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Thoughts On UNC’s Debacle in Tallahassee

One of the reasons the postgame wrap-up was short was because there is really nothing constructive that can be written at a time like that. Hours later? That’s a little easier. If I had to put a finger on the biggest problem fans had with this game it was the margin. A loss in this game should not have been a shock. It was a road game in ACC play. It was also UNC’s third ACC game of the season which Roy Williams is now 3-6 in. I am not sure why that is or if it matters, but it sure is bizarre. Playing at FSU is historically tough for the Heels. Even 2009 needed a fair amount of miracle work to escape with a win. The same was true for the 2011 Heels after dominating FSU in Chapel Hill a month before. It was going to be a tough game at any rate so its not the loss but the margin that grates the most.

After the jump some questions and answers.

Where has the poise gone?

I see some have called this team “frontrunners” and complained they are not able to play while losing. The odd things is, this group did not seem to have that problem last season. During the first five ACC games UNC fell behind Virginia, Virginia Tech, Georgia Tech and Miami by double digits in the first half. Three of those games came on the road and the Georgia Tech game was the only one in which the Heels did not mount a rally and ultimately win the game. In the other three games they flipped a switch and in reality won games they probably had no business winning. Add to those games the two match-ups vs Miami and Clemson in the ACC Tournament, you have a clear pattern of a team who defied the odds time and again. The point is this group was hailed last year as being exceptionally resilient and tough amid adversity. Now they get smacked in the mouth in a game and for some reason they are not able to pull together in the same way. One crucial difference could be UNC was growing up last season and operated with much less pressure than they are now. It is possible when UNC falls behind in these games there is a little more panic and a ton of pressure building to dig out of the hole in a hurry. That has led to an offense riddled with individual play over team effort which predictable results.

But wait, they really shouldn’t be falling behind like this right?

Well that is the rub now isn’t it? In 2011, falling behind in some games was not wholly unexpected and rallying to win was as though the Heels were playing with house money. This season the stakes are higher and the pressure to perform at a high level from opening tip to final horn is there. Of course there will be games where that doesn’t happen and UNC being down eight at halftime was not a huge problem. In fact, I am sure most of us thought FSU would cool off, UNC would come out with a nice run to tighten the game up and away we would go. That didn’t happen. It didn’t happen by a long shot which brings is back to the first question of poise. It was there last year but this year is missing in a huge way.

Is there an issue with intensity and effort?

Since Roy Williams has said this group is not innately intense the answer to the first part is “possibly.” The answer to the second depends on who you ask. I have made it clear that hesitate to call out players for effort and even intensity for that matter. The reason being is I am not in their heads nor can I totally trust observations made watching a game on television. It doesn’t help when you see two Tar Heels clearly making an effort to get a rebound only to have it bounce just out of their reach to an FSU player who then scored because going for the rebound put said UNC players out of defensive position then have Dick Vitale says UNC wasn’t hustling. I think there was a lot of that in this game. I think UNC was a little flat footed and maybe didn’t fight as much as they needed to on screens or when pressed physically by FSU’s defense. FSU’s physical play was ultimately disruptive with a few potential fouls what went uncalled. This is a group of players who aren’t really intense by nature who played a team that was totally amped up. UNC didn’t match it but in most cases teams who come flying out the gate often cool off as the game goes on. That simply didn’t happen here. Intensity and effort are certainly part of the equation but I am not convinced a majority of it.

So what in the name of Dean Smith was that?

It was just bad basketball pure and simple. Kendall Marshall played absolutely, without a doubt his worst game as a Tar Heel with six points, four assists and SEVEN turnovers. Harrison Barnes was 5-13, 1-4 from three and had five turnovers. John Henson was 5-10 but 0-7 from the line and committed a stupid technical foul. P.J. Hairston was 0-8 on all FGs and 0-7 from three contributing to UNC’s rather putrid 4-21 from three and 37% from the floor. Tyler Zeller was the only player who seeming showed up with 14 points, 14 rebounds and 4 blocks. On the defensive side, stop me if you heard this before: UNC got shredded by the three point shot and had a player who sucked in the four games coming into this one turn in a career day. Yeah, I don’t think it was the effort or the intensity so much as it was a really bad shooting game coupled with terrible defensive execution. If people want to make it about effort and intensity, be my guest but I have seen plenty of teams play with all the effort and intensity there little hearts can muster but still lose because shots didn’t fall or the defense was just bad. Effort and intensity are low hanging fruits on the tree of fan reactions(and player answers to media questions) regardless of whether they fit or not. Why? Because it easier to rail against that than it is against aspects of the game which “just happen.” At any rate, while I think UNC’s effort and intensity didn’t quite match FSU’s it was not as crucial a factor in this game as some think it is.

What now?

Now we really find out what this team is made of and no, a win at Virginia Tech will not necessarily prove that. It will take a fairly sustained effort of several good wins playing quality basketball to bury this game. Roy Williams’ UNC teams have never performed well during the early part of the ACC schedule. The only real concern with this game is the margin by which they lost which leads to a very interesting factoid. The biggest loss ever suffered by a NCAA title team in the seeded era is UNC in 1993. The Heels lost to Wake Forest by 26 in Winston-Salem three days after the now famous comeback against FSU. After losing to Wake(who was unranked at the time) UNC went to Durham and lost by 14 to Duke. That team suffered back-to-back losses by double digits in a year they ultimately won the national title. You can draw your own conclusions on how this loss to FSU compares to Wake Forest in 1993 or Georgia Tech a year ago(I think GT was worse because GT itself was a far worse team, but I digress.) The point is, UNC is not without some history in this regard and while the way this loss unfolded was certain as bad as it could be, it is also may not matter in two months the same way Georgia Tech didn’t last year or Wake did even a month later when UNC beat the Deacs by 14 in Chapel Hill.

So you’re saying there’s a chance?

As much as anyone else has because, more than anything, I am convinced this team can put it together when it needs to. I know this loss stung and fans reacted as fans do. I also know that while Roy might say its on him, the message in the locker room was probably very different. I also think the least panicked people associated with all of this are the head coach and nine regulars on the roster. They are painfully aware of the epic nature of their failure and I don’t think there is should be any concern about their efforts to fix it. This was a perfect storm of bad basketball and all the shooters playing poorly at the same time. If anything, it showed us that this team does not have a wide margin of error nor the consistency in its offensive weapons to endure a bad defensive outing. While the offense is much improved over last year, there are still lapses. In 2009, you had enough firepower to wear teams out, make big plays when needed or simply match an opposing team basket for basket. This team can do that but not nearly as consistently. When this team has offensive lapses and the defense is suspect, the possibility of things getting away in a hurry exists.

As to why a team which should be a Final Four contender would have such a problem is a mystery. The good news is there is plenty of time to fix it. While it is not debatable that Roy hates losing I also am convinced Roy knows how touse a loss to make his team better. This is not the “good loss” theory as much as it is the “make chicken salad out of chicken you-know-what” mode of operation. This is also something that happens in parenting where you decide the best thing for the education of your child is to suffer the full consequences of some questionable choice. In this case and with this group of Tar Heels, tough love may be the best thing for them but again I do think this loss was about bad basketball more so than poor effort.

Either this game is an omen that UNC’s season is heading off the rails leaving national title hopes largely unrealized or will be forgotten by the first weekend in April. I am still betting on the latter and you should too.

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89 comments to Thoughts On UNC’s Debacle in Tallahassee

  • BuonRotto

    THF, I think you have it exactly right.

