"The fat lady ain't singing but she is humming like hell"
-Arkansas coach Nolan Richardson during the 1995 NCAA Tournament
If the loss at Georgia Tech did not do this season in, then losing to a team that has defeats to Harvard and Maine on their schedule dropping the Heels to 3-9 in the ACC would most certainly do the trick. During the postgame we got the first acknowledgment from the players and coaching staff that winning the ACC Tournament is the only path to the NCAA Tournament for this team and barring the NCAA restoring the eligibility of Ty Lawson, Wayne Ellington and Brandan Wright, that is not likely to happen.
In terms of this game, it was one like the loss at Virginia Tech where UNC played well enough but still made enough mistakes during which they allowed Boston College to go on an 18-7 to assume control of the game. From there it was UNC trying to make plays to get back over the hump but coming up short. Overall, it was a better effort but many of the same issues still cropped up. UNC only committed 11 turnovers but some of them were as head scratching as how lint ends up in your belly button. Tyler Zeller twice threw the ball away completely unforced by the defense. Larry Drew continues to have trouble finding that point where he should stop penetration in order to make a good decision with the ball. Also, the shooting continues to be bad. As a team UNC shot 39% but worse than that Deon Thompson and Tyler Zeller were a combined 8-25 from the floor. John Henson managed a respectable 5-10 but overall the interior shooting was awful. I am less antsy if your perimeter shooting is cold like that but shots in the paint should pull a higher percentage yet that is not the case for UNC.
At this point it has finally dawned on me how wrong we all have been in trying to figure this team out. Some blame the PG. Some blame the guards in general. Others of you harp on the game coaching, player effort, weak interior play, poor offensive execution, turnovers, porous defense and too much use of Twitter. Guess what? It is everything. A team that is 14-13 is and 3-9 in the ACC has a litany of issues not just one or two. If it were just Drew's play or how Roy handles the personnel or timeouts then we would be partying like it is 1999. Instead it is a cross between 2002 and 2003. So we can certainly sit around and draw a bead on one issue over the other but in the final analysis what ever scapegoat we have decide to beat with a rake handle today is only part of the epic fail this season has been. Yes, one position, such as PG, can be a poison to the whole system but just because said poison causes paralysis in the hand doesn't mean the hand was all that great to begin with. As I said 14-13 teams don't get to be there because of one or two issues. It is widespread and complicated further by the injuries and that is really all there is to it.
Speaking of injuries. David Wear apparently hurt his hip and only played eight minutes. Tyler Zeller returned and while he was a bit rusty and did not shoot well, Zeller did manage eight trips to the FT line and grabbed seven boards, six of them offensive. Zeller also had two blocks. I would like to think that had Zeller stayed healthy he could have been a huge plus alongside Ed Davis. I would not go as far as to try and quantify how many wins Zeller might have been worth. I would have liked to at least gone through the season with him in there to see if it mattered.
And Roy is basically saying what most of us have been feeling much of the season:
I feel like that’s a bunch of B.S. By golly, if you’re going to be a basketball player, be that. If you’re going to be afraid, come over there and sit down. I tried to be a psychologist for half the year, now it’s just, ‘You’ve got to get it done.
Heels get FSU next. Anyone want to lay odds on who Ryan Reid ends up injuring his time?