Welcome to the Tar Heel Hangover. This is our Monday morning opportunity to review last week’s games, second guess all of the key moments, and set the game plan for the week ahead.
The Elevator Speech: What happened last week.
Three wins on the basketball court (Note that this article was submitted prior to the Michigan State game, which will be covered next week). Football is finally, mercifully, over.
Water Cooler Discussion: If I were the coach . . .
Let’s change this for the week to, “If I were Bubba Cunningham. . . “
Option 1: a team that was expected to finish in the top half of the division ends with one conference win. Of the three total wins on the season, two came against what can only fairly be defined as cupcakes (sorry Old Dominion). There was a lack of discipline and execution throughout the season. The 15 yard penalties that stacked up in the second half against NC State are indicative of a year long loss of focus, execution and leadership.
Option 2: this was a team that was overtaken by a historic number of injuries. The courage and tenacity of the bench players that were forced into starting action, including the entire linebacking group against the Wolfpack, were evidence of a highly competitive spirit. The recruiting classes continue to be very good and there should be hope for the future under the current stewardship.
My opinion: There is very little chance that Fedora will actually be fired. He is in the first year of a major extension. Additionally, the school has not already held a press conference. At all of the big name destinations with disappointing years, decisions have already been made as have announcements. The coaching search has to start early in order to be in position to get the biggest names.
Nevertheless, Fedora has to be on notice from this point forward. There must be changes in the coaching staff to demonstrate that he understands the severity of the situation and is addressing the issues. Without meaningful systematic change, all optimism for next year will be greatly tempered.
Feel free to debate in the comments.
Lying In Bed, I Wish I Could Change . . .
My preseason predictions about the MVP for the Tar Heel men’s basketball team. Carolina is ten percent into the season and has faced a couple of reasonable teams. A lot will be proven versus Michigan State, but at this point Luke Maye could actually be a POY candidate. Don’t believe me? Go look at his numbers. If this keeps up through the Spartans, then this article next week will compare his start to the season against some of the all time greats.
This team will ultimately still rise and fall on the shoulders of Joel Berry II. Berry’s shooting stroke looks excellent thus far. He will drive and convert more as the team needs him, which they have not thus far. It is nice, however, to have a second (and third thanks to Kenny Williams) scoring option on the floor.
The other factor I wish I could change is Theo Pinson’s patience. It has looked like he has pressed and at times struggled to find his place on the floor. I continue to believe that his strongest role is as a transition distributor and a solid rebounder from the wing. Pinson has struggled to find his shot and has inadvertently driven the team into dry spells with ill advised shots. His success and involvement are critical to this team reaching its goals.
Looking Forward: Michigan, Davidson, and Tulane
I am loathe to put too much emphasis on early season action, but by this time next week we could have a good idea of what this team could be. Keep in mind that potential starter Cameron Johnson is still sidelined with injuries. Continued strong play without him demonstrates the potential that this squad has.
The next two games will also go a long way toward determining the Tar Heels chances of winning the Big 10 regular season.
The frustration of football has finally drawn to a conclusion. The belief in basketball has been revived and is running full steam. Fedora is on the hot seat. It will be an interesting week.