EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Roy Williams had better not blow it. Don't screw it up, Roy. Don't do it. Don't fail to get to the Final Four while you command the deepest, most talented roster in all of college basketball.
This year's tournament has made something clear. The North Carolina Tar Heels have more ability from the top of their lineup to the bottom than any other club. More than Georgetown. More than Ohio State. More than even the Florida Gators.
Just how much talent has Williams managed to stash? Consider the odd story of Tar Heels forward Reyshawn Terry.
|Sick like a dog, Reyshawn Terry's in disbelief over being called 'soft.' (Getty Images)|
The fact Terry even played Friday night against Southern California and will probably play Sunday night against Georgetown in the East Regional final is slightly miraculous considering having strep throat makes you feel like one of those alien creatures has taken up residence in your tummy.
Still, my CBS colleague, Billy Packer, is not impressed with Terry. In an interview this week with New York's WFAN radio, Packer called Terry soft.
"Terry, in my estimation, has always played soft," Packer said. He later added: "There are some guys that know how to play hurt and there are some guys that don't."
When I asked Terry his thoughts on the comments by Packer, Terry responded: "Anyone who thinks I'm soft doesn't know s--- about basketball."
"He has his opinion," Terry said of Packer. "Billy Packer has been around the game long enough to know better. Soft? That's foolish. It's offensive to be called that. I try not to let that sort of stuff bother me but I will say that if Billy Packer played in my day, I would bust his ass. It would be a massacre."
I get the feeling Terry is a little irritated with my CBS pal. Just don't bust my ass, Mr. Terry. Sir.
This is the point. Carolina has so many players stacked on that bench like firewood that a guy like Terry, once a Tar Heel star, is being called soft by a major basketball analyst, sits for most of the game against USC, and the Tar Heels still win by 10 points after trailing by double digits.
Whether Terry is soft or not (he isn't), whether Terry plays against the Hoyas or not, is almost irrelevant. The Tar Heels have more than enough bodies to make up for his loss. They could lose two stars and still win the whole damn thing.
The list of athletes on this team is long and formidable. The most famous name on the roster might be forward Tyler Hansbrough, but there are other names like forward Brandan Wright and guards Ty Lawson, Wayne Ellington and Marcus Ginyard.
They have seemingly had a different name or group of stars lead them at many points this year. It was Lawson against Michigan State. Against USC, Hansbrough struggled, and Terry wanted to puke, so Wright scored 21 points in 35 minutes.
When you have someone like Terry coming off the bench, a guy who could be a second-round draft pick in the NBA, or possibly even go earlier, that says a lot about the talent level at Carolina.
Now, all Williams has to do is manage that talent.
"It's just been a unique group," said Williams. "I mean, from the first day, October 13th, whatever media day was, everybody asked me if I was worried about the number of players. And after the first exhibition game and the first game and the 10th game and the 20th game, everybody asked about if you're worried about having too many players, balancing out, don't you think you can shorten your rotation.
"Marcus said it best. Everybody on our team tries to be focused and ready when they're called upon so they will do well. Finally, after 37 games, people are saying, 'Well, I guess it is OK.'"
The Tar Heels are more than OK. They should be championship material.
Unless Williams screws this whole thing up.
And remember: Don't you dare call Terry soft.
Or he will bust your ass.