It started at ACC Media Day when Reggie Bullock and James Michael McAdoo basically brushed off all the talk of NC State being picked to win the ACC. It has continued today with a quote from Dexter Strickland that wasn't nearly as fiery and hyped as most thought it would be.
First, we'll go with the bulletin-board material provided to Mark Gottfried's N.C. State squad -- which has been picked by both coaches and media as the preseason favorite to win the league.
"They talk those guys up every single year and we beat them every single year," Strickland said. "They are the least of our worries. Beat us one year and then they can talk smack. Until then, you can't put them in the mix."
Well, it's not John Henson-level smack talk at NC State but I guess it will do. The basic premise is until NC State breaks their 13 game losing streak against UNC, Tar Heel players could quite honestly not give a crap. This line of thinking was evident among UNC players on ACC Media Day. McAdoo said they were not worried about anyone else and even dropped a "not our rival" quote. Likewise, Bullock echoed the sentiment and said being North Carolina means always having a bulls eye on your back regardless of who is predicted to win the ACC.
As a rule, you would prefer players be more circumspect when talking about other teams. That being said, what Strickland said wasn't anything but your standard smack talk about a rival. Not to mention, when you have beaten a rival in 13 straight games, it affords you the license to say pretty much anything you want within reason.
Hopefully it won't bite you in the rear later on.