So much for Destiny’s Darlings. The media-contrived efforts to turn a Michigan State team that won 26 games and the Big 11 title into some sort of Cinderella fighting for oppressed automobile workers everywhere lasted until Thompson’s first shot seconds into the game. The glass slipper was too small in the Heel.
Carolina treated the Spartans as they had everybody else during their three-week run to another NCAA title, like the white guys on the end of Ol’ Roy’s bench who go up against the regulars in practice. This one was over quick. The Tar Heels were the best team in the country and had been all season. They certainly demonstrated it during the tournament.
There had been efforts to cast Michigan State as some sort of plucky underdog attempting to strike a blow for Detroit’s failing automakers. The spin seemed to be that if MSU won, hundreds of thousands of people would rush out to the handful of GM dealerships that remain open and immediately trade in their Toyotas and Hondas for a Saturn or huge Chevy truck, thus saving the jobs of auto workers and those whose livelihood depends on repairing those Saturns and huge Chevy trucks when they break down. Alas, they will have to settle for more handouts from the President.
It was obvious the Spartans and auto industry was in even further trouble when it was realized for which team Obama was rooting. Joe the Plumber couldn’t measure up to the strong affinity the Smoker-in-Chief has for Tobacco Road. Perhaps Ol’ Roy will run a few cartons when he brings his boyz to visit the White House. With Obama on their side, there seemed little doubt the Heels would smoke the Spartans, and they did.
As distraught fans of Michigan State cruised home down Woodward Avenue in their Escalade hybrids reeling under the twin weights of crushing defeat and the March sales figures [look on the bright side, Spartans- had MSU won, the next federal bailout check would have been with the stipulation that Tom Izzo be fired], there were different activities taking place on Franklin Street. Thousands of celebrating Tar Heels turned out, no doubt having got to downtown Chapel Hill via politically and environmentally-correct conveyances such as mass transit or bicycles. They toasted the demise of Michigan State and internal combustion through the traditional Carolina method of setting fires. One does wonder whether a Hummer was torched.
Carolina’s championship was the second under the guidance of Ol’ Roy. He has won two in a considerably shorter time frame than did his mentor, the Great Dean. Ol’ Roy has won one each with his players and Matt’s. He has also pointed back towards Blue Heaven the basketball pendulum that for the last 50 years has been swinging back and forth on 15/501 between Durham and Chapel Hill. The Heels are now dominating Duke, perhaps more important on the lighter blue side of the RTP than multiple national championships. Coach K’s increasingly-desperate recruiting ploys [so much for not recruiting any more one-and-out guys, eh, Coach K?] indicate recognition around K-ville that the Devils are now playing catch-up.
Ol’ Roy ain’t gonna make it easy for the Triangle and ACC’s senior coaching legend to get back to parity. Ed Davis got better each tournament game and should emerge next year in Dean’s Dome as a monster talent. Ol’ Roy has assembled what is widely considered the best recruiting class in the country, particularly so after the Memphis one scatters. The beat will go on at Carolina, as it always does when the coach is named something other than Matt.
Carolina’s relatively easy run negotiation of this year’s March Madness struck a blow for ACC conference pride. It was the only one struck, as the rest of the ACC pretty much stunk up whatever tournament in which they participated. ut, the league did have a representative in the championship game and next year’s conference promos will emphasize the title won, not ACC teams getting bounced early and often.
The ACC fared better when it counted than did what the media talking heads claimed was the Bestest League Ever, the Biggie East. While New York-based ‘esperts’ brayed over and over that Mikey’s bloated assemblage would place at least five or six teams in the Final Four, with a bare minimum of three in the championship game, lo and behold, none were to be found Monday night on the floor of Ford Field. It was a nice going-away present for Mikey.
Carolina’s re-ascension to the basketball throne does have a down side. The three-week basketball frenzy known as the NCAA Tournament is over. The only thing standing between us and another miserable Dead Zone is the Spring Game in two weeks. Uh-oh.