If you look at the box scores and recaps, it says that the North Carolina men's basketball team lost to Vanderbilt yesterday and Minnesota on Friday. And hey, I respect ESPN. I'm not the kind of guy that's going to sit here and call them out for fact errors. They typically do a nice job. But in this case, it's obvious they're wrong.
The Tar Heels didn't lose. You know why? Two words, four syllables: Harrison Barnes.
Oops, sorry. For some reason, that always happens when you mention his full name on the internet. From now on, I'll try to use either Harrison or Barnes by itself.
My point is that there's no way he could have lost even one game, much less two. But first, let's go over what we know about Harrison. Just the facts!
1. He was the first pre-season All-American selected as a freshman, before he'd even played a single game.
2. He hasn't lost a basketball game on any level since 1989, when his father made a lucky fadeaway three-pointer to win a one-on-one game 15-14. Later, it was revealed that young Harrison let him win. As he told his mother that evening, "I must honor my father."
3. When he plays at a gym with windows, birds gather to watch. When he plays at a gym with no windows, birds throw themselves against the exterior, often dying in the process.
4. He has never missed a shot on a regulation court.
5. Defenders guarding have reported that their hands often tingle for up to twenty seconds after touching him.
6. He will lead UNC to at least 6 national titles during his time in Chapel Hill. In one title game, it is written that he will play one half by himself.
7. When his mother took him home from the hospital a day after his birth, the young Barnes saw a basketball in the living room of his new house. He crawled over, found a powder blue magic marker, and wrote "destiny" on the ball. Except he wrote it in Spanish: "Destino." Nobody knows why.
8. He doesn't play chess because he identifies too closely with the king.
9. If he touches a child before the child's first birthday, even inadvertently, that child will dunk at least once in his lifetime.
10. Within ten years, the sport of basketball will be known as "Barnesketball." The dunk shot will be known as a "Harrison." The three-point shot will be illegal. (Yes, illegal; it won't even count for two points.) Dick Vitale will shout out "that's Barnesome, baby!" when he likes something. Every male in America will be named Harrison, and every female will be named Harriet or Barnetha. The name of the planet will be changed to "Captain Barnestown," and anyone who says 'earth' in a public forum will be executed.
Knowing what we know, how is it possible for UNC to lose to schools like Minnesota and Vanderbilt? I mean, they're not even traditional basketball powers! Sorry, world, I'm not buying it. I don't know what happened in Puerto Rico, but it wasn't this. Not to a Carolina team with Mighty Harrison. Can we even trust information coming out of Puerto Rico after the Spanish-American War?
The truth is, North Carolina is still undefeated. They might have already won the championship; I'm not sure. They've definitely clinched the ACC by now. But I'm not going to complain. Some things are etched in stone, and you might as well resent the rising sun. Coach K had his chance. But he got out-recruited by Preacher Roy, and he'll forever rue the day he whiffed on Harrison Barnes.
But enough of that dude. Let's talk Duke. The Devil demolition was in full effect Friday night, and I direct your attention to the top 5 plays, #5 and #2 in particular:
Good lord, did you see that outlet pass? How many times in life does an outlet pass leave you awestruck? Unbelievable, Mason. You are once more the Plumdog Billionaire. FOR NOW.
And #2...sweet molasses. That's Kyrie Irving, everyone. Kyrie Irving. That's his name, baby.
I love when a player gets about five different reactions from the fans in a single play. First there was the tough rebound over a bigger man, eliciting excited applause. "Irving!" said the announcer, chuckling at the athleticism that allowed him to grab the board in traffic. Then he surged downcourt, and the applause became a hum of anticipation, and the hum turned to a higher frequency as he gained speed. Then the behind-the-back dribble happened, and the fans gasped in a synchronized "ohhhhh!" "Oh...my goodness!" gushed the announcer. Then Kyrie reached the basket, laid the ball in reverse, and a short silence took over as it hung on the rim. When it went down, total Cameron eruption. Kyrie fucking Irving. Welcome to hell, Duke haters.
(Side note: I love the interviews after the top 5 plays. Anybody else get the feeling that Nolan Smith is a legitimately hilarious guy? The way he stares at Kyrie at about the 1:45 mark cracks my shit up.
Also, it's worth saying: props to Coach K for not squashing the individual personalities on his team. I hear about some programs banning twitter and other free interactions with the press, and it's super annoying. Part of the team experience is learning about the players, and I'm grateful we have that chance as Duke fans.)
Tonight, we take the show to Marquette. The kiddy games are over. Time to test our bite against the big dogs. ESPN2, 7:30. Get it.