  • Babyblue2000

    Yesterday’s game just leaves you scratching your head. Coach Williams warned us in his press conference on Friday that his team had been complacent with all those home games. They were not prepared to go on the road in a tough ACC environment and compete. That’s the players’ fault as well as the coaching staff’s.
    Some general observations I made was that 1) Road wins in the ACC don’t come easy. 2) Henson relies on his jump shot too much. In 2008 and 2009, Hansbrough was working on his jumper but only used it in the games when the defense gave it to him. Henson is taking too many questionable jumpers and needs to be more physical and play down low. 3) The bench has been atrocious as of late. Hairston and Bullock live and die by the 3 and lately they’ve been dying… And I have yet to see McAdoo do anything productive vs. anyone other than backups from a weak school.
    There’s so much more I can complain about but to me- I hope this game serves a purpose. To help this team realize they haven’t accomplished anything yet and that there is so much room for improvement. It was a horrible loss but many of us sound like spoiled wives… The husband can do a lot of nice things for days at a time and the one day he screws up, all the good is forgotten and all of the focus is on the negative. I’m confident we will bounce back at Virginia Tech and we’ll look back at this game two and a half months down the road and say “That was the game that helped us get here to New Orleans.”

  • For a team that averages a lot of points we seem to have long periods of offensive futility. It happened in the second half of the Kentucky game. I blamed it on Barnes being in foul trouble, but yesterday I’m wondering if this team has a go to guy when you absolutely need a basket.

    Obviously Barnes is that guy, but we haven’t seen very much of it this season.

  • BoyWilliams

    Every season unfolds like a story — like a good book or movie. There’s no such thing as a great book that doesn’t have some part where you’re like “these people are scr#@ed!” …We’re at that part of the book. …What a read!

  • Sometimes the things we’ve done poorly are the things that keep us up at night. My guess is that the players will remember this game for a long, long time, and will try to make sure that nothing like this ever happens again in their basketball careers. Avalanches happen; you just have to duck and recover. The next stretch of games should be very interesting.

  • chapelhillfan

    Why the urge to try and remove blame from the players and coaches? They stunk. There is no justification for that performance, even with the over-used cliche of “sometimes bad games happen”. Despite the condescending “fans react as fans do”, one reason Carolina athletics is so good is that the Carolina does not tolerate games like yesterday. That said, of course one game does not a season make. We’ll see what this team is made of over the next few weeks. Talent-wise, physically and mentally, I have no doubt this team can win a national title. But,, they now have to prove they have what it takes in their gut and heart. Let’s all hope it was a blip and a wake-up call, and probably something they needed with the way-to-cushy holiday schedule. Go ‘Heels!

  • Heel To The End

    “We didn’t match their intensity,” said Dexter Strickland, junior guard at UNC. “… I think we started to back down.”

    he seems to think it was about intensity.
    and he seems to think they backed down, if not laid down.

    “There is nothing we did better than them. That in itself is truly embarrassing that we gave that effort in such a bad game,” said Kendall Marshall.

    he seems to to think there was a lack of effort.

  • russfuss

    Someone earlier observed/asserted that this year’s edition didn’t, “have the material,” to be a great team. I differ in my view. We do have the material but it is not woven into a sum greater than its parts - or even up to its parts…yet.

    We have threads of gold that, somehow - and kind of like reverse alchemy - have been woven into a fabric of cotton. Soft, pliable cotton! There IS the material but not the master weaver.

    Roy William’s teams have more often than is comfortable come out flat, spotted the opponent 10 points, and only then started answering the call - usually. But not always and certainly not yesterday. It is a pattern just short of a hallmark of this coach’s legacy. Someone else earlier referenced the Kansas debacle in the Final Four. Yesterday was fundamentally a repeat.

    I don’t think Roy knows what to do with or how to utilize Harrison Barnes’ stellar talent as a basketball natural. Rather than design/develop an offense or offensive sets that capitalize on such innate and nascent virtuosity, he tries to force it into the set “system.” Can anyone see Barnes producing so little on any other collage basketball team? He’d be putting other teams in the Top 10, not verging on taking them out of it.

    It’s not the whole story, of course, but what I see in this coach is a singular lack of imagination and creativity. And that cannot be recompensed by “Hard Work.”

    That having been said, I fully expect this squad to go on and compile a winning record deep into the NCAA’s. You may be able to thwart true greatness, but you can’t keep a good team down.
    Go Heels!

  • faustus1500

    I think our go to guy is Zeller. Unfortunately, when Zeller is double teamed who will step up? Barnes is very inconsistent. Strickland and Marshall are not scorers. Off the bench, Hairston has been ice cold the last couple of games. Reggie Bullock is the only other scorer and he hasn’t shooting well either, but at least he brings an effort to rebound.

    Offensively, these guys need to set more picks for Barnes, Strickland, or Marshall. If you give Strickland an inch, he has the speed to blow by almost anyone.

    As for Barnes, if I was Roy I would take him aside and tell him he needs to be tight defensive against three point shooters. Zeller or Henson whoever’s big men is setting the pick should hedge. Of course, this is all dependent on the defensive rotation of the other players on the court.

    I would also tell Henson he needs to work on his post moves and not settling for jumpshots. The way he stayed out of the post on offense makes me believe he hates contact. That is going to be a problem if that continues.

  • 850inExile aka UNC RAJ

    Best case scenario: they just got complacent and over confident after beating a bunch of cupcakes at home due to the worst scheduling idea in the history of UNC basketball(A team that lacks innate intensity needs to be constantly challenged to get, and maintain, its edge) and now they are awake again and will play harder.

    Worst case scenario: they’re just not as good as everybody thought they’d be.

    We’ll just have to wait and see.

  • LarryS

    Excellent summary and analysis, THF, as was your characterization yesterday of the ‘perfect storm’ nature of the game. (That was the same phrase I used with our viewing gang.)

    I doubt that I’ve seen a UNC game where everything went so right for their opponent, and so wrong for the Heels. And yes, I think the margin was what really bothered most folks.

    Going back 20 years, the season’s highest losing margin, by an eventual NCAA champ, was Maryland losing by 21 at Duke in ’01-’02.

    The lowest was a 4-point loss by Duke in their 2-loss 1991-92 championship season .

    And the average highest-margin loss for all the NCAA champs over the last 20 years has been 13 pts.

    So not only do the Heels have to sort of rediscover themselves, but they have quite a statistical trend to overcome.

    But I’ve seen enough good stuff from this team to feel they’re still viable, NC-wise, and though I’m not necessarily treating the FSU game as a complete anomaly, I’m going to have to see more bad stuff from them, coupled with seeing much more improvement from the other contenders, to throw in the towel.

  • Heel To The End

    having said the above, i will maintain that the perimeter D is reason #1 for almost every game we lose or game that is closer than it should be.
    you shouldnt need a game-winning Harrison Barnes basket to beat Miami last year.
    you shouldnt be in a 2 pt game last year to LBS or a close game to LBS this year, especially at home.
    are other teams capable? sure. but we have more talent than 99.9% of teams almost every year. and a HOF coach.

    2:29 in to the game yesterday and youre down 9-2, on a hostile court. players are people. 2:29 in, half the people on the court are thinking “Man, our shots are falling today” and the other half of the people are thinking “Damn, their shots are falling today.”
    the crowd starts to go nuts.
    2:29 in.
    you spend the next 3 1/2 minutes getting the lead down to 2…and give up another 3. and then another 3.

    youre playing from behind, in front of a screaming crowd, the entire game.
    youre Reggie and PJ chucking up 3 pointers like theyre 10-pointers, instead of like theyre calm balanced shots. you dont work the ball around. youre KM trying to make the perfect pass for a perfect layup. youre Henson taking 16 footers instead of getting low and shooting over Gibson or Kreft or James from 2 ft.

    you could argue that almost everything we did poorly stemmed from panic, from playing from behind, from trying to get it all back at once, from playing offense and not defense. by thinking, hey, i’ll sag down on whoever this guy is dribbling the ball and leave my man 15 feet away wide open, because i really think that THIS time i’ll get the turnover and THIS time he’ll miss a wide open 3.

    about 10-12 years ago, i joined a 35 and older league for awhile. the very first game, there i am, a 6’4″ beanpole that almost no one had seen, not even half the guys on my team.
    we played to 31 because there was a 3-pt line.
    i was repeatedly left open because surely THAT GUY couldnt make THAT SHOT.
    i made 7, thats SEVEN, 3-pointers in that first game. all wide open.
    leave a 20-yr old kid who’s far far far more talented than i wide open, and he’s capable of doing the same.

    but hey, you kept Xavier Gibson from torching you from 2.

