Ah! What a devastating loss. All the credit to the Villanova Wildcats and the great game they played, but boy was that gut-wrenching. It was an up and down season for the North Carolina Tar Heels but they turned it up at the right time, winning the ACC title and making it to the championship game. Being a Tar Heel fan, that “drop” in my stomach that occurred yesterday as that shot sunk through the net was hard but I can only image how the players and coaches of UNC feel following that game-winner.
I honestly felt the Tar Heels played a solid game. There were things that I didn’t like but there were things that I saw where I felt okay, things are going well for us. The ball was dropping, especially from outside and anyone that knows UNC basketball knows that when that outside shot is going in, they’re damn near impossible to stop. If you would’ve told me before the game that the Tar Heels would shoot 64.7% from behind the arc and win the glass, I would tell you that they would convincingly win that game. Well, they did shoot 64.7% from three, knocking down three more three-pointers than Villanova and they also out-rebounded the Wildcats by 13 total rebounds. However, the Villanova Wildcats came out on top and stunned UNC.
Villanova’s on-ball defense was stifling, making it hard for the guards of UNC to get the ball inside on many possessions. The court was filled with jitters and nervousness for both sides which led to a lot of missed chip-ins for Carolina early on. The game was refereed very poorly as a lot of nonphysical and questioning fouls were being made throughout the game. And with all of that being said, North Carolina still found themselves in the game at the end. Down ten late in the second half, North Carolina eventually tied it up with one of the clutchest threes in Marcus Paige’s collegiate career. And following that play came heartbreak.
My problem with this last possession is where was the ball pressure? Joel Berry II shadowed him up the court but essentially let him bring it up without any resistance. Everyone dropped in the paint and Kris Jenkins’s man was left in ‘no man land’. As soon as the hand off was made and Jenkins walked into that shot, I threw up my hands like, ‘here we go’. Similar to what we saw from Enes Kanter and the Oklahoma City Thunder bench when Steph Curry went up for his game winner.
It’s one of those instances where you know, no good is going to come out of this and you blew it. As soon as he rose, I knew that shot was going in. Jenkins hit a great shot. The North Carolina Tar Heels played great and the Villanova Wildcats played even greater when it mattered and that’s what it comes down to. That shot hurt and the Michael Jordan memes and phone calls/text messages that came along with it hurt as well. It’s safe to say, I will be staying off of social media for a few days now.