Picture provided by Christy Robbins LeBouef, check out some more here!
I did a mortal (internet) sin today. I went on to some of the UNC web boards after a loss by the Tar Heels; something I had promised myself I would never do again after North Carolina began the 2008-09 season 0-2 in the ACC. The reality being that the doom and gloom of the web boards pushed me away from them a while back, and only recently was I back on them. I guess it’s time to once again take a break.
Thinking back to the great run of `09, that wagon was so nice and comfy during those weeks in early January as more and more fans jumped off of it. Sure, they all got back on it once that same team won the national championship, and none of them had a taste of crow about doubting that squad, that coaching staff.
Now, by no means am I saying that this team and that team are comparable, because they are not. But why do we expect as fans so much from the players and coaches, yet as fans we can slack off our commitment to the program, to them, as soon as a loss comes around? Or heck, as soon as young men do not play to what the fanbase expectations/standards are?
There are some people that say that head coach Williams got out-coached in the last few minutes of this loss. First, let’s remind everyone that coach Williams had a stint of vertigo, or at least dizziness a bit prior to that, but let’s forget that. Who cares about his health, as fans we demand to win no matter the cost, right?
Down to the facts. The player who won the game for Belmont with three threes in a row, all on hand offs, which is tough to defend as he is basically getting a screen in front of him, had gone… TWO for 11 up to that point! For those that like percentages that means a guy who had shot 18% from beyond the arc took the shots. Personally, that might be great coaching on Belmont’s part, but it is also a lot of luck. If the senior had kept shooting like he had all day, UNC wins by double digits!
Let’s not remind ourselves that this was one of the poorest free throw shooting games in the history of North Carolina, and had the players hit one third of the 26 shots that were missed, the squad would have shot 60% from the charity stipe and the game would have gone UNC’s way by five points.
Let’s add that Marcus Paige, who has improved a ton in his first three games this season, did have three turnovers in the last minutes of this game. Just one less, and once again this is a win for North Carolina.
So, while I will be called a homer for this, a coach who hands the ball to a player shooting below 20% from the three outcoached Roy Williams?
Yes, I know, let me hear the old phrase for when we lose a close one… “coach Williams did not call time out”. He never has, never will. His hope is to have the defense scrambling as the Heels move up the court quickly. With the options on this team right now down to basically Marcus Paige and James McAdoo calling a time out and having Belmont set up to stop Paige from driving and pack it down low to keep it out of McAdoo’s hand would have helped much?
North Carolina lost a game it should not have. There is no denying that, but to begin to lay all the blame at the feet of the coach is just absurd. An undermanned team, shooting poorly, against a team with nothing to lose… that is what happened last night. Like it or not, believe it or don’t, in the end that is what it is.
But there is more, much more, in my opinion. All those that wonder why Wiggins, who many believed to be a Carolina lock, went elsewhere. Could it be because of those same fans who “have the inside scoop” that knew that P.J. Hairston is gone, and Leslie McDonald is going to be out at least half the season, the young man (and his family) decided it was best to go elsewhere? Which, by the way, none of those “insiders” have panned out yet, but that never stops them from posting cause “they know”.
It is also the same fans that on the 400th game in the Dean Dome decided that it was not worth coming to celebrate the event, as there were many empty seats in the stands. But hey, let’s not criticize them, it’s a one way street, or so it seems, when it comes to that.
Way too much is put on the shoulders of the ones that go out and play, sometimes it would be nice to see the fans that blame everything on everyone looking into a mirror. Trust me, it’s not easy, I had to do it when it came to Marquise Williams, but you know what… being able to do it is also rewarding!