This is silly season material at its finest.
Former Wisconsin AD Pat Richter is apparently upset that Wisconsin has to travel to UNC for the first ever ACC-Big Ten Challenge between the two schools and it's all Roy's fault!
Former University of Wisconsin athletic director Pat Richter is miffed at the timing and location of the Badgers' first-ever matchup against North Carolina in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge, and it's safe to assume he and Tar Heels coach Roy Williams aren't exchanging Christmas cards.
In comments taped for his weekly radio show on WTLX-FM/100.5 and made public in advance of air time, Richter takes the Challenge's scheduling process to task. And he asserts that Williams, who remains an unpopular character locally a decade after ripping the Badgers' style of play in their 2000 Final Four appearance, "won't come to Madison" and ensures that aim by unduly influencing the decision-makers at ESPN and the respective conferences.
Wow, that's quite an assertion there Pat. Care to offer some real evidence that Roy Williams influenced the process or do you just want throw crap out there and see if it sticks? I was not privy to the process but I can reasonably assume how UNC ended up with Wisconsin in Chapel Hill. Based on the probable rankings of teams next season, UNC was looking at two possibilities for its Challenge matchup: Ohio St. and Wisconsin. Why? Because ESPN wants games pitting good teams against each other. Something to do with ratings I think or common sense, possibly both. It was my understanding based on something I had read a few weeks back that Ohio St. was getting their Challenge game at home which pretty much eliminated them as UNC's opponent since (1) UNC was on the road last season at Illinois and (2) the Heels already have five games away from Chapel Hill including one at Kentucky. Adding a game on the home court of a top five opponent would have been insane. Also note that Wisconsin has played two straight Challenge games at home versus Duke in 2009 and NC State 2010 which they both won in convincing fashion. So if the organizers concluded that UNC and Wisconsin should play then it was going to be in Chapel Hill because Wisconsin had already played two straight home games versus ACC schools. Not to mention, UNC, like any other school, would love to bring in a quality team for a primetime game because it is financially beneficial to do so. It is rare for UNC to not play at least one quality team in Chapel Hill on the non-conference slate. For this season it is Wisconsin.
Moving right along here, why does Richter think Roy doesn't want to come to Wisconsin?
"It still is a joke," said Richter, whose full comments can be heard Wednesday at 6 p.m. on WTLX. "I know darn well that you'll never get Roy Williams here. He won't come to Wisconsin; he's afraid the people are going to boo him and everything else. I think that's all bogus."
Richter notes that after the UW-UNC matchup was bypassed in the first 12 editions of the Challenge, it finally comes to pass at a time when a loaded North Carolina team will open the season in the Top 5; ESPN.com senior college basketball analyst Andy Katz slotted the Tar Heels at No. 1 in his recent rankings.
Where to begin. First of all, to cite the bypassing of the UNC-UW matchup for the entire length of the Challenge(12 years) make zero sense. Roy Williams' first game in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge came in 2003. UNC beat Illinois in Greensboro. In the first four editions of the Challenge, Roy was still at Kansas so whether UNC played Wisconsin or not had nothing to do with him. In fact you know who was AD at Wisconsin during most of that span? Pat Richter! If playing UNC was such a big freaking deal why didn't it happen then? Just to be clear here. From 1999-2004, Richter was the AD at Wisconsin during most of that time Roy was not at UNC. So who should at least take some blame for UW never playing UNC?
Once Roy arrived in Chapel Hill, he probably had no control over the first game. The 2004 matchup at Indiana was a homecoming game for Sean May. In 2005, there was a rematch of the April title game between UNC and Illinois. In 2006 UNC got Ohio St since both were Final Four contenders. The 2007 game was a return date to Columbus. In 2008 UNC played Michigan St at Ford Field as a warmup for the Final Four and in 2009 Michigan St. returned the date in Chapel Hill which was also a rematch of the April NCAA title game. At this point I suppose you could argue that maybe UNC could have played the 2010 game at UW instead of Illinois but I am also not sure how much UNC's putrid 2009-10 season didn't have something to do with that. In other words, there are various ways to explain why UNC has never played UW until now and none of them have anything to do with Roy Williams.
