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Kentucky 76 UNC 69

There is only so many times you can put yourself in that position and expect to come out on top.

Of all the regional finals I can remember UNC losing, this might be as calmly as I have taken a loss. Part of that was the nagging feeling I had for two days that, for some reason, UNC would not win. The other part of it is, given the season long view of this team, it is difficult to get to worked up over a team that was fun to watch and make chicken salad out of you know what more times than I can count. After the 4-3 November and then the loss by 20 points at Georgia Tech, for this team to have the ball down one with a little over a minutes left staring at a trip to the Final Four is really something to behold. Now onto the game.

This game really came down to three things.

1. Kentucky shot lights out from three. Lights. Out. The Wildcats were 12-22 from beyond the arc which was a solid 15% higher than their season average. What was more frustrating was I did not necessarily think UNC screwed the pooch too badly on perimeter defense. Some of those shots that went it were well defended. Some of them were not but part of the gamble in the way UNC plays defense is hoping a team won’t do what Kentucky did. The other problem was the timing of the threes which always seem to come when UNC was preparing to climb over the hump. After Tyler Zeller tied the game on a pair of free throws, Brandon Knight hit a three with Dexter Strickland’s hand in his face. After UNC failed to take the lead at 70-69 it was another three that basically sealed the deal. Sometimes the defense on the perimeter is really bad and sometimes teams just hit shots. I think this was more about Kentucky hitting shots than it was UNC necessarily screwing themselves. However, UNC’s long history of seeing an opposing team drop bombs over and over makes this one a tougher one to swallow.

2. John Henson’s foul trouble. You cannot take the ACC Defensive Player of the Game and a guy who had 118 blocks out of the game for huge chunks and it not matter. Not that Henson would have helped on threes but not having him around to collect defensive and offensive rebounds hurt. UNC’s offense is helped a great deal by offensive rebounds and putbacks. Not having Henson hurt that cause and his presence on the defensive end matters even if the other team is chucking threes. Henson did not record a single blocked shot and failed to overtake Brendan Haywood for the single season record. If I told you before the game Henson would have zero blocks, four points and nine rebounds you would have probably surmised that UNC would be screwed. You would have been right.

3. The offense has never been and was not consistent enough to stave of a big shooting performance from Kentucky. UNC has won many games this season by getting just enough offense while the defense keep the other team in check. In this case the defense could not do that which meant UNC needed more offensive production to overcome what the Wildcats were doing. They simply did not get it. The TO% was not horrid overall but in the first half made life difficult. UNC was 3-16 from three with Harrison Barnes going 2-9, Marshall 1-5 and Leslie McDonald 0-2. That basically left the Heels riding Zeller who had 21 points, nine rebounds and four block as well as Dexter Strickland who finally figured out his niche on the offensive end which was to shoot jumpers at a reasonable range, drive to the basket and play defense. Strickland 11 points and was a huge factor in UNC tying the game up late.  Marshall on the other hand did have eight assists but was 2-10 from the floor and committed three turnovers. Much like the game at Duke, Marshall could not finish in the lane. Had he played like he did versus Duke in Chapel Hill we are having a very different discussion right now. Those are the breaks with this team however. They were barely a top 40 offense according to Ken Pomeroy and prone to be inconsistent. Sooner or later that comes back to bite you.

There are some things we can certainly gripe about. Roy Williams probably could have used a timeout with UNC in possession and down by one. I would have like to have seen either Barnes or Zeller take the shot so taking the time to draw a play up for them may have been beneficial. That being said, Marshall got a nice look at the rim that was thwarted by a nice defensive play. Sometimes it is not meant to be. UNC had some holes which were difficult to cover sometimes. I think the availability of a healthy Reggie Bullock may have made a huge difference in this game by giving UNC another shooter and allowing the Heels to put a bigger lineup on the floor when Henson went out with foul trouble.  Player injury, foul trouble at the wrong time and poor shooting in general happens. UNC had played so many games like this and found a way, I guess they went to that well once too often.

Regardless, hats off to these Tar Heels. They were fun to watch grow up and winning an ACC regular season title with a 14-2 record is nothing to sneeze at. In fact if anyone wants to stack UNC’s season versus Duke’s, I will take UNC’s every day of the week and twice on Sunday. The only thing that might bug me is UNC would have had a legitimate shot at winning the national title in Houston. I am not saying they would have been a lock but had it been UNC with UConn, VCU and Butler, it is a complete toss-up. Maybe they still don’t win it but it would have been fun to see these guys on the big stage. Now we turn to our annual vigil awaiting a decision on the NBA Draft prospects of Henson, Barnes and Zeller. If they all come back, then this season is the 2007 to next year’s 2008. If not, well let’s not think about that right now.

So thanks Tar Heels for the season. For 29 wins, some of them in breathtaking fashion and for restoring the name NORTH CAROLINA to a place of honor in college basketball.

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95 comments to Kentucky 76 UNC 69

  • tarheel502

    Agreed. Great season!

  • rathskellar68

    “So thanks Tar Heels for the season. For 29 wins, some of them in breathtaking fashion and for restoring the name NORTH CAROLINA to a place of honor in college basketball.”

    Just so.

    If we bring everyone back — admittedly a big if — we’ll be the pre-season favorite to win the national championship. I can’t wait for next season to start — and not, as a year ago, to get the taste out. I can’t wait for it to start anticipating the excellent things in store for us.

    This a group to be proud of. Every one of our starters made great progress over the course of the season. Thanks guys, you gave us a great ride.

  • mcgoody

    Awesome run for the Heels. Here’s to hoping they all come back and we dominate next year!

