Sunday, March 25, 2012

Why UNC lost (and it wasn't just missing Kendall)

So the Tar Heels' season ended Sunday in the Elite Eight with a closer-than-it-sounded-but-still-very-painful 80-67 loss to Kansas.

Kansas scored the game's final 12 points, breaking open what had been a very good game until the final three minutes. Then it turned nightmarish -- coach Roy Williams used the word "panic" to describe his club in his postgame news conference. Which sounded about right, as one late possession after another ended up in a bad shot or a turnover.

So why did UNC lose? I wasn't in St. Louis -- just watching from home like most of yall -- but here's my take:

1) Kendall Marshall's absence. It wasn't the only reason -- and Kansas certainly might have beaten the Tar Heels anyway -- but it was very big. I don't blame this loss on Stilman White -- the guy had 13 assists and zero turnovers in two games in St. Louis when thrust into a difficult situation. But he was no scoring threat whatsoever, and while that's not White's fault, it hurt.

2) Harrison Barnes' lack of offense. Barnes, simply, wasn't what he needed to be against Kansas. The Tar Heels survived his 3-for-16 off night against Ohio -- barely -- but couldn't do it again vs. a much better Kansas team (Barnes was 5-for-14 and scored 13 points). When Barnes is 8 for 30 combined over 2 games, that doesn't cut it. Whether that was his last game as a Tar Heel remains to be determined.

3) Thomas Robinson and Jeff Withey. While Robinson gets the headlines and scores more, Withey is Kansas's John Henson -- a shot-blocking threat at all times. He altered several shots, blocked a couple late (while he had four fouls) and had a great weekend. Withey had blocked 10 shots Friday night against N.C. State. They both thoroughly out-rebounded UNC's big men -- UNC's leading rebounder was Reggie Bullock (7), and that doesn't have anything to do with who your point guard is.

4) John Henson's ankle. After hurting his ankle during the game, Henson seemed pretty ineffective on offense (while still OK on defense). He mostly seemed to want to launch 18-footers, which look pretty when they go in but really isn't the shot the Tar Heels want. UNC got outrebounded in the game as Henson and Tyler Zeller simply couldn't do their volleyball act on the offensive boards nearly enough (see reason No.3 as to why). Henson only had 10 points, four rebounds and zero free throws attempted.

5) Second-half shooting. The Tar Heels were on fire in the first half, which ended at 47-all. They shot over 60 percent in the first half and then a horrid 7-for-31 (22.6 percent) in the second. Particularly from three-point range they were awful in the second half. They ended up 11.8 percent from three-point range for the game (an all-time NCAA tournament low for them).

6) Bill Self. Hey, the guy can flat-out coach. He has done one of the best jobs in the country again this season.

There's no coincidence as to why Kansas keeps ending the NCAA dreams of teams from North Carolina (Davidson and UNC in 2008, State and UNC in a 3-day span this year). He got his Jayhawks to guard better in the second half and he goes to another Final Four, while the Tar Heels go home wondering what would have happened had Marshall not fractured that wrist.

Note to faithful "Scott Says" readers: I appreciate very much you so often checking in on this blog and making it one of the most popular, week after week, at The Observer's website. I am off this coming week and will return on Monday, April 2nd, with more posts. Thanks.


Anonymous said...

Why all the threes in the 2nd half vs. going inside when NC had the bigger team?

Anonymous said...

Enjoy your time off Scott, I will miss reading your blogs.

Anonymous said...

Number 6 is the biggest reason. And I'll say what Scott won't say but surely means by including it. Bill Self outcoached Roy Williams from the get go. Hard to believe that KU fans are still upset at Roy for leaving, as they clearly upgraded at the head coaching position.

Anonymous said...

Most KU fans are over the Roy thing.

Getting to the final 4 is all they care about.

Anonymous said...

3 things for unc fans:
1. Coach K > Dean forever
2. Kansas > unc
3. Kansas fans said unc can keep Roy...they would rather WIN.

Anonymous said...

