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Weekend Recap

So much happened over the weekend, let’s take a moment and review.

UNC beats Duke in football, finishes 7-5

This season hasn’t always been pretty but to end up 7-5 and finish the season with a win over Duke is plenty to be happy about all things considered. UNC entered training camp with Everett Withers only a week into the job as the interim head coach. The naysayers and Chicken Littles of the Tar Heel fan base said this would result in a 3-9 season and the football program would be utterly destroyed. As it stands now, the Heels had a good season. Could it have been better? Sure. A win over NC State would have been nice. It is conceivable that UNC should have at least beaten Miami or perhaps stolen one from Georgia Tech. However at the end of the day, the crowd who lamented Holden Thorp’s decision to fire Butch Davis as a disaster for the football program have been partly proven wrong. The Heels had a winning season and will head to a bowl game which is great for giving younger players an extra month of practice. If Bubba Cunningham comes through with a solid coaching hire then it will have all worked out nicely.

Look who is the starting QB in Houston now

With Houston Texas’ start Matt Schaub lost for the season with a foot injury and backup Matt Leinert suffering a broken collarbone, the door has swung wide open for former UNC QB T.J. Yates to make his first NFL start this week. Yates came in for Leinert on Sunday going 8-15 for 70 yards on the way to a 20-13 win over Jacksonville. Now Yates will take the reins of an 8-3 team with serious playoff aspirations. The upside for Yates is he is surrounded by plenty of offensive weapons which should make the transition easier.

UNC loses to UNLV in basketball; Tar Heel fans freak out

The outflow of frustrations in the world of Tar Heel fan internet commentary has been both sad and comical to watch over the last 48 hours. If there is anything we are really good at it is hand wringing after a loss. This is no different and despite the fact UNC played a 6-0 team ranked 15th by Ken Pomeroy in a de facto home game(it was the first time I have ever seen a neutral court rushed following the game) somehow the loss exposes UNC as having multiple fatal weaknesses. Maybe we should fire Roy Williams and cancel the season.

Truthfully, the team did not play well, especially the frontline. UNLV on the other hand played extremely well. In the world of college basketball upsets are the lifeblood of the sport’s popularity. March Madness is predicated on upsets and what we saw late Saturday night was a top seed falling in a Sweet Sixteen game. It happens, quite a bit if my recollection of NCAA history is on point, which is why we should be thankful it wasn’t in the Sweet Sixteen and this isn’t college football. The Heels have some work to do that is certain. The rebounding and poor shooting inside the arc are obvious areas of concern but if you read this fantastic analysis by Tyler Brooks at Inside Carolina(subscription only) UNC was really a victim of poor spacing, settling for bad shots, sloppy offensive execution which led to generally poor rebounding coverage. Plus the issue of the defense collapsing on the interior without kicking the ball out didn’t help either. The point is there is absolutely nothing I saw on Saturday night strikes me as anything that cannot be corrected in due course. All teams develop and gel at a different rate or different points in the season. The benefit(if you can all it that) to a loss at this stage in the season is it helps to draw out the weaknesses and refocuses the players’ attention.

It is also important to remember that Roy Williams’ teams generally do an excellent job bouncing back after a loss. The lessons learned at the cost of losing a game general get applied in short order resulting in a better team in the long run. I also think you cannot discount UNLV being a less than ideal match-up for UNC personnel wise and there number of times that will be the case this season should be far and few in between. That is why I refuse to extrapolate too much from one game or even a stretch of games at this stage of the season.

The bottom line is UNC has the parts, experience and potential to win the national title which last I checked happens in April not November.


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30 comments to Weekend Recap

  • PRGuy

    The 2004-2005 team lost early at Santa Clara. The 2008-2009 team started 0-2 in the ACC. This year’s team will learn from this loss and get better. No need to panic.

    Also, shout out to the men’s soccer team for defeating Indiana and heading to the Elite Eight. Go Heels!

