AJ's Monday Musings

After a needed vacation the time is right to get back into the fold. Here are a few thoughts on things that have happened over the last month as well as an observation about an old UNC basketball tradition.

Morrison's Decision

Kudos to Brian Morrison for making a quality decision to transfer to UCLA. Morrison's game will mesh more with what Bruins Coach Steve Lavin tolerates and prefers. As he sits out a year as a transfer, he'll be able to work on some of the basics and should be an excellent player when he is eligible in the fall of 2003.

Morrison has tremendous potential but his game clashed with UNC coach Matt Doherty's desired approach. His decision making was clearly questionable but one could also conclude that he was overly criticized by fans and had a short leash from his coach. Regardless, it was the best decision for both Morrison and UNC.

Morrison told BruinReportOnline that UCLA was the right place for him.

"When I visited UCLA, I felt it was the right fit for me," he said. "I really liked the coaches, players and the overall environment that UCLA has to offer. I felt it was important to me that with all my conversations with UCLA, everyone of them was with Coach Lavin."

Morrison will walk on next year as he sits out and will be on full scholarship for his final two years of eligibility. He will be a junior in the fall of 2003.

Will Holmes Get A Home Game?

Dean Smith's longstanding tradition of scheduling a game close to each of his four-year players' hometowns appears to be in jeopardy under Matt Doherty.

Although UNC's basketball schedule for next season isn't complete, it's unlikely that the Tar Heels will visit Bloomington, Ind., where rising senior Jonathan Holmes calls home. UNC won't likely play at Indianapolis schools Butler or IUPUI either, thus ending Smith's tradition.

Carolina hosts Kentucky and UConn next season and will likely play at St. John's in a December tournament, play at Miami (Fla), face one to three difficult opponents in the Preseason NIT and is figured to take on Illinois in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge, perhaps on the road.

With possibly the youngest team in school history, visiting the Hoosiers may be too much to ask in what will be a crucial year for Doherty, whose team was a once-unthinkable 8-20 in his second season this past year.

Wolverine Snub

Michigan's decision to get out of its scheduled home-and-home series with UNC (2009-2010) is clearly disappointing for the Tar Heels, but the Wolverines' decision is rather puzzling.

With strength of schedule becoming increasingly important, UNC would offer Michigan an attractive non-conference date. The Tar Heels will likely be decent, but could be an excellent program in seven years. The top two merchandise-selling schools in America would have been an easy national TV draw and would have pitted two of the top state universities in the nation as well.

But Michigan has decided not to play home-and-home series with schools other than Notre Dame. This is a tremendous mistake, especially considering the NCAA will probably go to a 12th regular season game after this two-year experiment ends following the 2003 campaign. Four conference home games plus four non-conference home games would give the Wolverines eight a year and seven when they happen to visit South Bend, which won't be every other year.

As great as Michigan's program has been, it is no wonder the school has just one national title since 1948, and that was shared. Despite its 106,000-seat stadium, this makes little sense if they are to challenge for a national title.

Andrew Jones is entering his seventh year covering football and basketball for Inside Carolina. He is also in his fourth year as a copy editor and staff writer for the Wilmington Star-News and will host a drive-time radio show on ESPN Radio, WMFD AM630 in Wilmington in two weeks. He has also written for ACCNews and once published The College Game and the former Total Sports. He can be reached via e-mail at: AJWAAV@aol.com.

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