  • ugatarheel

    My only gripe with losing today is the team we lost to and the teams that are left. Really at this point if we didn’t take home a title this year somebody was going to give us sh*t about choking, or have one up on us. Of course KY get’s to add yet another Final 4 to their resume, ties us in NCAA tourney wins and extends the total victory total lead over us. Who really cares if it’s all vacated later because of violations. Just as the announcer said today that Calipari would have taken 3 different teams to the Final 4, they didn’t bother to point out that both of those trips were vacated for the other teams he took. I respect the KY program but their fans are so freaking obnoxious it makes me sick to see them get another one up on us. If UCONN takes it we will have to listen to another round of chest thumping about how great the Big East is and I’m not sure which group of blowhards are worse to listen to, Kentucky homers or Big East band wagon jumpers. If one of the little guys from the other side of the bracket wins out then we get to listen to Duke tell us how they were able to get it done and we choked when given the same opportunity. If Zona had played Kansas for the title (like I had them in my completed bracket) THAT I could have lived with, even if we had bowed out in the Sweet 16. Oh well crap happens. I am pleased that the team exceeded my expectations. I hope either VCU or Butler wins the title this year, and I hope that UK and UCONN have a mutually destructive triple overtime slug fest that leaves them in no position to win anything but a plane trip home.

    The real question about the NBA for me is when will we know about the lock out situation? If the lock out goes through before the underclassman are required to declare then it’s a lock we get everybody back. Otherwise it’s very iffy. The one good thing about not going to the Final 4 is that it leaves the kids something to return for. As for who goes in a worst case scenario, I have to think that both Henson and Barnes are probably gone, but that Zeller will stay. So if that happens next year will be dependent upon a healthy Reggie finding his stroke again, and McAdoo living up to expectations. Marshall, Strickland and LMack I expect to see back without a doubt. Even with McAdoo AND Zeller we will be thin up front again. If Zeller goes I don’t even want to think about what the team will look like, it’s just too depressing to contemplate when we all know that this years team was “THIS CLOSE” and only needed seasoning to be a team with the kind of ability that 2009 showed.

  • HvilleHeel

    Great write-up. 3-pt. shooting was essentially the difference, but credit their defense for keeping us off.

    It was a great season. I think that everyone except Zeller will be back next year, and if he comes back even better.

    Thanks THF for all your great work this year.

    How many close wins did these guys pull out this year. Even if they went to that well one time too many times, it was such a fun ride.

  • scl11

    Great season, just a couple plays short, but that’s what makes the NCAAT so much fun and cruel at the same time.

    Next year’s team could be 1996 Kentucky good, if the best frontcourt in the country of Henson, Zeller, and Barnes comes back to go along with a healthy Bullock, a Strickland with an improved jump shot, a Marshall that is able to finish with his right hand, a McDonald that rises up to big stage vs. shying away from it, and a freshman class that adds outside shooting and another athletic finisher in the post. So we now sit and wait, and hope the NBA lockout becomes more of a reality than a footnote or Barnes and Henson decide they don’t want to leave without leaving their mark (I’d prefer the latter, but will take the former).

    Could be a fun year, but just like logic said on the other thread hopefully the talent will be good enough to overcome Roy William’s coaching / SMH

  • marcus62660

    THF- Good work as usual. Thanks.

    I’m using all my mental telepathy to send a big dose of Hansbrough Hunger into the mindsets of all our players who are thinking about the next level. Come back and enjoy another year of college, guys.

  • BuonRotto


    Wait, this isn’t facebook.

    Hit all the game points. I really hope most guys come back. They truly could run the table next year. No more gravy though in that season. (And according to this board, Roy sould coach them into the ground like he always does, right?) It would be nice to build on this rather than start again of course. I think the offseason will be more stressful than the playing season in that respect.

    The thing to add about Hansbrough’s example is that he would have gone higher IIRC after his junior year. Instead, his stock drops a bit, but his game is more well-rounded and now he’s starting and getting 20 ppg on a regular basis. There’s short term money and success and long term money and success.

  • Heels01

    “So thanks Tar Heels for the season. For 29 wins, some of them in breathtaking fashion and for restoring the name NORTH CAROLINA to a place of honor in college basketball”

    That line is kind of sad. It’s saying that they year is over. Still, a great year. Could be a fantastic year if Barnes, Z, and Henson come back.

  • BuonRotto

    Funny no one mentions Zeller when they talk about losing players to the NBA. How far along is he in his studies, because he could definitely be a mid to high first rounder. Not to unsettle everyone, but let’s give credit where it’s due.

  • unc steph

    I predicted if Dex scores 10 we win…well I didn’t take into consideration early four trouble for Henson…Oh well…still love all my heels.

    I really want to call Roy’s show (if it is on tomorrow) and ask about the time out issue. He will probally cuss me out though.

    Just thinking about SOK, wander what he is doing/thinking now?

  • jfuhuang

    THF-great summary, as usual. My thoughts exactly.

    I know Coach doesn’t like to call TO’s “so the other team doesn’t get a chance to set their defense”, but UK still played great D anyways. I wouldn’t have faulted him for calling one to set up a Marshall drive for a Z lay up or hook shot-as we have seen in the past. Guess we’ll never know . . .

    This loss hurts a little more than it should because it’s Kentucky, and I hate losing to those guys almost as much as I hate losing to Duke. Nevertheless, it was a Season of Living Dangerously, and the Heels took us for quite a ride. I am proud of our guys and the way they grew as a team. In 2 months, they righted the ship-North Carolina Basketball is back!!

    202 days until Midnight Madness . . .

  • caymanheel

    Great writeup, THF. Great year Heels, great year on the board. Thanks to all for making this a fun place to talk Tar Heel Hoops.

    I have a feeling this game leaves a bitter taste in Barnes’ mouth and he comes back.

    Henson is more of a toss up IMO. I frankly think he disappeared for most of the tourney (and wonder about his knee). I know, with today being the exception, he put up a solid stat line — but I also notice that many if not majority of his boards during this tourney were in open space (when other team had already vacated to get back in transition defense). However, as much as John enjoys school, perhaps his body is the one more susceptible to injury in another year of college hoop.

    I call 50/50 on him, while I like Barnes’ chances of returning.

  • Moustache

    point #1 is the only one that mattered, in the end.

