Photo Credit: Geoff Burke-US PRESSWIRE

Why I’m Not Upset

Doug Gotlieb, the ESPN college basketball analyst proclaimed to the viewing world that without Kendall Marshall, UNC would not survive St. Louis. Tar Heel players took exception to Gotlieb’s smugness–namely, Harrison Barnes, Tyler Zeller and Jon Henson.

Even with Carolina hitting only 7 out of 22 from behind the arc, third string Stillman White starting at point, and Ohio’s Walter Offutt dropping 26 points, Chapel Hill survived in overtime—holding OU scoreless in extra time.

Watching that game, I was struck by just how excited both the coliseum and play-by-play announcers were by the idea that Ohio could win. The crowd was on their feet when Ohio hit a shot or when Carolina turned the ball over. Long story short: UNC beat the Bobcats in a tough road victory.

Much speculation surrounded whether Kendall Marshall would be available and healthy in time for Sunday’s tip-off against Kansas. He was not; showing swelling and pain during practice. Roy Williams wouldn’t risk it.

UNC played fast and played well. Tying it up against Kansas at half, 47-47, everything looked kosher. That was, until, the Tar Heels went frozen from behind the three-point line—eventually succumbing to interior pressure from the Jayhawks and not able to feed the ball to Zeller or Hinson. Harrison Barnes struggled terribly, going 1-12 at one point. Kansas finished the game in the final two minutes with a 12-0 run against Chapel Hill.

But you know what? UNC still almost won. Under the circumstances, against a very talented squad (that boasted a huge local fan base,) and on an incredibly poor shooting night…UNC still almost won.

Carolina’s most important player got bit by the injury bug in the most important part of the post-season. They still won three out of four halves of basketball against talented shooting teams.

UNC should choose to look back on this season with a positive perspective. They’ve earned it.

Tags: Elite Eight FanSided

  • koe121373UNC

    Before I start, thanks for all of the in depth analysis on why Barnes, Henson, Marshall and McAdoo should stay. Henson and McAdoo are probably the most NBA Ready, but that doesn’t mean that their time is right now. Rather than comment on every article, let me say that overall, I agree. Now that I got that out of the way, I agree with you that UNC should hold their head high because I doubt that ANY other team in the country can go through that much adversity with injuries and make it to the Elite 8. But now that I’m 72 hours removed from the loss, I blame my NBA “Stay or Go” reluctance to everyone, Harrison Barnes in particular, on Tyler Hansbrough and the ’09 Team. Yes, I said it. I blame Tyler Hansbrough and company. As it was mentioned in a separate article, Tyler was an invaluable gift to the UNC Program. Hard worker, good kid, stayed 4 years, selfless, etc. But you know why his jersey is on my wall? He had the look. Yes, the look that “no matter what you throw at me, you will NOT stand in the way of my goal, which is an NCAA Championship.” Yes, it took him 4 years (3 if Brandan Wright doesn’t bolt, in my opinion), but he GOT IT DONE. And we all know that his “look” and his attitude was infectious and resonated through the whole team when it mattered the most: the 2009 NCAA tournament. No one can convince me that Psycho T’s will didn’t push Ty Lawson to overcome the toe injury vs LSU and go on to set an NCAA championship record with 8 steals. No one can tell me that “the look” pushed Wayne Ellington into the Carolina Mamba and drain almost every critical perimeter shot to earn him the Most Outstanding Player award. No one can tell me that Tyler’s will pushed Deon Thompson to go on a tear vs MSU with 8 points by the first media timeout. That’s why Tyler’s a champion, the ’09 Team is legendary and that’s what I want to see from Harrison Barnes. He’s the one that wants to elevate his Brand. There is still time, but he’s got to develop THAT attitude. If “the look” reemerges, everyone comes back and we go for Title #6. I’m only singling Harrison out because Kendall is already there. Henson could see the signs quickly (especially if he’s not a lottery pick). McAdoo is just budding with potential. Time to recommit to UNC and focus on Atlanta 2013. It’s that simple.

    • Matt

      thanks for the support Koe! Looks like my message didn’t get to the players lol. oh well. Time to build towards the future. Hoping Roy adds to the 2012 class.