Tar Heel nation can breathe a little now. Carolina basketball is back where it belongs: in the Top 25. At least in one media poll.
In the Associated Press poll, the Heels came in at No. 23. The ESPN/USA Today poll was not quite as generous as UNC ended up just out of the Top 25 at No. 26.
If the Heels continue to play well they will climb up the polls, but that is yet to be seen. At any rate, It is quite a good feeling to be back in familiar territory.
Going into the season, Harrison Barnes would have been voted most likely to be named the ACC Rookie of the Week the most, yet this is his first one.
He was not even the first Tar Heel to be given this honor since Reggie Bullock was just named a Rookie of the Week as well. This is a great accomplishment for Barnes as we sense him breaking out.
His game winning shots against Miami, and his 25 point game against N.C. State are the reasons for this honor.
Recruiting fans live for this day: National Signing Day. Those blood-thirsty fans will not have to wait much longer to finally know who will end up singing the Letter-of-Intent for their school.
This year's National Signing Day, Wed. Feb. 2, is very important for Tar Heel fans. It puts a close to the year that has been spoiled by the NCAA investigation. While the investigation is not complete, the recruiting class that has been tempted and swayed by other school's will be put in the books and officially North Carolina Tar Heels.
In spite of the investigation and negative recruiting, the 2011 recruiting class has stayed intact with little reason to believe others will decommit.
On top of that, it is a strong class. The tight end position was addressed with two very good tight ends, Jack Tabb and Eric Ebron. The Heels got an excellent quarterback in Marquise Williams who will benefit from an outstanding offensive line led by Kiaro Holts and Landon Turner.
Defensively, the linebacker commits are very good. Norkeithus Otis, Travis Hughes, and Christian Russell are all very talented. Defensive tackle is very promising with Sylvester Williams, Shaun Underwood, and Devonte Brown all committed to UNC. On the other hand, the defensive end depth chart is looking very slim for 2012 with only one defensive end committed in this class, Tyler Alberts.
In the defensive backfield, Tim Scott and Alex Dixon will be two very good corners by the time their careers are over.
While I did not mention every verbal commit, I hope this give you a good idea where the Heels currently stand.
Unless there any some unexpected decommitments Wednesday, National Signing Day promises to be a great day. Now we have to wait and see who else wants to put on Carolina Blue.
He has taken undue criticism in the past months due to his high-ranking and pre-season All-American status, but he showed why he was such a highly-touted recruit today.
Barnes got off to a great start this afternoon, and continued shooting the ball well to end with a career-high 25 points. It was by far his best shooting day of the whole season, but I highly doubt it will be his last. He is finally showing promising signs as he does not look as uptight and even shows a smile every now and then.
Barnes was great, but the Wolf Pack were bad. Undeniably bad!
They did not seem to want to play as a team, and even when Carolina allowed them a chance to get back in the game they could not. After a great start to the first half the Heels, quite simply, went cold. Yet, N.C. State could not bring the game any closer than ten points. Then the second half started off similarly. UNC started off great then allowed State a chance to climb back in, but State could not. Finally, with ten minutes left in the game Carolina shut down any run from State to march to a 84-64 win.
Harrison Barnes was fantastic, but John Henson was equally so. He finished the game with 16 points, 16 rebounds, and a tied a career-high with 7 blocks. Astounding numbers!
The entire Tar Heel team played with heart and poise despite some mistakes. Mistakes that are expected from a young team, but must be improved in order to finish the season strong.
N.C. State's season is plummeting out of control, but the Heels are just breaking stride. With a Florida State loss, the only teams with one loss in the conference are UNC and Duke. Not much has changed in the ACC.
Great overall game from the Heels as they upended rival N.C. State who played without starting freshman point guard Ryan Harrow.
UNC never looked back from a great start led by Harrison Barnes. Hopefully, more of those are on the way.
Stories like this happens all the time around signing day. A football player picks one school over the other. Sometimes North Carolina gets them and sometimes they do not.
It was not who Huggins picked, but how he picked them that created the stir among Tar Heel fans.
After a few comments about some select people he went on to put on a hat that happened to be UNC. Everybody cheered because he was a Tar Heel!
Not so fast.
After a few cheers, he removes the UNC hat to reveal a Rutgers hat making it clear that Rutgers is his school of choice. Wow! Within a few seconds Tar Heel fans are happy and then promptly sad and even mad.
Similar stories happen every year, but in an age where a verbal commitment does not mean much this just does not surprise me.
To further understand what happened watch the video below.