  • gso_tarheel

    Some fans freak out (win or lose) to the point of absurdity. However, some of the “freaking out” is an expression of justified frustration. Many UNC fans were accused of freaking out last year with SOK. Much of this was justified. A lot of fans were accused of freaking out after the KY loss in last year’s Elite 8. Same goes for this year’s UNLV loss. Is much of it justified?

    Many of these fans (at least on this blog) have made very good criticisms in recent posts about our coaching, toughness and scoring. I haven’t see anyone say RW is an idiot. Also, nobody has said the team is garbage. But the team does have potentially serious issues to address.

    If they win the next two games in a strong fashion, the freaking out will subside. It should…the team obviously will have fixed a lot if they win the next two games. If they loose the next two in a similar fashion as the UNLV loss…the freaking out will go to ridiculous levels. And maybe it should.

    I believe our team will improve and be right there come tourney time. But, some of the freaking out is justified.

  • …and UNC mens soccer moved onto the elite 8 with a win over Indiana.

  • Moustache

    I’d like to agree with GSO above and point out that perhaps THF is “freaking out at the ‘freaking out’”.

    In other words, some justified criticism does not equal “we should cancel the season and fire Roy”. Are some of us so sensitive to any critique (however valid) of our favorite team that any less-than-glowing observation is equated with a “freakout”? That sort of dualism is silly, from whatever direction it’s coming.

    Win or lose, the reality is that:

    1- Zeller and Henson need a serious dose of toughness and killer instinct, traits that cannot be coached.

    2- UNC doesn’t guard the 3. Ever. It’s nothing new…it will bite the team in the butt a few times a year, and we all have our mental lists of the litany of heretofore unknown players who made his entire name off of being that guy against Carolina.

    3- Harrison Barnes doesn’t play hard for the entirety of any game. It’s just something in his DNA. He shows up for 25-50% of a game, and that’s generally it. There are exceptions, but they prove the rule. Rather than get upset when this (inevitably) happens, we should accept it and be pleasantly surprised when he plays hard for a full game.

    4- Free throw shooting at a level that would make a middle school coach upset is unacceptable for any team of scholarship athletes at any level. At some point, players are responsible for their own mental toughness and concentration.

    5- Hearing UNC players talk about how other teams are tougher/fight harder/came out with more intensity is perhaps the most maddening thing. They talk about it as though it’s something enacted upon them and they have no choice to come out and play hard/with intensity. I swear hearing that (as we’ve often heard over the past 2+ season) will continue to expedite the permanent strike of my hair follicles.

    These things are true, and would be true even had UNC beaten UNLV…winning or losing doesn’t make them less true.

    None of these observations is “freaking out” nor are they tantamount to “Fire Roy!” or “cancel the season”. Reasonable people can disagree and critique differently without resorting to simplistic and Manichean views to characterize one another.

    Expecting improvement over time is not unreasonable — despite the football team’s utter inability to do so since the JMU game-and does not indicate an unacceptable level of fan-dom.

  • Heel To The End

    ^i dont think its coincidence that we have similar complaints about football and basketball. something about Carolina can make things a little too warm and fuzzy.

    its hysterical hearing Glenn and Glennon talking about the Wuffies’ comeback as anything that they did.
    Meggett fumbled from less contact than you get in line at K&W.
    State’s DBs had to outfight no one for picks. keep on believin, Pack. dream on.

    on another tangent, welcome to Kirk Muller. love the change, Canes.

  • You guys do understand I am looking at the whole of UNC fan reaction that goes beyond this site. Yes, people have been freaking out. People have been whining about Roy’s coaching, the system, how they wish UNC played games the way Duke does, etc, etc, etc.

  • Heel To The End

    ^one fragment of games the way dook does. lets be clear.

  • 52bgJ

    thanks bblb-who knew?

  • Andy In Omaha

    Excited for TJ in Houston. A few friends of mine who live in Houston who have decided to finally start rooting forthe Texans now that they’re going to win that division didn’t even know who the heck he was. Hope he plays well!
    Turner Gill, Rick Neuheisel, and Ron Zook have all been fired. Let’s hope that Bubba stays away from these three guys. I’d rather stick with Withers if this is the best out there in terms of available coaches.

