I've been guilty quite a bit this year of blaming UNC's not performing to expectations (and what a world it is when 20-2, 6-2 in conference is below expectations) on the absence of Marcus Ginyard. Once he would return to the lineup, I'd think, the teams' game would shift into high gear again, they'd run through the rest of the season and win it all. Also, there would be ponies and cake.
Well, the ponies won't be coming, and the cake is a lie; Marcus Ginyard is out for the season. He's been diagnosed with a stress fracture in his left foot, and will seek a medical redshirt, as he only found his way into three games so far this year.
Adding to that, the player who had probably seen the largest increase in playing time in Ginyard's absence, Will Graves, will also no longer be taking the court this season, as he's been suspended for as Wiliams put it, failing to "maintain the standards we expect of a Carolina basketball player." Although never a critical part of the team this season, Graves was playing 26.7% of minutes on the court and took more shots than anyone outside of the starting five. He also turned the ball over at a pretty high rate, but with Zeller and Ginyard out for the season, the loss of a third body body will come as a blow. Look for Bobby Frasor and Larry Drew to pick up most of the slack created by the absences.
Barring a sudden increase in either of those players performances with the increased playing time, this looks to be the UNC team that will be making an appearance in the tournament. It's one that's still very, very good, but prone to lapses where their perimeter shooting goes cold and thy flounder in a set offense. They're an extremely mortal team, and how they rebound from these setbacks will say a lot about the direction they're headed. Luckily, a home game against hapless Virginia is next on the docket, giving them time to adjust before traveling to Durham on Wednesday.