December 16, 2005

Broncos Try To Shock The World... Again

Dec. 16, 2005

Previous Columns

The sign outside Johnny's T-Shirts in Chapel Hill reads, "Next game Saturday versus Santa Clara. We want REVENGE".

Why is it that some people just aren't willing to forgive and forget?

Last November 19, the Broncos stunned the eventual national champions in the season opener that showed what can happen when a team plays as a team and the planets are all aligned.

The win by Santa Clara triggered a 14-game winning streak by UNC and the first national title for Roy Williams. After getting blown away in the 2nd half at the Arena in Oakland, Williams' next practice consisted of nothing but defensive drills and two-and-a-half hours of watching tape.

To show their gratitude, the Heels are gracious hosts, rolling out the red carpet with a swank hotel and locals coming up to the team at the Top of the Hill restaurant last night wishing us luck Saturday (they are probably Duke fans).

I'll believe that when Jessica and Nick reconcile.

Walking into the Smith Center, it's hard not to get caught up in the "wow" factor. As many as 23,000 baby blue fans can pack this spectacular arena, causing many teams to crawl into the fetal position. One of Dick Davey's tasks will be to keep his young team poised in an environment they've only watched on television. Imagine Spokane times four.

"It's only a gym," says senior forward Travis Niesen. "I'll play them anywhere. It doesn't matter." Niesen can only hope his team mates share that kind of attitude since Williams is 30-3 at the Dean Dome.

The Heels will press that attack early and the start of the game will be critical to have any chance at pulling off the upset again. Tempo will be an issue and expect Santa Clara to try and slow the game down for a couple reasons. First, depth is a major problem with two front-line potential starters out because of injury. Tristan Parham could be ready by the Cable Car Classic and Sean Denison hopes to be ready for league play because of a stress fracture of the fourth metatarsal in his right foot.

Niesen will have to duplicate his performance of last year when he scorched Sean May for 26 points. But he won't be able to do it alone against a team of McDonald's All-Americans. Brody Angley will have to maintain his poise under fire while Calvin Johnson and Brandon Rohe will have to make shots.

At practice, Davey told his team that there probably isn't a person in the country that expects his team to come in here and win a game. But he isn't one of them, never conceding defeat and trying to convince the Broncos they can shock the world.

To show it's possible, simply show them the tape a game played last year on November 19th.

There was once upon a time a team that dared to believe....