Posted on: February 24, 2010 6:17 pm
Edited on: February 24, 2010 6:19 pm

UNC's Failure to Follow Greatness

By: Drew Franklin

6:30 PM

North Carolina is struggling this year, just one season after winning the NCAA National Championship in 2009.   While no one expected the 2010 Heels to repeat as champs, no one expected them to be at the bottom of the ACC, either.  

The Heels have played their way out of the NCAA tournament, away from the spotlight, and into the Recycle Bin on Joe Lunardi’s Desktop.  They’re currently sitting on the NIT bubble and could very well end up in the College Basketball Invitational alongside perennial powerhouses Devry. ITT Tech, and Central Tennessee’s School of Taxidermy. 

Some are calling the 2010 Heels the worst defending champ in history. 

It’s sad, but is it true?

Let’s take a look at other failures to follow greatness:

2008 Florida Gators (24-12) – The defending back-to-back national champions lost 8 of their last 11 games to finish the 2008 season.  Florida head coach Billy Donovan kicked his team out of their own gym and banned them from wearing Florida gear.

1977 Indiana Hoosiers (14-13) – It’s not easy following up a 32-0 season in college basketball and the 1977 Indiana Hoosiers showed that by losing their first three games.   Losing five of their last seven didn’t help matters, either.

1980 Michigan State (12-15) – The 1980 Spartans weren’t looking to repeat after losing Magic Johnson to the NBA but surely they could’ve done better than a 15-loss season.  Michigan State returned all but two players from their championship in 1979. 

1979 Kentucky Wildcats (19-12) – Joe B. Hall’s Wildcats lost Goose Givens, Rick Robey, and James Lee after the 1978 Championship.  The 1979 season, known as  “The Season Without Celebration” ended in a first-round NIT loss.

2003 Tampa Bay Buccaneers (7-9) - Coming in high off the 2002 Super Bowl, John Gruden’s Bucs bombed in the 2003 season and haven’t competed for the Lombardi Trophy since.

1999 Denver Broncos (6-10) – John Elway’s retirement after winning the 1998 Super Bowl marked the end of an era in the Mile High City.  Unfortunately for Denver, it also marked the beginning of the Brian Griese era and a 6-10 season as defending champs.

Asia's “Alpha”: Asia’s self-titled debut sold 7 million copies and was one of the biggest releases in 1982.  In 1983, Asia released “Alpha” only to see the album tank on the charts.

Hootie and the Blowfish's “Fairweather Johnson” - Hootie and the Blowfish’s highly anticipated sophomore album sold 13 million copies less than “Cracked Rear View.”

Caddyshack 2 - It’s tough to fill the shoes of the great ones before you and this year’s Tarheels are figuring that out just as Jackie Mason and Dan Akroyd did in the worst movie sequel of all-time. 

Speed 2: Cruise Control - Even Keanu Reeves didn’t want to come back for this one.

Saved by the Bell: The New Class - With most of the cast gone, Mr. Belding and Screech were the only two characters to return for the follow up series to Saved By The Bell.  In comparison to UNC, Mr. Belding is Thompson and Ginyard is Screech.  Zach and Slater left for the NBA.

Cooper Manning - In a long line of pigskin greatness, from Archie to Peyton and Eli, Cooper is the football failure of the Manning family of Pro Bowl quarterbacks.


So, what do you think?

Is North Carolina the equivalent of the ’77 Hoosiers, the ’99 Broncos, and Asia’s sophomore album?  Or are they even more of an embarrassment to their predecessor?

Posted on: February 24, 2010 4:06 pm
Edited on: March 9, 2010 7:55 pm

Tar Heels to get dolled up for CBS Road Trip crew

By Thomas Beisner

4:00 pm

As we continue to fight Mother Nature's wrath (and potentially brace for the worst yet this weekend), anticipation continues to grow as the road trip crew gets set to visit the Dean Dome tonight.  Coming off of trips to Kansas and Kentucky, history is the word on everyone's minds and Chapel Hill shouldn't disappoint. 

The powers that be at UNC were also so moved that they've declared tonight a Michael Jordan appreciation night of sorts and will sport special white and silver Jordan brand jersies for their shakedown with Florida State....according to John Henson's Twitter account.  You can see the uniforms (and, conveniently enough, buy them) here.  I don't see mysel running out to get one but, in rivalry fairness, they're not as hideous as Duke's subtle graphic uniforms that have been putting the "Jersey" in jersey for a few years now.

