Originally posted on Fox Sports Carolinas  |  Last updated 3/6/12
Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said Saturday night after his team was dismantled by North Carolina that everybody is zero and zero now, signaling that the postseason is a new start for every team in America. Theres no doubt the Hall of Fame coach is right, but that doesnt mean every team can take a deep breath and feel like it needs to start over. Rather the contrary when it comes to North Carolina. The Tar Heels are rolling. They are in a zone only few teams a year can realistically dream about entering. Its taken Roy Williams nearly five months to get his team there and hed be a fool to allow anything to derail the mental fortitude fueling his team. We cant let up now, UNC sophomore and leading scorer Harrison Barnes said. Were in a good place, we have a good vibe and we need to keep that going. A year ago, the Tar Heels closed strong and captured the ACC regular season title by beating Duke on the last day of the season and then waltzed into the ACC Tournament with an almost laissez-faire attitude. UNC won two close games before getting drubbed by the Blue Devils in the title game. Carolina rolled into a regional final where it wasnt sharp enough late to beat Kentucky. Its fair to suggest that after the Tar Heels turned down the spigots before the ACC Tournament they couldnt get them back up to the speed, power and authority that carried them to a first-place finish in the ACC. For a team that is using previous shortcomings and embarrassments to fuel their continued ascent, this should find its way into the gas tank, too. Yeah, this is what we play for, said senior center Tyler Zeller, one of two Heels who were on the 2009 NCAA championship team. A lot of teams play the whole season to be able to get in the NCAA Tournament and then try to make a run in the NCAA Tournament. So its something we all look forward to and its a fun time of the year. Its one of those times you actually get time to prepare, you get time to kind of get your legs back, and then you just have to play the best you can play. UNCs best might surpass any other team in the country, including Kentucky and Syracuse, each of which has just a single defeat on their resumes. Kentucky, by the way, beat Carolina at home in early December by just one point when freshman Anthony Davis blocked a jumper by UNCs John Henson at the buzzer. That is one of those moments driving the fourth-ranked Tar Heels (27-4), and no doubt theyd love to get a shot at the top-ranked Wildcats down the road. But first they must meet the tasks at hand. There isnt any guarantee UNC and UK will meet up in the big dance, and that likelihood will be seriously decreased if the Tar Heels dont maintain their focus this weekend in Atlanta and take care of business. At stake isnt just keeping the train running, but a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament, too. This is vital to UNC because if Carolina is a 2 seed in the East it likely means having to beat Syracuse in Boston to get to the Final Four in New Orleans. If UNC is the 2 in the South it probably means facing Kentucky in Wildcat-friendly Atlanta. If UNC is sent to the Midwest as the 2, it could mean Williams having to beat Kansas in a regional final in St. Louis. UNC fans have seen that play before, and they probably want none of it. UNC may have to beat two of those teams to win it all anyway, but its odds are better doing so in New Orleans. So a top seed, likely in the West, is what the Heels should be shooting for but that cant be achieved if Carolina treats the ACC Tournament like the cocktail party its coach has called it in the past. Atlanta isnt a new start for North Carolina; it should be a continuum of how this team is currently playing. That is UNCs best approach to winning nine more games and cutting down the nets in the Big Easy.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Bill Murray goes nuts celebrating Xavier’s upset

Pat Kelsey ditches UMass right before first press conference

Report: Top GM candidates not interested in Redskins job due to Daniel Snyder

Carmelo Anthony: Knicks were more free-flowing before triangle emphasis

Report: Deal in works for Raiders to play at Sam Boyd Stadium in Vegas

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Yoenis Cespedes: MLB would grow if they played with Latin culture

Georgetown fires John Thompson III after 13 seasons

GGG, Canelo Alvarez reportedly resume fight talks

Shaq comes clean on flat earth talk: ‘I’m joking, you idiots’

NFL to discuss possibility of reviewing penalties

Report: Paul George wants to play with Gordon Hayward

Box Score 3/24: Waiting on West Virginia

Eat, Drink, Watch: Weekends are for upsets

The 'Once again, Barry Bonds is the best power hitter in San Francisco' quiz

With Team USA's victory, World Baseball Classic (finally) lived up to its potential

The NFL distraction playbook

Which Sweet 16 team should you be rooting for?

The Aesthetic: The world of player exclusive sneakers

Lingering issues for each 2016 MLB postseason team

Box Score 3/23: Team USA wins their first WBC title

The 'Duke schadenfreude season came early this year' quiz

NBA Referee Hotline Bling: Steph Curry pushes OKC's buttons

Re-ranking the Sweet 16 for the NCAA Tournament

College Basketball News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Eat, Drink, Watch: Weekends are for upsets

The 'Once again, Barry Bonds is the best power hitter in San Francisco' quiz

The NFL distraction playbook

With Team USA's victory the WBC (finally) lived up to its potential

The Aesthetic: The world of player exclusive sneakers

Which Sweet 16 team should you be rooting for?

NBA Referee Hotline Bling: Steph Curry pushes OKC's buttons

Re-ranking the Sweet 16 for the NCAA Tournament

Lingering issues for each 2016 MLB postseason team

Eastern Conference bottom feeders to watch down the stretch

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker