Well it is over.
UNC made a good run through the NIT. The season had been so disappointing and the ride this team went on was encouraging to watch. As I said in the game thread, what has happened over the past few weeks has been about giving confidence to the players returning for next season. An NIT Championship would have been a nice ending to the season but as Roy Williams said his "dreams and goals are not to play in the NIT." The impact of these five games on next season will hopefully reap benefits down the road. At the end of the day this NIT run salvaged something usable from a season that felt fairly useless.
As for the game, UNC could not score often enough or get a stop when they needed it. Well except for Will Graves who did his best Wayne Ellington/Danny Green impersonation. I really, really hope he brings games like this more consistently next season. On three occasions in the 2nd half UNC closed to within two and then gave up a three. They simply could not get the push they needed to get over the hump, something we have seen many times before this season. And the number of defensive rebounds that simply could not be corralled was shocking to say the least. The return of the inexplicable turnovers and the failure to control the glass really hurt but what was more damaging was giving up three pointers when a stop might have afforded the opportunity to regain the lead. Considering how poorly Dayton shot the ball in the 2nd half, giving up those threes was even more frustrating.
This game concludes the careers of Deon Thompson and Marcus Ginyard who won't be around to kick around anymore. I, for one, would like to express my appreciation to them for representing UNC and giving what they could over the past 4-5 years. In the end, they were both role players who simply could not make the transition to go to guys. It simply was not in their makeup or game to do so. They are still good kids and to them I say thanks for wearing the uniform.
Harrison Barnes, Reggie Bullock, Kendall Marshall? Come on down.