Kansas 70 UNC 58

Jamie Squire

The Tar Heels fail to take advantage of a poor shooting half from Kansas before getting overwhelmed after intermission.

North Carolina shot 22-73 or 30% from the floor in this game.

And I really could stop there and save you the time of reading anything else.

Yes, there were some poor shots taken at times but let's remember Kansas is also the #1 team in the country for FG% defense. So for all the talk about Roy Williams' coaching, also known as the simplistic way out for the average fan, the Tar Heels lost this game because they didn't make shots. James Michael McAdoo was 5-19, P.J. Hairston was 6-17(3-9 from three) and Reggie Bullock was 1-6(1-4 from three.) That is UNC's three best offensive weapons who all need to hit shots and play well for the Tar Heels to succeed against a #1 seeded team. That trio ended up 12-42. So people can talk about coaching, officiating, the de facto home game for Kansas, etc, etc, etc. In the end North Carolina missed too many shots and that is why they lost.

Secondary to the lack of points being scored was the fact Kansas play to their strengths in the second half and destroyed UNC on the interior. The smaller lineup is especially vulnerable to a team with quality big men and Kansas had that. Despite that, the Heels battled for boards in the first half, created turnovers and generally did a good job of holding the Jayhawks in check. In the second half, Kansas imposed their will on the Tar Heels in a manner that is was nearly impossible for UNC to combat. They started hitting threes and pounded the ball inside. The only hope UNC had was to keep pace offensively which it simply was unable to do.

In the end, it was a bridge too far and despite being nearly dead in the water mid-season, a lineup shift by Roy Williams changed the season for the better. The Heels end up 25-11 for the year and overall it was not a bad season. It certainly wasn't 2010 which is where many thought it might be heading. In the end, McAdoo didn't quite live up to the billing. If he had then certainly things would have been different since Bullock and Hairston largely did do what was expected of them. Marcus Paige matured as the season progressed and that is a huge confidence boost when looking at next season.

It also marks the end of Dexter Strickland's career. Strickland has been everything you want from a Tar Heel player off the court. When he was on the floor with a very talented teammates prior to his ACL tear, he was extremely effective. He knew his role and excelled at it. This season he did a lot of good things and did some things that make you scratch your head. I think that is owed to UNC not having enough options to allow him to flourish in a secondary role. In short he was trying to do more, possibly beyond his skill set. Personally I think should get more appreciation than fans will show him or at the very least should not have his career at UNC defined by one season.

Now comes the wait for McAdoo, Bullock and Hairston to make up their minds about what they want to do next. None of three gave a clue in postgame interviews what they were thinking. Losing two or all three would be a disaster Getting two or all three back would certainly set the team up to build off this season assuming the incoming recruits and the rising sophomore class can take some developmental leaps forward.

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