UNC, we see your generous move of pomp and circumstance and it is appreciated.  Much like you'll see us.  Hiding in a laundry hamper after the game trying to steal one.  Though, that probably won't be as appreciated.

Chapel Hill, let's do this.

Posted on: February 24, 2010 12:54 pm
Edited on: February 24, 2010 12:58 pm

FAQ: Chapel Hill, North Carolina

By C.M. Tomlin

1:00 PM

As the CBS College Basektball Road Trip continues to criss-cross all over the country, taking in as many games as possible, the journey takes the crew from town to town and city to city. While in many of these places, much like the A-Team, we meet people who need our help defeating greedy businessmen or avenging wrongs, we also have tried our best to get to know these oft-famous spots on the map and bring the information back to you. You’re welcome, Mr. and Mrs. America, for Frequently Asked Questions Chapel Hill, the home of the University of North Carolina.

Where is Chapel Hill?

Chapel Hill is located in North Carolina and is the home of the very large University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, a school which claims to be the oldest state-supported university in the United States.

 What’s the University of North Carolina like?

It is the home of the UNC Tarheels men’s basketball team, one of the most storied teams in college basketball history, among other major sports programs.

Yes, I know of their basketball team. They were coached by that Dean guy.

Yes. Dean Smith.

Right. I love it when he played a drunk guy and sang with Frank Sinatra. That was hilarious.

That was Dean Martin. Dean Smith coached at UNC from 1966 to 1997 and is a Basketball Hall of Fame inductee. He led the Tarheels to two national titles and eleven final fours.

Isn’t Chapel Hill close to Duke University?

You’re right. In fact, Chapel Hill, Durham and Raleigh are the North Carolina cities which make up what’s known as Research Triangle.

Yeah, I know about that. That’s where airplanes disappear.

No, it’s not. It’s an area of research and development centers for many major corporations, including Verizon, Microsoft and AT&T. 

What’s a Tarheel?

No one’s quite sure where the name Tarheel come from, but it’s believed that it is a product of the fact that tar and turpentine come from North Carolina’s sprawling pine forests.

And pinecones too.

Yes, probably pinecones too.

Where is Chapel Hill located?

Chapel Hill is located very near the center of the state, in Orange County.

You’re a liar. Orange County is in California.

There is also an Orange County in North Carolina.

Oh. Is there anything to do in Chapel Hill?

Yes, Chapel Hill is known as the home of many popular bands, including Southern Culture on the Skids, Ben Folds Five and Archers of Loaf. It was also named “America’s Foodiest Small Town” by Bon Apetit magazine, which is another way of saying there are a lot of people in Chapel Hill with whom it probably sucks to get stuck talking to at parties.

Where do the Tarheels play basketball?

Great question. The Tarheels play at the Dean Smith Center, also known as the “Dean Dome.”

“Dean Dome.” That’s funny. It sounds like a doorbell.

Yes, kind of.

Sounds like a pretty nice place to visit. Maybe I’ll check it out.

You really should. It’s quite an interesting college town.

I am not flying over that triangle though. So you can forget it.

Duly noted.


Posted on: February 24, 2010 10:08 am

Patrick Patterson is Ready for March


10:00 AM

Patrick Patterson is ready for March
.  I don’t mean he is ready in the sense that all players say they are excited to get on the court and play under the bright lights, in the big games, etc.  I mean Patrick Patterson is salivating to play in March in a way that may be hard for any other player to imagine.  While other players want to experience the Big Dance, Patrick NEEDS to experience it and it is that passion that could catapult him and his Kentucky teammates to an NCAA Tournament run to remember.

In a season in which John Calipari, John Wall and Demarcus Cousins seem to be the main feature in nearly every discussion about college basketball, it can be easy to forget about Patrick Patterson.  On a team full of glitzy stars and bigger than life (at least in the Commonwealth) personalities, Patrick Patterson is a throwback, both on and off the court.  On the court, he plays basketball the way your high school coach would have taught you if you were a big man.  He hits the glass, block shots, rebounds and this season, has picked up an outside jumper that will likely make him a lottery pick in the NBA Draft this Spring.

However what makes Patrick Patterson the heart and soul of this Kentucky team and a player that is likely as beloved as any to come through Lexington in the past decade is the way he is a throwback to a different era even within Kentucky basketball.  Since Calipari has come to town and the Cats have gone from an NIT team to 27-1 and a chance at a national title, it can be easy to forget where the program was just a few short months ago. 

