Let's flashback to October of 2009, when we were all huddling on street corners, waiting for the transom cabs to come by and drop off the bundles of the afternoon papers. For you see, it was the day the AP preseason basketball poll was to be released, and we were all ever so curious as to where the Tar Heels would be ranked. For they were the defending national champions, but had lost their top four players to the national draft. They were a shallow team, breaking five freshmen and and Tyler Zeller into a rotation with very little perimeter talent. What did the fates have in store? Could a team that lost that much talent even crack the Top 25? And then the satisfying thump of papers hitting the pavement rang out – our answer was at hand!
And that answer was sixth. In the collective minds of the AP, losing 80% of your starting line up knocked you down five spots in the polls.
In retrospect, of course, that was patently ludicrous. (At the time, it was merely patent-pending ridiculous.) UNC would go on to have a pretty epic meltdown, miss the NCAA tournament by quite a distance, only to get their act together enough to come in second in the NIT. Then, as if the season wasn't tumultuous enough, they preceded to lose four of their six post players to, respectively, graduation, the NBA draft, and, well, we're still not sure why the Wear twins left. We'll say In-N-Out Burger. They really missed the double-double, animal style. Oh and the team's best three point shooter (yep, he was) was kicked off the team for his inappropriate love of the movie Half-Baked. Surely, this would keep Carolina out of the polls, exiled to the hinterlands until they play their way back in to the good graces of the journalistic arbiters of the polls. Right?
Nope. They're eighth. There is officially nothing this school can do to not show up in the preseason top ten.
I give up. Fine, rank 'em eighth. Annoit Harrison Barnes the leader of the free basketball world. Just don't open every game by claiming the Heels "have something to prove after last season." Prove what? You've already named them eighth. Just suck all of the drama out of the season, while you're at it.
Sigh. At least no one gave them a first place vote this year.