  • AZACCFan

    How about scheduling some of these basketball games at 1930 instead of 2130 or later. Need my beauty sleep!

  • gregrustin

    thirteen twos from unlv and we win.we have proven we can score. camp out at the three pt line, force opposing teams to shoot twos and we win. how: switch on all ball screens like we did against dook and we won. the next dook game we didnt and we lost.simple

  • 850inExile aka UNC RAJ

    I just want Kendal Marshall to learn how to guard somebody and Tyler Zeller to play like he’s 7 feet tall. Is that really too much to ask for?

  • teddyjackeddy

    Great beating Duke for 21 out of last 22. Love beating Dook at anything. Losing to a State team of minimal talent again still stings. We really could not score against that (mediocre on its best day) defense? Withers season looks a lot like Butch’s last 2. What a waste of talent for Butch over the last couple of years he was HC. Was he really suppose to be our savior? Lost to santa Clara in 04-05 and we know how that season ended (pretty well) but i think it was Felton who missed that game.

  • Heel To The End

    Bubba, do not hire Zook, Neuheisel, Gill or Erickson.
    thanks in advance!

  • rathskellar68

    I agree with UNC RAJ, Moustache and GSO. We have some problems that got exposed. UNLV is a really good team and played extremely well on their de facto home floor, so this is not a disaster. It is, however, a cause for concern, not least because it writes the blueprint for how to beat us.

    Zeller is a favorite of mine but has to get stronger and meaner. One thing that made Hansbrough so superb was not just his strength per se but the fact that opponents feared him. No one is afraid of Zeller. Time to knock someone down.

    It’s not all Zeller’s fault, though. I almost never blame the refs, but the UNLV game was an exception. They let UNLV pound on Zeller, but called ticky-tac stuff on him, which caused him to be even more ineffective on defense than usual, plus tentative on offense.

    Someone ought to put Barnes in a bottle with Jerry Stackhouse and shake them up. Barnes is there with Stackhouse in terms of talent, but nowhere close in terms of strength and toughness. Barnes looks like a gentleman; Stackhouse looked mean. For present purposes, mean is better.

    On the football front: I just cannot get over the loss — more like humiliation — to NCS. Only in a world of 40 (or whatever it is) laughably watered-down bowls would we be considered worthy of post-season play. Since we live in such a world, we’ll get a bid, and I’ll watch it, but I’ll do so without pretending that a month of practice in December will make any significant difference for a season that starts nine months later with (almost certainly) a different coach, significant player turnover, and some mix of NCAA penalties.

  • 52bgJ

    I truly believe there is something going on with Barnes physically. Probably not anything serious, but I can’t recall seeing a supposedly well-conditioned athlete get winded as quick as he does. Yeah, I wouldn’t mind at all seeing him get a little “Kinston” in him.

  • Dude

    Good points by Moustache.

    I am hoping that Kendall Marshall spent his day in a defensive stance, practicing lockdown “Jackie Manuel” defense on fellow students as they traversed the quad. Bonus points for taking charges from frat dudes hustling to class fashionably late.

  • It is killing me to see Duke getting ranked # 3 and us # 5. I am not convinced, in spite of us losing, that Duke & Syracuse are better than us. Ohio State & Kentucky, you can make that case all day.

  • notoriousii

    So now Butch Davis has done three positive things no other UNC coach could do…beat FSU, graduate 75% of his players, and consistently prepare players for a career in the NFL, this resulting in the first forward pass ever completed in the NFL by a Tar Heel this past Sunday!

    People who understood football culture would call Butch’s tenure a win, or at least a push. Many say there are games we should have won that we did not, but how about VT getting blown out by an overrated Clemson team and Clemson in turn getting blown out by NCSU and NCSU losing to Boston College. Inconsistent play is a common occurrence in the ACC from top to bottom except for Duke which remains consistently awful.

