From the commiseration department here at Tar Heel Fan Plaza (a little "Car Talk" reference there)...
Lost in the national media hoopla about Carolina's struggles this season is the fact that fully half of last year's Final Eight are facing double-digit losses before Valentine's Day and only three of last year's Elite Eight (Villanova, Michigan State, and Pitt) are even ranked.
Here is the update on some of the other 2009 quarterfinalists (plus another big-time college powerhouse) who are also strugg-a-ling this year:
Connecticut is really the only other team besides UNC that has received national attention regarding its on-court performance. Of course coach Jim Calhoun's health issues have been front and center, but the Huskies were having problems before Calhoun's medical leave of absence. See if this sounds familiar from UConn's last loss: the Huskies shot just 38 percent from the field and had 18 turnovers. Connecticut is 13-9 and 3-6 in the Big East.
Louisville lost three starters but began the year ranked number 20. Who knows whether or not Rick Pitino's off-season indiscretions have had any impact on the season, but even with today's win over Rutgers, the defending Big East champion Cardinals are only 15-9 and 6-4 in the Big East.
Oklahoma was certainly expected to come back to the pack after losing last year's national player of the year in Blake Griffin, but despite today's big win over Texas, the Sooners are only 13-9 and 4-4 in the Big 12.
And, for good measure, let's check in on UCLA, who fell to Cal today to drop to 11-12, 6-5 in the Pac-10. After three straight Final Four trips from 2006-2008 and a top-20 finish last season, the Bruin faithful were almost - almost - ready to declare Ben Howland worthy of sitting in John Wooden's seat in Pauley Pavilion. But injuries have decimated UCLA so far in 2010 and while always a tough out, they are a non-factor in the very weak Pac-10.
While UNC may take the brunt of criticism because they are the defending champs, their brethren in Storrs, Louisville, Norman, and Westwood can feel their pain.