seems he’s more of a Sprite guy.) He deserves these advertising deals. And that’s fine.

But do people think Mike Krzyzewski was born with a silver spoon in his mouth? Hardly. His parents were working class Polish immigrants in Chicago. Coach’s father even changed his name to avoid racial discrimination when looking for jobs. Nevertheless, Coach earned his place at West Point, played for Bobby Knight, and served in the military. That sounds like the American Dream to me. But K’s commercial appearances are slammed as money-grabs. What gives?

K and Roy even did an ad for Guitar Hero together! Although Coach Knight stole the show in that one.

Profanity and Image

Coach K works the refs hard. Fact. He also curses liberally during games. Check. But Roy Williams, has been guilty of using foul language as well. While “dadgums” and “frikkin’s” are his go-to phrases, the f-bomb has been to known to slip into his lexicon time and again. He also told Bonnie Bernstein, after losing the 2003 national title game to Syracuse, that he “didn’t give a s*** about North Carolina job”. And apparently, he still loves his KU Jayhawks.

These emotional outbursts, of course, are normal. Every coach does it, and some more than others. But hypocrisy runs rampant in the differing perceptions of Roy and K. Roy uses modesty and humility to create his image. (“I’m not the smartest guy around, but I’m not the dumbest either”). By spicing in the occasional curse word amidst all those lovable Southern affectations (“gosh darn it!”), Roy seems like a country boy who happens to be a great coach.

K, on the other hand, exudes professionalism and intensity. Could you imagine him doing something like Soulja Roy? It’d be like John McEnroe buying flowers for a line judge: it wouldn’t fit. But the little quirks that makes Roy so popular somehow reflect badly on the business-like Coach K.

Case in point: after beating Ohio State earlier this year, Roy had this to say about ranting at Marcus Ginyard at halftime:

“I chewed his rear end out probably the hardest I’ve ever got on him,” Williams said of the fifth-year senior. “If I’m going to chew him out, it scares the dickens out of the rest of the team. He’s one of my pets.

One of your pets? Can you imagine the firestorm if Coach K said something like this? Maybe Roy’s “hardness” and shock-and-awe leadership tactics are the key. And that brings me to the final, and perhaps most telling point.


Let’s just go straight to the details of this one, shall we?

Late in the second half of UNC’s 103-64 romp over Presbyterian this past Saturday, Roy Williams heard a Blue Hose fan shouting at Deon Thompson on the free throw line. The heckler called out “Don’t miss it, Deon!” while the senior forward sank the shot. Coach Williams, upset at an opposing fan shouting at his players at the Dean Dome, had the man ejected from the stadium by police officers. Check out the video below, courtesy of WRAL.


Dan Wiederer of the Fayetteville Observer reported that Roy asked security to check if the man was in the correct seat, which he apparently was. The man was removed on suspicion of intoxication that has not been confirmed as of yet.

But wait a second—why on earth was Roy so bothered by a single fan, chanting a harmless taunt, while his team was up by 40 points? The Presbyterian Blue Hose now stand at 2-8—hardly a serious opponent or a rivalry game. Roy had no reason to get so fired up.

Shouldn’t a coach of an ACC contender focus on his own damn team? This incident is evidence of Roy’s megalomania and absurd shows of power. It’s one thing to call your player a ‘pet,’ or cite Michael Jordan and James Worthy as players better than your struggling freshman. Or to permit your star point guard to gamble on a team trip, or denigrate a former recruit in a book, then in a press conference, for ‘lying to you’ and choosing another school. Those are just coaching moves, right?

But to orchestrate the ejection of a harmless fan, especially when your team is dominating, is absolutely over the top! He actually looked at this guy and said, “Yeah, I’m talking to you!” before gesturing towards security. What, did the guy pull a DeNiro?

Wiederer’s original blog post wondered how the media would react if Coach K had pulled a similar stunt as Roy. The answer? It wouldn’t have happened. While the cavernous Dean Dome is pretty tame in such cupcake wins (do the wine and cheese make fans sleepy?), Cameron is loud and rocking for nearly every game. So it’d be hard for K to hear any taunts, innocuous or otherwise. Nor would he react. He’d be too busy, you know, coaching his own damn team.

And from personal experience, there are always opposing fans heckling Duke players on the line. My personal favorite was during the Montana game last year when a chubby kid yelled “You will not make the basket” before every Duke foul shot in an eerie monotone. Strange.


Is the media coverage of Roy’s mental weakness outburst a chink in his armor? Likely not. UNC fans will go on loving Roy and defending his every move. Like Coach K, he’s brought his supporters wins, banners and discounted Bojangles. Well, they don’t share that last one, but you catch my drift.

In a world where fans constantly forgive athletes and coaches for their wrongdoings, it’s nice to support a top-flight program with minimal controversy and an upstanding leader. While Roy continues to make a show of his power, Coach K will continue working hard to win—with class.

And remember everyone, when you’re in the Dean Dome, do as the cool people do: shut your mouth, and let the dad gums echo throughout the stadium.