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THF Countdown #13: 1994

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Season: 1993-94
Record: 28-7 overall, 11-5 ACC(2nd place)
ACC Tournament: Won Championship
NCAA Tournament: Lost to Boston College in the 2nd Round

Roster: Dante Calabria, Larry Davis, Pearce Landry, Jeff McInnis, Eric Montross, Derrick Phelps, Brian Reese, Kevin Salvadori, Jerry Stackhouse, Rasheed Wallace, Donald Williams, Serge Zwikker.

Source: UNC Media Guide

Feel free to complete the following sentence in comments section:

I knew this team was in trouble when...

For me it was the OT loss to UMass in the Preseason NIT.  Something just was not right about that and in now way am I slighting UMass here but the Heels should have won that game and most certainly should have lost about 4-5 total and least made it back to the Final Four.  The lesson here is never underestimate the importance of a player like George Lynch in terms of leadership.  Also never discount what kind of impact introducing players like Jerry Stackhouse and Rasheed Wallace into the mix can do to upset the apple cart.

Chemistry is two fold.  There is the chemistry between players on the personal level and there is the chemistry on the court where everyone understands their role and performs it to par.  So if you are looking for examples where each of these went wrong 2001 was the former and 2007 was the latter.  1994 was both at the same time.  It became clear that the attitudes of the freshman was oil to the water of the upperclassmen.  There was an element of players not getting along in the locker room with a side of veteran players being upset about their playing time being consumed by the freshman.  The main issues was adding players like Stackhouse and Wallace who were clearly more interested in being the stars rather than playing a role as part of the team. The result was a general lack of cohesion in execution on the court.

Still, it was not a horrible season by any stretch.  The Heels won the ACC Tournament for the 2nd time in four years after going 11-5 and finishing second.  The issue the sticks in most fans' craws is the loss to Boston College.  Now I am on record as admitting an undying grudge versus the Eagles over this loss.  BC ranks fairly high on teams I dislike mostly due to this loss and the fact BC guard Dana Abrams took Derrick Phelps out with a vicious foul on a fast break.  UNC just plain struggled all day but still had a chance to tie or win it on the last play that somehow resulted in Rasheed Wallace taking a three from the corner.  What?  You have Donald Williams on the roster and the best you get it Wallace for three from the corner?  Yeah, that was not a happy Sunday as I recall.  Of course trouble was evidently brewing two days previous when the Heels were required to give way too much time and effort in dispatching Liberty.  I was at UNC Greensboro at the time and saw Liberty in person at a home game.  There is no way a UNC team as loaded as this one should have struggled to only score 71 points on Liberty.

In the final analysis, this was a great collection of players but not a very good team.  A very disappointing ending to what should have been a chance to equal Duke's back-to-back title runs, especially since the Final Four was played in Charlotte.  It also was a huge heaping of salt and lemon juice on a thousand paper cuts to see Duke play for the national title and come very close to going three in four seasons.

I think I just threw up in my mouth a little thinking about this season.

Countdown So Far

14. 1983
15. 1989
16. 1988
17. 1985
18. 2006
19. 2001
20. 1992
21. 1996
22. 1999
23. 2000
24. 2004
25. 1990
26. 2003
27. 2002