  • born-n-bred

    Being a lifelong tarheel that was a painful experience to watch. No heart, poor decisions, no defense, and looks like the team gave up when they got down by 20. The season isn’t over by any means. This is obviously a painful lesson for all the players, and for the fans. Maybe people will stop complaining about 25 point wins. Roy will get this team on track. Give him the respect he deserves, just look at the track record… A terrible loss, but not the end of our reign as one of the best in the ACC. No doubt we will be there in the end

  • HTTE,

    I didn’t say it wasn’t a factor I said it was not the whole enchilada. Think about it this way. If UNC matches up FSU opening salvo with a nice run that effectively silences the crowd and pulls FSU down from their adrenaline high do you think that changes the game? UNC missed a lot of shots and committed some pretty boneheaded turnovers which I don’t think have anything to do with intensity.

    The larger question I have is why this group, which had zero trouble recovering from huge deficits last season. It happened at least five times and the still made a game of it.

  • AZACCFan


    You are right.

    Some of this is mental. It is hard to see what is happening off the ball on television and there is no question that some UNC players have trouble when the referees are not protecting them.

    THF does make a strong point by saying that the start of ACC play has always been a tough nut for teams in the Williams era.

    Also, while certain FSU players had career performances, FSU is underrated. Just as UNLV was underrated. Preseason FSU was thought to be an NCAA postseason tournament team. Clearly if they continue to play this way, FSU will have quite the season. It will be interesting to see Duke play at FSU. That game takes place 2/23.

    Panic spread team wide is very tough to overcome in the moment, especially away from home in an environment that is unfamiliar. There was an element of panic in the UNLV game as well.

  • Heel To The End

    you said you werent in their heads.
    so i gave you a piece of their minds.

    i DO think it wouldve changed the game. KM doesnt feel like he has to get it all back with a spectacular pass. PJ doesnt think he has to be the savior off the bench and single-handedly bring the team back from 12 down.
    confidence changes, confidence starts expanding exponentially. you start to do things better, and the other team makes more mistakes trying to keep up.
    even officiating changes when one team is playing with more confidence than the other.

    why this group? thats a mystery. i think its a constant struggle to get elite talent to play like they arent going to win by showing up.

  • Heel To The End

    ^^wont be that interesting, AZ.
    no way, given yesterday’s game, that dook allows themselves to come in unprepared. they may lose, but it wont be by double digits and it wont be giving up 27 3s.

  • LarryS

    “leave a 20-yr old kid who’s far far far more talented than i wide open, and he’s capable of doing the same. ”

    Dulkys was 5/25 from long-range over his last 9 games. Who’s to say those were not all good looks? (And, yes, after about the 4th one I think I would have started giving him a lot more attention, defensively)

    Somtimes a player will just have a career day that hasn’t been done before, nor will be done again……33 minutes of fame.

  • Heel To The End

    you could substitute about 30 names for Dulkys in that sentence over the last few years, Larry.
    this isnt an aberration.
    this is a trend.
    is he more likely to have a career game from wide open or when guarded?
    is Gibson likely to go for 32 against Zeller because you stay with Dulkys or isnt he?

  • Heel To The End

    CM likes to bring up that we win most of these games. why not win more?
    or that there arent that many 35% 3-pt shooters.
    well, we turn multiple opponents INTO 35% 3-pt shooters.

    why cant i see a dejected opposing coach in his postgame saying…
    “they were all over us defensively. they made it tough to shoot the 3, and when we went inside, Zeller and Henson made it extremely difficult.”
    why cant i?
    if you arent going to play straight up tenacious D all over the court with THIS roster, then when are you? who do you have to fear in the paint when you have Zeller and Henson? WHO??
    youve got size at every position.
    if you want to help, at the very least change it up! do it at different stretches. switch on screens during different stretches. surely thats very doable.

  • LarryS

    No, I agree HTTE. There have been many career nights against UNC.

    And it hasn’t usually cost them games. (As was said yesterday, if Dulkys didn’t score a point UNC would have still lost.) In the greater scheme of things, if you make someone like Dulkys beat you, night in and night out, by playing the odds, he won’t do it.

    But, yes, I don’t understand what is being sacrificed, defensively (unless it is rebounding potential), by closing on a long-range shooter and at least make him have to work for a shot.


    “Also, while certain FSU players had career performances, FSU is underrated.”

    Well, it’s easy to say now that they were underrated, overall, but they were certainly given credit for having a top-notch D, and with only a 6.5 pt. spread in this game.

    No one could have predicted their offensive output (or the lack of UNC’s D), and the 20-point loss to Clemson, coupled with the home loss to Princeton, two weeks ago, didn’t exactly give them a lot of credibility to this stage.

    It will be interesting to see how they fare from here out, as far as offensive-defensive balance. I want them to do well for the conference’s sake.

  • Heel To The End

    James and Gibson are never ever ever going to beat you. EVER.
    and Zeller or Henson are never ever going to be 15 ft away from them. the middle is clogged. recovery is easier.
    what in the world are we doing.
    if you give up 1 of every 3 3s, thats a point/possession.
    we’re giving up 24 3s a game, and 7 of the 18 games, the opponent has shot 35% or more.
    leave them with nothing.

  • MCHeelFan

    The most frustrating thing for me is that they just simply QUIT…both the players and the coaching staff. In 2008 they got smoked by Kansas in the tourney. Every thing that could go wrong, did. But that team fought back hard with grit and determination, and almost made a game of it at the end, before running out of steam. This team showed no sign of fighting back…and that worries me. Maybe this will be a learning experience for the team…one that will give them that fight-to-the-death attitude. If anything, it did expose areas that need improving. …and I hope this pain in my gut goes away before March.

  • Heel To The End

    ^its like they thought FSU would just start missing shots for them.
    uh, no. you have to increase your defensive pressure.

  • AZACCFan

    “why this group? thats a mystery. i think its a constant struggle to get elite talent to play like they aren’t going to win by showing up…”

    That mentality has cost this UNC team plenty.

    Barnes has for example said many times how surprised he is by the level of athletic ability in College. I wish they could remember this and respect other teams more.

    Zeller is the only senior regular. He played like a senior and tried to lead by example. He wasn’t demanding the ball on offense, but he did put in consistent effort on defense. Some of the interior struggles he lost were due to lack of help and confidence by FSU.

    Most of these guys are going to have to put in a lot of effort now to get their mojo back. They will have to stop forcing things that just will not work, be it drive, shot or pass.

    FSU plays the same type of screening game every time. Williams acts like they only start thinking about an opponent after the previous game. However, and maybe due to effort, FSU screened UNC consistently. Even on fast breaks. Which is ridiculous.

  • Heel To The End

    Tar Heels coach Roy Williams and his players agreed their faulty perimeter defense was the most important factor in their 90-57 loss against Florida State. The Seminoles made 12 of their 27 3-point attempts.

    Read more here: http://www.newsobserver.com/2012/01/15/1779138/observations.html#storylink=cpy

    i’d be very curious to hear PRECISELY what he thinks the faults were. and whether it was the execution, or the strategy. because if the idea is to help and then rush back out and close on the man you left to keep Gibson from using and abusing Zeller, then i have a problem.