In the four priornseasons, Kentucky never advanced to the second weekend of the NCAA Tournament, and even more upsetting to Wildcat fans, was truly an afterthought on the national college basketball scene.  The slide began during the end of Tubby Smith’s reign, but hit its nadir during the disastrous two-year Billy Gillispie era in which the program suffered embarrassments on and off the court and a drop in fan and player morale that threatened to put a long-term grasp on the program.

Patrick Patterson felt those disappointments as much as even the Bluest of UK fans.  He was initially recruited by Tubby Smith as a potential savior to the program and when he ultimately decided to join Gillispie in Lexington, it ended the most-followed recruitment by the UK fanbase in school history.  He came on campus with high expectations and Patterson certainly believed that he would get a chance to make multiple runs in NCAA Tournaments over the course of his career. 

But unfortunately for Patterson, it didn’t work out that way.  When Kentucky made it to the NCAA Tournament his Freshman year, he was unable to play due to injury and sat and watched as the his team bowed out in the first round to Marquette.  Then last season, a late collapse saw the Cats in the NIT with games in sold-out regional tournament sites, but rather on the road at locations like Creighton.  Now his first game in the NCAA Tournament this year, will the first taste of the Big Dance for the star Junior.  He says that missing out in the past doesn’t bother him but rather makes me “as excited as I can be about finally getting a Championship run in March.” 

If the Cats do make such a run, it will be in large part because of the way in which Patrick Patterson has anchored the team this season.  Patrick said he knew that with so many talented Freshman coming in that his game would have to change but that he wanted to be “the type of guy to help Calipari make the team buy in.”  And that is exactly what he has done.  Often the third or fourth option on offense now, Patterson all too often is left out of long stretches and Calipari has noted that the team cannot win when it forgets about his talents. 
But if Patterson is upset about such things, one would never know.  He says he understands what Calipari has done all season and thinks “he has made me a much better player this year in every way.”  While he is no longer the sole focus of Kentucky attention, either on the court or in the media, it has been his grace in deferring to those younger and less experienced than he, that has helped propel this version of the Cats to great heights.  Patterson sees this individual sacrifice as necessary to make the thing he desires most, a National Championship, a reality.  “I don’t have individual goals, I have goals for our whole team.  I want to see John Wall win National Player of the Year, win the SEC, win the SEC Tournament, have three All-Americans on the team and win a National Championship.” 

That may seem like a lot, but each one is attainable.  If they happen, much credit will be given to the new coach who came from Memphis, the once-a-decade talent at point guard who will soon be the #1 NBA draft pick and the dominating post-presence with the headband.  But don’t forget about the player whose name you have known the longest, the one who has been through the battles and seen the UK program at one of the worst, and now at one of the best, of times.  More than any other person currently in the program, Patrick Patterson represents the soul of UK basketball.  And when March comes, three years of pent-up postseason energy will be unleashed.  When that happens and the Cats begin their march towards NCAA Title #8, Patterson says, “everything that has happened over my career will definitely be worth it.”
Posted on: February 23, 2010 10:22 pm
Edited on: February 24, 2010 12:12 am

Pit Stop in Lexington

By: Drew Franklin

10:00 PM

I'm tired.

Not like "Girls Gone Wild commercials are on, I better go to bed" tired, but like "what state are we in?" tired.  Seriously,  I don't know what state we're in.

I'm assuming we are somewhere en route to Chapel Hill but everything is all Flying J truck stops and Alan Jackson songs to me now.  But, for the sake of keeping you updated on our location, we're in... ummmm... we're way down yonder on the Chattahoochie and it is hotter than a hoochie coochie.  There ya go.

Today, after 34 consecutive hours of driving (exaggeration) through the night and most of the day, we stopped by the University of Kentucky in Lexington for a tour of the Craft Center.  I would've rather stopped by my house in Lexington for a tour of my eyelids but CBS insists we see nothing but basketball and highway for 11 days and by God that's what we're gonna do.

Our tour started off in the office of UK head coach John Calipari.  It is your typical office, if you're the head coach of the all-time winningest college basketball program.  It has ordinary office things like a desk, a chair, and a picture of Abraham Lincoln.  And a lot of not so ordinary things like a framed Clarion jersey, a case full of rings, a commemorative game ball collection, pictures with Presidents, and a balcony overlooking the UK practice court.  The one thing I noticed missing from the office was a computer.  Coach Cal must be following this blog on his phone.

