That would be nice. Just wake up and find out it is November 4th, the season has not started and UNC is still looking full of potential. Unfortunately that is not the case. This season has had pretty much all the things that could go wrong in it go wrong. It would be one thing if it was just the injuries or just the poor play or just the various PR missteps by the coach. If you were dealing with one negative among some positives then it would be different. However, you are talking about all three of those issues happening in one season. Adding to the incredible shock to our collective system is how the program went from winning nearly 70 games versus just seven losses in a two year span to the current state of things. Just for review let's look at all the things that have gone wrong this season.
- Roy Williams hurts shoulder in October which requires surgery early in the season
- Turnover laden play from day one
- Offensive issues that emerged and never went away
- UNC gets outscored 23-1 in the 2nd half versus Syracuse and are ultimately blown out.
- Roy Williams has a Presbyterian fan ejected from the Dean Dome for heckling; Criticism ensues in buckets.
- Loss at Texas proves UNC's much touted frontline is lacking the physical strength to impact the game in a meaningful way.
- UNC loses to College of Charleston on the road
- Injuries to Will Graves and Marcus Ginyard
- Marcus Ginyard became almost useless on the court for a month plus
- Tyler Zeller is lost for six weeks with a stress fracture
- Heels have their bus hit by a car prior to getting blown out at Clemson
- Heels cannot fly back to RDU from Clemson due to icing so they take a long bus ride back.
- UNC plays poorly versus Georgia Tech and Wake Forest losing to both at home
- Ed Davis hurts his ankle
- Following an encouraging win over NCSU, UNC plays like complete crap versus Virginia and gets rolled
- UNC plays better versus Virginia Tech but still loses.
- UNC plays horribly versus Maryland and loses by 21.
- Travis Wear sprains ankle and is out indefinitely
- UNC loses to Duke
- Ed Davis breaks wrist and is lost for the season.
- Roy Williams runs afoul by mentioning the earthquake in Haiti at the same time as he is discussing the current state of the basketball team.
I know what you are probably thinking: "Geez, THF, why did you have to lay it all out there?" Well, because I think it my be therapeutic to see it all laid out there. It goes without saying this has been a bad season. I am close to declaring this season to be worse than the 8-20 under Matt Doherty even though I balked on such a comparison a couple of weeks ago. Why? Because in 2002, the cupboard was bear and the coach was unproven. In many ways we should have seen that coming but no one saw this coming. No one in their right mind could have imagined the season turning out like this. When you hear a two time national champion coach who has put teams on the floor that have won 35, 36 and 37 games say: "Everything I have done for 20 years is not working with this team" you know you are royally screwed.
As for Roy's Haiti comment? Joe Ovies hit on the key point(emphasis mine)
The latest eye-roll inducing quip from Williams, which involved a reference to Haiti, struck a different nerve and got the national pundits all in a lather. The reasons plenty and rather obvious.
For starters, Haiti is the new Hurricane Katrina. In context or out, use it for analogous purposes at your own peril. In all honesty, the anecdote involving the message therapist was ultimately harmless. Too bad the sensitivity police are out in full force, and Williams felt the need to make a clarifying statement.
Now, I understand what Roy is saying. I understand, given his emotional, physical and mental investment into the North Carolina program as well as whatever is in his pinkie finger, means that this season for him, on a personal level, is a catastrophe. And Roy said as much the first time he dropped this story on February 1st during his radio show. Oddly enough no one really paid attention to it then because there was not much to pay attention to really. However he used the same anecdote sans some of the couching during the run-up to the Duke game with national media eyes on him so all hell breaks loose. Never mind anyone with common sense knows Roy Williams does not believe that what is happening this season UNC basketball is the same as what is happening in Haiti. If he does then I would be the first to ask for his resignation. But I know he does not mean that. I know based on the values I see him practicing with the community and charity work by the UNC program. I know that because the last I checked he was not a spawn of Satan or some sort of reverse vampire orchestrating plots with the Rand Corporation. And for his part Roy clarified that since people took his story to mean that he believed the two were the same despite evidence to the contrary. Unfortunately the media will jump on such things because it is good for business. The N&O went as far as to try and contact relief organizations working in Haiti for a comment on Roy's quip which is for no other reason than to add fuel to the fire. Nothing gins the story up a little more than some condemnation from the folks down there helping out. All that being said it was just another stumble in a season full of trips, stumbles and the Heels lying flat on their collective faces for ten minutes at a time. Roy should have steered clear of the analogy altogether just like he should have handled the Presybterian fan quietly. File those with the rest of the "shoulds" from this season.
It is just incredibly bad season coming of the heels(no pun intended) of a stretch of great UNC basketball the current year has that nightmare quality about it. That sort of feeling that if you can just wake up it will be over and after a good five minutes of rationalizing through it and convincing yourself it did not really happen before falling back asleep. And when you wake up in the morning you are reassured once more it was all in your head. I am sorry to say, there will be no waking up to stop this nightmare. This bad dream is going to run its full course and when you wake up in the morning i.e. this March you will go through the NCAA Tournament very grumpy and ill before you go back to bed and dream of a coming freshman class that will maybe gel with returning players to put The Lost Season out of mind as quickly as possible.
And no matter what, for the fans anyway, our rooting interests are much like the nightmares and dreams that happen in our sleep. They elicit small stretches of intense emotional outbursts but in the grand scheme matter very little at all.