This UNC-CH team has five or six NBA players. One gets hurt and Roy can't win against a KU team that most gave no chance of making the Final Four. Self is not a great coach. He has coached a couple of early exits after very successful regular seasons. Roy is just a worse coach.

Reid said...

At anon 9:39,
1. Dean (.776) > Coach K (.762)
2. UNC (6)>KU (5)
3. Roy (2) > Bill (1),

Anonymous said...

Roy Williams- 2 NCAA Titles
Bill Self- 1 NCAA title

Roy Williams- Over 600 wins at both schools with over .800% winning percentage
Bill Self- Who knows, who cares?

Roy Williams- Hall of Fame Inductee
Bill Self- No Hall of Fame inductee

Enough said!!!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Live in Kansas, and use to live in Charlotte for 15 years. Son born a
Tarheel, goes to KU. Mom went to High School with Dean Smith.
All I can say.. is. UNC is a heck of a team and played an excellent game.
KU is good, but not as deep as UNC and Self IS A methodical,calm coach.
No one blames Roy for going back to UNC, its a heck of a program.
Great Game, great states and Kansans would rather play UNC anytime than anyone else,because both states have great programs-
where else can 2 states have 3 teams in the Tournament.
What a heck of a game.

Anonymous said...

Stilman White seems like a nice guy but am I the only one wondering how he even has a scholarship to play hoops at UNC? Everyone is breathless in their praise for his 13 assists and that is fine, but it is hard to imagine that there is not a better point guard out there somewhere who is willing to "ride the pine" just to wear the Carolina blue and white.

tarfooot said...

UNC lost the game and hats off to KU;. No excuses here. Kendall hope your wrist gets better for the rest of your future. I know you fought hard this week to come back from a horrible and cheapshot injury. You were truly missed this weekend. JH hope your wrist and ankle recovers. You fought through a lot as well.

Anonymous said...

The Tarheels have three guards on the bench with injuries, Marshall (Starter-Wrist), Strickland (Backup-ACL), McDonald (Soph, 2 guard-ACL) then the headcase Larry Drew left during the season last year. Roy picked up Stillman White in the Spring of last years to fill a hole, which he did well.

Anonymous said...

Point guards have to be able to do more than dribble and distribute the ball. They are expected to add points. And where were Zeller's points? At one phase of the game, he made no contribution on offense except to KU. Barnes did pop one every now and then, but Zeller was atrociously bad on offense. Team was just not able to overcome the loss of Marshall and a healthy Henson, but they did well as a team for all but the last 3 minutes.

Anonymous said...

At Reid...
1. Dean (879) < Coach K (927)
2. UNC (67)< KU (80)
3. Roy (0) < Bill (2 putout wins over unc in NCAA tourney),

Don't worry Reid, you can still wear your MANLY baby blue with pride...oh wait...

Dean Smith center naming rights have been bought by Bill Self, since he now OWNS Tarheel basketball!!!

Anonymous said...

Every UNC fan went into this game knowing that it was the tarheel's game to lose. 3 of their top players go down and another is injured constantly. Its almost as if KU played our second string with the exception of zeller. I'm not even going to mention barnes' lack of scoring in the tournament.

blew said...

Roy was outcoached

Anonymous said...

Scott should have added that roy williams had no answer for the triangle and two that self went to midway through the 2nd half.I think it's more that roy is a good recruiter and bad coach than it is self being a good coach.

Anonymous said...

I remember hearing all the preseason hype about this UNC team, how they might go 16-0 in ACC conference games, how anything short of a national title would be failure.

Haha, I love it when UNC fans declare their team preseason national champions, then don't even make the Final 4

Anonymous said...

This week special at Wal-mart: 2012 NCAA National Champion Tarheel basketball t-shirts $12.99 - now reduced to $0.99.

Anonymous said...

Our season ended in the elite 8 KU's will end in the Final Four. The only thing that matters is winning the tournament not how far you go.

Anonymous said...

