Tomorrow's matchup between the Heels and the Pack has been so much an afterthought to fans and the media, that someone has to remind the world of how important this game is and of how much the Tar Heels deserve to walk off the RBC Center court with glazed looks of stupor on their face while deafening cheers of the home crowd echo within their numb skulls. That would be nice.
So few think an NC State win is possible that no one has bothered to talk about the game. In previous years, when State's ACC record at this time of year was competitive or at least mediocre, hope was floating and buzz was building in anticipation of the big game. With State at 2-5 in the ACC and UNC 20-2 overall, there's not so much concern.
Well, there should be.
Listen, it's not like when UNC's roster of McDonald's All-Americans practices that balls just swish through the net over and over like they are in freakin' Pleasantville. It's not like every time Tyler Hansbrough catches the ball it magically carries him three or four shuffling steps to the hoop without ever having to be bounced, or that random walk-ons named Dewey trot into the game and rain in NBA threes. The Heels and their fans are a group blessed with an ever-flowing fountain of arrogance that fuels apathy for all things non-Duke. It is time that we peed in that fountain. So what if they wouldn't notice.
A quick look at the Tarpit message board this morning showed merely one thread at the bottom of the first page about tomorrow's game. How much of a difference will Atsur make for MooU? Here is a sample of the thoughtful debate this obviously naive question provoked:
"I sat in Dave and Busters San Diego last year for this very game and saw how much difference he made against a bunch of freshman who didn't have a chance. Color me less than concerned."
"He's still on their team?!?!"
"He just came back from injury and he has to chase Lawson around. Good luck Atsur. They would need to shoot 35-45 from three point land tonight to have a chance. UNC by 30-35."
"He will make no difference at all."
"He is a member of the alltime ACC All-Horrible Team with Shav, Cain, Zwikker, and Newton. Farmers start booing at first tv time-out. Heels 105 Wuffies 62. Herb laughs from the desert."
Well, my friends, perhaps after the game, there will be a different variety of posts! Perhaps, we will see posts like "Those traveling calls on Tyler where BS!," "We should have started Frasor over Lawson!," "We should have played Lawson more!," "Who is that Aster dude?," along with the standard "The Spring line is coming to the Gap next week!," "How much did we win we by?," and "Do you think Tyler will be as good as Kris Lang?"
So what if UNC has four point guards and we have 75% of one. So what if their front line has two NBA lottery picks and their fans think the idea of us trying to win is "cute." For it is their underserving riches that make them soft and weak. It is their sense of comfort and security that makes them susceptible.
Our team is young and inexperienced, but rest assured that Sidney Lowe, Monte Towe, and company will make sure the team is ready for this game. Perhaps he will drive them down Franklin Street to see the enemy's den first hand, knowing that seeing all the french-speaking, Birkenstock-n'-socks-in-Winter-wearing, Latte-buying-with-a-credit-card and generally happy Chapel Hillians in action will help our players understand that somehow winning tomorrow isn't only essential, it's a social responsibility to the state of North Carolina.