    As usual, for UNC teams in March being felled by 3pt shooting.

    Feel good about next year, though.

  • jfuhuang

    Interestingly, Henson was more of a loose cannon the 2nd half of the season. I love his emotion, but his play was almost bipolar: made a great inbounds block against UW then followed it with 2 bonehead plays that could have let them back in it. Got into the heads of Marquette’s bigs, but couldn’t stop jawing at them in the 2nd half. Was a nonfactor in the UK game with 2 really bad fouls: 1) 2nd foul on half court trap 45 feet from basket and 2) 4th foul with 16:03 in 2nd half on a double pump move by Kentucky player under the basket. He had to know the situation and just let the guy score.

    Similarly, I think it is foul trouble on JH that caused us to lose game in Durham. He was much less aggressive in that game after picking up two quick early fouls after taking it to Dook’s bigs for the first 10 min of that game.

    If JH chooses to come back, and I hope that he does, then I look forward to a smarter, more mature, and physically stronger player who plays under control. That would be a scary proposition for the rest of college basketball, especially since he and Z play so well together. (Much better than Hansbrough and Brandon Wright)

  • MakhtarsMusings

    Usual great recap THF. I’m on board with all the points you made. Given the many factors of this season it really was amazing to see these guys just a few plays away from being in the final 4. What really made me happy is that they had several chances to roll over this season and not once did they do it.

  • MakhtarsMusings

    How great was the reverse layup by Barnes? I jumped out of my skin when he hit that. What a joy it was to watch him blossom this season.

  • chapelhillfan

    Excellent post THF.

    Still hated to see HB give the ball up to KM when done one. Liked our chances much better with the ball in HB’s hands.

  • jfuhuang

    It could be worse-we could be Kansas Jayhawk fans. Now that is one painful loss. Hope Bill Self doesn’t have a call in show.

  • partsman5521

    After about 10 minutes or so into the game, I had a bad feeling about this one. Then when I went back and watched it again I noticed all those missed opportunites to score early. Lots of bad TO’s, and missed layups. Then when Henson got into foul trouble, I knew we were headed in a bad direction. As have been all year, we had trouble guarding the outside shot.But when we tied it up near the end, I was as excited as I have been all day. But this was their game today. Everything “FELL” in place for them. Today the better team won. Just this morning I had a thought of them winning today and go on to win it all, Then I thought that if we did win it all, The celebration would begin and all the junk talking and all that. But then I also thought if it did happen, then all three guys would be long gone, So that was my bad feeling for the whole day.

    Kentucky played to win today, The lit us up at our most critical Runs and needed stops, Even when tied late, they took a 3 and made it, I was telling myself that they can’t hit all of them but for the most part they did….

    MY hats off to this team,Watched them more is year than any year before, Went to several games this year.First time I actully seen a tar heel game in person. Even went to the dook game at Chapel Hill. Fell in love with this team from the minute they first stepped on the court. All I can do is hope everybody returns. I really believe they will

    I’m So poud of you my boys, Unbelievable highs, lowest of lows, and all the fun in between. Congtrats also to Roy, He did a wonderfull job of correcting the ship.

    OH WELL, until next year people, See y’all then,,,,,

  • PRGuy

    I got a feelin…. As someone mentioned earlier, I think the Heels have a bitter taste in their mouths from this defeat and I’m guessing they all come back. They want to redeem themselves for the ACC Final loss and this Elite Eight loss. Duke will be young next year with only one of the Plumlees (Hack #1) as a senior. Henson still needs to pack on some more weight before heading to the pros. All that plus a potential NBA lockout has me thinking all our underclassmen come back.

  • 7YrsBlue

    Season exceeded expectations. Could have gone to the FF if not for our help defense. Henson to the NBA? Don’t think so unless they’re only drafting POtential. Today shows exactly what would happen to him if he played with the big boys. He needs another year of seasoning and bulk.

  • chaucer1350

    How good was this team? They almost went to the Final Four, despite an off-day and an opponent who played about as well as they possibly can. That’s definitely frustrating, but I never really expected a team this young to play 6 great games in a row. To get through this tournament, you usually have to win a game you otherwise have no business winning, and the kids were right there at the end. Kudos to Kentucky for hitting those two big 3s. They were due for some misses, which will now probably all come against UConn. Oh well.

    I loved the heart and game to game growth. Great kids who can be proud of their accomplishments this season. I wish them all luck whatever path they choose. And if they come back to Chapel Hill one more year, we’re an extraordinarily lucky bunch of fans. Let’s remember that next year.

  • TheUNCFan

    Well, like the old saying goes, you live by the three, you di-um, ride your hot shooting to the Final Four. Sometimes the other guys are just red hot.

    Considering the Tar Heels had no real bench and no backcourt shooting, plus a lot of in-season drama, they certainly overachieved. This was a great year.

    I will say I can’t think of any player ever like Marshall who can head-man the ball completely down the court, and catch his man ratting out in stride right under the basket for a dunk/layup. The other team runs back on defense and doesn’t even realize the ball is sailing over their heads. Watching Marshall do that is amazing.

  • BuonRotto

    UNC-Steph, I guess you didn’t see his mom’s tweet last night.

  • nativeheel

    Excellent commentary on the game THF.
    No complaints at all here. A team that vastly improved during the season, 29 wins and a run to the Elite 8. At least one more win than Dook and the last ACC team to exit the Tourney.
    Like others, I hope all players return for next year but we will be okay and be very good regardless. Carolina Basketball is back where it belongs! Thank you Roy. Thank you each and every current member of this 2010-2011 TEAM.
    Go Heels!!

  • lviveiros

    Nativeheel, great post and ITA..
    Thanks THF as well..
    I have lots of fun on this blog and enjoy everyone’s comments.. Great bunch

    BuonRotto, what was the tweet??
    GO HEELS..

  • lviveiros

    Heel To The END.. great article..thanks.

    I think the closeness of these kids will keep everyone together for next year. IMO and I could be wrong I think we will be seeing the same starting five come tipoff next season.
    They are very determined bunch and want to do something special TOGETHER at carolina.