  • AZACCFan

    Another interesting fact about this game:

    UNC was 45% from the free throw line (9/20).

  • Andy In Omaha

    No chemistry or communication out on the floor. You can analyze all of the obvious things until we’re Dook-blue in the face, but I don’t see these guys playing together very well anymore.
    One question…who is the team’s leader? I’m not talking just purely on the floor, but who is our proverbial emotional leader?
    Zeller isn’t vocal enough. Strickland and Marshall seem to be content in their roles and don’t want anything more than what they are now. Barnes and Henson just seem like the praise and accolades have completely gone to their heads. Watts isn’t anywhere near a good enough player to be considered a leader.
    Roy can get on these guys until he ages forty years with every practice and locker room speech, but it ultimately falls on the players. Someone who wears that uniform needs to step up, and needs to do it fast.

  • AZACCFan

    Heel To The End

    UNC seemed mystified by the screening play of FSU. Almost as if they had never seen a screen before. The screen play of FSU is the same they have used in plenty of previous games.

    I thought that the team was finally starting to understand and cope with this part of the game.

    Not yet.

  • MCHeelFan

    ^^The N&O article stated that Strickland showed no signs of being slowed by his ankle sprain. He was OK north and south, but he was a few steps behind his man all game…very unlike him. Don’t know if that had anything to do with the ankle or not??? If it did, why keep him out there, when you can switch off with Bullock and Hairston replacements. Plus they left Dex open at the 3, all game long. But, there were many things about this game that were unlike our team’s previous performances.

  • LarryS

    “Another interesting fact about this game:

    UNC was 45% from the free throw line (9/20)”

    That’s not good. The only good thing is it didn’t cost them the game. (Who knows if it will this year.)

    Take away Henson’s effort (well, not much of one) at the line and UNC shoots 69%.

    If there is game this year, where Henson goes to the line for a 1 and 1, and UNC is down 1 or 2 with 8 seconds left……Ruh roh.

  • Heel To The End

    Henson would be running Kenan steps 7 times.

  • Andy In Omaha

    “we’re giving up 24 3s a game, and 7 of the 18 games, the opponent has shot 35% or more.
    leave them with nothing.”

    To me, this comes down on Roy.
    Roy has to make a choice. He can change his philosiphy on screens and actually switch so someone is contested all the way, or he can go to some sort of zone. Since Roy doesn’t have the word “zone” in his vocabulary, it likely has to be switching on screens.
    Since Roy doesn’t have the word “change” in his vocabulary, we’re back to square one.

  • LarryS

    Are you saying Roy has a limited vocabulary?

    Dadgummit, I suspected that might be one of the problems.

  • MCHeelFan

    Omaha Andy - you make a great point about vocal leader! That is exactly what this team needs and has lacked all year. Zeller definitely shows it on the floor, but is too quiet. I was hoping that Barnes would embrace that role, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. He needs to show it on the floor too, before he’ll command the respect to become the vocal leader. He has the physical talent…i think…but just hasn’t used it to take the game over like last year. He’s always too PC, and needs more attitude (in a good way)…in my opinion. This teams needs some nastiness and grit. The rest of the team will follow his lead…if that ever happens.

  • AZACCFan

    Steve Robinson was Head Coach at Florida State University for five years (1997-2002). It would seem that during and after that time the methods used by the program would be familiar to him.

    Yes time has passed since 2002.

    However, that familiarity should help to prepare against FSU. Scouting them should not be that difficult.

    So it has to come down to education and execution by UNC.

  • UNCfansince76

    By reading each and every post here so far eating lunch, many of u guys seem to think that scores and stats makes a team. This is why we play the game. We lost by 33 points to a team that lost to 2 Ivy League teams. One of which held Fla. St. To 10pts. during one half. Did we run into a perfect storm? No …. we did not respond like a Championship team….PERIOD. everyone is at fault for this loss. From Coaching to every player on that squad. No fire from the bench. No defense during the runs by Fla.St…the squad were not communcating.

    I am sure everyone thought .. yeah we are only down 8 at half…. no worries… but as soon as they dropped 6 quick points what did we do? PANIC. Roy pulled players off the bench to teach Barnes and Dex a lesson? Did we just not come back from the locker room? Did we not adjust the problems? (Cover your man Barnes!) Phrase was never shouted during halftime?
    … this was a horrific game. PERIOD! Yes we gave up during the last 13 minutes of the 2nd half. We lost our chance to come back as soon as Roy took his 2nd timeout in the 2nd half. We had no answer to the way they were playing. Our players did not respond to what Roy was telling them.

    Is there a call for alarm? NO! This team is just not balanced yet. We played a very soft schedule after Kentucky. All those games were practice games like this one should have been. Losing to Fla.St by 33 will forever be on our “stats” but watching the game will always tell the true story. We just played like s**t.

    Go HEELS!

  • TarHeelGreg

    Heel To The End: Exactly… So many times we have given up career games. I always find it remarkable that these guys don’t get their career highs against Southeast Johnston Community College, or whoever, but instead against the University of North Carolina and oftentimes in our own house! Sure, they bring all they can when they see light blue, but the bottom line is it’s allowed to happen.

  • BeachHeel

    While Henson is running the steps in Kenan, they need to send Barnes and Marshall to run with him. All three of them folded under the physical pressure. I don’t think it is as much an effort issue as it is an attitude issue. This team needs to find a fighter’s mentality. Even if shots are not falling, there is no excuse for getting outrebounded, or turning the ball over 22 times, or allowing uncontested shots. They must maintain their poise, stop looking at the refs, and take the attitude that they are not going to shrink from a physical contest. In such games they have to box out harder, set harder screens, refuse to be screened, be stronger with the ball, and more aggressive to the rim. It also helps if you can make a stinking free throw. Other teams come into games now brimming with confidence because they know if they play physical they have a chance to win. This team needs to show that they can give as good as they take to stop this. If they need a lesson all they have to do is watch tape of this game and follow FSU’s lead.

  • LarryS

    My characterization of a perfect storm was basically meant in the context of a rare set of events that combine to produce a rather dramatic outcome.

    For example, UNC had its worst shooting, and worst defending, game of the season, it gave up 90 points to a FSU team who reached that total for the first time this year and only 4 times in the previous 3 seasons, it had 20-plus TO’s for the first time this year, and Kendall Marshall had more TO’s than assists for only the 4th time in his 55 games and the first time this season. I could go on.

    But if one really wanted to simplify things, saying they played like s**t would do nicely.

  • abacoguy

    I hope that this is a defining moment for OUR team. This is without question a talented team which has provided us great pleasure and pride. We have an outstanding coach in Roy Williams who has proven to be a winner. However, one lesson that this team can learn is to avoid over confidence, no matter who they may play. Another lesson that can be learned is that every team, even great teams, will have periods of adversity (shots don’t fall - other team’s shot do fall) and when that happens, great players go back to basics (defense, screen setting) rather than trying forindividual heroics. Hard work, perseverance, and teamwork will prevail. Put FSU in the rearview and drill the Turkeys. GO HEELS!

  • rathskellar68

    I respectfully dissent.

    A number of commenters (and THF) have explained the outcome as the result of a “perfect storm” or an “avalanche.” The very use of such comparisons to natural disasters with no human causation is a tip-off about what we are avoiding. So does the view that it was “panic,” which likewise seeks to portray the players as victims rather than actors. Similarly with the nostrum, repeated here in many forms, that “things like this happen.” The problem with that one is (a) it’s false — nothing this bad has happened in the Williams era, and almost nothing even close to as bad; and (b) even if it were true, it EXPLAINS nothing. It is, instead, a truism with the ironic defect of being false.

