All arguments notwithstanding, the Heels still have to play a game on Friday at 7:20 as an 8 seed in the NCAA tournament. We can bicker and argue all we want to as fans but that certainly will not change the fact that the Tar Heels and the Wildcats will take the same floor to square up against each other at this time. We have a significant history against Villanova, leading the all-time series 10-4, and the two most recent meetings are in the Elite Eight in 2005 followed by a match-up in the Final Four in 2009. I believe in numbers, and I believe that looking back at a series history can point us towards what is to be expected and also what is at stake in any given game. Again, the Heels lead the all-time series by a record of 10-4. In case you care at all, here are the results from all Tar Heel games against Villanova ever:
12-29-55 W 86 63 Raleigh, Dixie Classic
12-30-60 W 87 67 Raleigh, Dixie Classic
12-27-68 W 69 61 New York, MSG
3-21-82 W 70 60 Raleigh, NCAA Elite Eight
2-13-83 L 53 56 home 1/12
3-24-85 L 44 56 Birmingham, NCAA Second Round
11-25-89 W 78 68 Maui Classic
3-17-91 W 84 69 Syracuse, NCAA Elite Eight
1-19-92 W 76 64 home
12-8-94 W 75 66 home
11-22-95 L 75 77 Maui Classic
1-20-96 L 56 76 away
3-25-05 W 67 66 Syracuse, NCAA Elite Eight
4-4-09 W 83 69 Detroit, Final Four
Of course, the most memorable game of this series for me, and many Tar Heels, would have to be the 2009 Final Four game. A) we were absolutely unstoppable that season and
this team would beat any other college basketball team to ever grace the earth by double digits would hold its’ own against any other great college basketball team, and b) well, we were unstoppable and its really enjoyable/terrifyingly sad to go back and remember the good ole’ days back in 2009 (seems like so long ago, doesn’t it?).
In case you had forgotten, which I hope you have not, this team is inevitably great. Winning every game in the tournament by double digits?? Really?? No UCLA team ever did that, and they won like 8 in a row.
In this game, the big three (Lawson, Ellington, and Hansbrough) combined for 60. And because I love him, I’ll tell you that Danny Green had 12 in the game as well. So, I’ll say that the big four combined for 72. Anyway, Villanova shot 5-27 from three in this game and gave us way too many open looks. If you were going to beat that 2009 team, which a couple of teams did, then you had to shoot well and defend our shooters perfectly. That is a decently hard task to accomplish, which is why we blew everyone out of the water in the tournament.
So, what does this game have to do with Friday’s game? This was four years ago, and there are no players left from either team. But two things are the same. The coaches are the same. We still have Roy Williams, and they still have Mr. Jay Wright. This is important, because, if there will always be two things that are true about Wright’s teams it will be that they cannot defend the three and that they turn the ball over way too much. How does UNC score? We score on threes (this year especially) and off of turnovers. I like our chances. That is not a prediction, it is purely an opinionated statement. However, if we do happen to beat Villanova on Friday night, then it will be because we made jumpshots and we turned them over a lot. Otherwise, it will be a long spring.
So, watch that video from earlier in this article. In fact, go watch any video possible from the 2009 season. I did that just now, and it made me very happy. So be sure to watch on Friday night, let us not allow PJ’s torn webbing between two fingers be in vain.
To see the 2009 UNC vs Villanova recap, click here.