Many have posed the question, “Does it get any worse?” I submit for your consideration that it can, and in fact it currently is getting worse at a couple of other programs. I am speaking of the disappointment we feel in this year only; I make no assertions on how we should feel about next year, or about how we felt 3, 4, or 17 years ago.
We had the makings of a promising season. We got our hopes up based on a tournament appearance, two returning studs, and some youthful shooters that we hoped would be even sharper. Throw in the addition of a true point guard, and our preseason ranking seemed justified.
UNC had the makings of a promising rebuilding season. While they were facing significant losses from the previous year’s championship team, they had 7 McDonald’s All-Americans in the past two recruiting classes. The season following their previous championship saw UNC make the tourney as a #3 seed; they were knocked out by Final Four surprise George Mason. This season got off to a decent start, and while UNC wasn’t looking like a Final Four lock, they were ranked #9 in both polls as late as January 10. Then the wheels fell off. The collapse was colossal. UNC went from being in the mix for a top 4 regional seed to being out of the NCAA tournament. To cap it off, they lost by 32 to their rival in a game that almost always has ACC title implications for the Heels. Ed Davis’s injury certainly played a role, youth/inexperience played a role; however, I would never have believed that Roy Williams and a bench full of high school superstars would win five conference games. I would submit that while Ann Arbor’s hopes were high for this season, they weren’t as high as Chapel Hill’s. While this season has been a struggle at times, replete with many a punch to the dong, we’ve been punched there less than UNC has.
Yes, this year has been disappointing for the basketball team and for all of us fans. But I would submit that it could be worse; it is in Chapel Hill. And I’m pretty sure it’s worse in Austin, too.