I mean, come on. I expect it to be frigid if I go to a game at, say, Iowa State. But N.C. State? It usually doesn’t get that cold in Raleigh. But it sure is now. It’s really, really cold.
I’m here in the Triangle to catch some basketball action – Thursday was Florida State vs. N.C. State. I was about to pull the trigger on ranking the Seminoles last week, following their Jan. 5 win over Texas A&M. I confess their 2-point loss to Washington last month in Cancun held me back _ just because Washington was coming off two putrid losses, to Stanford and Cal.
So … I’m not sure that was very good or fair poll reasoning on my part. Especially since I didn’t really “punish” Baylor for losing by one point to Wisconsin during a holiday tournament in November. And since I was really giving all the weight to how poorly the Huskies played against the Cardinal and Bears, rather than how well they perhaps played against the Seminoles. Poor poll logic on my part … it was that kneejerk “uggh” response to the loss to Washington.
I liked a lot of what I saw from FSU in its 64-59 victory over the Wolfpack. If the Seminoles defeat Georgia Tech on Sunday in Tallahassee, I think the Seminoles will ascend into the rankings. Not that -as I have stressed before – these polls really mean much. They’re just something to talk about.
Friday, I’ll get a chance to see the game that could trip up North Carolina BEFORE it has to face UConn. Virginia visits Chapel Hill, and this could be a great matchup.
And while I know it’s ancient, ancient history and of no consequence to now, here’s an interesting “notable” about Debbie Ryan’s program in regard to Carolina and UConn. In 1994, Carolina won the national championship and lost just two games all season – both to Virginia. The next season, UConn didn’t lose any games on the way to an NCAA title. But the team that scared UConn the most that year was … Virginia. The Cavs lost 67-63 to the Huskies in the Elite Eight at Gampel Pavilion.
That game, in March 1995, was my first trip to Storrs. The East Regional final was in the morning, and they had this huge media breakfast set up for us. It was all very well-run. Anyway, I was sitting there eating and listening to other reporters talking … there were SO many media people there. Someone said something about how the fans had arrived early and were already bouncing off the walls, although it was still a ways until tipoff.
Then another reporter said with a heavy edge of contempt in his voice, “These people are insane.”
Well, that really ticked me off. “Why are they insane?” I asked. “This team is unbeaten, and it’s probably going to win a national championship and the players are terrific people … so why wouldn’t they be super-excited about this team?”
Of course … I knew very well what he was referring to, without actually saying it: He thought it was “insane” to be excited over women’s basketball. It was one of those times when someone’s bias over-rode his good sense as a journalist. It was a great story, period, unless you were willfully blind to it.
It’s still a great story, of course, 14 years later. And the Huskies fans are still “insane.” Long live such insanity. Let’s hope the Tar Heels fans can show a little of it Monday when the Huskies come to Chapel Hill.