Seen and heard last night at Dean Smith Center in Chapel Hill, N.C.:
OPPOSITE DIRECTIONS Matt Doherty and Michael Jordan started together when North Carolina won the 1982 championship, defeating Georgetown in the title game. But the two are perceived much differently these days. The Wizards’ Jordan is in his latest resurrection and started in the NBA All-Star Game in Philadelphia. Doherty is coaching Carolina to new lows while Jordan’s No.23 jersey hangs from the rafters. Carolina came into the game eight games under .500 for the first time in its 92-year history. The Tar Heels’ run of 31 consecutive 20-win seasons will end, as will almost surely their run of 27 straight NCAA tournament appearances.
LONNY ‘D’ BAXTER Not only was the Maryland center a force on offense to open the game, but Baxter made several strong plays on defense. Early on, he blocked Kris Lang’s layup attempt. During the Terps’ 11-0 run in the first half, the senior from Silver Spring also took a charge from Lang.
POWER REJECTION Baxter wasn’t the only one marking balls return to sender. Chris Wilcox stuffed a dunk attempt by Carolina’s non-athletic center Brian Bersticker, and launched the rejection skyward to the foul line.
CAROLINA BLUE Seats. Empty. Lots of them. There were plenty of patches of empty baby-blue seats, particularly in the second deck. Usually tickets are impossible to find for a Maryland-North Carolina matchup. Not this year. Many Carolina Blue-clad fans must have stayed home to re-live former glory with Jordan on television.