  • I certainly hope Zeller, Barnes and Henson all stay, but won’t be surprised if they leave. Stung, sure, but mentally prepared at least (unlike our most recent surprise departures).

    The thought has to have crossed their minds that the college game has a lot of advantages for them still: for one, it’s the first and probably last team that they chose to be a part of with teammates and coach that they knew ahead of signing on.

    For these three, they’re likely to get more than one contract in the bigs, but even then they have to know that they may be stuck in Minnesota or Toronto for years with no choice. There’s also the cautionary tale of players like Joe Forte to remember.

    It’s still a big stage and there is that championship and personal legacy to pursue, which usually will lead to more money later on in the NBA.

    It’s also less stressful, with fewer, shorter games, so for nothing other than that fact also less likely to lead to injuries. By being less punishing, playing more in college can ultimately translate into longer careers. Your knees are gonna be shot sooner or later, why not make that a little later?

    About the NCAA season in general, it is abundantly clear that there was no dominant team in the country. The tournament has put an exclamation point on that fact. There are good teams with flaws, but no great teams.

  • marcus62660

    Does anyone know what the content of the tweet from SOK’s mom consisted of?

  • 850inExile aka UNC RAJ

    This team far exceeded the expectations I had at the beginning of the season when I thought we would be lucky to finish in 2nd or 3rd place in the ACC, had no chance of getting a win over Dook and, best case scenario, made it to the Sweet 16. With that in mind I am very grateful for everything this team did this year.

    Times have changed. 10 or 15 years ago, I would have just shrugged my shoulders after last nights game and said “oh well, sometimes the other team just plays better then you do”, and then take comfort in knowing that that loss would just make our guys tougher, wiser and hungrier and they’d get the job done next year.

    If the NBA draft comes and goes and everybody is still in Chapel Hill then I’ll stick with that feeling. However, if we have key players jump to the NBA, then it will make it hard to think that we didn’t squander an opportunity to get back to the Final Four last night and who knows how many years it will be before we get another chance. Such is the world of college basketball these days. Cross your fingers.

  • MakhtarsMusings

    SOK’s mom said something? Really? Hopefully it was something like “I wish my son had as much heart as the kids on UNC have.” If she said anything other than that I don’t care to know what it is.

  • Heel To The End

    That Lucas piece was indeed touching.
    But, the back of my mind is snagging on that early sentence about UK going 12/22 from 3 wasn’t in the scouting report. Obviously, he’s just a reporter and doesn’t know that’s so, but he is around the program.
    UK was 9/21 the first meeting and we barely escaped with a 2pt win.
    It better have been in the scouting report.
    UK outscored us by FIFTY ONE pts from 3 in two games.
    But, whew, we didn’t let offensive Juggernaut Harrellson beat us inside. Dodged that bullet. He had 4 assists, tho. As did nonPG Liggins.

    VCU seemed like they were raining 3s for two hours on Kansas. Also made 12.
    dook had 93 scored on them twice, St Johns and Arizona. Combined 13 3s. Combined.
    The help D plays directly into the only chance some teams have to beat us. Why is it being done, with no consideration of the opponent?

  • 850inExile aka UNC RAJ

    Less then 90 seconds. That’s how long Calipari waited to call a timeout in the 2nd half when it looked like UNC was gaining momentum. It worked. Wish Roy had done the same thing in the game at Cameron, or at any point last night when Kentucky was going on runs.

    And everyone knew KY was going to try to rain 3′s on us last night. Heck, even Roy knew it - he’s to smart not too. He clings to that (often ineffective) help defense the same way our football coaches cling to their (often ineffective) zone coverage. It’s so frustrating.

  • nathan

    If you weren’t a fan of either school you would say wow, that was a fun game to watch. Very high level of competition and I’m proud of our guys being at that level.

    Ditto the comments on help defense. Make the guy who is penetrating take a contested floater. Usually, though not today, we have Henson to guard the interior. Don’t leave the other guy wide open for a kickout three.

  • Heel To The End

    But where are all the turnovers forced by helping? Did Dudley Bradley join the team? What are the odds of a steal vs leaving a 44% 3pt shooter? I’m really just trying to grasp what the staff’s thinking is.

  • 850inExile aka UNC RAJ

    Just read the Adam Lucas article. If all these guys come back next year then this year’s team will replace the 2006 Team as my favorite UNC team that didn’t win a championship.

  • LarryS

    I guess I’m feeling marginally better today, but I’m still left with the thought that Carolina should have won that game.

    After continuing to remind myself, and everyone else, for most of the year about making allowances for this team’s inexperience, at some point I managed to push that aside, especially when I saw similarly inexperienced teams like UConn and Kentucky get this far. (UConn’s a little different….they do have one experienced player carrying the team)

    So, once they got to the Kentucky game, I’m thinking they’ve got as good a chance as anyone. And they did. They just didn’t have the offensive punch to pull it off. And that’s always key once you get into, and this far in, the NCAAT.

    All the teams in the Final Four have a better Offensive Rating than North Carolina, and, when it gets down to it, good offense will usually trump good D. (Heck, VCU’s outside scoring made Kansas’ #3-ranked 3P% Defense look downright pedestrian) So, I guess, if I’m honest about it, we dodged most all the bullets we could without being able to shoot from the outside.

    OK, I’m over it now. (Yeah, right.)

    Really looking forward to next year, NBA defections or not, because I know we’ll have a good bunch led by a terrific PG. We’ll also have some fun looking at our recruits in the All-Star games this week (McD’s AA, Wed.@10 PM) and next month (Nike Hoops Summit, 4/9, & Jordan Brand Classic, 4/16), and seeing if Roy is going to make one of those surprise offers for next year.

    In the meantime, I’m also looking forward to the Final Four and ABK. Go UConn, Go VCU!


