Art’s Angle: Check Ol’ Roy’s Numbers

Roy Williams can be infuriating, I know, from his refusal to call timeouts and change some other stubborn habits (like defenses). He chastises fans for “jumping ship” when things are not going well even though he calls his own team out for not playing tough, smart or just plain good enough. He loses games he shouldn’t lose, but don’t all coaches? Dean Smith certainly did (look it up).

Indisputable about ol’ Roy, however, is that he has one of the best post-season records in the history of college basketball.

Roy Williams

Roy Williams is 67-23 in NCAA Tournament play. (Photo by Todd Melet)

Williams is in his 26th NCAA Tournament as a head coach and already has two more wins (67) than Smith notched in 27 tournaments (Footnote: In Smith’s first 13 years, only one team from each league could go to the NCAA playoffs, and in 1971 his Tar Heels missed but won the then prestigious NIT championship.)

Williams, in fact, is now second all-time among coaches, laps behind Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski, who reached his first tournament at Duke in 1984 and has won 30 NCAA games alone with his five national championships. Coach K is going after his 91st victory in Thursday night’s Sweet 16 game against Oregon.

Probably the most glaring comparison between the current Blue Blood coaches is that Williams holds the record of never having lost his first NCAA Tournament game (26 consecutive), while Krzyzewski has been “one and done” five times (1983, ’96, 2007, ’12 and ’14). Roy’s first eligible team at Kansas in 1990 won 30 games and was upset by UCLA in the second round. His second made the Final Four and upset Smith’s Tar Heels in the 1991 national semifinals.

Of Krzyzewski’s 41 seasons as a head coach (including five at Army where he began at 27 years old), Williams says, “My first head coaching job was at 38. I don’t know how those guys who started so early do it. I’d be in the grave by now.” Williams became a head coach 11 years later than Coach K and eight years later than Smith.

Duke fans claim – and UNC fans cringe at the thought – that Krzyzewski might have seven or eight NCAA titles if the Blue Devils of 1986, 1994, 1999 and 2004 had not lost, or blown, late leads at the Final Four. Williams definitely should have had a third (or what would have been his first at the time) when Kansas missed 18 of 30 free throws in an 81-78 loss to Syracuse in the 2003 championship game.

Williams is 67-23 in NCAA Tournament play, including 33-9 at Carolina and advanced to the Sweet 16 for the 17th time in 26 NCAA Tournament appearances, including eight times in 12 tourneys at UNC. Smith’s team made it to 21 Sweet 16s, including a record 13 straight from 1981 through ’93.

If you don’t like numbers you can understand, in some cockamamie metric that Sports Illustrated used in its NCAA Tournament issue, Williams rated with Krzyzewski and John Calipari as the best current head coaches. (Frankly, I was more concerned with the SI Jinx when I saw Brice Johnson on the cover.)

Given that all of his predecessors played fewer games per season, Williams has now won 30 games six times at Carolina (plus five more times at KU); Smith did it three times, Bill Guthridge and Frank McGuire once each. Williams is second in NCAA history with eleven 30-win seasons (guess who’s first with 14?).

As for overall total victories to date:

  • Krzyzewski, 1,043 (average of 25.4 in 41 seasons)
  • Smith, 879 (24.4 in 36 seasons)
  • Williams, 780 (27.8 average in 28 seasons)

UNC Uniforms Ranked Best in Sweet 16

The UNC uniforms are getting some love.

Brice Johnson

Brice Johnson reacts after a big dunk. (Todd Melet)

Paul Lukas of Uni Watch ranked each of the sweet 16 teams by uniform for ESPN.  The Tar Heels’ home whites landed on top of the list.

Lukas describes his love of Carolina’s uniforms:

“As good as it gets, right? The Carolina blue, the school name framing the chest number, the argyle trim on the sides — that’s how it’s done.”

Lukas clearly likes the simplicity of the uniforms from traditional powers.  No. 2 on his list is the Kansas Jayhawks uniform.  The Indiana Hoosiers’ uniform grabs the third spot.  The uniform watcher does not care for “new school” looks.  Oregon landed at No 13.  The Texas A&M uniform is on the bottom of list.

Carolina’s “old school” uniform and Oregon’s “new school” uniform is Lukas’ pick for the title game.  It would be the “perfect matchup of old-school and new-school uniform styles.”

The Tar Heels take on the Indiana Hoosiers in Friday’s Sweet 16 game.  Tip off is shortly before 10 PM.

The UNC uniforms were designed by Alexander Julian.  Those linking diamonds have been featured on Carolina basketball jerseys since the 1991-1992 season.  More recently, the design started to show up on other Tar Heel uniforms.

