Strickland is coming off a knee injury that ended his junior season in mid-January, and he is kicking off his final season with the Tar Heels by blasting one of his team’s in-state rivals. He took aim at the Wolfpack during a recent interview with CBS Sports’ Jeff Goodman, ragging on the school like a disregarded little brother.
“They talk those guys up every single year and we beat them every single year,” Strickland told Goodman. “They are the least of our worries. Beat us one year and then they can talk smack. Until then, you can’t put them in the mix.”
Strickland does have a point — the Tar Heels have won the last 13 matchups between the teams, a streak that dates back to 2007. He also believes the Heels would have won the title in April instead of Kentucky had they been healthy.
“All the time,” he said. “I’ll be honest. If nobody got hurt, you might as well have given us the trophy. Nobody had the ability to stop us.”
Kendall Marshall got hurt in the team’s second game of the tournament. Big man John Henson also dealt with a wrist injury.
Strickland certainly isn’t lacking when it comes to confidence, which is always a great treat for players to have. But when you rag on an opponent the way he did, it’s risky; teams can use the denigrations as motivation.