    On a side note, I would probably have made two or three more posts in the last couple of days, but my connectivity and speed issues here have been very frustrating, and I just gave up. If others have had this problem, could you let me know. Otherwise, it may be something on my end.

  • As has been said, I am the least upset I have been after a tournament loss than I ever have. This was a fun year. To have the one chance after playing a poor game was the only way this team could finish a season like this. This will go down as one of my favorite Heels teams. That being said, a few things jumped out to me (also mentioned by others).

    -Henson’s mental lapses during this tournament. The 2nd foul was terrible. You could see it coming. He was chasing down a smaller guard for a trap and was begging for that foul. He has to know better than that.

    -The inability to defend the 3 pointer is something Roy or his coaching staff has to figure out. If it’s not Kentucky, it’s someone else. The Three is a huge part of the college game and that other team 8 miles down the road lives and dies by it. They should know how to defend it better now. Credit Kentucky for knocking them down, but when they are open, they should make them.

    -Marshall’s play. We all love KButter. He changed this entire team. I haven’t seen it mentioned here but I think he started to run out of steam a bit. He forced a few passes vs. Kentucky and in the other tourney games as well. That will happen when you have essentially no backup. He had to feel the pressure of being the only guy that kept it moving. He did an incredible job this year but needs a strong backup. I really hope they find someone in a gym somewhere that can keep him fresh and provide strong minutes.

    -Bench. Again, it was a depleted and thin bench, but the reality is that we got ZERO production from the bench. Really appreciative of Knox and what he did for the Heels, but he was totally unproductive most of this stretch. Beyond giving the bigs a breather, he gave zero offensively. Same with Watts. McDonald had some amazing games but was very inconsistent the entire tournament.

    Again, these are small things compared to the bigger picture of what we just witnessed. Great season. No one expected this. They are things that must improve…especially if the big 3 don’t return. I believe all 3 will come back and we’ll hang a banner next year.

    Thank you Tar Heels. It was a great run

  • Heel To The End

    Larry, i have site issues almost everyday, where it wont load properly.

    like right there, posting the above. i hit Submit and it goes to essentially a blank page. refresh, nothing. refresh, nothing. refresh, finally the page.

  • Heel To The End

    oh, how bout these two Black Falcon bits…

    the pass to himself that almost was. how would THAT have changed things? that wouldve been Highlight #1 globally if he had pulled that off.

    and when Liggins finally pi**** him off enough, HE went off for 10 straight.
    dont make that dude angry.

  • I have been going back and forth with the webhost over the site issues. I do not think THF has grown so large they cannot handle it but they have not given be a clear answer as of yet.

  • MakhtarsMusings

    @HTTE….I like that swagger Harrison turned on. I also liked when Z did a nice stare down after his 1 dunk in the 2nd half.

  • BuonRotto

    Drew’s mom posted a short tweet that said something to the effect of “Today was a great day ~Ice Cube”. She was then raked over the coals on twitter and she figured out how to protect her tweets in about 15 minutes.

    You have to admit, I don’t know if it’s recently bring on twitter and following them, but this team was a ton of fun to follow (not just on twitter). Just hope next year is as much fun. They’re good guys, very likable.

  • 850inExile aka UNC RAJ

    THF - I regularly visit another sports blog that I think is also the same format (and I’m guessing same webhost as yours). They have a much smaller readership then you do but it still takes a long time for that site to load too… so, I’m guessing the webhost is the problem rather then the number of readers.

  • CotaFloata

    Guys, I think you are all giving the potential NBA lockout way too much weight in these decisions. First of all, the players have to make their final decision by May 8th. The NBA is going to be putting their happy face on during the playoffs, exactly like the NFL did leading up to the Super Bowl. No marketing person in their right mind is going to allow the storyline during the playoffs to revolve around anything other than on-court activities. No one will know with any certainty on May 8th whether or not the league is going to lock out.

    Further, rookies don’t receive their first paycheck from the team until November 15th even in a normal year. They get loans and endorsement deals to hold them over until that point. The endorsement deals will still be there. Even if you assume the lockout goes on past November 15th, the loans they got when they declared will just get paid back a few months later.

  • lviveiros

    Not to be dumb, LOL what does SOK stand for?? I know what the topic is …

  • “No one will know with any certainty on May 8th whether or not the league is going to lock out.”

    Officially? No. But it is a near certainty that there will a lockout, and the potential is there for it to be very long. This is not like the NFL, where you have a very profitable entity, and the only real argument is how to divide up that profit. Those are (relatively) easy disagreements to settle.

    In the NBA, there are several teams that are losing money and Stern has gone on record that he (and the owners) want player’s salaries cut by 1/3, possibly by contraction. That is an enormous problem and makes it very likely that all of the 2011-2012 NBA season will be lost (similar to the last NHL stoppage). If that is the case, I suspect most endorsement opportunities, save for the very highest picks will also be shelved until the new CBA is signed, as a rookie on strike has very little marketing power.

  • joemags52

    The thing that I hate about the season being over is how much I enjoyed watching this team play. But if they truly want to leave their mark on this program, which several of them have said, then they will come back next year because if they got to the Elite 8 and were potentially 1 possession away from going to the Final Four then they should be able to see the potential for next year with McAdoo and Hairston coming in. And just like Marshal helped recruit Barnes I think he is doing the same thing now with trying to get them to stay. Honestly the only person who could/should leave based on how they played and probably not going to be able to get much higher of a draft stock based on this season is Zeller. Yes I know Barnes is a potential top 5 pick but I think he can become a better player, I don’t think Zeller can get much better. I think a lot depends on Barnes returning or not for Henson and Zeller if he does I think they definitely do and if he doesn’t they are a toss up.

  • 850inExile aka UNC RAJ

    I think Zeller’s stock would go up if he came back for another year simply because his full season stats would be better as a result of KM being the starter for the full season next year. Zeller also could use next season to become a more aggressive rebounder.

    I hope Henson will consider two things: 1) does he really want his performance against KY to be his last game as a Tarheel? 2) Marvin Williams, Brandon Wright, Ed Davis… all undersized when they entered the draft, and all underdeveloped offensively, and all have been pretty unimpressive in the League.

