Losses causing stress for UNC team
Posted January 10, 2013
North Carolina took a 68-59 loss to Miami Thursday night at the Smith Center and it was a tough loss to swallow for the Tar Heel squad.
"I've got some really good kids that are hurting right now and they are also feeling a little stressed," said North Carolina head coach Roy Williams.
It's how Williams described the way his team felt and how he felt following the team's second consecutive loss to open ACC conference play.
A team with four nationally touted freshmen, a sophomore who could have gone pro after last season but opted to stay and three upper classmen ready to lead wasn't supposed to go into ACC play and lose two in a row.
That's only happened three times prior in North Carolina's basketball history. And the players are well aware of one of those times, the 2008-09 season.
That year, North Carolina entered ACC play undefeated and took two tough losses to Boston College and Wake Forest, and that season, the team went on to win the 2009 National Championship.
Reggie Bullock said that they were well aware of that instance and even though they didn't want to start that way they know the losses are not indicative of how their season could end up.
And yet, even with an example of hope, the word of the evening was stressed.
"It's extremely stressful. You play the game to win, and when you have a lot of opportunities like we did and then to just see it kind of slip away gradually really hurts," said freshman Marcus Paige. "It was really an emotional locker room afterwards. We really wanted this one."
And though they didn't get this one, this team will continue to grow. It will be frustrating at times but that's because they are young. It will take them time to learn how to play smart basketball consistently, as a team.
"Our kids have been doing some really nice things in practice, we just haven't taken it from the practice court to the game court," Williams said.
"During practice we do everything great, but when we get in the game it's just for certain spans of the game," said Bullock. "I'd probably say it's inexperience, but I don't think we should lean on that and say that's the problem."
The desire and talent is there, but don't expect a National title this season, that will take a little bit of time to develop.