After a couple of days have passed since the end of the North Carolina basketball season the once again theory that “UNC has lost means head coach Roy Williams got outcoached” has again re-surfaced both with some of the fan base as well as among the so-called experts of the sport. Yahoo Sports’ Pat Forde wrote about it, and he was not the only one to stick to this way overused theory. Somehow, not sure why, all the people that jump on this band wagon forget who Carolina had on the bench that could not play. And while this can never be proved, I doubt any of the remaining teams would have made it to the Elite Eight without their starting back court and a top sub.
The focus of the “Roy bashing” this time comes from the fact that UNC’s head coach said that Kansas used their zone defense for a couple of plays when in reality they opposition did so for about the last ten minutes of the second half. The problem was for most of the game Carolina looked good on offense if their set found an open player on the first rotation of the ball, if not, without their floor general the offense became stagnant and the quality of the play lowered a lot. This was not because of bad coaching, this was not because of whether or not UNC had seen this defense before or not, this was because the Tar Heels didn’t have their starting their point guard on the floor, the player who had runned the point for almost two seasons, who could find a way around most anything the opponents threw at him or the team.
As a matter of fact, for those who call themselves fans, the second point guard was not on the floor for coach Williams either. Freshman Stilman White was the third option at that position and until the second weekend of the tournament he had been playing about four minutes per game to give a breather to Kendall Marshall once Dexter Strickland had gone down to injury. We can go around and around on all of this for as long as we want, but Marshall has been the one that made this team go for the last season and a half. White played well in the two games as a starter, recording 13 assists to no turnovers, but he was not Marshall. Heck, in college basketball few starting point guards can say they stack up to Marshall, who could move the team up and down the court, was dishing out close to 10 assists per game and in the last five out of six games had scored in double digits. Between missing their starting point guard, who could create like few others, take the outside shot, or drive the lane, and with their three shooters, Reggie Bullock P.J. Hairston and Harrison Barnes, going 1 for 12 from beyond the arc this team was going to have a hard time whatever defense the Jayhawks had for them.
Having followed this team for a long, long time I can still remember the stories about how Dean Smith was not good enough to win it all because of this and that. Then it was coach Smith could not win a second one because of this and that. Now it’s coach Williams wins cause of the talent he has and loses because he is always outcoached. While all coaches have their set backs and make mistakes, the reality is that I am sick and tired of listening to the simplified theory that when North Carolina loses it’s because their coach was out done by the opposing one. And for those that still keeps saying that he did, for the first thirty-five minutes UNC was only down by one point, so did coach Williams coach well for that part of the game? Can’t have it both ways, can you?
In the end does coach Williams has some blame for this lose? Sure, but he is definitely not the top one. Actually there are plenty of others before we get to the coaching, as well as things that can not be blamed on anyone, like injuries, which happen. However, like it or not, for as long as the Hall of Famer and two time national champion coach is at the helm of the program he will be blamed for most of the losses and not praised for the wins. For this blogger, call me a homer if you want, I am fine with head coach Roy Williams leading the Carolina program and hope that he is here for a long time to come.