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UNC, Florida, Indiana lead college basketball hot messes

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Forty names, games, teams and minutiae making news in college football (Tre Jones Voodoo Missed Shot Potion sold separately in Durham):

College basketball Duke vs UNC mascot

HOT MESS ALERTS

They looked good in October, so we fell for them. Hard. Now it’s February, and we see that so many of our preseason crushes are dysfunctional disappointments. Regrets? Yeah, we have a few. Let’s name them:

North Carolina (1). Preseason: No. 9 AP, No. 4 in The Minutes’ rankings. Now: The Tar Heels are 10-13 overall, 3-9 and in 13th place in the Atlantic Coast Conference, and have lost three straight. Yes, there have been injuries, a plague of them. But this team also has found ways to lose that defy belief—most notably Saturday when the Heels had a monster upset of hated rival Duke all but locked up on multiple occasions. There were certainly some questionable calls in the game that went against Carolina. There also were some possessions that reinforced the fact that point guard Cole Anthony is a freshman. And there were so many missed free throws. It was, all things considered, a ghastly collapse after being up 13 with four minutes to play, emblematic of a season that has gone completely wrong.

Florida (2). Preseason: No. 6 AP, No. 8 in The Minutes. Now: The Gators are 14-9, 6-4 in the SEC and have lost four of their last six. They are 2-6 against Quadrant 1 opponents, and have a pair of flat-out embarrassing conference road losses against lower-echelon teams (Missouri by 16 and Mississippi by 17). Florida isn’t guarding like a Mike White team, and its touted freshman class hasn’t had anywhere near the desired impact. When Virginia Tech transfer Kerry Blackshear chose the Gators, it looked like the last piece of a potential Final Four puzzle. Today this looks more like a First Four team.

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