  • ^Yeah, but you also have to weigh the relative strengths of the drafts. This year’s was already supposed to be very weak, and it is getting even more so with players like Sullinger announcing their intentions to come back. However, next year’s draft, because this year HS class is so much stronger than the 2010 class, is expected to be much deeper (unless the new CBA includes a 2-3 years of college, then it gets all messed up).

  • joemags52

    I agree that Zeller’s numbers could get better but they also could drop with added scorers around him and if Henson comes back and becomes a better scorer. Also McAdoo is a much better scorer then Knox. I hope they all come back and think them and Kentucky, depends who comes back for them, would be the top teams.

  • lviveiros

    I agree with you C. Michael, There is going to be a NBA lockout. The NBA is worse then teh NFL

  • Silent Sam

    1. I am not entitled to complain about slow servers since I’m not paying even one cent to access THF. It’s a great blog (well, at least for Tar Heels and I am a Tar Heel). For the longest time, I thought it was just my sorry computer rather than the web site but after reading comments to the contrary, I’m convinced there are issues that I’m not smart enough to figure out.
    2. lviveiros — I, too, cannot figure out who/what SOK stands for.
    3. Everything considered, I think this was a great season for the Tar Heels. After the Heels were 4-3 and 7-4, I likely would not have believed they would win the ACC regular season title, play Dook in the ACC tournament finals, win three games in the NCAA tournament (one more than Dook) and have a realistic chance of beating Kentucky for the 2nd time in the season. Were they perfect?
    4. Winning the NCAA tournament is hard, very hard. The Tar Heels, with five NCAA basketball championships, are ahead of everyone except UCLA (11), Kentucky (7) & Indiana (5). And, I’ve seen all five of NCU’s NCAA championship games on live TV and hope to see more. (This is a hint that I’m an old geezer).

  • Silent Sam

    I tired to edit my earlier comment and add to “Were they perfect?” and admit they were not, but who is perfect? <<when I clicked on "Click to Edit" somehow the edit screen never popped up.

  • Heel To The End

    Some Other Kid. Per Roy.

  • chapelhillfan

    I’ve had the same site issues…it’s not your computer. I am hesistant to complain, of course, because the site is free, but it has gotten to the point over the past day that the site is completely inaccessible. More days like that and more people will stop making the effort to stop by, which would be bad.

  • BuonRotto

    Amazing to think the team had one regularly playing senior, and two juniors, only one of whom logged significant minutes in most games, and he’s not the one most peoplpe are concerned about leaving!

  • CarMichael

    Dear peoples,

    Every college coach who plays man-to-man defense uses help against drivers in the paint. Every. Single. One. There is nothing radical or unusual about our defensive system. It just has a slightly greater emphasis on protecting the paint than the average system. The reason UK went nuts from the arc last night was not our defense. It was unusually hot outside shooting by every one of Kentucky’s shooters- combined with an offense that is hard to guard, owing to their whole perimeter corps, but especially Knight, having exceptional ability to drive the ball.

    Do you want a list of hot 3-point shooting performances by various teams in the tournament so far? It is a long one. Do you think all their opponents “refused to guard the 3?” UNC loses to teams that are hot from outside for the same reason other teams do: hotness or coldness from the arc is the biggest variable in offensive performance.

    Arizona shot 9/15 against Duke. Duke is supposedly a team that guards the 3. But our defensive average as compared to theirs for this season allowed around one extra make make per 130 3-point attempts.

  • 40yrheel

    my wish list-
    all the guys stay and try to win it all next year.
    roy realizes that you should call a time out at crucial times in the games.
    roy emphasizes the three point shot more, offensively and defensively, since it is the key to college bball these days.
    that bullock comes back healthy and plays well.
    the guys coming in live up to expectations.

  • faustus1500


    I agree to some degree. Duke was trying to stop Derrick Williams and Zona played well above their ability. Knowing what Kentucky does for its points, the Heels should have stuck to their men especially if they were on Kentucky’s shooters. Harrelson was their only true post player. While he is considerably stronger than Zeller there is no reason to believe he would have dropped 40 on the Heels.

  • lviveiros

    Thanks heel to the end…..for definition of SOK..yup I remember hearing it from Roy in a press conference.. I was slow on that one..Usually I am pretty quick…

  • CotaFloata

    C.Michael: I’m sorry, but you are clearly trying to align your hopes (as well as mine) with a reality of your own creation, but that’s simply not the actual reality. There are simply next to no NBA executives that believe the labor situation is going to have any, if any, effect on players’ decisions re: the draft.

    Just a sample: “While some NBA agents are wringing their hands a bit, most GMs in the league think it will have only a small impact on who decides to skip this year’s draft.” -Chad Ford

  • Heel To The End

    ^gonna have to disagree with ya, CarMichael.
    the 3 is not the brand new 3 of 1986.
    these kids started shooting 3s from the moment before they could even reach the goal from 22 ft.
    there are 70 kids in the Top 100 3ptFG% that have over 100 FGAs. and they all shoot more than 42%.
    this aint 1986.

    i say again, McDonald helped Zeller, who needed no help, and doubled on a Harrellson with his back turned, 20 ft from the hoop. 3-ball, Knight.
    if thats what every single coach would do on that play, then every single coach is wrong.
    if ours has greater emphasis in protecting the paint, then who were we protecting it from yesterday? not in general, yesterday.
    most of the bites on helping were not in the paint.
    remember the time Harrellson and Knight went back and forth 1, 2, 3 times until we were pinched too close to Harrellson. easily 15 ft from the hoop, if not more.