UNC went deeper in the tourney than DUKE or STATE...we can still hang a banner for that!

Anonymous said...

^At the hating Anon's

UNC was a title contender pre-season because it still had everyone healthy. Then McDonald tore his ACL right before the season started (6th man and clutch shooter), Strickland in Jan (starting guard/backup pointguard) and we STILL had talent enough to get a #1 seed and be strong contenders. Then Henson hurt his wrist, and of course, Marshall. So, in summation: we played the last half of the season without 2 of our top 6 players, then in the tournament without 3, and 1 and 80% (at BEST) and STILL made it to the Elite 8. If anything, this team exceeded expectations.
Take out the most important player (the Marshall) of any other team, and they're lost. Don't even get me started on how they would have fared (even Kentucky) with similar injuries. No one is as deep as UNC was this year, they accomplished so much in terms of adversity. Kansas fans...great game, but you didn't beat the Tar Heel squad that was supposed to go all the way. I'm sorry but this is not some big accomplishment.
This will forever be the "what if" season, and it sucks, but don't blame it on the squad, the coach, or anything other than bad luck.

Aaron P. said...

To whoever says a point guard should have to score is an IDIOT, a true point guard (Marshall in most causes) should know how, when, and can get an offensive player the ball to score. Stillman played as a true point guard in every game he played in at the end of the season +33 efficiency agaisnt Ohio, and 13 assists against KU, as a freshman who sat the bench most of the season, did what he was supposed to do. A 2 GUARD is a point guard that should be able to score and handle the ball and also play the small forward position at times. UNC had their chance but with shot-blocking Henson, and distributor Marshall hurt, and without a offensive presence from Barnes, they were hurting. Zeller played his heart out in his final games as a Senior at Chapel Hill, he did what had to be done, along with Stillman, but Barnes didnt step up to the challenge and struggled like he had his freshman year. Great season by North Carolina, big fan, and good luck to Kansas but they wont beat a team thats playing as well as OSU.

Anonymous said...

The article/blog should simple read "the 11 reasons UNC lost."

and then just list Stillman White, #11.

What a puny man, literally, and so inexperienced and clueless at this level. Time to transfer to Div III.

Anonymous said...

Oh, how easy it is for the sky blue tried-and-true to overlook the real reason for this loss and dozens of others like it - past and future. Ol' Roy is the best recruiting coach in the ACC, bar none. However, Ol' Roy ain't much of a coaching coach. He doesn't prepare the team well; he doesn't motivate the team well; and he doesn't adjust well in games. He's like Tates Lock said of Lefty Dreisell years ago, "The key to beating Maryland is just to stay close until there's 2 minutes left in the game, and then outcoach Lefty." With Roy, the letdown begins with the opening tipoff. UNC needs a Dean clone, not a Dean assistant.

Anonymous said...

Congrats to a team that accomplished none of its goals this year!!!

Undefeated at home = FAIL

ACC Champs = FAIL

Win season series vs. Dook = FAIL

Final Four = FAIL

National Championship = FAIL

2012 Tar Heels = FAIL

Anonymous said...

One of the reasons UNCheat lost was because they did not have the ACC refs to call the game for them. How many times does Zeller get called for fouling in an ACC game? Not many!

TC said...

Anonymous at 8:26 AM....... You`re an uneducated,vulgar jerk!

Anonymous said...

By the way, you would think a team with 3 All-Acc players would at least win the NCAA champsionship! That was a farce of a list!!

Anonymous said...

UNC will OWN Dook and NC State AGAIN next year...remember that 18 point BEATDOWN in Durham? Austin going pro...Barnes, Marshall, and Henson will be back since their NBA stock has them at the end of the 1st round right now. NC State...don't get me started on those clowns...holla!

Anonymous said...

Barnes and Henson are obviously gone...but in Tar Heel Delusional Dreamland, fine...bring those clowns back!

Henson: 2-5 vs. Dook
Barnes: 2-3 vs. Dook
Marshall: 2-3 vs. Dook
Strickland: 1-5 vs. Dook

Anonymous said...

