Post Loss To Kansas, What’s Next For The Tar Heels?
CHAPEL HILL – The UNC Men’s Basketball team is done after a 70-58 loss to No. 1 seed Kansas in the Round of 32. And we’re all trying to move on, but let’s recap briefly.
“Whatever kind of shots they are, if you don’t make them then you aren’t going to do very well. When Carolina shot 22 of 73 that is not a winning formula,” said Barry Jacobs of the ACC Sports Journal.
The Jayhawks can now relish in the fact that for a second year in a row, they ousted UNC from the NCAA tournament.
But in the first half of Sunday night’s game, it was the Heels that came out more composed. “It’s almost like at the beginning of the game Kansas was hyperventilating,” Jacobs said. “North Carolina came out and was like, ‘We have nothing to lose, nobody expects us to win.’”
That’s not to say that Carolina was firing on all cylinders in the first half, though. The Heels and Jayhawks were deadlocked at two points for nearly two minutes.
But the less experienced Heels unraveled. The Jayhawks out scored the Heels 49-28 in the second half.
“When you miss lay-ups as well as three-pointers and you have more turnovers than assists, which Carolina did last night, you’re going to lose most times,” he said.
So with what Carolina fans would call an early exit from the tournament, it’s never too early for the “what’s next?” conversation.
“Next year, Carolina will go back to being more up tempo, it will have shooting options and several good guards.”
Jacobs was talking about the 6-foot-1 Nate Britt. He’s a part of a three-person class for Coach Roy Williams next season, along with center Kennedy Meeks and power forward Isaiah Hicks.
Hicks had a monster performance with 34 points, 30 rebounds and seven blocks in Oxford Webb’s winning 3A basketball title game earlier this month.
Jacobs said he thinks these recruits could help to fill in the gaps on UNC’s roster, especially if sophomores James Michael McAdoo and P.J. Hairston declare for the NBA Draft.
“Whether or not this will be a Carolina team that can compete for a national championship, we know that it’ll come a heck of a lot closer than this year’s team.”
And Coach Williams is playing the waiting game on the decision of where forward Andrew Wiggins will go. He’s being sought by Kansas, Kentucky and Florida State.
Here’s hoping Wiggins will choose the Heels.
Heels Seek Revenge Against Kansas After 2012 Elite Eight
KANSAS CITY-The eighth-seeded UNC men’s basketball team is coming off a big win Friday evening against Villanova in the NCAA’s tournament—but on Sunday evening, they’ll have to take on No. 1 seeded Kansas in Kansas City, which might prove a much taller task.
Still, head UNC coach Roy Williams, who once coached at Kansas and hit his 700th career win on Friday,
says the milestone was even more special because it happened on old stomping grounds.
“When something like that happens, you usually like to have it happen at home, so your family and friends can be there,” he says. “But, if I were to choose another place, this is a fantastic one, because it was 15 great years of my life in this area.”
During last year’s Elite Eight, Kansas ousted the Heels, who were hurt by the injury absence of former star point guard Kendall Marshall. This year, the Jayhawks haven’t showed many signs of slowing down; they took the Big 12 Conference Championship and sit at an impressive record of 30-5 overall—but one of those losses came to Oklahoma, who only managed a no. 10 seed for the NCAA tournament, and two others came to Baylor andTCU, who were both left without invitations to the Big Dance.
Jayhawk senior center Jeff Withey was ranked third nationally in blocks for the regular season, with an average of almost four per game—meanwhile, no current Tar Heel player on the roster averaged even one. Withey tallied seven blocks on Friday night against Western Kentucky, and he also led the Jahawks in scoring with 17 points.
But overall, Kansas looked sloppy as they took on the Hilltoppers, narrowly escaping becoming the first No. 1 seeded team in NCAA tournament history to fall to a No. 16 seed. The Jayhawks trailed by one point at the half , didn’t manage to make a single shot from three point range during the entire game, tallied 17 turnovers to Western Kentucky’s 10, and hit just four offensive rebounds to the Hilltoppers’ 18.
All year long, the Tar Heels have been noted for their strength behind the three-point line, especially from junior guard Reggie Bullock and sophomore guard P.J. Hairston. But Kansas has a comparable force in freshman guard Ben McLemore, who’s averaging 43 percent from beyond the arc and 16 points per game overall.
And while the Heels hit a solid 11-21 from beyond the arc against Villanova, they also hit several rough patches in the process.
“When they started pressuring us, we got the ball and attacked it instead of letting it attack us,” says Hairston. “We got some wide-open shots, and then we were in our motion offense. I felt like we moved a lot better, set screens for shooters, and opened up driving lanes for Dexter [Strickland] and Marcus [Paige], which got me and Reggie some easy kick-outs and wide-open three’s.”
Tipoff between the Heels and the Jayhawks is set for 5:15 Eastern Time on Sunday evening. WCHL’s pregame coverage will begin at 3:00 with Countdown To Tipoff, presented by Harrington Bank and hosted by Aaron Keck.