I was listening to Primetime with the Packman yesterday and apparently most of the phone calls coming from UNC fans were all about excusing a possible loss by pointing to the Lawson injury. It would also seem that a good many Tar Heel fans are already prepared to write this one off as a done deal because Lawson might not play and if he does, he will likely be limited in his effectiveness. And to them, let me plainly say:
I understand there is an air of pessimism about this. Ty Lawson is a vital cog in UNC’s highly touted offensive system and there are three plus seasons of evidence that does not cast Quentin Thomas is the best light in terms of running this team from the point for extended periods versus a stiff pressure defense. However, these are the cards that have been dealt. Whining and moaning before the game is even played basically sells the rest of the great players on this Tar Heel team short. And while Lawson is important, the last I checked UNC is still putting an excellent team on the floor and I team I still believe is capable of beating Duke. Certainly there will be hiccups but I am willing to declare right now that I have the utmost confidence in Quentin Thomas to assume the reins of this team and play like a senior leader in the biggest game of the season so far. And I cast my faith in Wayne Ellington, Danny Green, Marcus Ginyard, Deon Thompson, Tyler Hansbrough and Alex Stepheson to step on the floor tomorrow night and have their best games of the season. And this is to say nothing of the fact Duke still has to come into our place and execute to win.
So, if the Heels lose, so be it. In my mind the Lawson injury has already been factored in and should it be instrumental in a loss here, then let’s hope he gets back to full strength for the trip to Durham in one month. But I will not make excuses, I will not be down on this team. The other guys are coming to play and conventional wisdom is always suspect when these two teams meet. If we have learned anything about this team so far this season it is they are tough and they know how to handle adversity. This group of Tar Heels has shown incredible resiliency in less than ideal circumstances and I expect nothing less from them tomorrow night. It is a battle amid a long war and despite which UNC team takes the floor at 9 PM on Wednesday I firmly believe they will leave it all on the floor regardless the outcome.
So, other can make excuses and hand wring over what might happen. I choose to stand firmly behind what I know will happen and that is the Tar Heels will give it everything they have.
GO HEELS, BEAT DUKE!