Here's Wednesday's Dear Gary ...
Dear Gary: How badly do you think the Marcus Ginyard news hurts North Carolina?
There are two ways to look at this.
The first is that the announcement that Ginyard will sit the remainder of the season because of a foot injury means the North Carolina team everybody picked in the preseason to win the national title isn't the North Carolina team that'll actually be trying to win the national title. Remember all that talk about five starters returning? Well, one of those was Ginyard. So this is no longer the team that returned all five starters and added three McDonald's All-Americans, because one of those starters (Ginyard) and one of those McDonald's All-Americans (Tyler Zeller) are gone for the season.
That's tough to overcome.
On the other hand, it's not like Ginyard was hurt yesterday; he's played 37 minutes all season. So while this UNC team has been (somewhat) of a disappointment relative to its lofty expectations, it's still 20-2 and ranked third in the nation. Translation: Even without Ginyard, the Tar Heels are good enough to win the ACC, ACC tournament and NCAA tournament. To think otherwise would be silly. So yes, it will be more difficult, because Ginyard meant more to this team than most realized until after he was hurt. But I still think the Tar Heels are the favorites to win the national title, and so does Las Vegas, which is always a good sign.
-- ODDS TO WIN THE NATIONAL TITLE (per Sportsbook.com) --
- North Carolina +250
- Connecticut +450
- Duke +800
- Pittsburgh +1000
- Louisville +1000