Learn more about the history of argyle at Carolina.

UNC Basketball Team Send-off at 6:30

Fans can send off the UNC basketball team as they prepare to travel to Philadelphia for Friday’s Sweet 16 game against Indiana.

If you would like to see the team off, go to Entrance D at the Smith Center at 6:30 PM on Wednesday.  Parking will be available after 5 p.m. in the lots surrounding the Smith Center (Williamson, Bowles and Manning Lots).

There will not be an opportunity for autographs or photos with the team, but fans are encouraged to come show support for the Tar Heels.  Carolina will play Indiana on Friday night just before 10 PM.

The UNC basketball team arrived in the Sweet 16 after victories over Florida Gulf Coast and Providence in the first two rounds of the tournament.

The winner of the UNC-Indiana game will take on the winner of the game No. 6 Notre Dame and No. 7 Wisconsin.  That contest will begin at 7:27 Friday night.

Stroman On Sports: Road To The Final Four

The NCAA tournament begins for UNC tonight, with the 16th-seeded Florida Gulf Coast Eagles looming as the Tar Heels’ first hurdle on the road to the Final Four. (Game time is 7:20 at PNC Arena in Raleigh; WCHL’s coverage begins at 5:30 with the UNC Health Care Countdown to Tipoff.)

How far will the Heels go this year? Who poses the greatest threat in the East region? Who else will make the Final Four? And who ever thought it was a good idea to let Tulsa in, anyway?

Deborah Stroman is a sports commentator and a professor at UNC’s Kenan-Flagler Business School (and a Virginia alum who might be really conflicted come April 2). Earlier this week, she discussed the bracket with WCHL’s Aaron Keck.

Chansky’s Notebook: March 17 Memories

The Tar Heels have played 13 games on St. Patty’s Day.

Tonight, they will play for the 14th time on St. Patrick’s Day, the global holiday to honor the patron saint of Ireland that has since turned into a celebration of dancing, eating and drinking, mostly drinking. Roy Williams is 2-0 on St. Patty’s day at UNC, beating Murray State in the 2006 NCAA Tournament and Michigan State the next year in the game that Tyler Hansbrough played with a broken nose and mask that he ripped off in the second half.

Bill Guthridge was 1-0 on March 17, beating Missouri in 2000, the game that launched the Tar Heels onto their second Final Four in three years under Coach Gut. In Dean Smith’s 36 seasons, his teams played 10 times when leprechauns were frolicking all over the world. He won nine of the those 10, losing his last St. Patty’s Day game to Texas Tech in 1996, when the Red Raiders’ Darvin Ham shattered green UNC’s hopes in the Big Dance, along with a backboard.

The Heels played some famous and infamous games on March 17, three times with wins that catapulted them to the Final Four. None was more memorable than their 1977 dramatic victory over, of all teams, Notre Dame in the Sweet Sixteen at College Park, Maryland. Carolina also defeated Villanova in 1991 and Murray State in 1995 on the way to those Final Fours. In 1980, the Heels stunned top-ranked Oklahoma in the second round on Rick Fox’s driving bank shot, as Woody Durham bellowed, “The game is over! The game is over!”

And there was the 1984 win over Temple on St. Patty’s day, five days before perhaps Carolina’s best team ever lost to Indiana in the game that TV announcer Dan Dakich supposedly shut down Michael Jordan. Sure you did, Dan, keep telling people that!

Perhaps the most special March 17 victory came in 1967, when the Tar Heels avenged a regular–season loss to Princeton in the Eastern Regional at College Park and gave Smith his first of what would be 65 NCAA Tournament victories, another record he held the day he retired 30 years later.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day, Tar Heels!

UNC Basketball Up to No. 3 in AP Poll

The UNC basketball team moved up to No. 3 in the latest AP Poll released on Monday.

The Tar Heels jumped from No. 7 after winning the ACC Tournament.

Kansas remained on top of the poll.  The Jayhawks are followed by Michigan State.  After Carolina, Virginia and Oregon round out the top 5.

Including UNC and Virginia, five ACC teams are in the top 25.  Miami is No. 10.  Louisville is no. 16.  Duke is No. 19.

More importantly, the UNC basketball team snagged a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament.  Carolina will begin the tournament on Thursday evening with a matchup against either Florida Gulf Coast or Farleigh Dickinson.  The play-in game is scheduled for Tuesday night. UNC will see its first action at 7:20 on Thursday night.  Should UNC advance further, its most likely Sweet Sixteen opponent would be either the No. 4 seed Kentucky Wildcats or the No. 5 seed Indiana Hoosiers.

