To say that this Panthers season has been a roller coaster is an understatement. The team raced out to a 3-0 start to begin the season, getting the talks of the playoffs stirred up early on before the team would be brought back to Earth and left searching for answers with a six-game stretch where they lost five games, including four straight after the 3-0 start. The franchise was reinvigorated when they resigned franchise legend Cam Newton prior to the Arizona game and followed that with a big win on the road against the Cardinals, making some reconsider whether the Panthers could make a playoff push. However, those thoughts have seemed to be dashed in a lot of people's minds after two straight losses, including a blowout loss to the Dolphins on Sunday.
It was a big win for North Carolina last night in the Smith Center, as they toppled #24 Michigan 72-51, to earn their first signature win under first-year head coach Hubert Davis. A main reason for the win was Caleb Love's impressive performance highlighted by a game-best 22 points, which were aided by a couple of thunderous dunks. During the off-season, the biggest question about this Tar Heel team was the development of their backcourt, which is talented, yet still inexperienced. Seven games into the 2021-22 campaign, it is obvious that Love has taken that next step, necessary for Carolina to return to the top of the college basketball pecking order. Earleir today on Wilson & Norfleet, Brendan Marks, beat reporter for The Athletic joined to talk about the Tar Heels, and when asked specifically about Love he replied: "When he's engaged, it's hard to think about other point guards in the country being better than him. UNC is at its best, when he is at his best." During the 18 years of Carolina Basketball under Roy Williams, whenever Carolina had elite point guard play, they were usually among the better teams in college basketball. It appears that is hear to stay under Hubert Davis. The Tar Heels return to action on Sunday, in Atlanta when they'll take on the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets at 3 PM, on ESPN.
The Hornets 2021-22 season has been a season of winning and losing streaks and the Hornets are currently marred in one of those losing streaks at the moment. Despite 36 points from LaMelo Ball on Wednesday night, the Hornets dropped their third straight game in a thriller 127-125 to the Milwaukee Bucks on the road.
The Charlotte Hornets continue to be one of the more pleasing surprises in the NBA and are one of the more entertaining teams to watch in the league as well. Currently sitting at 13-10, the young team looks poised to make a return to the NBA postseason, hopefully this team avoiding the Play-In Tournament, where last season they got bounced by the Indiana Pacers. They are currently coming off back-to-back losses to the Rockets and the Bulls, where they gave up a combined 279 points. Not ideal to say the least. Injuries have hindered this team at times this season, which has affected their play on the defensive end of the floor. Head coach James Borrego joined Wilson & Norfleet earlier today for his weekly visit, and when asked about fixing the defensive woes he replied: "I'm going to look at the experienced guys. They've been in this league, and they've guarded before in the past." The vets he's meaning our Terry Rozier and Gordon Hayward, both quality, capable defenders, when healthy, and committed to competing on that end of the floor. For this team to reach its fullest potential, they'll need to evolve on the defensive end, which is why Borrego has harped on the defense since the season started, over a month ago. They'll get a chance tonight to take a step in the right direction, as they are in Milwaukee to take on the defending NBA champions.
The Carolina Panthers start to the bye week has produced more disappointment following the two-game losing streak that has pushed to the outside looking in at the NFC playoffs. On Monday, running back Christian McCaffrey was deemed out for the season with an unspecified leg injury which has left many confused and wondering about the future of the star running back. Tuesday shifted the focus to the other side of the football when Donte Jackson was placed on the IR with a groin injury.
Rumors started earlier this college football season when the USC job became open, that Matt Rhule would be a candidate for the vacancy. The rumors didn't stop at USC, as since then LSU, Florida, Virginia Tech have since become open. Matt Rhule has deflected any chance at the possibility of him returning to the college game, but that hasn't stopped the rumors or him being named as a potential candidate for some of the best jobs in college football. Even this week, as the USC and LSU positions were filled, Oklahoma and Notre Dame have since become available as a consequence. That, meant more schools that will reportedly have interest in Rhule, who is just 10-18 in the NFL as a head coach. Interestingly enough, as Rhule keeps being mentioned as a possible candidate for those college vacancies, his job security isn't as high as you'd think for a coach on a seven-year contract. Scott Fowler, Panthers beat reporter for The Charlotte Observer joined Wilson & Norfleet earlier today to talk about these matters, saying: "Were I David Tepper would I fire him? Absolutely not, I don't think they should start the process all over again. But I'd give him a third year, after that they really need to improve in that third year."
The North Carolina Tar Heels closed out their 2021 regular season with a collapse against the NC State Wolfpack on Friday night that closed out an extremely disappointing season overall. Tar Heel kicker Grayson Atkins nailed a 50-yard field goal with 2:12 remaining to take a 30-21 and seemingly put the game away, but the Tar Heels would allow the Wolfpack to score twice within the final two minutes to complete one of the worst collapses in college football history.
Yesterday was a day to forget for the Carolina Panthers, as they fell to the Miami Dolphins 33-10, making it their seventh loss in their last nine games, following a 3-0 start. It was the worst game of Cam Newton's career, as he was eventually benched for backup PJ Walker during the blowout defeat. Earlier today on Wilson & Norfleet, Ross Tucker joined the program to talk about the latest loss for the Panthers. When asked about the job security for Panthers head coach Matt Rhule, Tucker replied: "I think the Carolina Panthers have a bottom five, offensive line and quarterback situation in the NFL. That answer would suggest that the issues that lie within the Panthers organization both on and off the field, are keeping the Panthers to reach their potential under Rhule, and would lead you to believe, that he's not the biggest issue with the team. Will owner David Tepper give Rhule, who is on a seven year contract, time to turn this thing around? Or will the owner who is hungry to win, and win now, while pushing for a new stadium, make a change? Time will tell.
Coming into last Sunday reunion game in Bank of America Stadium with the Washington Football Team, the Carolina Panthers had some high hopes about the remainder of the 2021-22 season and who could blame them. The team had just brought back arguably the most iconic figure in the history of the franchise and then proceed to go on the road to Arizona and take down one of the NFL best teams in dominant fashion.
The Panthers currently have the eighth toughest remaining schedule based on winning percentage down the stretch of the season, headlined by the brutal four game stretch to finish the season. That stretch makes Sunday's game in Miami for the Panthers as important as just about any game this season for the Panthers as they look to make a playoff push at the direction of the Cam Newton. Earlier today Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk joined the Mac Attack and described just how important this game is for the Panthers.