Biggest game since 1998-99. That season we played two #1 teams and lost both by large margins (like many games of the John MacLeod era). However, this is a different team with different goals. Coach Brey doesn't have to work too hard to convince his players that this is truly a winnable contest.
Having a shot at a #1 team is a special opportunity, especially when it comes against a historic program we haven't played in over a decade. The players will have to dig deep to overcome an opponent that Vegas sees as a 10 point favorite. It's not impossible, but very difficult nonetheless.
Adding to the degree of difficulty is the turnaround from last night's crucial win over Texas. Players must come off that mental high and be ready to trade blows in the paint for 40 minutes if this game is to be competitive. Equate it to an Elite 8 matchup with a trip to Detroit on the line. We just pulled off one of the biggest wins in recent program history in a game that went down to the final buzzer. Soon after (just one day in this case), it is time to face an even better opponent who is rested and ready.
I am looking forward to seeing how Luke and Tyler Hansbrough matchup. This is a great opportunity for Harangody to show off his skills against the best player in college basketball. However, the game will be won and lost with how the rest of the team fares against Carolina's athleticism and tenacity. Tory Jackson will be in the spotlight guarding Ty Lawson. Kyle McAlarney must be hot from the time he steps off the bus. Every other player (including possibly Carleton Scott) must be ready to give good minutes and match Carolina's depth and speed.
Enjoy tonight's game. This is the toughest opponent we will face all year. It's in November, which is really an early Christmas present for depressed ND football fans. The odds are certainly stacked against our tired warriors and it will be a fight from the opening tip. But the score starts 0-0 and both baskets are just ten feet high. This is what makes college basketball great.