UNC Picks Up Another Piece

Posted by nvr1983 on February 17th, 2009

Jeff Goodman of Fox Sports is reporting that UNC freshman Tyler Zeller will be returning to the Tar Heels lineup most likely in time for tomorrow night’s game against North Carolina State. According to Steve Kirschner, the Associate Director of Athletics for Communications at UNC, “It’s 99 percent that he’ll play tomorrow night.” ┬áZeller, who broke his wrist while being fouled on a breakaway dunk (see below) against Kentucky, played well in his only game of the season as he scored 18 against Penn in the Tar Heels season-opener playing in place of the injured Tyler Hansbrough.

UNC fans were expecting to have a formidible interior with reigning national POY in Hansbrough, junior Deon Thompson, and the two freshman (Zeller and Ed Davis). Hansbrough has been Hansbrough although not as dominant as we expected (more on that in a post later this week), Thompson has played well in stretches, and Davis has been UNC’s best interior defender. However, both Thompson and Davis have had a drop-off in their production recently. Zeller may not add a lot to the Tar Heels interior defense, but he can certainly contribute offensively.

zeller

When combined with the announcement yesterday that UConn‘s Jerome Dyson was done for the season, this seems to shift the balance of power over to UNC although Pittsburgh fans may disagree after their performance on the road yesterday. In any case, it definitely makes the Tar Heels a tougher out in the tournament as they now have the strongest inside game in the country to go along with a lightning fast point guard in Ty Lawson and a sharpshooter who has found his range in Wayne Ellington.

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Columbia has as many titles as Duke??

Posted by rtmsf on May 22nd, 2007

One thing that a casual fan of college basketball may never hear about unless he makes a practice of sifting through the detritus of message boards is the curious case of Helms Foundation titles. Everyone knows about NCAA titles – UCLA has 11, Kentucky 7, Indiana 5, UNC 4, and so on down the list. But not everybody is aware of these Helms championships, and with good reason.

Helms National Champ

National Champions?

In 1936, Bill Schroeder and Paul Helms created the Helms Athletic Foundation (now defunct) in Los Angeles, a panel of experts in college basketball and football who were tasked with designating retroactive “champions” and all-america teams for each year since the inception of the sport (football in 1883; basketball in 1901). Keeping in mind that this group formed in the mid-1930s, they had very little in the way of substantive evidence on which to make their decisions, other than personal recollections and (perhaps) newspaper clippings of the games. This is a surely a long way removed from the modern analysis involving strength of schedules, efficiency ratings and RPIs – analytical tools that results in an invitation for a chance to win the national championship!

We won’t even get into the ridiculousness of the modern BCS rankings in college football, but suffice it to say that given the evidentiary limitations of the times, a Helms title that was given retroactively is at best a loosely educated guess of who may have been the best team during a particular year. Who can honestly say that the Helms Champion 1906 Dartmouth (16-2) squad was better than every other team that season (irrespective, it’s always Drinking Time at Dartmouth)? It’s difficult enough to make such an assessment in today’s environment, even with bountiful video and statistical data on every team available in seconds – imagine doing it without ever seeing a team or their opponents play a single game! Which is, of course, essentially what the Helms Foundation did when making its selections.

Keggy the Keg

Is Keggy the Keg aware of Dartmouth’s National Championship?

So why is this relevant to today’s game, and by proxy, this blog? Ten years ago it wouldn’t have been. But nowadays, this has become a fairly contentious issue amongst some of the game’s bluebloods. Most notably, UNC has inarguably been touting its retroactive 1924 Helms title as a championship on equal footing with its four NCAA titles in its media guides and other media outlets (ESPN, CBS, etc.). It also has a banner celebrating this championship hanging next to its NCAA championship banners in the Dean Dome (see the 1:00 minute mark). And Heel fans can also purchase replica banners, including one honoring the 1924 champions, at a store on Franklin St. in Chapel Hill. In a sport that has always crowned its champions at every level in a tournament format, this does not sit well with members of other traditional powers, especially at Kentucky and Kansas, where the message boards enjoy periodic states of delirium over this issue.

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