Thursday's UNC Links

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Carolina Basketball

Roy Williams has grudgingly considered the ACC Tournament a necessary evil since returning to North Carolina seven years ago, but this season, he's one of its staunchest supporters. Winning the tournament, and an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament, is the only way that struggling UNC can have a shot at defending the national championship.
One Chance Left: North Carolina knows that it has only one way to make it back to the NCAA Tournament - win the ACC title
The Winston-Salem Journal

For the first time in the past five seasons, North Carolina enters the ACC Tournament as neither a No. 1 or No. 2 seed. In fact, when the 10th-seeded Tar Heels take on No. 7 seed Georgia Tech today (7 p.m., ESPN2) at the Greensboro Coliseum, it will be their lowest seed in program history.
Tar Heels begin uphill climb vs Jackets
The Durham Herald-Sun

Bo Butler has cheered the UNC Tar Heels at 43 straight ACC men's basketball tournaments, but this year's woeful team had Butler originally planning to skip the journey to Greensboro. The seven-hour drive from his home in Chattanooga, Tenn., seemed like too much of a haul, especially since many expect a one-and-done affair for North Carolina. So in mid-February, Butler placed an ad on a Tar Heel message board and offered his two sets of tournament ticket books at face value, $792 for the pair. Nobody wanted them.
Tar Heel fans sing the blues
The News and Observer

Back when smoking was allowed in sports arenas, coach Red Auerbach signaled to Boston Celtics fans late in a game that a victory was in hand by smoking a cigar. At North Carolina in the early 1980s, coach Dean Smith had his version of a victory cigar. About the time the pep band began playing the victory song during games in the 1982, 1983 and 1984 seasons, Smith sent Timo Makkonen, a 6-foot-10 center from Finland, onto the Carmichael Auditorium court.
Dean's victory cigar
The News and Observer

To keep its NCAA tournament hopes alive, Georgia Tech has to beat North Carolina for the third time this season Thursday night in the opening round of the ACC tournament. It has been 25 years since the Yellow Jackets last accomplished that feat, when Mark Price was a junior and led Georgia Tech to its first ACC tournament title by knocking off Carolina in the championship game.
Tech aims for three-game sweep against UNC
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Reality for the Georgia Tech basketball team is fairly simple: The Yellow Jackets need to beat North Carolina once more on Thursday to get serious about the postseason. Losers of six of its final nine games, while finishing the regular season 19-11 and seventh in the ACC, Tech is on the NCAA Tournament bubble. The Jackets lately have played as if dressed in straitjackets, their trademark defense barely recognizable and coach Paul Hewitt telling everyone they've played with too great a sense of urgency rather than not enough.
Jackets look to overhaul psyche, save season
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

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