Next, we went into the Kentucky weight room.  It looks like your local gym but with an extra million dollars of funding.  Also, the machines have a little more weight than what you're probably used to seeing.  I did half of a pushup, caught my breath, and moved on to the next stop - the locker room.

With the team out on the practice court as we toured the facility, I was able to do things I wouldn't normally be able to do with the players around.  I sat in the film room, added my own bullet point to the gameplan, stole a Gatorade, and took a big whiff of my fingers after sticking them deep into John Wall's new Lebron shoes.  (If you're wondering, and I know you are, they smell like pixie dust and excellence.)  Had they been my size, I would have them on right now as I type this.

After a few more sneak peeks behind the scenes, we wrapped up the day at UK with a brief chat with Patrick Patterson.  Pat said he is looking forward to the postseason and says he wants a piece of Kansas.  He also said John Wall will be Player of the Year, Kentucky will win the SEC Tournament, and the National Championship.  He did, however, fail to mention that Matt and I look homeless and smell like roadkill.  Patterson is quite the gentleman, ya know.

That's all for now.  UK was fun.  Dean Dome tomorrow.  Sadly, North Carolina will probably lose again.

Posted on: February 23, 2010 4:51 pm

Basketball is the Thing in Lexington

Matt Jones

5:00 PM

In case you havent figured it out yet, the cast of this college basketball road excursion is from the mean streets of Kentucky and when not driving unreasonable numbers of hours to see games all across our fair land, we run  So this stop on our tour across college basketball is a bit like a midway homecoming for the crew.  We are in Lexington, home of what the natives will call the greatest college basketball program in the land.  While schools in Chapel Hill and Los Angeles can make a similar claim, none can counter the truth that Kentucky has the most passionate fans in college basketball.  While basketball is important in many parts of the land (including a few that never get credit for their fervor), basketball is life in Kentucky.  Take one visit to Lexington and that will become clear to you, especially if you are told tidbits such as:

1.  Kentucky had 22,000 for ESPN College Gameday:  Cat fans basically filled Rupp Arena for College Gameday ten days ago and Jay Bilas said it was the most amazing thing he has seen while on the road as an announcer.  That is impressive enough, but when you consider that the attendance set a Gameday record and the previous record was less than a third of that number, the craziness becomes obvious.

2.  Richie Farmer Will Be Governor:  You remember Richie Farmer?  If you arent from Kentucky you probably do not, but he was the kid with the moustache that was on the team that lost to Laettner's shot in 1992.  There you go, now you remember him.  Since he lost that game, he has basically lived a life based upon his role as a former UK basketball player.  He didnt play professionally, did commercials for a while and then ran for Agricultural Commissioner.  In a year when Democrats swept nearly every state office, Richie won his office as a Republican by the largest margin of any candidate in the race.  Now rumors are strong he will run against the sitting Governor in 2011 and chances are high he will likely win.  That is what a moustache, a sweet three point touch and a UK jersey can get you.

3.  John Calipari is EVERYWHERE:  And I mean EVERYWHERE.  He endorses every product, speaks to every local group, signs every resaturant wall, is on every billboard and is likely to walk up to you while you are in line at Papa Johns and give you a copy of his inspirational book "Bounce Back" while shaking your hand and smiling.  If the world were made up of only teenage girls, Calipari would be like the cast of "Twilight", dominating the discussion and focus at all times.

None of these things surprise us...neither does the State-of-the-Art practice facility, the revered status held by the Cats' home before Rupp Arena, Memorial Coliseum or the way in which players like John Wall and Patrick Patterson are gazed at adorningly by students, children and middle-aged men with a too-tight t-shirt and a sturdy belly.  This is normal to us.  But it may not be to you and that is why you need to visit Lexington if you are a college basketball fan.  No other place can match its fanaticism.

Oh and you have to excuse me, we are sitting on the floor of Memorial Coliseum and the UK Dance Team has walked in to begin practice.  We are now officially distracted.

Category: NCAAB
Posted on: February 23, 2010 1:59 pm
Edited on: February 23, 2010 2:00 pm

Know the Route: Kansas to North Carolina

By C.M. Tomlin


As the crew hunkers down for a seventeen-plus hour haul from Lawrence, Kansas to Chapel Hill, North Carolina -- to possibly watch the '10 Tarheels be defeated by Florida State, the Chapel Hill Church of the Nazarene Men's Sunday night pickup league and Girl Scout troop #435 -- a lot of ground is about to be covered. And since the team's been reading passages from Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass aloud to one another virtually nonstop since Milwaukee, it's become a more imporant charge than ever to soak in this magnificent country.

