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Credit Where Credit Is Due

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Andy Staples at SI.com properly credits Roy Williams with the decision to hold Ty Lawson out until the 2nd Round of the NCAA Tournament.


Some wondered how a jammed big toe could sideline someone during such a critical stretch. North Carolina coach Roy Williams did not. His decision to hold Lawson out of the ACC tourney and the Tar Heels' first-round win against Radford may have been the most important any coach made during the tourney season. That call ensured North Carolina's most important player would be healthy enough to last five more games. With Lawson at the helm, Carolina buzzsawed through the field and capped their season by hammering Michigan State in the national title game on Monday.

When Roy decided to hold Lawson out for the ACC Tournament it was essentially the same as going all in during a game of poker.  Of course Lawson was physically unable to play but still Roy was the one running the show on when his point guard would return.  Had UNC lost the NCAA Tournament they would have left the table with nothing but the ACC regular season title, good but not great.  It is a good thing Roy is a better gambler in his coaching decisions than he is playing craps. The decision proved to be the correct one.  The Heels may have lost in Atlanta but it ensured Lawson would be ready for a long tournament run. At the end of the day, Lawson was the key to UNC winning their fifth NCAA title and for all the trouble we, the fans, give Roy it should be noted he made a lot of right moves during the run to Detroit.  His lineup moves were good, especially employing more Ed Davis when needed.  At the same time, Deon Thompson played huge in the title game validating to some extent Roy's confidence in continuing to start him.  And if I am not mistaken Roy was not afraid to use timeouts versus LSU, Gonzaga and Oklahoma to stem a run by the opposing team.

I had a Duke fan in my office say that UNC was disrespecting the ACC and "not caring" about the conference by basically blowing off the ACC Tournament.  Well, no disrespect for the ACC intended but tell me who had the better season come April: UNC or Duke? I think we all know the answer to that one.