Found March 27, 2012 on Fox Sports Carolinas:
Examining the positives and negatives of North Carolina's just-concluded basketball season could really take us in a myriad of directions, and it would take up too much space to hit on every issue. So lets avoid that. There's no doubt that in the end, the Tar Heels fell short of their stated goal of winning a national championship. They didn't even reach the Final Four after falling to Kansas in the Midwest Region finals Sunday. But they also had a pretty good excuse for not advancing to New Orleans. It would be easy to suggest UNC would have beaten the Jayhawks and posed a darn good threat to Kentucky in the national title game had Kendall Marshall not broken his wrist in the second round versus Creighton and John Henson not sprained his a week earlier, re-injured it last Friday versus Ohio and then sprained an ankle over the weekend. Lets not forget that Reggie Bullock tweaked the knee Friday night that cost him the end of last season. He wore a sleeve over the knee Sunday. Freshman Stilman White, whose first name was more often-than-not misspelled on UNC message boards until last week, filled in admirably for Marshall. His statistics 13 assists, no turnovers in 60 minutes in the Sweet 16 and regional final are actually quite impressive. But he's not Marshall. His backup, senior Justin Watts, had played point guard twice in his life before this past weekend. White isn't a floor general like Marshall. He's not the leader, the scoring threat, nor did he run UNC's offense from the same spaces Marshall did, thus the Tar Heels struggled finding a comfort zone over the weekend. The angles they were used to usually didn't exist in both games. Even when Carolina was shooting lights out in the first half against Kansas, many of the shots were atypical for these Heels. Converting shots doesn't always mean a team is playing well or achieving by design. It was a matter of time before Kansas went into the right defense and stymie the Heels. So the 32-6 Tar Heels' season is over, ending in a regional final for the second consecutive year. They won the ACC regular season title and reached the ACC Tournament finals the last two seasons, but have nothing else really of note to show for their efforts. Tyler Zeller's career is over, and the general assumption is that any combination of Harrison Barnes, Henson and Marshall will go pro, including a fear among the baby blues that all three will head for the riches of the NBA. James Michael McAdoo isn't going anywhere. If so, what is the legacy in Chapel Hill? Will they even have one? At a lot of schools, two regular season titles, two league tournament title appearances and two Elite Eights are cause for celebrations and historical comparisons. At Carolina, they are general disappointments, and the two-year period will easily get lost in the shuffle of the program's storied history once it's regarded in the past tense. Interestingly, this scribe tweeted an interesting note a few hours before Sunday's game stating that UNC coach Roy Williams was leading a team into the Elite Eight for the eighth time in 11 years going back to his last two years at Kansas, and Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski had only done this twice in the same time span. The intent wasn't to make a point; it was simply an interesting note. It evoked a tremendous number of responses, many of which didn't praise Ol Roy for his accomplishments, but criticized him for not winning more. These weren't just Duke and N.C. State fans, either. And the basis of their positions varied. Upon the conclusion of UNC's 80-67 defeat Sunday evening, many of the same people were back on ripping Williams for not getting the job done. Again, many were Carolina fans. Many were also simply being ignorant, yet there's a bit of understanding when it comes to the UNC mindset. They didn't care that the Heels had three first-team All-ACC players or that Zeller was the ACC Player of the Year and national student-athlete of the year for men's college hoops or that Henson was the league's Defensive Player of the Year. They didn't highlight Kendall Marshall setting the ACC's single-season assist record or the Heels earning an NCAA record 14th No. 1 seed as something to take from the season. Winning at Duke for the fifth time in seven seasons didn't come up, either. Nor did it matter that Williams did a heck of a job getting his team ready to compete Sunday with a kid at point guard, with all due respect, more suited for the Sun Belt Conference than the ACC. Carolina, a walking M.A.S.H. unit if there ever was one, didn't even reach the Final Four. And as far as many fans and history are concerned, this team will go down in history jumbled with so many others that fail in comparisons to clubs from 1957, 1982, 1993, 2005 and 2009. Fair or not, the bottom line is that's just how the earth rotates in Chapel Hill.
THE BACKYARD
BEST OF MAXIM
RELATED ARTICLES

Injured Marshall: 'I feel like I let my team down'

ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Kendall Marshall figures he would have been ready for the Final Four. Now that North Carolina's season is over, though, the injured point guard won't get the chance to find out. "There was no doubt in my mind that once we won this game I was going to be ready to go next weekend," Marshall said after the Tar Heels' 80-67 loss to Kansas in...

UNC left to wonder what could have been

ST. LOUIS Kendall Marshall fought back tears. He searched for the right words. It was a moment that he wasn't supposed to feel. But after being unable to contribute to top-seeded North Carolina's 80-67 loss to Kansas in the Midwest Regional finals Sunday, Marshall and the Tar Heels had no choice but to say it. What if? What if the point guard who set the ACC and UNC single...

Marshall won't play against Kansas

ST. LOUIS (AP) -- North Carolina will be without point guard Kendall Marshall for the Midwest Regional final against Kansas. Freshman Stilman White will start for the second straight game in place of Marshall. White had been little used before playing 32 minutes with two points, six assists and no turnovers in the Tar Heels' overtime victory over Ohio in the semifinals Friday...

Marshall Not Playing Against Kansas

ST. LOUIS -- North Carolina point guard Kendall Marshall will not play in Sunday's Elite Eight game against Kansas, according to multiple team sources.

Elite Eight Finale

ST. LOUIS – No. 1 seed North Carolina endured Kendall Marshall’s absence for 36 minutes against second-seeded Kansas, but the Jayhawks closed the game on a 12-0 run to clinch a Final Four berth with a 80-67 victory and send the Tar Heels home one win shy of New Orleans.

North Carolina Basketball: Enough with the “we lost must be the coach’s fault”

After a couple of days have passed since the end of the North Carolina basketball season the once again theory that “UNC has lost means head coach Roy Williams got outcoached” has once again surfaced both with some of the fan base as well as among the so-called experts of the sport. Yahoo Sports’ Pat Forde wrote about it, and he was not the only one to stick to this way overused...

Grading the ACC’s NCAA Tournament.

Considering I’m writing this article summarizing the ACC’s performance in the NCAAs and the tournament is not yet over is probably not a good sign. This means for the 2nd straight year the ACC didn’t put a team into the Final 4. That is basically like forgetting to do the last page of the final exam, and losing a quarter of a points. So what grade does the ACC get? We already...

Elite 8 Preview North Carolina vs. Kansas

North Carolina/Kansas Without the best point guard in the nation the North Carolina Tar Heels found a way to survive and advance against Ohio. They really missed Kendall Marshall to no surprise as they committed 24 turnovers against Ohio. They had 13 turnovers in the first half that is more than Tar Heels had in 21 full games this season. Backup point guard Stilman...

Burning Kendall

Burning Kendall It hurt me Sunday to watch such an integral player glued to the pine with no chance of suiting up and balling. It should hurt you too if you’re a real basketball fan. If you have watched North Carolina at all this year, or last year for that matter when he was inserted into the starting role you would know that Kendall Marshall is more than just a point guard for...
College Basketball News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.