Carolina has had a lot of good news over the past few days.  On Monday afternoon, it was announced that Brice Johnson’s jersey would be headed for the rafters.  The senior forward was named a first-team All-American by the U.S. Basketball Writers Association.

Brice Johnson Named USBWA All-American

Brice Johnson will see his jersey in the Dean Smith Center rafters.

The U.S. Basketball Writers Association (USBWA) named the senior UNC forward a first-team All-America.   To get your jersey in the rafters at the Smith Center, a UNC player must be a first-team or second-team All-American according to the Associated Press, NABC, USBWA, or Sporting News.  You can also get the honor as an ACC Player of the Year, Most Valuable Player of NCAA Tournament-winning team, Most Outstanding Player of NCAA Final Four, or Olympic gold medalist.

Johnson’s teammate, Marcus Paige, will also see his jersey in the Smith Center rafters thanks to his All-American sophomore season.

Brice Johnson

Brice Johnson. (Photo by Todd Melet)

Last week, Johnson was named a third-team All-American by the Sporting News.  He landed on USA Today’s first-team.

Virginia’s Malcolm Brogdon, Oklahoma’s Buddy Hield, LSU’s Ben Simmons, and Michigan State’s Denzel Valentine join Johnson on the first-team.  Simmons, a freshman, is the only non-senior on the first-team.

The last time as many as four seniors appeared on a USBWA All-America First Team was the 2005-06 season.

Brice Johnson averaged 16.8 points and 10.8 rebounds per game while accumulating 19 double-doubles during the regular season.

The North Carolina Tar Heels won the ACC Tournament Saturday night.  The team earned a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament.  The Tar Heels’ first challenge will be the winner of a play-in game between a pair of No. 16 seeds–the Florida Gulf Coast Eagles, the champions of the Atlantic Sun Conference, and the Farleigh Dickinson Knights, the champions of the Northeast Conference.

Carolina-Pitt Notes

(Courtesy of UNC Sports Information)

• Carolina is now 26-6 overall this season and 94-44 in ACC Tournament history.

• The Tar Heels are now 43-13 in the quarterfinals and 48-14 as the #1 seed.

• Roy Williams is 19-10 in the ACC Tournament. This is the 10th time in 13 seasons Williams’ teams have reached the semifinals.

• Carolina is playing in the semifinals for the 48th time in 63 ACC Tournaments. The Tar Heels are 33-14 in semifinal games.

• The Tar Heel have won 17 of their last 24 games in the ACC Tournament.

• Carolina held Pitt to 44.4 percent shooting from the floor. That is the 21st consecutive game the Tar Heel defense has held the opponents to under 45 percent from the floor.

• Carolina shot 58.9 percent from the floor, its second-highest field goal percentage of the season. The highest was .593 against the Panthers in Chapel Hill on February 14th.

• This was the second time this season the Tar Heels shot 50 percent in the first half and 60 percent in the second and both games were against Pitt. Today, UNC shot 56.7 percent in the first and 61.5 in the second. On February 14, UNC shot .556 in the opening half and .630 in the second.

• This was the ninth time this season UNC has shot 50 percent or better in both halves.

• This was the 18th time this year UNC shot 50 percent or better from the floor for the game (UNC is 17-1 in those games).

• This is the 20th time UNC has shot 50 percent or better in the second half and the fifth time the Tar Heels have shot 60 percent or higher in the second half.

• UNC shot .889 from the free throw line (16 of 18). That is the 13th time this year UNC shot 80 percent or better from the free throw line.

• The win was the 776th of Roy Williams’ career. He has the 11th-most Division I wins in NCAA history. Lute Olson is 10th with 780.


• Brice Johnson had his 20th double-double of the season with 19 points and a game-high 10 rebounds and tied his career high with five blocks (also against Pitt in 2014).

• Johnson is tied for the fourth-most single-season double-doubles in UNC with 20.

22 by Billy Cunningham, 1963-64

21 by John Henson, 2010-11

21 by Antawn Jamison, 1997-98

20 by BRICE JOHNSON, 2015-16

20 by Mitch Kupchak, 1974-75

20 by Billy Cunningham, 1962-63

20 by Doug Moe, 1960-61

• Johnson has 344 rebounds this year, tied for 11th most in UNC single-season history.

• Johnson had 19 points and passed Jeff Lebo (1567) for career scoring at UNC. Johnson is 25th with 1578.

• Johnson was 8 for 11 from the floor. He leads the ACC in field goal percentage at .610.

