Kentucky Moon Kept on Shining

Well, I went to the UNC-Kentucky game Saturday, but I wish I had gone shopping for a Christmas tree instead. Surely, I would have had more to show for my money than I had leaving Chapel Hill after the game.

Now before you start labeling me a "bandwagon" fan, let me explain that I am solidly behind Coach Doherty and no one knows how much slack I will allow him because I was so dissatisfied with the direction the BB program was taking under Coach Gutheridge. I kept my thoughts to myself unless I was in the presence of another Tar Heel whom I trusted because it's next to impossible to discuss certain things with strangers without emotions becoming involved and resultant bad feelings.

Folks, we are a slow, slow, slow team I would wager there isn't a front line in America that is slower and we also are not quick. Oftentimes, these two qualities are confused, but its simple here. We are deficient in both areas.

One of my friends who went down to the game with me along with his son who got to watch his first real game in the Dean Dome asked me how I thought we could disguise our slowness. The question threw me at first but after a little thought, I responded by saying that I didn't think it could be disguised because we had put it on display for the entire nation to see and I'm sure every coach on our schedule was watching. I finally realized that maybe, just maybe we can compensate for the slowness, but its too late to try and disguise it. When I think about it, I don't know why any of us thought it would be any different from last year when everybody knew we were slow. Personnel wise, we lost Cota and added Boone, Morrison and Fingleton. Where did we think the speed and quickness would come from? Even if Parker had joined the team, it would not have helped in speed and quickness all that much. Morrison does add some of what we need, but his decision making is going to take some time to come around and then there's the question of what do we do with Boone? I think Boone is getting his minutes now because Doherty realizes if he sits him down in favor of Morrison that it might destroy Boone and render him useless to the team. The day of reckoning will come soon, however, and Coach Doherty will have to do what's best for the TEAM. The biggest positive I see at the present is that Curry, Peppers and Owens will rejoin the team soon , so one could argue that the team that will carry the Tar Heel banner this year has not been on the floor.

Something that warrants comment is the behavior of the crowd in the Dean Dome. Much has been written about the "wine and cheese" nature of the fans, and every time I think we are doing better, something will happen to convince me otherwise. I have given up on expecting those at court side, the so called "fat cats" to make any noise. And some of the reasons for their less than "rah, rah" approach to the game is understandable. They tend to be older and I know from personal experience that it is more difficult to generate enthusiasm in a demonstrable manner as you age. But there is no excuse for the late arrivals at the game. It was disgraceful what happened last Saturday and it embarrassed me. Five minutes before tip off, the seats at court side had large pockets of emptiness and even though it filled up by the 10:00 minute mark, it didn't erase the image it must have presented to a national television audience. Some of us think that what happens is that some individuals watch to see if certain choice seats are going to be occupied for a game and when they have not been at around the 5:00 minute mark, they move from where they are seated into the court side seats. As proof of the fact that this might be what is happening, I have sold extra tickets I have had for several games outside to "ticket brokers" before the game. With one exception, no one has ever come to the seat for the ticket I have sold. Now one of two things is happening. Either the broker (we used to call them scalpers) got stuck with the ticket and couldn't sell it or he sold it to someone who simply wanted to gain admission to the Dean Dome so they could claim one of the court side seats at the appropriate time.

I had an interesting experience with a broker at the shuttle bus stop in the University Mall parking lot Saturday. I had a late cancellation and wound up with an extra ticket. As I walked up to the bus stop, I was approached by a gentleman who asked if I had any extra tickets. I first thought it was a fan attempting to secure a ticket because I had never seen brokers at the University Mall location. I told him I had 1 ticket and showed him the ticket so he could determine where the seat was located. He then said "I will give you ten dollars for it." I responded by saying that I would throw the ticket in the trash can before I would sell it for ten dollars and started to walk away. Remember the ticket had the original price of $30 printed on it and there was plenty of time before game time, so I was not in a bad situation at all. As I walked away, the gentleman shouted "How about $20?" I shouted back, "How about I keep the ticket?' I sold the ticket or face value within 30 seconds after departing the bus at the Smith Center to a young man who had driven from Mt. Airy with no ticket who was more than glad to get it at the purchased price. He did come to the seat and I had a very enjoyable time discussing the game with him. He described himself as an ACC fan and said he had driven as far south as Atlanta and as far north north as College Park to see an ACC basketball game. He was originally from Pennsylvania, but said he had no desire to return there and was happy with his new home in North Carolina.

Got to start my pre-game ritual for the game with Miami tonight, but it's going to be harder than it was for Kentucky. I try to keep in mind what one poster on a message board said. In effect, he said not to be too disappointed in the Kentucky loss and not to be too encouraged if Carolina beats Miami by a wide margin. It's a long season and we've barely begun. At the same time, I'm about ready for the team to begin showing some progress. Tonight would be a good time to start.