Have you ever been in a bad mood, and you call that one friend that always seems to cheer you up? Y’all talk for a while, maybe even grab lunch, and suddenly you feel a lot better. You have more of an optimism about you, and your problem seems not quite as bad. For Tar Heel fans, the entire basketball team is that one friend. Last night, they pulled through.
What on earth could have put us in such a mood, that we needed a simple basketball win to get us back on our feet? Well, said opening-season win comes just a few hours after an embarrassing showing in Durham from the Carolina football team. The #17 Tar Heels went into that game 9-2, and tied for first in the ACC Coastal Division. With just a little help from Georgia Tech or Virginia, they were looking at another shot at Clemson in the ACC Championship game. They knew what needed to happen. The mission was to win out, and let the chips fall where they may.
Thursday night, in a rivalry game, the Heels played one of their worst games of the year. Looking at the box score, you wouldn’t think that. Mitch Trubisky was 24 for 33, with 297 yards and three touchdowns. So the Heels lost a close one on the road to a rival, is there that much to be upset about? Unfortunately, yes. After a hot start on offense, the UNC defense let the Blue Devils march down the field time after time to climb back into the game. In the second half, field goals just weren’t going to get the job done, and Duke put the ball in the end zone at the right time.
It’s sad to be pessimistic about this team, because of all the expectation that surrounded the program coming into the the 2016 season. As fans, we try to avoid a “the sky is falling” mindset as much as possible. The UNC football team just couldn’t get the job done, and it would be almost impossible to win the Coastal now. The sheer fact that this is the expectation for Carolina football is such a positive, but it doesn’t make the let down any easier.
The football team likely wont be able to accomplish its goal this season, and that probably put most of us in a bad mood on Thursday. Enter: basketball. The phrase, “at least basketball season is coming up” makes me cringe. I don’t just want to skip over football season like its a warm-up for the main event. We were blessed with the opposite last season. This time last year, North Carolina Football was 9-1, and ranked 12th in the AP Poll. UNC Basketball was ranked preseason number one to start the season, with the highest of hopes.
This season is looking like it will go a little different for football, and that’s okay. There’s no need to give up on supporting our Heels on the field, as I know everyone would love to see Carolina beat NC State in the season finale. However, the bad taste in our mouth from Thursday night was not totally forgotten, but it was definitely mitigated by a good win on the court.
Three returning starters. ACC Sixth Man of the Year. Promising underclassmen. Oh, and a top-ten ranking. All good things for the Carolina Basketball team, and will hopefully make this season unforgettable. They want revenge from last year, and they have the talent to do it. Last night, our Heels were fun to watch. We were just too strong for Tulane, and it always feels good to start the season 1-0.
We can never ditch our boys on the football field early. That’s not what they deserve, and fans still have a rivalry game and a bowl game to look forward to. Nonetheless, Carolina basketball gave us a glimpse into how much fun they could be to watch for the rest of the season. Thanks for the pick-me-up, boys. Whether it’s a tough loss to Duke, or a solid win against the Green Wave, it’s always a Great Day To Be A Tar Heel.