• Joel Berry II led UNC with 20 points. It was his second career 20-point game (he had 21 at Virginia on 2/27).

• Berry made 7 of 8 shots from the floor (.875) his best percentage as a Tar Heel (was 6 for 9, .667 against Wofford).

• Berry also tied his career high with four steals.

• Justin Jackson scored all 11 of his points in the second half. It was his ninth consecutive game scoring in double figures and 22nd this year.

• Theo Pinson had a game-high seven assists. It was the ninth time this year (second in a row) he has led UNC in assists. It was the seventh time this year he had five or more assists.

• Marcus Paige hit two three-point field goals and has 275 in his career, a UNC record.

• ACC Sixth Man of the Year Isaiah Hicks scored 10 points, his 16th time this year in double figures.

• Freshman guard Kenny Williams played five minutes, all in the second half, and had three points and an assist. He hit a three-pointer with 8:30 to play to give Carolina a 66-55 lead.

• The three-pointer was the first of the season for Williams (in 13 attempts).

• Williams came into the game with UNC leading by four (59-55) and checked out with UNC ahead, 69-56.

More coverage of Thursday’s game

Kenny Williams: UNC’s Surprise Hero

The Tar Heels’ defense hasn’t always been consistent, but it was there when they needed it as they topped Pittsburgh 88-71 to advance to the semifinals of the ACC Tournament Thursday.

After falling behind 8-0 to open the game, UNC locked down the Panthers at the end of the first half to capture the lead. Over the last four minutes of the first half the Tar Heels scored 10 consecutive points.

“Well it made me not go crazy as I was going to go at halftime that’s for sure,” said head coach Roy Williams. “We did stop them on six straight possessions.”

Brice Johnson

Brice Johnson. (Photo by Todd Melet)

The second half began as a back-and-forth struggle, until UNC turned it on again defensively and outscored the Panthers 12-1 from 10:48 to 6:22.

Unexpectedly leading the charge was freshmen shooting guard Kenny Williams, who hit his first three pointer of the season during that stretch. He had been 0-12 coming into the game.

Roy Williams said he was impressed with his freshman’s effort defensively on Pitts’ leading scorer Jamel Artis.

“We’re not saying Kenny is going to guard Jamel Artis like that the whole game,” he said. “But he never got to the basket against him for three straight possessions and I think that was big for us.”

On the other side of the ball, Brice Johnson and Joel Berry combined for some of the most efficient offense the Tar Heels could ask for.

The two combined to go 15-19 from the field for 39 points, but Berry credits his 7-8 from the field to the work done by his big men.

“We were able to get the ball inside,” Berry said. “Brice gave us a big lift, Isaiah came in and gave us a big lift, so just having that balance of the inside-outside attack, that helped us out a lot. When Brice is scoring in the post like that it helps us out a lot.”

The Tar Heels will play Friday night at 7 against Notre Dame, which rallied from 16 points behind in the second half to defeat Duke in overtime, 84-79. UNC lost to the Irish in South Bend, 80-76, in their only meeting during the regular season.

Make sure to tune in to WCHL for play-by-play from every ACC Tournament game.

Complete Boxscore

UNC vs. Pitt in ACC Quarterfinal Thursday

The UNC basketball team will play Pitt in the first ACC quarterfinal game on Thursday at noon.

Pitt survived a tough game with Syracuse on Wednesday.  The final was 72-71.

The Tar Heels beat the Panthers in the Smith Center on Valentine’s Day, 85-64.  In that victory, Carolina shot 59 percent from the field.  The Tar Heels also assisted on 26 of their 32 made shots, had five players score in double figures, and used a 13-0 run in the second half to put the game out of reach.

The game will tip off at noon on Thursday.  You can hear it on 97.9 FM and 1360 AM WCHL.  Starting with that game, 97.9 FM and 1360 AM will broadcast every ACC Tournament game.  Following the UNC-Pitt game, Notre Dame will play Duke.  The evening ACC quarterfinal games tip off at 7 PM.

The Tar Heels are the No. 1 seed in the tournament.  They are looking to grab their first ACC Tournament Championship since 2008.

Since that last win in 2008, Carolina has made several ACC Tournament finals, but haven’t secured that elusive championship.  That doesn’t sit well with coach Roy Williams.  Williams told reporters, “if we’re going to be there that long, let’s win the whole daggum thing.”

The 2016 ACC Tournament is at Washington, D.C.’s Verizon Center.  See the full bracket.

The semifinal games will be played on Friday night starting at 7 PM.  The championship game is Saturday at 9 PM.