  • tarheel502

    Did you guys see where Calipari is polling his fans to see which high profile team he should drop from UK’s schedule so he can add another cupcake? Yeah, pretty quick to throw us out there…


    Might just be me, but wouldn’t you want the strongest schedule you can get, instead of watering it down with sub-par competition?

    Straight from the guy himself:
    “What I mean by that is this program is too important to over-schedule based on the roster turnover that I believe will continue to happen. You cannot put this program at risk, not with our turnover and roster. You CANNOT over-schedule and put yourself in that position.
    With that being said, here is where I want the help of the Big Blue Nation. If we had to – and this doesn’t mean we have to at this point because we still have 16 league games – but if we had to drop one series and there were no other options, who would it be? Would it be North Carolina, Indiana or Louisville?

    What’s best for our program? What helps up maintain the gold standard?!?!
    This will be an interesting dialogue. I know who I would vote for.”


  • plibt

    calipari is a coward

  • rathskellar68

    Gold standard my foot. Sounds like he wants the tin standard. Fine. Let him have it.

  • AZACCFan

    For reasons known only unto themselves, the basketball wizards need 5 months to create a mature college team. So we still have a way to go.

    It is smart to have a couple of tough games to start the season. As long as no one gets seriously hurt and they learn from the experience.

    And of course read all the comments here.

  • chapelhillfan

    Excellent comments. No freaking out here on this site, just solid constructive criticism that Roy and the staff should also be doing…and I full expect they see the same things we do. Well, other than guarding the 3 that is.

  • chapelhillfan

    Oh, and by the way, I thought Roy was smart not to call his TOs in the game. Great time for a learning/teaching moment. Of course, that explanation falls apart like a cheap suit when he does it in March.

  • All of the other comments aside, I hate the timeout thing. Seriously hate it. RW’s justifications sounds great, but you’re the COACH. As a parent, I understand the difference between letting my kids “figure it out” and stepping in when I need to. Name me one other coach in college basketball that watches his team fall apart like Roy does. Name me one. Given the average margin of victory in Heels wins, it is inexcusable to say you’re “saving them”.

    I go back to the Kansas game in 2008. What lesson was RW teaching there? What good did it do to let his team get absolutely punched in the mouth? You get TO’s for a reason and to sit on them while a bunch of 18-20 year old kids try to figure it out is ridiculous.

  • AZACCFan


    The facts are that Williams does not do this. He substitutes like mad all the time. Often in ways that are at least perplexing. When players come out he and his staff often have A LOT to say to them on the side court.

    So he is constantly working to change what is happening. Not calling a time out to discuss things with the team as a whole then does not fit with his overall philosophy.

    If he said “I will put this team out there for the first half and see what happens for the half”, there would be a consistent philosophy.

    Of course that is not going to happen.

    So why not work with the collective group when there is a trend against you. And don’t take out players who can improve by gaining confidence when they are playing well.

  • Heel To The End

    i could understand the “its just November” “i have to coach better” “they didnt do what i said” “work in progress” stuff.
    if we hadnt made the help D mistakes in March. in game 38 or whatever it was.
    thats why i’m so edgy about it now.

  • Heel To The End

    looking at Wisconsin’s schedule thus far, and stats thus far, as THF has in his Twitter log…they shoot 47% from 3 so far. theyve had a starter go 7/10 in a game. thats about 106% from 2.

    they shoot about the same from 2 as from 3, they have multiple shooters. they have good ball handlers.
    i’m guessing they havent faced a frontline like Henson and Zeller in BYU or Bradley or Wofford or Colgate, etc.
    so if our guys double down on “shorter-front-line-than-ours-50%-against-Kennesaw St interior Wisc players” and leave 3 shooters wide open…well, i’m gonna have a problem with that.

  • gso_tarheel

    Tomorrow our perimeter players should stay with their man, play in his face and challenge him to beat us going to the bucket. Period. You force an excellent perimeter team to beat you on the inside against our bigs. If we play the hard help defense and don’t switch, we better be hot on offense cause we will likely need every point we score.