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Joe Ovies

Kentucky latest to experience Heels coaster

Posted December 15, 2013

With P.J. Hairston and Leslie McDonald in NCAA limbo, North Carolina head coach Roy Williams told ESPN's Dick Vitale his current roster was the least talented of his Tar Heel squads. That same group knocked off Louisville on a neutral court. 

A vocal minority of North Carolina fans proclaimed the game of basketball had passed Williams by, insisting losses to Belmont and U.A.B. were closer to reality than the win over the Cardinals. The Tar Heels gave doubters a pleasant surprise defeating Michigan State on the road.

Williams is consistently dubbed "overrated" by his peers. North Carolina's win over Kentucky on Saturday afternoon completed the high profile trifecta of victories of Rick Pitino, Tom Izzo and John Calipari.

Are you not entertained?

If it appears I'm going full "Stan" for Williams, it's only to counter the absurdity that emanates from Chapel Hill. Will Graves rolling trees in a rental house, the summer of Hairston, stubbornness with the starting lineup, bouncing before the completion of a game, hoarding timeouts, booting fans, comparisons to Haiti, suicide jokes, Kansas stickers and all the other dumb periphery. It's always something. 

Williams has his faults and he's brought plenty of the silliness upon himself, but the coach tends to know what he's doing. Guys just don't stumble into several Final Fours and a couple NCAA titles. Not everyone is capable of wringing out maximum effort from a talented, but flawed roster missing their leading scorer from last season.

Just look across the way and notice the headache Calipari is dealing with at the moment. The Wildcats should be a vastly better team once the calendar hits March, but the preseason No. 1 has no signature wins and armchair body language experts are dissecting the exasperated look over every player. 

"What we are right now is we're not a good basketball team and we're not a good team because our emotion is all based on our individual play, instead of our team play," Calipari said. "We're not close to that right now. Our stuff is all based on, 'Did I miss a free throw? Did I get beat on the dribble? Did I miss a shot?' I mean, it's just we got to get through this."

Williams is experiencing the opposite as his group continues to figure out their roles and pick up confidence. Marcus Paige overcame an invisible first half performance, where Kentucky's length gave him problems, and provided key production in the second half. James Michael McAdoo's play was used as a teachable moment for Julius Randle by Calipari during post game.

The losses to Belmont and U.A.B. are still too fresh in the minds of fans and pundits to dismiss. Treat them as cautionary reminders. The Tar Heels are good, but not so good that showing up will get the job done. Wins over Louisville, Michigan State and Kentucky just prove the season isn't lost without Hairston and McDonald in the lineup.

49 Comments

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  • 82ndAAHeel Dec 17, 2:20 p.m.

    Growing up here, many southern families kept a bible on the coffee table. My family kept books on Carolina basketball. I was spoiled when Carolina went to 3 final fours and a championship when I was an undergraduate there. Our society has gone from a "What have you done for me lately? to What have you done for me now?"

    If Carolina falters this season, and at some point the odds are high the team will falter, then the same critics will pop up. I don't read comments from other fan bases outside of the triangle, but this area most people are tards. Adam, Joe, Mark and Mike and all pundits at ESPN stir up the uneducated for entertainment purposes only.

  • 4tarheels Dec 16, 10:15 p.m.

    It must really pain these local media guys to admit that Roy is a great coach and UNC is having a good season despite missing PJ. They were so hoping for a UNC meltdown and it's just not happening...GO HEELS!!

  • ABCers Partying Dec 16, 7:03 p.m.

    Too bad none of the dookies are giving any respect for Roy. I'm not giving any respect to any of them. I go over to there games and they have UNCCheat hanging from their buildings, they call Roy names and don't give Carolina any respect or anyone else that goes into their buildings. They're to enemy and I hate them. I'll start giving them respect when they start giving us some.

  • GunnyGoesArrrgh Dec 16, 3:56 p.m.

    ^^^^^
    I see your point about Jimbo. Sometimes, it is unfair IMHO when a coach whose team wins it all is overlooked because he was "supposed" to achieve National Championships, because they have a high level of talent. Talent is one thing, but it's up to the coach to harness that talent, and Fisher has certainly done that.

  • GunnyGoesArrrgh Dec 16, 3:52 p.m.

    I think Roy is showing why he is a HOF coach this season more than ever. His best player is... View More

    — Posted by GunnyGoesArrrgh

    Off the Duke bandwagon and back on the UNC bandwagon. Are you in politics?

    — Posted by jrt0856

    Not a "bandwagon fan" - always pull for Heels. If you can't put your bias aside... View More

    — Posted by GunnyGoesArrrgh

    You would think that some of the dookies would put aside their bias long enough to give Roy some... View More

    — Posted by ABCers Partying

    All fan bases have their share of people who can't look past their bias to give a rival team credit when it's due, just as they also have their share of people who CAN look past that and acknowledge a player/team/school that has achieved something worth noting.

    As for Cut, yes, Duke did play teams when they were missing players due to injuries, but I still think what Cut has accomplished at Duke is remarkable. My opinion of Cut goes far beyond what he's accomplished on the field.

    I'm proud of Carolina and their tradition of excellence, and I can't imagine anyone leading the basketball program than Roy; he's a HOF coach and a good man.

  • noonya Dec 16, 3:18 p.m.

    Hey Ovies, Since Roy came to UNC, name one coach who has more National Titles.

    I'll help you out, there aren't any.

    Can't coach and can't recruit? Whoever thinks that is obviously not very bright.

  • heelsforever Dec 16, 2:45 p.m.

    No one should question jgunn's allegiance. He is just not afraid to give credit where... View More

    — Posted by zonk

    She

  • 4tarheels Dec 16, 2:20 p.m.

    I wouldn't characterize the season as roller coaster now. Since the UAB loss, UNC has beaten #1 Michigan State at their place, destroyed weak UNC-G team at home and beaten #11 Kentucky at home. Looks like the roller coaster has turned into a rocket blast. Up, up and away, GO HEELS!!

  • ABCers Partying Dec 16, 1:12 p.m.

    I think Roy is showing why he is a HOF coach this season more than ever. His best player is... View More

    — Posted by GunnyGoesArrrgh

    Off the Duke bandwagon and back on the UNC bandwagon. Are you in politics?

    — Posted by jrt0856

    Not a "bandwagon fan" - always pull for Heels. If you can't put your bias aside... View More

    — Posted by GunnyGoesArrrgh

    You would think that some of the dookies would put aside their bias long enough to give Roy some credit. I saw a comment from a dookie on TDD that said, " Saying anything nice about Carolina is blasphemy." As far as Cutt goes, he's had some "lucky" breaks this year. VT missed 2 short field goals or that game would have been different, Miami was playing without some of its best players, and Carolina didn't have Renner. His game that gave him a last years bowl game was a last second pass to win against Carolina. We will see if he continues to win at Duke. One season does not a great coach make. For me I see this as a lot of media hype, because Duke has had such a losing streak. For me it's hard to understand how a coach like Jimbo Fisher who is taking his team to a National Championship game didn't win Coach of the year. I mean what's the great measure of success, winning the Coastal Division, or playing for the National Championship?

  • ABCers Partying Dec 16, 12:55 p.m.

    Don't be fooled. The Heels need Hairston and McDonald back very badly. They are one injury... View More

    — Posted by zonk

    Right on target. That's why all the stewpid talk about chemistry, probably from ABCers, is nothing but BS. I still don't know why McDonald is not playing. His case is all together different from P.J.'s. If I were him, I get me a lawyer and sue.

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