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The 2019-2020 season

The 2020-2021 season

2019-2020 UNC basketball
See season preview below

The Results (click each game for an analysis)

Tar Heels 76, Notre Dame 65 Pittsburgh 73, Tar Heels 65
Tar Heels 78, UNC-Wilmington 62 Clemson 76, Tar Heels 73
Tar Heels 77, Gardner-Webb 61 Pittsburgh 66, Tar Heels 52
Tar Heels 75, Elon 61 Virginia Tech 79, Tar Heels 77
Tar Heels 76, Alabama 67 Tar Heels 94, Miami 71
Michigan 73, Tar Heels 64 Tar Heels 94, N.C. State 71
Tar Heels 78, Oregon 74 Boston College 71, Tar Heels 70
Ohio State 74, Tar Heels 49 Florida State 65, Tar Heels 59
Virginia 56, Tar Heels 47 Duke 98, Tar Heels 96
Wofford 68, Tar Heels 64 Wake Forest 74, Tar Heels 57
Gonzaga 94, Tar Heels 81 Virginia 64, Tar Heels 62
Tar Heels 78, UCLA 74 Notre Dame 77, Tar Heels 76
Tar Heels 70, Yale 67 Louisville 72, Tar Heels 55
Georgia Tech 96, Tar Heels 83 Tar Heels 95, N.C. State 89
  Tar Heels 92, Syracuse 79
  Tar Heels 93, Wake Forest 83
  Duke 89, Tar Heels 76
  Tar Heels 78, Virginia Tech 56
  Syracuse 81, Tar Heels 53

© 2020 CB3media Cary, NC


Carolina's historically bad season ends

The 2019-2020 North Carolina basketball team, besieged by injuries all season, lost a slew of close games but Wednesday night the Tar Heels suffered their largest defeat of the year, 81-53 to Syracuse in the ACC Tournament.

The Syracuse zone defense makes a lot of teams look bad. Carolina made the zone look bad in the first meeting as the Tar Heels hit 11 threes and several long jumpers. This time around the shots weren't falling.

Unable to score, Syracuse went on a 15-0 run and basically ended the painful UNC season with a romp over the Heels.

"Tonight. First time in my life, I felt sort of hopeless," UNC coach Roy Williams said. "I couldn't find any cures, couldn't find any solutions. You know, and I've lost before, Jiminy Christmas. We've had great teams that have lost before. But tonight wasn't much fun."

Injuries, team chemistry and lack of consistent long-range shooting did the Heels in this season. But, for whatever reason, it was not a good coaching performance by the great Roy Williams. And he knows it.

Earlier in the year, he blamed himself for one loss for not telling his team to foul before the other team could get a three-point shot off.

He coached like he was, as he said, hopeless in the season ender. There were some bad calls early and only once - and briefly - did Williams really give it to the officials. It was the horrible Ted Valentine crew too that cost the Heels the first Duke game.

When the coach doesn't lead the way in defending his players, the players will do it themselves and that's what happened in this one.

"It's tough, especially when you see calls like that don't go your way," UNC junior Garrison Brooks said. "The officials made the calls, we just have to live with it, but I think we could have controlled ourselves a little bit better, especially with our frustration, and I don't think us fussing at the refs and crying and whining will help eventually any of those calls, it only makes it worse for us, so hopefully our players that were whining and complaining learn from that."

Coach Williams perhaps didn't have his mind on the game, having admitted to watching the dire, fearmongering CNN commentators discuss the coronavirus, instead of keeping it to himself.

"I didn't find the right buttons to push," Coach Williams said. "I mean, even today it's just -- I got them together after pregame meal and before we went over the scouting report and talked to them about what's going on in the world and told them things are changing, things are changing with this tournament and the whole bit, but let's just get it out in the open and see what questions you have because I wanted just to really focus on the game. Evidently that didn't work, either."

No, it didn't. Their minds are only on the game if your mind is only on the game. If a baseball coach tells a player not to worry about striking out, he's more likely to strike out.

Both nights of the tournament Coach Williams spent a good deal of time talking about the coronavirus and what he had learned by listening to that agenda-driven, often wrong CNN.

Regardless of what is going on in the outside world, Carolina needed to be focused only on the game. Syracuse looked focused and outhustled the Tar Heels throughout.

Too late to matter, Coach Williams finally said something right in response to a question about continuing the ACC and NCAA tournaments. " I just got my rear end beat. I don't know that I can evaluate anybody doing anything," he said.

