Monday, March 26, 2007

Tough loss...the road ends here

Well, it all came to an end tonight with a 31-9 run in the final 10 minutes and overtime by Georgetown. The hard thing for Tar Heel Nation to accept is that Georgetown was the better team tonight. If you had just watched the first half, you might think Carolina had this one sewed up. Although they only lead by a few points at the break, I thought scoring 50 points in 20 minutes of basketball almost assured them a win. Here's how I was looking at it, Georgetown only gave up 57 points per game this season and now they had given up 50 points in one half, there was no way they could keep up in a shootout with UNC. Unfortunately in the long run, the Tar Heels couldn't keep up in a shootout with the Hoyas. Carolina shot 33% in the 2nd half and an awful 7% in overtime.

To tell you the truth, while I had enjoyed this weekend getting to know the team and the players of both these schools, I was dreading heading into the locker room after that tough loss. We first made it over to Marcus Ginyard and I basically had to ask him "what went wrong?" These guys are professionals at this point of the season in dealing with the media, but he was surprisingly honest talking about breakdowns that occurred on both sides of the floor. Then I asked him what Coach Williams had to say and he got a little choked up saying that coach had apologized to them after the game because he didn't think he put them in a position to win, meanwhile Marcus said that wasn't the case and the blame laid on the five guys on the floor. We slowly made the rounds to each of the players and a lot of it was the same old questions like "how do you feel?" I am sometimes guilty of asking those questions too, but I'm just waiting for the day when a player just snaps back with "how do you think I feel, we just lost the game you idiot!" But the guys on this Tar Heel team have too much class for that, they just try to answer your questions as best they can. After pretty much talking to the entire roster we made our way back to the interview room to catch the tail end of Coach Williams presser, he was contrite and very congratulatory to Georgetown and Coach Thompson in particular.

Much has been made about the history between these two teams, but in reality none of that affected this game tonight in the Meadowlands. Two teams lead by two totally different coaches took the court and left it all on the floor...I must say that I felt bad for the guys after seeing the looks on their faces, they were sort of in shock, unable to comprehend the fact that they weren't going to Atlanta next weekend to play for a National Championship.

All that aside, the Tar Heels should be proud of their season, they were a damn good team this year and while I know the goal was to win an NCAA title, I have a feeling they'll be back in the mix next March. Terry Brooks asked me about this on the show, but I have the feeling Brandan Wright might leave after this season, I don't know if this tournament loss will leave a good taste in his mouth. But let me follow that up by saying in no way did he tip his hat in either direction after the game. He said he plans to meet with Coach Williams in the next couple weeks to discuss his future, so we'll keep following it for you on News 14. Thanks for checking in this weekend here on, it's been fun sharing our weekend with you and I look forward to getting back to Charlotte.

-Tim Baier

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