    Arizona shot 9/15 from 3, yes. in a game where they scored 93 pts, not 76.
    the 9 was a season high given up by dook.
    not to say something blasphemous, but do you see any way in H*** that KRat ever allows a team to go 12/22 from 3?

    before the game, at half, during the game…
    make an adjustment for your opponent.
    UK had 12 3s and 15 2s. UK has 3 guys shooting 40% from 3, and another right behind that.
    40% of their FGAs were 3s. thats too many for a team with 4 guys shooting that well. too too many.
    we gave up 806 3pt FGAs. dook allowed 543. same number of games.
    there isnt a way to play good D all around? surely, there must be.
    a 7 footer, and a guy with 118 blocks. they cant patrol the paint when a team is clearly hot from the perimeter?
    especially when you arent a great 3pt shooting team, it seems like youd want to limit a shot that can put you down 9 in 3 short possessions.
    at 12/22 3s, our poor 3pt shooting team needs to go 18/22 from 2, 81%!, just to break even.

  • CarMichael


    I don’t have a count on this, but I don’t think the big issue was doubling down on Harrellson. At most 3 of his assists were inside-out, and Zeller often played him straight up. Their perimeter players had 11 assists, and I think most of these were for kickout 3s after penetration. All their perimeter players can drive to the hoop and finish. If you try to guard drivers with only your center, you are inviting foul trouble and drop-off dishes for dunks. That’s why MtM coaches bring wing help against drivers.

    Unfortunately, all of UK’s perimeter players made between 45% and 67% of their 3PA.

  • lviveiros

    fyi PJ competing in 3pt contest in MacDonald skills tonight on espn2 at 730p
    Surprised McAdoo not in dunk contest….then I was reading SOK won 3pt shooting contest what happen there. Maybe PJ should losse..j/k ( could be bad karma..)

  • lviveiros

    Of course the NBA execus are going to say that. I think it will influence some players decisions maybe not all but those that may or maynot need to make the money asap may decide to stay in school for one more year.

  • “While some NBA agents are wringing their hands a bit, most GMs in the league think it will have only a small impact on who decides to skip this year’s draft.”

    This is called, “spin.” And while I don’t begrudge the GMs, or even Chad Ford, for saying that (because they have to), I don’t see how anyone can look at how far apart the two sides are and think that it won’t have an impact. If Andrew Luck, the guaranteed #1 pick in the NFL Draft went back to school because of the NFL labor situation, you had better believe a lot of NBA prospects will do the same.

    That being said, this could actually be a bad thing for UNC. If enough players do pull out, then Barnes, Henson, and Zeller could all look at how weak the draft is and decide the gamble is worth it because they’d all be lotto picks.

  • 850inExile aka UNC RAJ

    Four wishes:

    1 - John Henson is shown NBA game film of Marvin Williams, Ed Davis and Brandon Wright to see what guys look like when they enter the league underdeveloped both physically and offensively.

    2 - Harrison Barnes decides he wants some hardware before going to the next level.

    3 - Zeller convinces Barnes and Henson to come back to help him become the only player in UNC’s illustrious history to get two Championship rings.

    4 - Roy becomes less idealistic and more pragmatic about both clock management and defensive game plans.

  • Heel To The End

    ^^^^take those 11 assists, if theyre on 3s…
    clear the lane and just let them have a layup, ALL 11 if you like, 100% FG%, and youre 11 pts in the plus from what it ended up.
    we’re giving up wide open 3s because they MIGHT make a 2 over a 7 footer giving even half-effort D?
    tell me that isnt what they say in practice.
    look, i’m not saying all 22 3s need to be incredibly contested.
    but how bout enough contest to limit it to 16 3pt attempts.
    give up 600 3pt FGAs a year, not 800. something.
    its not just a “hot” shooting team.
    its that you allowed 22 3s. in a game that the opponent wasnt heaving them up there to get back in a game.
    200 fewer attempts @ 33% success rate is almost 200 pts over they season. a team makes 40% of 16 3s, and they have 6 fewer pts than the team shooting 40% on 22 attempts.
    i want those points taken away.

    if it was a team whose strength was the inside, a team like, ohh, US, and you lost because UNC shot 12/22, then you could probably chalk it up to drawing an inside straight.
    and we DID that to other teams. we had one or two hot shooting games.
    if we can do it, Kentucky can. and easier.
    the game has changed.

  • logic

    HTTE - thank you for your last two posts (saved me from some writing)

    With KU on fire and being so good beyond the arc for the season, shouldn’t we have at least mixed up the D on them? Start out helping 100%, then as they torched us, we could occasionally not help (or even better, fake the help) - we probably pick up a couple of steals, some missed shots due to indecisiveness or at least some 2 point FGs in place of some 3 point FGs.

    Help and defend the paint most of the time. Fine. But be willing to mix it up as required, especially since the 3 is KU’s game. We have the advantage inside.

    I know…foul trouble, they can drive, etc… All I ask is that Roy and his staff mix it up occasionally when what we are doing is not working (and did not work the entire game).

  • CotaFloata

    Chad Ford has no dog in the fight, he has no motivation to spin. Andrew Luck’s going back to school had exactly zero to do with the labor situation. You have no idea how far apart the two sides are.

  • CarMichael


    The bottom line on defense is adjusted efficiency. UNC was slightly better than Duke this year, but both were among the nation’s elite defense. I don’t see how people can look at this outcome and claim that Roy’s defensive tactics are terrible.

    3P% allowed defensively was 32.4 for UNC and 33.1 for Duke. This is not a significant difference at the scale of a game or several games. However, as you point out, Duke allows substantially fewer 3PA, therefore more 2PA and FTA, than UNC. The net outcome, however, is essentially the same over the season.

    Against UK, Rat would probably bring less wing help against drivers and would tell the Plumbles to just give hard fouls/block attempts until they fouled out. So that would lead to fewer kickout 3s and more trips to the line for the opponents. Also of course, when Duke brings wing help, they often try to draw a charge. Thus again, no kickout 3 attempt.

    Roy doesn’t like the hard fouling tactic, and I don’t either. But the point is, against a team that drives it really well, you have to do something to stop the drivers from killing you with layups.

    Incidentally, UK normally isn’t heavily reliant on 3-point shooting (see Pomeroy). The core of their outstanding (#7) offense has been taking it to the hoop.

