If a North Carolina fan were to cross the river Styx in the wrong direction, surely this is the world of college basketball as he or she would discover it: the Duke Blue Devils undefeated and ranked No. 1, the Tar Heels unranked with a record only UNC-Asheville could love.
North Carolina is 10-4, with a victory over then-No. 20 UNLV the sole win the program can point to with any pride. You know who else has beaten Vegas? Oregon and New Mexico. So it’s not that uncommon. The Tar Heels are accustomed to greater accomplishments.
A year ago, the Tar Heels didn’t lose their fourth game until February. They played at Kentucky, the eventual national champion, and lost on a spectacular shot-block at the buzzer. It took a major injury to a star player to knock them from the national title chase. Their lineup featured four future NBA first-round picks.
Now, they are fighting against the prospect of missing the NCAA Tournament for the second time in four years.