Tar Heels Ascent Will Continue

BY foxsports • February 11, 2011

By Andrew Jones
February 11, 2011

North Carolina spent two months trying to generate a little bit of respect from the national media after a rough start to the season. But in just 40 minutes of basketball on Wednesday night, the Tar Heels may have completely changed the way they are viewed, and are now considered legitimate threats to make noise in next month's NCAA Tournament.

National sports networks and pundits, including our Jeff Goodman here at FOXSports.com, opined after UNC's thrilling 79-73 loss at Duke on Wednesday that the Heels are back and are to be taken seriously.

Funny, because Carolina had won five consecutive games before visiting its hated rival and had won its previous three contests by a combined 72 points. That garnered some attention, but in the era of seeing is believing, the Heels did themselves a favor by charging out to a big lead against Duke and maintaining an edge for 30 minutes.

And while No. 20 Carolina (17-6, 7-2 ACC) blew a 16-point first-half lead, was outscored by 20 points in the second half after failing to hit a 3-point attempt and converting just half of its free throws, the new book on UNC is glowing.

"They were as good a team as we've played, there's no question about it," said Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski, who appeared all too happy to toss accolades UNC's way late Wednesday night. "They have such good talent and Roy has them in a system that suits them so well. They run so well