    The first thing we need to do is not sugarcoat what we saw yesterday. What we saw was a disgrace. It was the basketball version of our bowl game against Missouri, or the NCSU game, only worse. It was worse because (a) it was more lopsided and (b) it was nationally telecast on ESPN, whereas (justifiably) next to nobody was interested in, or watched, the bowl embarrassment.

    The next thing we need to do is try to think through the specific reasons for what happened, not just describe it and think that the description is an analysis.

    The the third thing we should do is steer clear of the temptation to push past it by saying some version of, “We’ll see what they’re really made of when _____ (fill in the blank with “the next game” or “the rest of the season” or “the ACCT.)”

    Ladies and gentlemen, we have ALREADY SEEN what they’re made of. We have seen it in the prior 17 games this season and the last half of last season, when (except for the subs) we were playing the same group. Trying to shift attention to the opaque future is, in my view, simply another way (like the use of the natural disaster metaphors) of avoiding a detailed, and obviously quite unpleasant, inspection of the last 24 hours.

    So what, indeed, are they’re made of?

    They’re a group with exceptional talent, good character and discipline, with one critical weakness. They lack physical strength, bulk and meanness, and when confronted by teams with these things, they wilt. We saw this earlier this season in the UNLV game. The only real difference is that UNLV did not have a three point shooter who was in the twilight zone.

    It seems to me that what many of us are doing in the wake of our disappointment and anger is trying to ascribe the outcome to things that can be fixed — better intensity, better perimeter defense, more focus and maturity from Henson and Barnes. Those prescriptions are tempting because they seem more likely to be within our grasp, whereas the real problem — lack of muscle and meanness — is less so. We can re-arrange the defense, but we can’t dial up Julius Peppers and put him out on the floor.

    The way the college game is played now requires a physicality we don’t have. We have everything else. There is nothing wrong with our players’ hearts. Henson could use more maturity, yes, but I’d settle for 30 more pounds. I won’t get it, not this season, and therein lies the true limitation on our March and April prospects.

  • LarryS

    “The way the college game is played now requires a physicality we don’t have. We have everything else. There is nothing wrong with our players’ hearts. Henson could use more maturity, yes, but I’d settle for 30 more pounds. I won’t get it, not this season, and therein lies the true limitation on our March and April prospects.”

    Well, if this is your main criterion then you probably should include Kentucky, as well, since their physical make up, man for man, is practically the same as UNC’s.

    As far as UNC wilting in the face of more physically aggressive teams, I think the verdict is far from being in on that, and it would be a mistake to think that the way they play in this area is unlikely to change.

    Zeller, Bullock, and Hairston are already doing a good job in this repsect, and I know others are capable, so let’s see how this last half of the season plays out.

  • What happened with OUR team yesterday will keep most of us tuned in closely for the next several games. It is, indeed, much like a novel and we have to read what happens next. Of course, surely OUR team will bounce right back. Too much talent, but they better wake up.
    More irritating was some of the behavior on this board. Several of us were just chattering along when someone told us we didn’t know what we were talking about. When we pressed for an explanation we were vehemently told off. Not once, but several times. We were told “FU” and worse, we were called State fans. GASP! Somewhere in there, the moderator threaten to shut down the board. Now I don’t attack other peoples’ opinions. In fact I enjoy reading what they are thinking whether or not I agree. Nothing wrong with some banter… but you are asking for it when you get on here and start telling off everyone like you’re the King of Kings. In the spirit of unity, how about we all be Rodney King and “just get along”?

  • rathskellar68

    “Well, if this is your main criterion then you probably should include Kentucky, as well, since their physical make up, man for man, is practically the same as UNC’s.”

    I don’t recall excluding Kentucky — not that it makes any difference, since Kentucky hasn’t lost to anyone by 33 points. It is the result UNC saw yesterday, not one that Kentucky may or may not encounter, that needs explaining.

    “As far as UNC wilting in the face of more physically aggressive teams, I think the verdict is far from being in on that, and it would be a mistake to think that the way they play in this area is unlikely to change.”

    The single best indicator of the future (although obviously not unerring) is what has happened in the immediate past. And I never said that the verdict is in; I said a lot of evidence is in, which you do not deny.

    “Zeller, Bullock, and Hairston are already doing a good job in this repsect, and I know others are capable, so let’s see how this last half of the season plays out.”

    They are not doing a good ENOUGH job, as yesterday and the UNLV game showed — not good enough for tournament-level competition. We won’t be playing Monmouth in the NCAAT.

  • Moustache

    Exactly, rathskellar68.

    I’m mystified as to why so many fans, and seemingly all of the players, are acting like this is something that passively happened to the players, as though they had no agency in how they played yesterday.

    It defies logic. So does the extent of homerism on the part of some fans and the lack of pride on the part of most players.

  • abacoguy

    My friend Rathskellar,

    You say that we lacked meanness and bulk while touting our exceptional talent and discipline. I’ve been following the tar heels since the tin can and Dean’s lynching in effigy and have come to the belief that exceptional talent and discipline is the better combination. Yes, we have exceptional talent but clearly lost composure due to shock which led to a loss of confidence and therefore a loss discipline. That’s the sum of it. Harrison Barnes now must lead by example, score and defend. John Henson must attack the basket and block shots. The perimeter must be defended. This team has the talent and the heart to do what is necessary to succeed.

  • “I’m mystified as to why so many fans, and seemingly all of the players, are acting like this is something that passively happened to the players, as though they had no agency in how they played yesterday.”

    Who is acting like that? They played like crap. We know that. They know that. It’s on them. It’s on Roy and it will be up to all of them to fix it.

  • Moustache

    read half of the comments…on this and the previous thread.

    read the article I and others have posted quoting the players.

    Whether or not they understand that the garbage they put out on the court yesterday was fully THEIR responsibility, and not some act of nature that fell down upon them, is yet to be seen.

    As you and others have indicated, the loss at FSU yesterday wasn’t the issue; I agree. It was the lack of discipline and pride that is so shameful. Many on the team and this thread disagree.

  • I am not sure how much stock I’d put in what they say publicly. There is no Danny Green on this roster who is prone to tell you what’s really going on. I wouldn’t take Roy’s falling on his own sword routine as anything either though I do find it curious there were times with the 2007-09 group he made very pointed public comments about them but has largely opted to guard this group in front of the media.

  • 850inExile aka UNC RAJ

    They’ve played like crap several times over the last two and half seasons. A lot of the guys on this team were also on the same team that gave Roy Williams his previous “worst loss since coming to UNC”. And, of course there was the Ga Tech game last year. The players know they played like crap - I don’t doubt that. What I don’t understand is why, after having played like crap so many times over the last two and half season more people on this team haven’t decided that they are tired of it and are not going to let it happen again. Seems like Zeller has, but he looks like the only one. I wonder if some of the rest of the guys have just gotten so used to being embarrassed that they’ve reached the point where it doesn’t bother them anymore - or at least it doesn’t bother them enough to make them change.

  • Moustache

    Good points there, THF…I think you’re right; perhaps Roy is also keen on how mentally fragile/weak this squad is, especially compared to previous excellent squads.

  • BeachHeel

    “Zeller, Bullock, and Hairston are already doing a good job in this repsect, and I know others are capable, so let’s see how this last half of the season plays out.”

    “They are not doing a good ENOUGH job, as yesterday and the UNLV game showed — not good enough for tournament-level competition.”

    I think you can add Strickland to the list of players who are already doing a good job in displaying what I earlier called a “fighter’s mentality”. Zeller, for one has shown much improvement in this regard since the UNLV game. I am sure they will all continue to improve in that regard. We need for Barnes, Henson, Marshall, and McAdoo to do the same. It is about not being intimidated or rattled by a physically aggressive team; and keeping your poise and fundamentals while returning their intensity and aggression. It is about wanting to draw the foul, take the charge, set the hard screen; and not being unwilling or hesitant to play to contact. They are certainly talented enough and more than physically able to execute. It is all about their attitude, and I have faith that Roy can instill the attitude necessary to win physical games.

