Thursday, February 10, 2005

Duke 71, UNC 70. Ugh!

OK, now I really hate Duke!

I put this picture of party animal Coach K celebrating his 15th win in the last 18 games against my Tar Heels. If you North Carolina fans are not sickened by that stat and that picture, please close your browser, shut down your computer and throw it in the river, followed shortly thereafter by yourself.

The point is we UNC fans should bookmark this blog entry and look at it every day until March 6. Let it serve as a reminder of the level of mediocrity bestowed upon UNC in the last 10 years. It had been since March of 1996 that UNC ranked ahead of Duke when the two teams played.

I was forced to rub Editor friend LaRonda's Duke keychain after the game. That hurt. But I'm a good sport. Besides, just as Sonny told C in "A Bronx Tale," Mickey Mantle won't pay my rent.

Then I get home and receive a lovely e-mail from Doctor friend Christy, who I've known since the third day of college in 1993: "All I have to say is 71-70."

Yeah, well, Christy, if you're reading, all I have to say is "I can't print all I want to say."

But the intelligent side of my brain is beginning to take over. I can't fault Duke for winning. The Blue Devils played well and slowed the Tar Heels down. J.J. Redick scored 18 points, but I swear I saw him hit 12 threes and all 37 of his free throws.

And all but one of Duke's field goals in the second half were three-pointers. Great perimeter defense, Heels. Way to make us proud. I was going to call in sick Wednesday night (Boss, just kidding) to watch the game, but I'm glad I saved the sick day. For today!

I suppose we can blame Roy Williams, who must have thought it was a Final Four. That may explain his coaching.

Or as Lawyer friend Steve said on my voicemail at 11:17 p.m. after the game: "Did Coach Williams go to the Herman Edwards School of Clock Management? Are you kidding me? That was worse than the freakin' Jets."

I can't hate on Roy too much because he did bring UNC this far. And in the last 12 months, we saw the Red Sox win a World Series, the Pistons defeat the mighty Lakers for the NBA title and Longwood win the Class I Long Island football championship with two losses, so maybe, just maybe, Roy Williams can finally win a national title.

Instead, let's focus our disgust on Raymond Felton. Here's a sentence from the AP's story: "North Carolina squandered a chance to win in the final seconds, never getting a shot off after inbounding with 18 seconds left."

That would be because Ray-Ray took a dump in his pants. With about 10 seconds left, he burned his defender with a spin move and had plenty of room to penetrate from the three-point line. The Duke defender in the paint would have stepped up to defend, leaving Rashad McCants, Sean May or Marvin Williams wide open underneath the hoop for the easy layup, dunk or foul. But noooooooooooooo!

Felton went rogue and decided not to win the game. Helloooooooooo! Hellooooooo! You play to win the game. Instead, Ray-Ray backs out, goes to his right and throws a dumb pass to a well-guarded David Noel. Noel then lost the ball out of bounds, the clock ran out and then you have that picture at the top of this blog.

C'mon Ray-Ray. You can't be that bad in the biggest game of the season so far. Even Gary McClain, the coked-up point guard for the 1985 national champion Villanova Wildcats, wouldn't have made that play.

But at least Tar Heel alum/ESPN anchor/Destroyer of SportsCenter Stuart Scott has to live with the loss, too. And it hurts him more than it does me. Boo-yah!