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We came pretty close to having the champions in college sports’ four most popular competitions all come from the same state, with South Carolina making the men’s Final Four and winning the women’s. But North Carolina’s redemption thriller over Gonzaga still means all of Cook Out country* is walking tall.
None of that matters right now to anyone in Chapel Hill or anyone who bleeds baby blue. All that matters is that the highlight of Kris Jenkins beating the buzzer isn’t going to cut quite as deeply anymore. All that matters is that order has been restored to North Carolina’s basketball universe.
Despite its build-up as a titanic showdown between two very different No. 1 seeds, North Carolina-Gonzaga was never able to attain any semblance of flow. At times it was the incessant whistling from an officiating crew that did not have a good night, and at times it was simply a pair of teams unable to put the ball in the basket with enough frequency to please the viewing public. UNC was a woeful 4-of-27 on three-point shots, while Gonzaga countered by hitting just 33.9 percent of its shots from the field.
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Brennan has spent most of his career as either a receivers coach, recruiting coordinator, or both. His single year as co-coordinator is his only experience at that level, and now he takes the reins of a program. It always feels risky when you’re asking a guy to skip a rung or two.
Still, Fleck and WMU proved it can work. Will it for the Spartans? And even if it does, can it work with what Brennan is inheriting — high-caliber, unproven athletes in the skill positions, major experience on the offensive line and in the secondary, and a brand new quarterback — or, like Fleck, will he have to strip the house down to the studs?