That said, let's take a look at some of the sights along the way. 

Leila's Hair Museum (Independence, MO) -- Cosmetologist Leila Cohoon's personal exhibit of collected hair over her nearly forty years in the business includes a wreath made of Phyllis Diller's hair. This may be a draw for many, but not to the Road Trip crew because we always pack and travel with our own wreath of Phyllis Diller's hair. 

Beetle Bailey Statue (Columbia, MO) -- The University of Missouri boasts a statue of comic strip icon Beetle Bailey, which no doubt thrills anyone over the age of 70 years old visiting the campus. Personally, I still think it's a travesty that there's no Hi & Lois art anywhere -- that strip's funny because it's true.

Museum of Physical Security (Nicholasville, KY) -- This personal collection of locks, dating back to the thirteenth century, is not only believed to be the largest collection of locks in the world but is also the site where southern neighbors Tennessee are currently keeping all their guns until the current men's basketball roster has graduated.

Congress' Secret Underground Bunker (White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia) -- It's no longer a secret that until 1995, the Greenbriar resort in West Virginia also housed a secret nuclear bomb-proof bunker built to house Congress in case of the apocalypse. It's no longer used as a bunker for  Congress, however -- today the massive space has been repurposed to house Bob Huggins' emergency backup reserve of Absolut Citron.

World's Largest Chest of Drawers (High Point, North Carolina) --Since High Point is known as the "Home Furnishing Capital of the World," it only makes sense that the city would be home to a massive piece of furniture. This massive 80-foot replica of a chest of drawers is not only a popular  tourism site for High Point but reportedly where Rick Majerus keeps his tighty whities.

Life is a highway, indeed. And if they make good time, the crew may even be able to get to the Dean Dome early enough to sit in on a Roy Williams "excuse brainstorming" meeting. I hear "temporary blindness" is on deck in case the Tarheels drop one to the 'Noles tomorrow night. We shall see. For now, the show keeps trucking 'cross America. More to come as the guys gear up for their ACC experience. In the meantime, tonight sees several ranked teams in what appear to be some gimmes, but you never know where an upset's going to come from. Among tonight games are #4 Syracuse at Providence, #13 Georgetown at Louisville and #6 Kansas State at Texas Tech. Plus, Road Crew new faves Northern Iowa visit Evansville. 

Pit stop's over. Back on the road.

Posted on: February 23, 2010 11:42 am

A Long Night Between Basketball History


12:00 PM

When we created the schedule for this trip, we may not have been quite sane.  In case you have forgotten, here is how it looks as of now:

Thursday:  Pitt vs Marquette
Friday:  Old Dominion vs Northern Iowa
Saturday:  Siena vs Butler (switched to Louisville vs Depaul)
Sunday:  Ohio State vs Michigan State
Monday:  Oklahoma vs Kansas
Tuesday:  Visit Kentucky
Wednesday:  Florida State vs North Carolina
Thursday:  Murray State vs Morehead State
Friday:  Princeton vs Cornell
Saturday: Villanova vs Syracuse
Sunday:  Virginia vs Duke

It was quite an ambitious undertaking, but the reality of the neverending part of some of these drives hit us last night.  After leaving Lansing Michigan at 5 pm on Sunday and driving 5 hours to Terre Haute, Indiana, we got up and drove the next 7 hours to Lawrence, Kansas on Monday.  We watched a great game in Phog Allen and headed back for Lexington, driving through the night to make the 9 hour trip.  So if you are scoring at home, that is 21 hours of driving in approximately 40 hours of actual time.  Let me just say, that is exhausting.

It hit us hard last night around 6 am outside of Centralia, Illinois, when we needed a power nap.  Because it was so late and we dont want to run up the CBS dime, we decided to make a quick stop in a Super 8 Hotel parking lot.  As we attempted to sleep in the 20 degree weather in the Kia Rondo ("The Harangody"), I wondered, "is this how Gary Parrish and Billy Packer got their starts?"  I have to hope it is.

Getting to see a game in Phog Allen was phenomenal.  While the locals said the crowd was relatively dead compared to other games, I loved it nonetheless and the history in the place is truly amazing.  I will have more on that topic later, but we now have to get back on the road and get to Lexington.  Last night, we saw the #1 team in America and what Jay Bilas calls the #2 most passionate fan base in all of college basketball.  Today we will see the team that reverses both of those numbers.
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or