Tom Sorensen

It’s a holiday in the Carolinas because college basketball season has started

Trying to understand a Roy Williams story is difficult, but so is beating his North Carolina basketball team. Fans in the Carolinas are set up for a phenomenal season.
Trying to understand a Roy Williams story is difficult, but so is beating his North Carolina basketball team. Fans in the Carolinas are set up for a phenomenal season. Getty Images

I ask an acquaintance after a Charlotte Bobcats game if he’s heard the North Carolina-N.C. State basketball score. I know that the Tar Heels won. I also know that the guy is an N.C. State fan. It’s what you do. Had he been a fan of the Tar Heels and N.C. State won I would have asked the same thing.

The guy said yes, he knew the final score. He said the Tar Heels had won on a late basket and went on a diatribe about how North Carolina gets all the breaks. He wouldn’t stop talking. I finally told him I didn’t care, and I don’t. I don’t care if the winner is North Carolina, N.C. State, or Duke. Yet fans such as him are so caught up in ACC rivalries that they believe everybody is.

Yes, North Carolina coach Roy Williams lacks the charismatic qualities Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski offers. Krzyzewski tells a story and you want to slap the floor and play defense. Williams tells a story and you think: What?

But both are great coaches, and this ought to be a compelling season for them and their sport. Mark Gottfried has what looks like an interesting and competitive team at N.C. State.

Bob McKillop will have a strong team at Davidson. McKillop is among the best coaches in the sport, and when he tells a story, especially if the story is accompanied by Guinness, you listen. I also want to see what Mark Price does in his second season with the Charlotte 49ers.

If college basketball is one of your sports, and you want to stay close to it, where else would you rather be?

Tom Sorensen is a retired Charlotte Observer columnist. Sign up for his newsletter, and follow him on Twitter: @tomsorensen

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