The long road that has been the UNC basketball season this year came to an end Wednesday night in Greensboro. The Tar Heels lost to the Syracuse Orange in the second round of the ACC Tournament, looking nothing like the team that dismantled the zone in Syracuse less than two weeks ago.
Everything about the game felt weird from the jump. It was announced just before game time that tonight’s game would be the last one played in front of fans at the Greensboro Coliseum. Many other conferences made the same decision. Not long after, Rudy Gobert of the Utah Jazz tested positive for the coronavirus. The NBA suspended their season as a result. No one knows yet whether college basketball will go on past tonight. It seems increasingly likely that it won’t.
UNC shot 33% from the field in the game. It’s nearly impossible for the Heels to win a game in which Cole Anthony and Brandon Robinson combine for nine points (five and four points respectively). We saw the impact they have play out this season when both were hurt, and it was just too much load to handle for Garrison Brooks and Leaky Black. Brooks finished his season with 18 points, looking like a contender for player of the year next season, and Black had a career night with 14 points. Both will be instrumental to the team’s success next season.
The Heels couldn’t get anything going from beyond the arc tonight, unlike what helped them upend Virginia Tech on Tuesday. They hit just two of 16 threes in the loss. They turned the ball over 18 times to Syracuse’s eight. The Orange had no trouble finding their shot from distance with seven threes made.
It was an extremely weird night for basketball. It’s upsetting that it had to end this way for Robinson and the other seniors who absolutely gave their all to a season that was just not meant to be. It felt like everything that could go wrong this season did, and it was just too much for the team to overcome.
Maybe there is basketball tomorrow, maybe there isn’t. UNC won’t be playing in it either way. We have months to stew on this, but hopefully we can soon turn our attention to next season and the hope for better days ahead soon.