Stop me if you've heard this one before.
As with all of UNC's high profile losses, Roy Williams is catching heat over his coaching decisions. "Roy got outcoached" has become the go to move for fans and national media types alike. Taking the shot for the media is Yahoo's Pat Forde who says Bill Self outcoached Roy and also doesn't have to answer questions about his predecessor at Kansas anymore. Why Self was still answering questions about Roy is beyond me given he beat Roy in 2008 and won the national championship. However one cannot underestimate the need of the national media to flog a talking point until it is truly dead mainly because doing otherwise would require some creativity on their part. Anyway, Forde, who spent the better part of the weekend throwing dirt on UNC's grave after the loss of Kendall Marshall not wants to conveniently ignore Marshall's important in expecting Roy Williams to come up with a solution for Kansas' triangle and two defense.
Forde's main premise is Roy's assertion that Kansas only used the defense for a couple of possessions when in actuality the Jayhawks used it for most of the last ten minutes of the second half. Did Roy misspeak? Did he really not know Kansas was in a triangle and two? If he did why didn't he adjust? Maybe someone can ask Roy that question tonight on his radio show tonight. I do know CBS' color analyst Steve Kerr didn't point out Kansas was using until much later in the game. Based on UNC player comments, they were not prepared to see a triangle and two defense and had not seen one all season. The triangle and two is referred to colloquially as a "junk defense" mainly because no one uses it unless they are simply throwing stuff at the wall to see what sticks. In this case, it worked because UNC needed three(or more) shooters on the court or a point guard who could penetrate but didn't have either. Did Roy make a mistake in how UNC handled what Kansas was doing on defense? Maybe but it is important to remember UNC's ability to execute much of anything outside of the simplest offensive sets was compromised by having Stilman White out there. As well as White played there limitations to what he could do and his ability to break down the opposing defense. If Kendall Marshall were on the court it gives you three shooters and a point guard capable of probing the defense until he found an opening. Without him, beating a defense no one had seen before was going to be a tall task not to mention Kansas played a great game.
The problem with the "Roy got outcoached" narrative is I hear it far too often from both fans and the media. It is brought up so much in response to losses whether it is true or not that I quit listening to it a long time ago. Roy is not perfect and every coach in the NCAA gets outmaneuvered by someone at some point. In this case, UNC had massive personnel deficiencies compromising UNC's ability to do anything as the level they are accustomed. Blaming Roy for his coaching when UNC was operating shorthanded in the most important position on the court seems like a pointless exercise. Given the loss of Marshall UNC did a great job staying in the game for 35 minutes but in the end Kansas was simply able to make plays while UNC shot a school record low for a half in the NCAA Tournament. Roy could have very well come up short on his end but playing without Marshall with John Henson gimpy and the team shooting 2-for-17 from three I am not convinced it much matters.
Yes it would have been nice if UNC had pulled this one out but given UNC was playing the game with a point guard whose offer list was Utah State and BYU before UNC game along, Roy's coaching seems to be down the list on factors why UNC lost.
Additional point: @DukeHoopBlog on Twitter noted that in all likelihood Roy was simply being dismissive of the question about the triangle and two. That would not be the first time Roy has done that in a press conference, especially one as emotional as this one where he may not have been focused on the details. As DHB points out, maybe you can draw conclusions from the actual game but the comment from Roy tells you little.