  • LarryS

    “All in all, we have what it takes to hang another NCAA championship banner from the Dean Dome rafters.”


    “They’re a group with exceptional talent, good character and discipline, with one critical weakness. They lack physical strength, bulk and meanness, and when confronted by teams with these things, they wilt. We saw this earlier this season in the UNLV game.”

    “I won’t get it, not this season, and therein lies the true limitation on our March and April prospects.”



    So which is it, Rath? Did the FSU game change everything from 10 days ago ?

  • hubie_4_3

    More than effort and intensity I would say it was a lack of focus. Barnes had plenty of intensity when he bowled over a guy at halfcourt who had just stripped him for a stupid foul. That’s intense, but not focused. Same for Henson when he played good D and got rewarded w/ a crap call…then made a bonehead move by swatting at the ball after the whistle.

    We also were unfocused on weakside blockout assignments and our 3-point shooters forgot how to ball fake and got rejected on a few occasions by FSU’s smaller players. FSU was extremely focused the entire game and never took their foot off the pedal. We should take notes.

  • 850inExile aka UNC RAJ

    The starters on the ’05 team had to endure the debacle of 8-20 (among other things). The guys on the ’09 squad had the drubbing by KU to endure. Seems like both squads used those past experiences as motivation to make sure that they were never badly beaten again. I’m still waiting for that same switch to go off with the guys on this team. I’m also growing less optimistic that it ever will.

  • gso_tarheel

    The main factor was intensity. The players said it and any honest fan could see it. That is why the stats are so bad. It is not that they just had an off-night shooting for example. Maybe they did, but you are never going to shoot well when your head is not in the game.

    The margin was NOT the main issue I had with this game. It was there visible lack of intensity. Of course, had we played with reasonable intensity, we would not have lost by 33 anyway.

  • faustus1500

    For this team to be dominant, they need to have all parts working perfectly. This not team like the 2009 team where Hansbrough can be on the bench and the Heels could beat a pseudo No.1 seed like Oklahoma.

    I think we can all agree that UNC is the only program which consistently has WTF games every year. We can’t compare this game to Georgia Tech because we had a scapegoat for that implosion. Who do have for yesterday? Barnes at both ends of the court? Henson for not being tough enough? Marshall for losing composure? Hairston for not being able to hit the broadside of a barn? There are too many negatives here.

    Personally, I would like to see Barnes and Henson benched to start out the VT game, not as punishment but as a teaching moment. Offense may be an issue but I believe Bullock can step up defensively. I would ask Barnes to focus on what Bullock is doing defensively.

  • AZACCFan

    Given that most of the primary players on this team were there last year, the experiences of last year should motivate them.

    The two previous losses should motivate them.

    Getting hit by a speeding freight train yesterday should motivate them.

    No one questions that there is ample talent and aside from some ankle sprains (which could have a factor for Strickland as he certainly was not his usual self) there are no significant injuries.

    Having experienced this sort of loss myself, it is really tough to turn things around. The only way to do it is one step at a time. They have to stay in control and win the battles one possession at a time.

    Hopefully they will grasp that it is not just going to happen by showing up. Humiliation is even worse when you start repeating it.

    I thought that the positive way the team had been starting halves was an indication that they would not let another game get away.

    I think the closest parallel to the FSU game was the 2008 NCAA Kansas game. Great players with a full season and most of the NCAA tournament behind them gave a woeful display and were drubbed royally within the first ten minutes. They did mount a comeback in the second half, which did not really happen yesterday. It was a similar result and certainly remained very much on the minds of the players as they entered 2009.

  • Moustache

    “I think the closest parallel to the FSU game was the 2008 NCAA Kansas game.”

    Slight difference: FSU won’t win the national title this year.

    just like every other embarrassing game folks have been referencing the last 24 hours, the level of competition is quite different from those examples to what happened yesterday.

  • AZACCFan

    The primary similarity is that UNC played very far below the level anticipated. FSU and UNLV are better teams than advertised this year. KU remains a clear top ten team, although they have had few away games yet.

    The phenomenon of this sort of game is the issue rather than which specific team and point of the season.

    If FSU plays like they did yesterday for the rest of the year then there is going to be a serious competition for ACC honors.

    UVa, NCSU and Duke also are no pushovers. They will get better and it is certain that this loss will be on their minds.

    The upcoming VT game speaks for itself.

  • AZACCFan


    Williams said pre-FSU that he was really impressed with how Hairston was shooting the ball in practice.

    Obviously the coaches evaluate all the players at practice.

    Marshall tweeted that his family was going to be at the FSU game.

    WTF is right!

  • faustus1500

    ^ I have no problem with Hairston shooting threes but I wish his offensive role was not limited to that. He is Carolina’s most athletic wing. He should be allowed to use his abilities to attack the rim.

  • AZACCFan

    I suspect that the coaches sent Hairston in to shoot 3s with that specific direction.

    He certainly shot some. He does contribute more when he moves around. I would much rather see him have a shot from 3 feet blocked than one from 22 feet. He always brings plenty of energy and a little Tasmanian Devil as well.

  • LarryS

    “Williams said pre-FSU that he was really impressed with how Hairston was shooting the ball in practice.”

    Leonard Hamilton said the same thing about Dulkys, but that he had been having a hard time bringing it to the game before yesterday.

    I don’t doubt a freshman like PJ will be inconsistent, particularly when you get into conference play, with the games getting tougher, and taking on more meaning.

    I’d also like to see him be more versatile in his shot repertoire, and he will be, over time, when he learns to pick his spots, finish at the rim, and avoid charges. Right now his biggest asset is from beyond the arc.

  • partsman5521

    I’m surprised nobody has said anything about a timeout. Maybe that is what this team needs to settle down when they are rattled. I know it’s not in Roy’s mindset but he can’t keep sitting back thinking they would play better. I think he also needs to tell Hairston not to shoot the ball unless there is less that 5 seconds on the shotclock. They last few games he’s played, he shoots no matter where he’s at, as soon as he touches the ball.

  • rathskellar68

    LarryS -

    When a critical weakness previously somewhat obsured by extrinsic evidence, a few weeks’ time and a fat winning record shows up in bold relief, as happened yesterday, it will count for more with those who keep an open mind. Yes, I plead guilty to that.

    The notion, which seems to have some appeal to you, that we can alleviate what happened at FSU by being determined to be cheerful is, with all respect, not one I share. All the fan optimism in the world isn’t going to turn Barnes into Julius Peppers or Henson into Sean May.

  • Moustache

    +1, rathskellar68.


    juice boxes and trophies for all!

    little Johnny Henson gets two juice boxes, because he’s a widdle bit upset.

  • thewizard50

    Larry has it right. They are weak and leaderless. A “go to guy”? What a joke. The lack of meanness is what is missing - that and pure leadership on the floor. Oh to have another Julius Peppers, Marvin Williams or George Lynch - guys who could deliver a “Message to Garcia!”

  • Moustache

    just because:



  • LarryS

    “The notion, which seems to have some appeal to you, that we can alleviate what happened at FSU by being determined to be cheerful is, with all respect, not one I share.”

    No one could ever accuse you being determined to be cheerful, but being cheerful has nothing to do with how I approach it.

    What I’m saying is this teams’ personality it not etched in stone because of yesterday’s game, or games leading up to it. It’s entirely possible for them to build up a new momentum, and an improved focus, based on things that can turn any sports team around.

    And I couldn’t disagree any more strongly that not having a Julius Peppers-type strongman is what’s holding them back, and will be the obstacle to their NCAAT hopes. This team has what it needs: athletes, shooters, playmakers, quick finishers, and skilled tall guys. I’m just looking for energy and proper execution on both ends of the floor. Everything else will take care of itself.

