North Carolina was a preseason No. 1 stocked with experience and potential NBA talent that cruised through the regular season showing only flashes of the dominant form everyone had expected.
The fourth-ranked Tar Heels have gotten everyone's attention again.
North Carolina clinched the Atlantic Coast Conference regular-season championship by overwhelming Duke in its famously hostile arena. The question now is whether that weekend performance was just one game or the start of something more for the Tar Heels heading into this week's ACC tournament in Atlanta.
''In the beginning of the year, we kind of just expected it to happen,'' senior 7-footer Tyler Zeller said Monday. ''We expected, not necessarily to be where we were last year, but we knew how good we could be and we weren't making the necessary steps to completely get there.''
North Carolina (27-4, 14-2 ACC) sure didn't look like a title favorite when it lost by 33 at Florida State in January. Nor when the Tar Heels blew a ...