Home » Columns » Currently Reading:

Kansas-UNC Preseason NIT

November 27, 2002 Columns No Comments

Gettin’ Juiced for the Big Apple’s Big Throwdown

by Brian Strong

In the realm of basketball cliché, the University of North Carolina is being faced with the “statement game” of all “statement games” in one of tonight’s Preseason NIT Semifinals. In essence, the country has seen the kids play, but now we’ll see if the kids can play.

So, let’s quickly set the table at this Thanksgiving Eve traditional hoops power buffet: At the world’s most famous arena, Madison Square Garden, the freshman phenom-filled Heels lineup will face the veteran-laden No. 2 Kansas Jayhawks led by Roy Williams – UNC alumnus/former Dean Smith assistant/former boss of current UNC coach Matt Doherty. Williams has taken the famous Dean Smith blueprint and run with it, while, over most of the past 365 days or so, the school where it was invented has struggled to live up to its established successful reputation.

Thus, this group of youngsters that has captured the hearts of Tar Heel nation, now has the opportunity to officially bring their program back to respectability. A win would be as monumental as any Carolina has posted in regular season history. And if that doesn’t happen, although the “moral victory” is not a staple of the Carolina basketball lexicon, seeing this team truly compete and stay with Kansas tonight would be huge on many levels.

After running to three straight wins and no losses, there is nothing that a young team like this one needs more than a wake-up call from the nation’s best. Whether they are pushed to a shocking win or pushed to an expected loss, the bottom line is that they just need to be pushed. With all due credit to Rutgers, the best team that Carolina has played so far, they will boast no All-Americans this year. On Wednesday, Sean May will stand toe-to-toe with Nick Collison. Ray Felton will chase Aaron Miles and Kirk Hinrich.

However, as much trouble as Carolina seems to be in, based on the massive discrepancy in experience, the differences in these teams not only create an interesting dynamic but also create potential problems for the Jayhawks. Although it’s tough to imagine a Carolina team that doesn’t sense pressure from its fans and critics (especially after last season), is it possible that this team is too young to worry yet? Too cocky to be scared? Possibly, which may very well work to their advantage.

Meanwhile, on the Jayhawks bench, they are facing: A.) the possibility of being shown up by a bunch of upstarts early in what is supposed to be a tremendous season for Kansas’ talented, veteran team. And B.) a neutral court crowd that will more than likely swing the way of the energetic, young, athletic underdog.

But, regardless of what goes on in the end, we as basketball fans owe it to ourselves to tune into this matchup that’s got more plot lines than an episode of Seinfeld. The lineage of the Kansas-Carolina intertwining family tree is built with all the prestige of Kennedy-Onassis, and it’ll look like Hatfield-McCoy when they hit the floor tonight.

Talented veterans embarrass rookies? Entirely possible… Freshmen catch seniors sleeping? Could be… Felton breaks ankles? Hinrich strokes threes? We shall see.

So, we know your friends are home for the holiday and the traditional Thanksgiving Eve bar-hopping will no doubt be in full effect. But do yourself a favor and toast one in the name of good hoops while at least catching a glimpse of this showdown.

Because, honestly, in this statement game of statement games, “Anything can happen.”


Comment on this Article:

Subscribe to Hoopville

Enter your email address to subscribe to Hoopville


Hoopville Archives

College Basketball Tonight

We hope you enjoyed COLLEGE BASKETBALL TONIGHT during the 2016 NCAA Tournament. COLLEGE BASKETBALL TONIGHT is a comprehensive look at the NCAA Tournament hosted by veteran college basketball broadcaster Ted Sarandis, along with co-hosts Mike Jarvis and Terry O'Connor, both former Division I coaches. It also included many great guests, including Hoopville's own Phil Kasiecki.

The show aired on AM 710 WOR in New York City on Sunday evenings starting with Selection Sunday and running through the NCAA Tournament.

Here are links to the shows:

March 13, 2016 - First hour | Second hour

March 20, 2016 - First hour | Second hour

March 27, 2016 - First hour | Second hour

April 3, 2016 - First hour | Second hour

Everybody Needs a Head Coach

Former college basketball coach Mike Jarvis has a new book out, Everybody Needs a Head Coach.

"As you read this book, I hope that Coach Jarvis' experiences inspire you to find your purpose in life."
-Patrick Ewing, NBA Hall of Fame center

"Mike Jarvis' is one of my special friends. I am so pleased that he has taken the time to write this fabulous book."
-Mike Krzyzewski, Five-time NCAA championship head coach, Duke Blue Devils

"In reading this book, I can see that Mike hasn't lost his edge or his purpose. Readers should take a look at what he has to say."
-Jim Calhoun, Three-time NCAA champion, UConn Men's basketball

Review on Hoopville coming soon!

Coaching Changes

The coaching carousel is moving. Keep track of the latest coaching changes right here on Hoopville.

Hoopville Podcasts

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – February 7, 2018

February 7, 2018 by

In our latest podcast, we talk about a big sweep in the SEC, look back on the wild Saturday, then talk about a Big Ten showdown and some undefeated teams in conference play.

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – January 31, 2018

January 31, 2018 by

In our latest podcast, we talk about a lot of what has happened in the ACC and SEC, including the Big 12/SEC Challenge, whether or not Kentucky is turning a corner, as well as the story at Michigan State.

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – January 26, 2018

January 26, 2018 by

In our latest podcast, we talk about a wild night in the Big Ten, adversity and a quiet leader in the ACC, what to make of Kentucky and look ahead to the Big 12/SEC Challenge.

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – January 18, 2018

January 18, 2018 by

In our latest podcast, we talk about big road wins for a few teams, including a couple of bluebloods that looked destined for losses, as well as an unsettled Big Ten beyond one team, an SEC where you shouldn’t pay attention to bracketologists, and the problems with a proposed earlier start to the college basketball season.

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – January 11, 2018

January 11, 2018 by

In our latest podcast, we talk about several big pieces of news away from game play, one of which puts a lot in perspective. We also talk about the lack of dominant teams and how this has shown up in the results, especially this past weekend.

Phil Kasiecki on Twitter

Recruiting Coverage

Lincoln captures Hamilton Park title

August 15, 2017 by

For the first time, a public school won the Hamilton Park Summer League, and they were led by a big effort from a junior point guard in the title game.

Notes from a day at the 2017 Boston Shootout

June 12, 2017 by

Some news and notes coming from the second and final day of action at the 2017 Boston Shootout, where the host program provided plenty of talent, but so did a program that produced a team that beat them.

Notes from a day at the 2017 Northeast Hoops Festival

April 11, 2017 by

The Northeast Hoops Festival helped bring in the new spring travel season in New England, and we have notes from some of Saturday’s action.

2016 Boston Back to School Showcase notes

September 12, 2016 by

We look back at the 2016 Boston Back to School Showcase, where a couple of Boston City League teams were among the most impressive on the day.

2016 Hoopville Spring Finale championship recap

June 28, 2016 by

We look back at the championship games of the 2016 Hoopville Spring Finale, which had a big local flavor as one might have expected.