After Saturday’s 71-67 loss to Boston College, North Carolina now is mathematically assured of a losing record in the ACC.
The Heels dropped to 14-13 overall and 3-9 in conference play, ending whatever ruminations still existed that the club might regroup and earn an at-large bid into the NCAA Tournament. Carolina’s postseason destiny now appears to spell the letters NIT, if that. As for the NCAAs, the Heels likely will need to win the ACC Tournament to earn the automatic bid.
Carolina played well against the Eagles defensively, limiting them to just 40 percent shooting. But even upon the return of Tyler Zeller, who had missed 10 games with a foot injury, the Heels failed to muster any semblance of offense when they needed it most.
UNC shot just 39 percent from the floor and stuggled to get clean looks during the final 10 minutes of the contest, dooming the club to defeat despite committing only 11 turnovers and generally playing good defense. Of course, those shooting woes were compounded by the club’s poor free throw shooting, as again the Heels failed to crack 70 percent from the foul line.
Roy Williams certainly hasn’t adjusted to the losing, saying after the game that “You’ve got to freaking play. If my back’s against the wall and I’m getting my tail kicked, I’m going to fight you until I freaking die.”
As the quote implies, Williams once again wasn’t happy with his team’s effort level. He has remarked on several occasions this year that he shouldn’t have to coach effort, and at this point it seems that even his determined attempt to do just that has missed the mark.
Added freshman John Henson: "It seems like every time, the other team always finds a way to do something to hurt us."
The post-mortems already have begun floating to the surface, and no one is getting spared by the media or by the fanbase. Williams himself has been criticized heavily — at times legitimately, based on some questionable personnel moves such as having John Henson play on the wing most of the season — and each of the upperclassmen ran through his national championship good credit weeks ago.
Carolina returns home on Wednesday night to host Florida State in a nationally televised game that, due to FSU’s size and speed, could result in another embarrassing home defeat.
To see the complete UNC/BC box score, click here.