Well, that was an abject disaster.
It didn't start out that way. It didn't start well, mind you. Florida State shot very well from the start, hitting three of their first five threes. Still UNC was only down two before the Seminoles had an 8-0 run started on a pair of Deividas Dulkys threes. But again, UNC wasn't in significant danger. Sure, John Henson was missing free throws at a truly amazing clip, and the team was scoreless for the final three minutes, but the halftime stats didn't look that bad. Down eight, and beginning to find their rhythm, Carolina was primed for a good second half.
They didn't get one.
UNC came out in the second half and just fell flat. The Heels started with a Kendall Marshall turnover, two points from John Henson, and rushed Hairston three attempt, followed by six misses and three turnovers. Meanwhile, FSU was slowly sinking shots and drawing fouls. And the bigger the lead got, the more UNC panicked, starting with Marshall. He had eight shots, a total matched only by the UNLV game, and they were just as rushed and unsuccessful here as they were in Vegas. And once the lead got truly out of control, the Heels had to try a lot of threes. That turned out to be less than fruitful, as Carolina hit only 4 of their 21 attempts from behind the arc. It served as a stark contrast to FSU's Deividas Dulkys, who was having a much better night.
In my preview, my entire mention of Dulkys was as follows:
As the team's best defender, Dulkys' job might be safe, but it's rare he's truly an offensive threat, despite having 17 points in his last meeting with the Heels.
That was accurate. Dulkys was averaging a little over six points a game. He'd finish with 32, including 8 of 10 three pointers. FSU did a great job of moving the ball, using perimeter screens and quick passes to find him at the most inconvenient times. He was critical in keeping UNC on the ropes once the lead got truly ugly, but you can't blame him alone for this disaster. More worrisome was the Heels' own loss of composure. UNC was pushed around a bit inside, and handled it poorly. Henson was whistled for a stupid technical foul after slapping a dead ball away, and almost picked up a second after being tangled up with Okaro White.
White had a good game as well, gaining significant time with Xavier Gibson's foul trouble. Working with Bernard James, the two out rebounded UNC's own front line, being especially effective against Henson. The 6'11" big man was limited to only three boards, and had much more trouble with the physical play than Tyler Zeller did. In fact Tyler Zeller was the lone bright point in todays play, finishing with 14 points, 14 rebounds, and four blocks. There's a reason he had more playing time than anyone else on the floor.
We're now left with the worst loss of Roy Williams' tenure in Chapel Hill, topping even the Duke game that closed out the 2010 season. None of UNC's championship teams have ever been beaten this badly, and how this team recovers will go along way towards writing their future. Me, I think they'll be fine. This should be the most resilient of Williams' teams, and one bad loss won't capsize the ship.