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College’s March Madness: Just Do It

Should Zion Williamson continue playing for Duke, despite his insane shoe-breaking incident while wearing Nikes last night just 30 seconds into the game against arch-rival North Carolina?

Yes.

I feel compelled to preface this blog post with the fact that I am a devoted UNC fan. My oldest sister graduated from Chapel Hill and I’ve been a Tar Heel fan ever since my family and I visited her on that beautiful campus with a stellar basketball history and legacy that has led to watching UNC play live in a dozen games.

Having said that, Duke star Zion Williamson–and he is–needs to keep playing because if fear begins to drive him regarding basketball (or other elements in his life), then he’s no longer playing to win. And I fully understand the Nick Bosa tactic, which is to sit out the remainder of a season after an injury before a massive first-pick payday that’s just months away.

I get it.

Perhaps it’s easier for me to form my opinion without all that NBA Draft money in my near future. Still, it seems like super talented athletes like Zion Williamson and Nick Bosa may be too willing these days to squander the unique awesomeness of college athletics for what’s next in their careers. That first college experience happens only once in life.

It’s worth noting, as a lifelong Buckeye fan in Columbus, I’ve noticed that a lot of former star players (especially basketball and football) return with the latest Buckeye gear by Homage after just a couple of years in the pros to relive some of the glory days on the sidelines in the Horseshoe and in the Schottenstein Center. And they along with the coaches and fans love it. It’s one of the ways that college sports are far different than professional sports. There is something truly special about college basketball and football that cannot be replicated in the NBA or NFL.

But that’s a much longer blog post for a different day.

It’s been determined that Zion Williamson’s injury is a Grade 1 knee sprain and he is being evaluated on a day-to-day basis. Even though I am a UNC fan and I enjoyed the blowout win at Cameron Indoor last night by the final score 88-72–Go Tar Heels!–I always want to see the best athletes perform on the biggest stages.

Zion Williamson is freakishly talented, so I just hope he doesn’t let a freak accident stop him from playing what will be his only college basketball season. The dream scenario is his next steps involve playing for the next month or so but doesn’t lead Duke to a win in Chapel Hill or a national title.

I think that’s fair.

P.S. I can only imagine the emergency shoe tests being orchestrated at Nike headquarters in Beaverton, Oregon today. 

3-6-Shine

2016 National Championship: Villanova defeated UNC 77-74.

2017 National Championship: UNC defeated Gonzaga 71-65.

What a difference a year makes. Literally.

The North Carolina Tar Heels battled the Gonzaga Bulldogs in a great close NCAA title game last night. The shooting for both teams did not inspire of a lot of NBA Jam-worthy moments and the officiating became the third squad on the court instead of the invisible hand that ensures the game remains under control. Still, the final couple minutes provided terrific drama and millions of viewers saw the Tar Heels play with a determination motivated by a feeling that they felt they had to win the championship this year.

That was the deciding factor concerning UNC’s late fuel of adrenaline and basketball prowess with the national championship on the line.

And UNC’s winning finish not only gave Roy Williams his third national championship with the Tar Heels and UNC its sixth national championship, but also one more shiny thing…

The ceiling is the roof for this UNC basketball program, as Michael Jordan might say (well, he actually did say those words about a month ago).

Either way, the ceiling (or the roof) in the Dean Dome will be adding another national championship banner.

Congrats to the University of North Carolina Tar Heels.

Happy Monday

The 2017 Men’s Final Four left college basketball fans wanting more.

Especially fans cheering for Gonzaga and North Carolina.

The 2016/2017 National Championship will be a great battle between the one-seed Gonzaga Bulldogs and the one-seed North Carolina Tar Heels. Admittedly, readers of this blog post should know I am a big UNC fan. My oldest sister attended and graduated from Chapel Hill back in the days of Bill Guthridge and Matt Doherty. So, it’s been nearly 20 years of cheering for the Tar Heels.

With that being said (or written), tonight’s game will be a fantastic sporting event. Yes, an event. Gonzaga wants to win its school’s first ever national championship, whereas North Carolina feels like it has to win this year’s national championship. And that may be what separates these two top-shelf teams in the end:

The difference between want to and have to with the title on the line.

It’s my belief that Joel Berry II was (purposely) on cruise control against Oregon, nursing his injured ankles/recovering from his ankle injuries. The shots that went in or didn’t weren’t of issue to Roy Williams. Clearly. The point is that Berry’s mere presence on the court for UNC is game-changing for the men sporting sky blue.

However, against a very talented Gonzaga squad, Mr. Berry’s mere presence won’t likely be enough to cut the nets down in jubilation.

He’ll need help from his very talented teammates (and coaching staff).

This season’s national championship will be one heel hell of a game.

I just hope two of those heels on the court tonight in Phoenix will have enough spring for that one shining moment.

Have a Better Week Than Last Week.

Happy Monday!

Light Blue v. Dark Blue.

Public v. Private.

UNC v. Villanova.

The 2016 NCAA National Championship game is set to take off in Houston, Texas at NRG Stadium, which will inspire either Chapel Hill or Philadelphia to erupt in celebration late tonight as this season’s king of college basketball.

Even though there is no Cinderella in the title game, the two major programs (sporting varying shades of blue) will have a David v. Goliath aura. The Tar Heels currently have 5 championships to their name, while the Wildcats have one title.

Roy Williams will have the opportunity to hoist his 3rd national championship as the head coach of UNC in 11 years. When you consider the relentless competition from teams around the country and the recruitment cycle and enrolling players and graduating players, winning 3 national championships in 11 years would be an incredible achievement.

In order for Roy Williams and his team to cap off (and earn another cap/hat) another golden season, the Tar Heels will have to beat a talented Villanova squad that embarrassed the Oklahoma Sooners in the Final Four with the final score of 95-51. The challenge is there and, before UNC can cut down the nets for the 6th time, they will need to burn the nets with three’s and two’s NBA Jam-style and rattle the rim with dunks.

What’s at stake?

Go Tar Heels!!