The bye week for Carolina football couldn’t have come at a better time. Injuries have mounted on the offensive line and at few skill positions over the last few weeks, while the Tar Heels have gotten past their toughest part of their schedule at 6-2 (4-1 ACC). Larry Fedora’s squad will certainly appreciate the rest and extra preparation as they prepare to face Georgia Tech and hope to close out the Coastal division.
The bye week also conveniently fell on the date of the ACC Basketball Media Days in Charlotte. For those fans, like myself, who aren’t ready to fully focus on the upcoming basketball season, Wednesday allowed us to brush up on some ACC hoops and look forward to another year with Roy and boys.
April 4th used to be a date that meant a lot to mean. On that day in 2005, Sean May carried a Tar Heel team over then once-beaten Illinois for the program’s first national title since 1993 when George Lynch, Eric Montross, and hot-shooting Donald WIlliams cut down the nets at the expense of the ‘Fab Five’ and Chris Webber’s legacy. On that same date in 2016 circumstances, as you know, were quite different.
Tuesday evening was the first time I went back to watch what happened and I laughed through the pain while my Maryland alum roommate snickered in the background about some “we’re going to win the Big Ten” nonsense. That’s neither here nor there because a new season is upon us. If Late Night With Roy isn’t the official start to a Carolina season, then the official media parade in Charlotte or wherever they choose to hold it is. Let’s end the look down memory and look back at ACC Media Days for the Tar Heels.
Carolina picked to finish second
Media pick the Tar Heels second in preseason ACC poll behind Duke. Blue Devils receive 85 of 91 first-place votes. UNC gets the other six.— Carolina Basketball (@UNC_Basketball) October 26, 2016
I’m sure there are those of you out there who are super chapped about being picked behind Duke. I get it. What I also want you to get is that like in every other sport, preseason projections do not matter. Yes, Carolina is returning all but Marcus Paige, Brice Johnson, and the great Joel James gives the media a pretty good inclination that this Tar Heel team can repeat as ACC regular season champs. What it doesn’t take into the account are the injuries that will occur throughout the league and who on each roster improves well beyond expectations.
I’d love for the Heels to be thought of more highly than Duke, but I’m going to choose to focus on this team improving every day to get to the goal of winning a national championship.
Full poll: 1 Duke, 2 UNC, 3 UVa, 4 Louisville, 5 SYR, 6 NCSU, 7 Notre Dame, 8 FSU, 9 Miami, 10 VT, 11 Clemson, 12 Pitt, 13 WF, 14 GT, 15 BC— Carolina Basketball (@UNC_Basketball) October 26, 2016
Looking at the rest of the poll there should be no surprise that Virginia sits the in the Top 4. I’ll be interested to see what happens with Louisville with their own ongoing NCAA investigation going on. Of course, Boston College has to be watched only to see if BC game finally win a league game in football/men’s basketball.
Joel Berry voted to All-ACC 1st team, Jackson to 2nd
Joel Berry II voted to preseason ACC first team. Justin Jackson named to second team. Berry fourth in preseason player of the year voting.— Carolina Basketball (@UNC_Basketball) October 26, 2016
It can go without being said that Carolina will go only as far as Joel Berry and Justin Jackson take them. Assuredly, Kennedy Meeks, Nate Britt, and Isaiah Hicks will play a large role on the team, but these are the two guys who have to be good every night in order for Carolina to win.
Berry brought that bulldog mentality, starting in ACC play, last season and carried it over to an ACC tournament MVP performance to a dazzling first half in the title game. Berry’s toughness and will to win will be what Carolina needs with the departure of Paige and Johnson.
Jackson put his name into the hat of NBA draft prospects and learned that he had quite a few things to improve upon before becoming a pro. Perimeter shooting would be the number one thing to circle. It seems like Carolina hasn’t had a team that could consistently shoot the basketball from deep since Wayne Ellington and Danny Green left campus. Sure, P.J. Hairston, Harrison Barnes, and Reggie Bullock were good in their own right, but they didn’t have as pure of a stroke as Green and Ellington.
Again, this season national media pundits will focus on the Tar Heels’ ability to shoot the ball well enough from outside. Freshman wing Brandon Robinson seems to have potential to contribute after his LNWR three-point shooting display, along with Nate Britt who has continued to improve his shot since switching to his right hand. Jackson will also need to hit form beyond the arc at a respectable clip to not only improve his draft stock, but to diversify the Carolina offense.
The rest of the All-ACC teams:
The entire preseason ACC media vote (not including preseason POY, who is Grayson Allen): pic.twitter.com/yOo5nrL2yR— Andrew Carter (@_andrewcarter) October 26, 2016
Roy “enjoys” ACC Media Days
Roy on how much he loves ACC media day. I LOLed. pic.twitter.com/6aowEWbb9A— Andrew Carter (@_andrewcarter) October 26, 2016
Glad to see good ole Roy hasn’t changed a bit. They are called media days for a reason and the coaches don’t always look forward to answering questions, particularly those that begin with “talk about”, which isn’t even a question.
I wouldn’t say that I “LOLed”, but I did enjoy Roy telling us how real life going to the dentist for two hours is.
Here’s Roy’s full presser:
At least Joel and Isaiah had a good time.
Theo Pinson Injury Update
Theo Pinson surgery to repair broken bone in right foot termed successful. Will pass along estimated time for recovery when determined.— Carolina Basketball (@UNC_Basketball) October 26, 2016
The waiting game begins. I’d expect Theo to be out between 8-12 weeks, returning at some point during ACC play. The fact that he has dealt with foot injuries before gives you hope that he’ll be able to tackle the rehab process faster than if he was new to this experience. My only concern is that this injury keeps him out for the season, much like Terry Henderson’s did for NC State last year.
The Tar Heels will have a closed scrimmage on Saturday with Memphis prior to their first, and only, scrimmage against UNC Pembroke before starting the season, and me losing my sanity, at Tulane on November 11.