Sometimes everything is bad.
Sports bad really sneaks up on you sometimes because it can be unpredictable, and guessing that the Tar Heels would play like they did tonight was certainly unpredictable. UNC came into tonight’s game against Marquette flying high after a big win over Louisville on Saturday. This game hadn’t even been on the schedule, but taking on a team with a losing record with a chance to pad their tournament resumé seemed like a good idea.
Instead what they got was a 13-point loss, 83-70. A little of any and everything went wrong for Carolina on Wednesday night in a game that they really needed to win. There are only three games left on the schedule and their position in the NCAA Tournament has been precarious. Losing to a Marquette team that will not be in the tournament unless they can somehow win the Big East Tournament after losing six of their last eight games does not bode well.
UNC shot just 37% from the field in the first half and their defense was pretty abysmal. Marquette has not exactly lit it up from beyond the arc this season, but they hit six threes in the first half. Meanwhile, on the other end, most of Carolina’s players couldn’t hit much of anything. Caleb Love, Kerwin Walton, and Leaky Black combined for two points before halftime. You can see the problem.
The second half was certainly better for Carolina from an offensive perspective, shooting 47% from the field after the break. Unfortunately, Marquette was more than able to keep their offense going, shooting at a 55% clip to put the Tar Heels away. Down the stretch, when Carolina made the deficit more manageable after being down as many as 18, they couldn’t get over the hump. It seemed like getting it under seven points was an impossible task. A lot of that stemmed from the fact that they failed to hit a field goal for nearly four minutes in the last five minutes of the game.
As has been the problem all season, Carolina turned it over 19 times directly leading to 19 points for the Golden Eagles. UNC was ice cold from beyond the arc in the first half, even from usually reliable shooters like Walton. He made two in the second half as part of Carolina’s five makes from long distance in the game but they needed many, many more to have kept up with Marquette.
So everything went practically as bad as it could with a tough Florida State team awaiting them on Saturday. Things could be better! This team has been maddeningly inconsistent all season and this was an embodiment of that at the absolute worst time. All they can do now is move forward and hope that what they have done, and what they will do over the last three games, will be enough.