"Needless to say, I thought we'd have a better record at the end of the year," said Coach Williams who had never had a losing record in 32 years as a coach. "I don't spend a lot of time thinking about what our record is going to be, but I try to evaluate our team, and I thought that we could be better... Things didn't go very smoothly for us."

Coach Williams pointed to the fact that three of the best players - Cole Anthony, Garrison Brooks and Brandon Robinson - rarely played an entire game together as one or another was out with an injury most games. "But those are all excuses," he said.

Hopefully the coach and his players will shake it off and come back with a focused vengence next year.

2019-20 UNC Season Preview

Carolina won't look the same but results
could be very similar to past seasons

With eight new faces on the UNC basketball team for the 2019-2020 season, who knows what's going to happen? Coach Roy Williams certainly re-loaded in the offseason with grad transfers and top recruits but will the players new and old gel into a cohesive team by March? That's the mystery.

The talent is there to win an ACC regular season title, an ACC tournament title and an NCAA tournament title but with so much youth and pieced-together parts, it would seem unlikely that the Heels can pull it off.

Of course, when the Tar Heels lost seniors Luke Maye, Cam Johnson and Kenny Williams, and transfer Seventh Woods, along with early NBA defectors Coby White and Nassir Little (Little should have stayed), Carolina fans were bracing for a below-par season.

But when the Tar Heels landed a pair of highly-regarded transfers in scoring guard Christian Keeling and forward Justin Pierce, the pieces started to fall into place.

The addition of likely one-and-dones Cole Anthony, a magician who plays guard, and Armando Bacot, a big demolition man who plays forward, set the Carolina universe ablaze at the possibilities.

Only 6-foot-9 junior Garrison Brooks returns as a starter and significant scorer from last year's team so the additions were imperative to compete with the Dukes and Louisvilles of the world. While he led the team in field goal percentage and scored in double figures 12 times, Brooks is primarily a defensive stopper.

Expectations of Anthony, Carolina's new point guard, as a scorer are through the roof (or the ceiling). There is talk about potentially not just being the nation's freshman of the year but the player of the year. That's pretty high praise but also something that cannot be relied upon.

With leadership from Brooks and senior Brandon Robinson and progression from guard/swing man Leaky Black, this could be a special group.

There were chemistry issues back in the day when Jerry Stackhouse and Rasheed Wallace stepped into significant roles as freshman for a team that was laden with upperclassmen who saw their minutes diminish. That shouldn't happen with this team as only Brooks played significant minutes last year.

While chemistry will ultimately tell the tale for the Tar Heels, the difference may well be Leaky Black. The 6-8 sophomore showed so much promise last season even though he missed 13 games with a sprained ankle. He has the size, speed and tools to do just about anything on the court. He can score (including threes), rebound, dish the ball off, steal, play tough defense and do it all with panache. While some compare him to Theo Pinson, if he stays four years, I suspect he will be better because of his ability to score.

With five players 6-9 or taller, Coach Williams figures to see a lot of his scoring coming in the paint this season. Brooks and Bacot figure to be the primary beneficiaries of the emphasis while 6-11 Sterling Manley (if he can get healthy) and 6-10 Brandon Huffman getting in on the action as well.

In addition to Manley's health woes, Robinson has been slowed with a preseason injury as have solid, if not spectacular, junior guard Andrew Platek, four-star freshman guard Anthony Harris and three-star freshman guard Jeremiah Francis. All could be contributors before the end of the season.

Per usual, Carolina has a tough non-conference schedule (Gonzaga, UCLA, Ohio State, Alabama and Iowa State or Michigan) and will no doubt lose two or threes games before the ACC schedule gets into full swing in January as the players settle into their roles.

Duke, even without Zion, is considered the top team in the ACC per the basketball writers. Last year's national champion Virginia Cavaliers lose a lot of personnel and don't figure to be a top three team. UNC, Duke and Louisville should be the top three teams.

This mysterious UNC team, full of unknowns, could very well be a contender come ACC Tournament and NCAA Tournament time. I'm predicting a 32-8 campaign with the Tar Heels falling in the ACC Tournament final and catching fire in the NCAA Tournament before bowing out, barely, in the national semi-finals.

While this will be a season like no other for Carolina, with all the changes in personnel, it should be another highly satisfying one for Tar Heel fans.

- Clifton Barnes