However, in Richter's mind, UNC only agreed to the game now because they are completely loaded.
"They should have been at our place a long time ago and it never happened," said Richter, who was UW's athletic director when the Challenge originated in 1999 and remained in that role until his retirement in 2004.
"And here we go again — we've got to go down there when they're supposed to have all these horses back, and it's going to be a tough road for us. Who's going to benefit but Roy Williams?"
Seriously? Hey, Pat have you seen the preseason rankings for UNC since Roy has been in Chapel Hill? UNC is always loaded. The notable exceptions are 2006 and 2010 which were both transitions seasons after a national title and the 2006 team ended up being top ten. The 2011 team was more of mystery though most people considered that team to also be a top ten team and that is where they ended up. If you want to argue UNC ducked UW last season please do. I for one will enjoy watching you spin like a top in a pool of your own stupidity. Had UNC been mediocre for several seasons and not played UW then opted to play them this season when they are ranked #1, Richter might be on to something but that has not been the case.
Now you might be asking, what crawl up Richter's sphincter to set him off about Roy? I am so glad you asked.
It's clear that Richter still harbors some ill will toward Williams due to comments the then-Kansas coach made after the Jayhawks defeated UCLA 99-98 in the Coaches vs. Cancer tournament in New York City to open the 2000-01 season.Williams said: "Are you going to tell me you don't like this more than 19-17 at halftime? I'm not a nuclear physicist, but you make the choice. We're trying to make it a game of basketball skills, not a weight room contest."
The 19-17 reference was directed at the halftime score of the Badgers' NCAA semifinal against Michigan State the previous spring, a physical and admittedly not pretty game between two familiar foes that the Spartans won en route to the national title. The statement was viewed as a slap in the face to UW and coach Dick Bennett, whose Final Four appearance was the crowning moment of his career.
Williams was soundly booed in 2002 when he was introduced at the Kohl Center during the Jayhawks' games there as part of the NCAA Midwest Regional, which they won. He hasn't returned since then.
First of all, Roy is on record as saying he likes playing in hostile environments. He believes it is good for the team. Granted Roy also needs people to like him(hence the Jayhawk sticker in 2008) but I doubt that would have been the case here. Secondly, Roy was right. Wisconsin plays a putrid style of basketball. I understand they have their reasons for playing that way. Recruiting to Madison is a tough chore so if you don't get your run of elite athletes you have to use a style that maximizes what you've got. That doesn't mean it is enjoyable to watch because it isn't. I want to see points on the scoreboard. I want to see great athletes running the court, making spectacular passes on the fast break leading to incredible feats of athletic prowess. If I want to see excessive ball movement with little scoring I would watch more soccer. Did Roy single out Wisconsin for that style of play? I guess because a 19-17 halftime score in a Final Four is quite a startling number. Not to mention former Badger coach Dick Bennett is one of the chief peddlers of this
crap slower style of basketball. Bo Ryan follows right in his footsteps as does Bennett's son Tony who is at Virginia. Prior to that Tony Bennet coached Washington St., UNC's opponent in the 2008 Sweet Sixteen. UNC's solution for the slow tempo in that one was quite simple: Beat the crap of them. I imagine that is going to be the same plan for November 30th, 2011 in Chapel Hill. If not to prove a point about style but for this over the line statement.
"There are times we should have had them at our place, and it never happened," Richter said. "And I think Roy Williams squeals. He's never really had to pay his dues, so to speak, like a Bo Ryan and Dick Bennett."
If Richter means torturing yourself and everyone around you with a style of basketball that makes the eyes of grown men bleed, then no, Roy has not paid his dues. If you mean not winning championships and having very little success in the NCAA Tournament then Richter is correct, Roy has not paid his dues. However given Roy's story of going from high school coach in Asheville to selling calendars out of his car to stay on staff at UNC to full time assistant coach to taking over at Kansas on a gamble by the AD is well known, I would honestly think twice about saying the man hasn't paid his dues.
Besides sounding like a bitter person clinging a bit too tightly to a grudge, Richter's statements add a little spice to the game versus Wisconsin and liven up the boring offseason for a day anyway. Otherwise they are completely worthless.