  • BuonRotto

    THF above: exactly again.

    I’ll just add that I don’t think it’s really feasible for them to match the intensity of FSU when it’s the ESPN Gameday circus on campus, and they punched UNC in the mouth early. What good road teams do is either punch first, or survive the initial onslaught and *bring down* the intensity of the other team to a level they can compete on. So no, they didn’t match the intensity of FSU, as Dickie V likes to harp on. (I can’t help but think he wasn’t really thinking much and just phoned in a critique he (rightfully) gave UNC before when he did the 2010 Duke game at Cameron. In that game, they really did give up.) I don’t think that was the problem though. That was the effect of not executing in all its facets. It was a downward spiral of bad play that only served to invigorate FSU, so there was no farking way they could match their intensity.

  • BuonRotto

    rath and ‘stache: anyone less doom and gloom is mischaracterized as “determined to be cheerful” or, God forbid, “optmistic”. SRSLY? O_o

    Binary thinking is your cage.

  • Moustache

    Binary thinking is one of the things I loathe most, hence why I bristle at the characterization of anyone not willing to be 100% rosy about the team as “doom and gloom” and “negative” and “not supporting the team”.

    It runs both ways, sport.

  • hubie_4_3

    On the needing muscle in the paint: I miss Peppers too but last time I checked Barnes is one of the bigger wings in the league. When he went into F.U. mode against Texas he was getting offensive boards and ripping them from opposing big men. Zeller got 14 boards yesterday and he’s started actually timing his jumps and squeezing the orange. Most of Henson’s lapses are not from getting pushed but from being too lazy to block out. Reggie and PJ are huge guards and good rebounders. Outside MSU I don’t think there are many teams who “should” be able to push us around (save Henson), at least collectively.

  • rathskellar68

    BuonRotto -

    “rath and ‘stache: anyone less doom and gloom is mischaracterized as ‘determined to be cheerful’ or, God forbid, ‘optmistic’. SRSLY? O_o”

    Could you point out to me where I purported to address “anyone” with a cheerful attitude? I believe I was addressing a specific, individual commenter, but if you know differently, I will stand to be corrected.

    After that, could you point out to me where I was promoting “doom and gloom?” No you won’t, because I said nothing of the kind. Indeed I said the opposite — that we’re a really good team with one serious flaw.

    The problem here, Buon, is not commenters with whom you disagree, and still less is it commenters whose views you distort in order to create strawmen. The problem is that our team embarrassed itself on national TV. The enemy is not concern; the enemy is, as Roy presciently noted, complacency.

  • teddyjackeddy

    Reality = right now we are just NOT a good team. Can we become a good team , of course but can we become a final 4 team? I am really worried on that one. Its one thing to get blown out by a great team , it is a another all together to get blown out by a team as mediocre as this FSU team. I mean come on , we usually are hurt by athletic and quick teams. Have we seen 2 less athletic guards than Loucks and Dulkys?? Our offense is really struggling right now and the defense lets a team without a single go to scorer/shot creator put up 90 points??

  • carolinablue74

    I would just like to add one point here. A few weeks ago N&O had a story about the memo left by an opposing team. One of the points in that memo was that neither Zeller nor Henson likes to play a physical game. Henson was asked about it to which he said something like “Thank god basketball is not football.” Well, with an attitude like that no wonder teams are making it physical.

    Bernard set the tone by shoving Henson to the ground, to which Henson did not respond and a personal foul was called on Bernard. It’s little things like that which sets the tone of the game. FSU wanted to make it a nasty physical game for the three starters, and they did.

    As for the rest, Dex and Marshall had plenty of open shots and driving lanes, but none of them can finish through traffic or are confident shooters. That in a nutshell is the problem of this team.

    Other than two guy (Barnes and Zeller) none among the starters can go off for 20+ points on a reliable basis. Essentially the team fields 3 scorers on the starting line-up, and the whole team offense is run through the center, with no screen-and-rolls, or screens for shooters, or anything really.

    To tell the truth this is as much a misgiving of the coach as the team in general. One dimensional coaching and strategy is bound to end up badly, especially when the personnel are not there to execute it. Frankly, as I see this team now their ceiling is really the same as last year, either Sweet Sixteen, or Elite Eight if they are lucky.

  • jumpman23

    Roy should go to wal-mart and buy some white t-shirts and put their numbers on with a black sharpie. They don’t deserve their names on the back right now and surely don’t deserve to wear the name on the front. He should make them run til they puke and practice in those white t’s all week. The first time they wear a jersey is Thursday night-and only the players that practice hard and act like they have a set.

  • You guys need to stop with your critiques on what these players deserve or have earned. First of all, that’s not your call to make. Secondly, I am pretty sure they have earned the right to wear the uniform and one bad game certainly doesn’t take that away. Their investment mentally and physically in practice and in games is far above and beyond what any of us put into the fortunes of this team. You guys act like none of you have a bad day at the office or in your life in general where maybe you don’t give something its full attention or make a series of mistakes. Maybe you don’t deserve to have your spouse/car/house/job as a result?

    Bottom line is there are consequences for these guys. Roy will see to that and if anything the ultimate consequence will be not reaching their goals that will certainly suck more for them than any of us.

  • [...] From Tar Heel Fan: The only real concern with this game is the margin by which they lost which leads to a very interesting factoid. The biggest loss ever suffered by a NCAA title team in the seeded era is UNC in 1993. The Heels lost to Wake Forest by 26 in Winston-Salem three days after the now famous comeback against FSU. After losing to Wake(who was unranked at the time) UNC went to Durham and lost by 14 to Duke. That team suffered back-to-back losses by double digits in a year they ultimately won the national title. [...]

  • jumpman23


    I respect you opinion, so respect mine. It’s my opinion, nothing else and it really doesn’t matter to UNC or Roy what I think. But it’s an absolute honor, a privilege to wear North Carolina across your chest. The least they can do is play defense, hustle and act like they give a crap. They looked like they were showing up to play a rec league game where all the teams go to Pizza Hut after the game. Come on man, they’ve got to do better. Do we all have bad days, yeah, but I don’t leave everything I’ve got in the closet and just show up for something. I think some of these guys have their eyes on the NBA already and their minds just aren’t focused. Roy better get them focused quick or they’ll be out of the tourney watching Duke in the Final Four.

  • It is an honor and you don’t think these guys don’t know it? You don’t think they have more invested and at risk than any of us? I am sick of this effort/intensity meme popping up every time the team doesn’t play up to the standard of a bunch of arm chair coaches who have no idea what’s like to walk in these guys’ shoes.

    Again, they played like crap. It’s okay to be upset with it but this constantly judging what’s in their heads, their motivations and their level of intensity watching from home on TV is getting really old.

  • UNCmonkey

    geez - let’s not eat our own here folks. I know it stinks - we got the crap kicked out of us. And I know we all have our own opinions about why and how and what it means and what we saw - but you know what? None of it makes a d*mn bit of difference to how this team plays, how they played, or how they are gonna play - so if ya gotta get it off your chest and vent then do so, but there’s no reason to lob embittered, vitriolic barbs at each other.