To every Walmarter who crowned UNC "2012 NCAA Champs" before the season began, I say F.A.I.L.

Btw, how funny was it when Tar Heel alum/Olympic disgrace Larry Brown was seen rooting for the JAYHAWKS??

Jason said...

It was a great game and I bet Tar Heel fans enjoyed watching that team this season (I always look for out of town media to read about my Jayhawks as you don't have to deal with Missouri Tigers fans or reporters with their heads up Bill Self's rear end).

I think the first half showed just how good both teams were and that Coach Self just got the job done in the second half. I watched Roy for 15 years so I have seen him do the same thing more than a handful of times. These Jayhawks get things done with tough defense like I haven't seen in a long time.

There are a few loud types who need to grow up but I think most Kansas fans have let go of Roy. Yeah, our feelings were hurt so we really wanted to stick it to him in 2008. Being honest. But inside we know why he left, were glad he won his national title, and even pull for his teams (at least since 2008).

I understand why HE doesn't want to play Kansas every year. I even agree that it would be impossible to walk into Allen Fieldhouse as a visiting coach. I hope someday he'll be up for a neutral site game though. I love playing Duke, Kentucky, UCLA, Michigan State, and even Indiana when they are good. The history makes the stories that much better (and they're needed even more now that Missouri bolted to the SEC).

I saw two UNC games this year and while I think Kansas' coaching and front court shined yesterday, I wonder if #1 wasn't a bigger reason. Been bit by the injury bug before but that Kendall Marshall is something else. Would love to see him vs. the Jayhawk D!

Anonymous said...

Remember when Barnes and Kyrie Irving came in last year as the top players in America? Wonder which guys is panning out better, lol...

Onus is on Harrison Barnes...what a disappointment. All that hype...2 years and not even a sniff of a Final Four.

Fortunately, he went to a school that hangs everything from 3rd place NIT finishes to Roy's golf scores in the rafters.

Anonymous said...

Quote: "One of the reasons UNCheat lost was because they did not have the ACC refs to call the game for them."

DING DING DING! Winner Winner Chicken Dinner!!!

Anonymous said...

NC had a great year and had the weapons to beat KU even without Kendall. KU played tough, congrats to them.

Larry Brown has been with the team (KU) for most of the year.

The few KU fans still upset that Williams left are the one's you hear complaining about it.

Anonymous said...

We was robbed. It aint fair to make UNC play a game when our point guard is hurt. The NCAA hates UNC they should have postponed the tournment a weak.

coache said...

absolutely clueless as to why carolina did not jam the ball into the blocks in both guys can be proper and say all the nice things you want but zellar did not fightto get the ball onthe blocks in either game this weekend. you guys want tell the truth, but he should have stood up and said i will taake us home, get me the ball...he was not the man, he did not want to be the man,,,,looked like he merely wanted to be a part of the system.

Anonymous said...

Roy has 2 National Championships to Bills 1!! Roy is hands down the best recruiter in the country and is one of the top 4 coaches in all of Basketball, pro's included!!

Anonymous said...

It's time for Roy to go. he can't consistently beat Dook and I think no one would disagree that he's one of the worst game coaches of all time.

I don't blame White for losing the game but I do blame Roy for re-inserting him at the 5 min mark when McAdoo and Watts had helped leave the comeback. And Kansas easily shot over him and threw the ball in inside with ease all game. You could see that the TEAM shut down on Roy when he put White back in. And that vote of NO CONFIDENCE in his coaching was confirmed when Barnes/Henson/Marshall ALL opted for the NBA.

Rememebr the last 2 chmpionships were won because he had Felton/may and Hansborough/Lawson as players who refused to let his idiot game coaching lose those games. At one point May refused to come out of a game. They shut down on Roy at the end and left him to let "Scooter White" his boy win it.

And if Roy can't take his timeouts to his grave then maybe to his next job.

He was a whiner at Kansas and now he's an arrogant prima donna.

Eddie B
class '74