Well, it happened. The Heels lost to Duke in Round 1 of the greatest rivalry in college sports - version 2008.
This means I had to go buy a new sweatshirt before Sunday's game. The old one is now toast.
It also means I have to listen to everyone, even Wake and State fans, rag on me until we play THEIR team. I feel fairly confident the ragging will stop after that. Hell, we've already walked all over State once this year, but I still got an earful Monday morning from our resident Wolfpack alumni at the Bagel Shop.
They lost without Ty Lawson, and the effect of that missing presence cannot be overstated. Ty runs this team, makes it go. Quinton Thomas did a great job of covering his absence, as well as anyone could be expected to. He played what might have been the best game I've ever seen from him, but nobody can replace Ty Lawson's speed and the chaos that he creates on the other team's defense. Q had 6 turnovers. Not too bad given Duke's defense, but Ty had only ONE turnover in the TWO games prior to the injury.
Would the Heels have won with Lawson there? Who knows? But it would have been a different game.
They lost while getting a COMBINED 11 points from Wayne Ellington and Danny Green, who normally average over 28 points between them.
Ellington had one of his worst games of the season, finishing with 8 points. He didn't make a single 3-pointer in 6 attempts. Towards the end, trailing by only 7, and with some momentum going the Heels' way, he launched one that would have brought the house down. It spun around the rim, went over half way down, then flipped out. It was just that kind of night for him.
Meanwhile Danny Green, who is critical to the success of this team with Frasor gone for the year, only scored 3 points. He got them on 1 lone 3-pointer out of 5 attempts, and went 1 for 10 total with no free throw attempts.
So, was this due to Duke's incredible defense, the missing playmaker for the Heels, their inability to handle the pressure as well as the Dookies, or just a bad night at the office?
Probably a little of all four.
I anticipate a different outcome in early March at Cameron Indoor Stadium. :)
In the meantime, I can't wait till tomorrow to get this nasty taste out of my mouth!
Clemson, prepare to go 0 and 53 in Chapel Hill, although I'm ALWAYS nervous about this game. I mean, the sheer odds alone say that sooner or later they HAVE to win one here. I just hope it's not this year!