    There’s not any one thing that any of us can say that would “undo” the awfulness that was on Saturday. And it’s not any one of the many topics covered here that caused the undoing - rather a combination of pretty much all of that. It’s not excuses to say it was a “perfect storm” - it WAS. Now that in no way makes it OK - I’m not trying to gloss it over like they had no hand in creating it or that they had no means of counter-acting it once it began, but it was the perfect storm of bad things going badly for us and good things going greatly for them. Inherent in that IMO is an admission of absolute culpability - no one could possibly be more aware of their own failure and lack of execution than the players and coaches on the team. no one. As far as their comments about effort and intensity - I think that’s the player version of ‘coach-speak’ - players are trained (whether consciously or unconsciously) to stick to the script when it comes to press conference questions - for one it helps produce ambiguous non-answer answers to satisfy, if only for a moment, open-ended media questions that typically plague post-loss news pressers, and 2 - it keeps players from accidentally divulging intimate information or unintentionally creating tension on a squad by saying something they shouldn’t - (i.e. -”well I was really trying hard but dufus-face over there couldn’t throw it in the ocean so…”)

    I really do think it’s time to move on though - the 24hr rule, like Ray Lewis says -” win, lose, or draw - 24hrs and its on the the next one…” How much can be gained by breaking this thing down any further?

  • scl11

    Sorry THF I disagree. Yes, playing like crap and the other team playing above their heads, happens and it leads to losses. But that does not lead to 33 POINT losses, especially when the losing team is the MORE TALENTED team by a mile. That type of loss is driven by a lack of effort, heart, or quitting (whichever explanation you prefer). Shots not falling and “it’s just one of those nights” explains a loss to a less talented team in their building. But losing by 33 POINTS is only explained by the teams lack of effort because missed shots do not prevent you from fighting through screens, or boxing out, or running hard cuts on offense, or setting hard screens for a teammate. That is all EFFORT and has ZERO correlation to missing shots, being careless with the ball, or the other team getting hot.

    If Dulky’s was falling out of bounds with a hand in his face on his 8 made 3 pointers, then you could call it just one of those days. Or if James was jumping over Henson’s back for rebounds that should have been called fouls then you could call it one of those days. Or if the team was setting solid screens to get a teammate open and open shots were just missed then we can just call it a crappy day at the office.

    Saturday’s result was a lack of effort and fight from this group, and Roy should address practices as such. And I think you are out of bounds saying it is inappropriate for posters to suggest such things as removing jerseys, etc. As anyone who has played sports knows, nothing is out of bounds when addressing a lack of effort. Those jersey’s are not just earned from past performance in practice and games like a tenured professor, they are earned by a daily display of effort and sacrifice. Yes these players have sacrificed alot, but that does not exempt them from continuing to display that same sacrifice going forward to earn the privilege of wearing a Carolina Jersey. Because it is indeed privilege not a right to wear a University of North Carolina jersey. And the EFFORT on Saturday was not reflective of that privilege.

    Couple more points:
    “I don’t think Roy knows what to do with or how to utilize Harrison Barnes’ stellar talent as a basketball natural. Rather than design/develop an offense or offensive sets that capitalize on such innate and nascent virtuosity, he tries to force it into the set “system.” Can anyone see Barnes producing so little on any other collage basketball team? He’d be putting other teams in the Top 10, not verging on taking them out of it.”

    I could not disagree more with this statement. Barnes misses more layups than any potential lottery pick in history. Furthermore, outside of running specific sets for Barnes, Roy also gives Barnes more clear outs with the ball than any player I can remember in UNC history. The problem is Barnes’s handle is not strong enough to get to the basket without losing the ball, plus HB settles for too many pull up jumpers to avoid contact and alot of times has his head down on the drives and misses open teammates. Barnes has a great skill set and probably is amazing in a gym shooting by himself, but up to this point he still does not know how to score well against contact and if the jumper is not falling he becomes a much less threat with his poor ball handling skills to get to the basket.

    Finally, how come we don’t hear praise for Roy’s TIMEOUTS. He called a timeout during a second half run with 46 seconds to go to a TV timeout. And I’m just shocked that this timeout didn’t stop the onslaught because we know calling a timeout is all that it takes, not improved play from the players on the court.

  • Moustache

    The implication by some that “we don’t know what’s going on in the heads of the players” indicates that you who make that assertion DO indeed know.

    How can you be so convinced of their effort and pride etc while at the same time insisting that those who disagree with you don’t know what’s going on in their heads? You see the contradiction in that? If we don’t know, you don’t know either.

    And if I put forth that kind of effort at my job, I’d be fired, or at least I should be. You can have a bad day and still fight.

    There was no fight (save Zeller) on Saturday, and THAT’S the beef some of us have. It’s not about the losing, it’s about the ********** lollygagging and evident lack of pride.

    The fact that they volunteered their time to work with Special Olympians (a laudable thing) doesn’t change that.

  • I’ve taken the necessary “cooling off” period before responding. Also, I have not read a single comment above. So if I am saying what has already been said, I apologize. Unless the news missed it, the sky didn’t fall in Chapel Hill. I know there are folks all over the ledges, but surprisingly I am not one of them. Concerned? Maybe a little. Frustrated? Probably more than concerned. I have a really hard time understanding how this team “struggles” at times. There is so much talent and yet we’re playing with the rest of the pack. Even the National media is as stunned as we are.

    My frustration starts right at the top with Roy. I know he said “it’s my fault” to protect his team, but I think he’s probably right. It’s been beat like a dead horse, but nothing frustrates me more than to watch this team unravel and him sit there with his chin firmly planted in the palm of his hand like a fan that paid for a good seat. Call a timeout. Break a clipboard. Get “T’d” up, throw a chair. Hit a fan…do SOMETHING to show your team some emotion. I know, I know, he gets all kinds of worked up to where he almost passes out. But all too often he sits and watches as they go down in flames. No timeout. No come to Jesus meeting. Just send in 5 other guys and get the same result.

    Zeller came to play. Period.

    Barnes still puzzles me. This was the POTY candidate? I get it. Bad shooting night. Again. If this guy really wants a jersey in the rafters, at what point does he start playing that way? The dribble he worked so hard on this summer still doesn’t show. His “calm demeanor” looks more and more like indifference. His stock continues to drop while players not nearly as talented continue to rise. It’s time for Barnes to be THE MAN on this team. It really is.

    James Michael MacAdoo came in with huge expectations. Is it just me or can this guy just not finish? Gets hands on a lot of loose balls. Rebounds but does not finish. His free throw shooting seems to also be atrocious.

    Speaking of free throws, John Henson is inexcusable. We saw him make them at the end of the year. As long as his name isn’t Plumlee, he needs to start knocking those down. He’s done some great things this year, but this is one that can be corrected. We know he can do it.

    Marshall just had a bad game in the midst of a perfect storm.

    Dex might have been dealing with a bad wheel. I’m willing to give him a pass.

    Final point is that we have seen this movie before. UNLV exposed it. All of the teams we’ve played since then got the same open looks at the 3-Point line, the just didn’t make them. Again I go to Roy. He’s got to adjust. He’s got to get this team to A) close out on 3 point shooters and B) learn to beat the zone. Otherwise, it will be a disappointing year in Chapel Hill when whatever state beats us because Joey whatever got hot from 3.

    Sorry for the length.

  • scl11

    “My frustration starts right at the top with Roy. I know he said “it’s my fault” to protect his team, but I think he’s probably right. It’s been beat like a dead horse, but nothing frustrates me more than to watch this team unravel and him sit there with his chin firmly planted in the palm of his hand like a fan that paid for a good seat. Call a timeout. Break a clipboard.”

    Uh, he did at the 16:46 mark of the 2nd half (only 46 seconds prior to a TV Timeout), and guess what happened it got worse. Which only proves (again) that performance on the court is the only thing that stops a run, not calling a f&cking timeout. Maybe it makes everyone feel better that the coach calling a timeout shows the coach saying “hey, I’m trying something”, but there is ZERO proof that calling a timeout improves the performance on the court or stops an opponent’s run. But we continue to see it as the #1 complaint about Roy, evidently even in games when he calls a timeout, priceless.

  • Moustache

    just to clarify, the vulgarity that was out in my previous post was a synonym of 50% of a donkey.

    that’s it.

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