  • Heel To The End

    its actually 32.4 for dook and 33.1 for us, according to theacc.com.
    and i dont know about FTs, yet…
    but, youre absolutely right.
    dook gave up more 2s than we did.
    39 more 2s.
    we gave up 91 more 3s.
    so dook gave up 195 fewer points on FGs by not giving up 3s.
    3s being more worth more than 2s.
    i want those points. not by hacks and dookian charges. just by making them more difficult.
    especially in a season with possibly the most effective shotblocking UNC duo of the last 35 years.

    dook opponents scored 16 more points from the FT line all season than our opponents.
    dook has better 3pt%D AND better 2pt%D, and more steals per game.

  • I’ve said my bit on the game, I’d like to now focus on the State job as to a replacement for Lowe.

    In a previous post I recommended Greg Marshal but his record is too good and his integrity and honesty place him out of the potential field for a program that would love nothing more than Calipari or Barnes. At this point in time I think State need to focus on the family.

    Someone smart, someone that cannot be outthinked, I vote Dana Bible.

    Nobody outthinks Dana Bible.

  • lviveiros

    MacDonalds slamfest on now on espn2 think PJ up next for 3 pt shooting..girls first..

  • “Andrew Luck’s going back to school had exactly zero to do with the labor situation.”

    Wrong. Was it 100% the cause? Probably not. But it absolutely played a role.


    “You have no idea how far apart the two sides are.”

    Personal knowledge, no. But there has not been a single report written about this that makes the NBA situation look like it is as close as the NFL situation. Again, the owners want to cut salaries by a THIRD. Not my words, David Sterns’. This is going to be a massive fight.

  • lviveiros

    I have heard on various sports channels , espn and local one here in Bosotn..that it is much worse then the NFL.. the words i have heard are ” think the NFL is far apart wait for the NBA”

  • BoyWilliams

    MY PREDICTION: JHenson, TZeller, & HBarnes ALL jump to the NBA next year. We return with another NBA-worthy frontcourt of Just-a-frosh-James McAdoo, Jumpin’-Justin Watts, & Ragin’-Reggie Bullock.

    NIT finals, here we come!!!

  • faustus1500

    Wow…..Did Jay Williams say that he grew up a UNC fan?

  • 850inExile aka UNC RAJ

    Two sick dunks by Hairston.

    Yes - Jay Williams wanted to play for UNC, but Guthridge didn’t think he was as good enough… so he recruited Adam Boone instead…

  • Heel To The End

    well well.
    UCLA’s version of IC is reporting that SOK has enrolled in the current quarter.

  • “Yes – Jay Williams wanted to play for UNC, but Guthridge didn’t think he was as good enough… so he recruited Adam Boone instead…”


  • 850inExile aka UNC RAJ

    It’s even worse then it sounds. Jay Williams said he actually came to visit Chapel Hill with his dad. He was told by Gutt that UNC would not be making him an offer. He was crushed. His dad basically said “well, while we’re in the area why don’t we visit Duke?”. And the rest is history…

  • 850inExile aka UNC RAJ

    …We can also credit Gutt with finding us other talented players like Steve Bucknall, Henrik Rodl, Serge Zwikker and Brian Morrison…

  • lviveiros

    ya PJ got tired.
    Loved it when Rivers got 0..

  • lviveiros

    Is that true about Willimas, I never knew that so when I was watching and heard that I was ….What did I just hear.

  • pvog101

    looks like ucla is pickin up another cali scrub that cant play to our level of play. he who must not be named enrolled today. would LOVE to possibly meet them sometime when he and the goof twins are on the team

  • faustus1500

    Wait a second…..Isn’t it Joseph Forte that UNC went with instead of Williams? I thought Williams was a combo guard in high school and he made the transition to point.

  • ^Yeah, Forte and Jason Parker were the big targets in 1999. The thinking was, you’d have a Cota/Forte backcourt for 2000, and then a Curry/Forte backcourt for 2001 and 2002, and possibly (though unlikely) 2003.

    Losing both Curry and Forte after 2001 was an unrecoverable blow.

  • chapelhillfan

    HTTE makes strong arguments here (and also saves me typing).

    The play which summed it up was the Hatreldon weave with Knight, I think, where we guarded a seven-foot oaf 25 feet from the basket.

  • AZACCFan

    It was a very exciting and entertaining year.

    For me the best part was seeing the players figure out how to play the college game better. Especially the two primary freshmen.

    Add to that the miraculous improvement of Henson in every imaginable area (even FTs) and the stellar play and improving toughness of Zeller, who is really only a sophomore himself! Even Strickland was playing much better in the NCAA T.

    Winning by playing team defense got it done for most of the year, but when you come up against a hot shooting team with your best defender and rebounder on the bench it is almost impossible to come back and win. They did come all the way back to tie the game.

    Barnes et al will be back next year. They are not yet stars of the quality to succeed in the NBA. A real student and unequaled worker, Tyler Hansbrough, is only now finding his way in the league. He was a beastly competitor every minute in college. For me the only player on the UNC team now with that sort of fire is Barnes.

    A great year.

  • rathskellar68

    1. I thought auncfan hit it right on the head as far as his analysis of our weaknesses. In particular, Henson has to grow up and think more about what he’s doing.

    2. I hate to be old-fashioned (well, actually, I don’t mind it a bit), but money isn’t everything. If your family is just hanging on, sure. But if they’re doing OK, why not stay in school? It’s widely known, even to kids, that your college days are among the best of your life. When you’re 60 and rich and established, that’s all well and good, but you can’t buy your college days back at any price.

    Stay there, guys. It’s a decision you’ll be happy you made.

  • AZACCFan


    Henson has no financial pressure. Zeller is smart enough to see that his future is using his mind over matter. Barnes needs polish to succeed in the NBA, viz, his slow adaptation to the college game.

    I see them all coming back.

    Hope you are enjoying Hawaii.