Home Page banner.cb3cartoon.

Click here for more basketball.

Off the cuff: Yes, it's unlikely that Carolina would have beaten Virginia without Armando Bacot, who was hobbled throughout the game and didn't play the last 15 minutes of the game. But why is that?

Sure, he's an All-ACC first teamer but Carolina still could have beaten Virginia had Coach Davis developed depth throughout the season and if the Tar Heels could hit three pointers.

The Tar Heels went small or sparingly played Jalen Washington, who played very little during the season. There was little to no post presence as a result of Bacot being on the bench.

Going into the game, Coach Davis wanted to play inside-out, meaning getting it inside to a big man (i.e. Bacot) and either getting a basket inside or punching it out for an open shot.

That couldn't happen without developed talent in the post. Still, the Heels could have won that game had they hit three pointers. Maybe they didn't have as many open threes in this game as they did against Boston College, but they got some open shots. You also have to create shots that may be contested.

R.J. Davis was four of eight from three but the rest of the team was four of 19.

It was a maddening season because of the lack of consistency. No Carolina fan can be happy about it.

Still, the Tar Heels won 20 games and had a winning record in the ACC regular season. That has forever been enough to make the NCAA Tournament.

Under this crazy Net/Quad process for entry into the NCAAs, if Carolina had beaten Alabama in the 4OT game back in November, the Heels would likely be in the NCAA Tournament.

N.C. State, which split with Carolina, is considered one of the last four in but the Pack would likely be in a similar situation as the Heels had they not beaten Miami in overtime in January.

None of this makes sense. If a team is great in December and you beat them, it's a Quad 1 win but if that same team loses its best player and crumbles, it's no longer a Quad 1 win.

We were told by ESPN's Joe Lunardi that even if Carolina beat Virginia, they wouldn't move up into his projected field. One of the reasons why? Beating Virginia may have moved the Cavaliers from a Quad 1 team to a Quad 2 team and then the win Carolina got over them in February when they were a Quad 1 team would now be a Quad 2 victory.

Carolina would have gone from three Quad 1 wins - Ohio State and Virginia twice - to no Quad 1 wins. Insane stuff.

If they are going to stick with that system, the Quad wins should stay the same throughout the season. A team can be really good when you play them and then fall off for whatever reason. That shouldn't take away from your beating a really good team.

Anyway, it looks unlikely that the Tar Heels will make the NCAA Tournament.

"Our record is our record," UNC coach Hubert Davis said. "I think regardless of our record, I think we have shown throughout the entire year that we can compete and play and beat anybody in the country."

That's true, which is one reason Carolina fans are so frustrated. "I know that we played a really tough non-conference schedule," Coach Davis said. "I know that the ACC for whatever reason is undervalued as one of the elite if not the elite conference in college basketball, and still trying to understand -- I understand the Quad -- it could be a Quad 1 win in November, but in March it's not. But at the end of the day, we had chances. For eight or nine of the 13 losses that we had, we were up in the second half. So we had our chances."

If the Heels aren't chosen, should they go to the NIT? It would give young guys some playing time and could give the veterans a better taste in their mouths. But if they don't really go to win it, they may as well stay home.

I will say that I'd rather win the NIT than lose in the first round of the NCAA Tournament - which is something that will likely happen to at least one ACC team.


The Tar Heels moved the ball well, got the ball inside, drove to the basket and got good looks from outside - and knocked them down.

This performance against Boston College in the second round of the ACC Tournament was what Carolina fans expected to see all year - even including contributions off the bench.

Now we've seen similar performance including recently against Clemson. So which team will show up against Virginia?

The Tar Heels handled the Cavaliers at home less than two weeks ago but lost at Virginia earlier in the year when Armando Bacot went out with an ankle injury.

Well, Bacot came out of the game against BC with an ankle injury - the same ankle. But he told Coach Hubert Davis that it wasn't as bad an injury as the one at Virginia.

Bacot's presence in the paint draws a crowd even if he isn't 100 percent. But it's hard to imagine the Tar Heels winning the ACC Tournament if he is hobbled for three games.

If Pete Nance plays as well as he did against Boston College and against Virginia in Chapel Hill, it could give Bacot some rest. Nance scored double figures in both those games and had four blocks in each.

"Virginia is a really good team but our team is up for any opportunity and challenge," Nance said. "I think we'll be ready to go."

Hopefully the bench, which scored 23 points in 55 total minutes, will come through after not seeing a lot of action this season.

D'Marco Dunn hit a pair of threes and Dontrez Styles hit his only three attempt which gave Carolina its biggest lead of the first half at 39-20. Puff Johnson, at 14 minutes, played more than any of the other subs but it wasn't a good game for him.

As an aside, the most fun play by a substitute was probably Justin McKoy's running power dunk follow with less than two seconds left in the game.



Click here to go to the football page.
Click here to keep up with the 2008 run to the World Series.

Carolina Football: Golden anniversary of a redeeming 50-0 victory over Duke.

Carolina Football: Excerpts from an article on the history of the Carolina-Duke rivalry.


Virginia 68, Carolina 59
Inconsistent Heels likely out of NCAAs
After one of the better performances of the year, North Carolina returned to its eratic ways in a 68-59 loss to Virginia in the ACC Tournament in Greensboro, likely knocking them out of the NCAA Tournament. (3/9)

"I'm sad and disappointed for them that we're in this position," UNC coach Hubert Davis said. "Just very sad for them."

Playing with a gimpy Armando Bacot, the Tar Heels never got any traction despite leading for the first 12 minutes of the game. Bacot, who ended with just four points, three rebounds and three turnovers, was obviously hampered throughout with a sprained ankle until he finally told Coach Davis that he couldn't go the last 15 minutes of the game.

"It wasn't working the entire game," Coach Davis said. "It was really difficult for him to get position or hold position down low in the post, very difficult for him to make any moves."

Virginia, which took the lead on an Isaac McKneely three with 7:26 left in the first half, never trailed again despite holding a mere 25-24 lead at the half and holding a slim 57-55 lead with two minutes to go in the game.

It would have been tied had R.J. Davis and Caleb Love hadn't missed a free throw each in the previous two minutes.

"We missed five free throws," Coach Davis said. "I'm not saying we make all of them, but we had a number of opportunities to tie the ball game or make it a one-possession game. I think in the middle of missing those five free throws, we turned the ball over twice, as well... Just didn't make the plays that you needed to down the stretch."

Down the stretch, the Cavaliers outscored the Tar Heels 11-4 as Carolina missed six shots in a row - five of which were from three - and Virginia made nine free throws.

"I felt like we had some really good looks from three," Coach Davis said. "It's always one of the things that has gone back to us is our inconsistencies and our inability to shoot the ball from the outside."

The Tar Heels hit just eight of 27 threes for less than 30 percent beyond the arc. The Cavaliers outshot the Heels from field 49 percent to 36 percent.

Virginia, now 24-6, was led by Jayden Gardner's 17 points. The Cavaliers now advance to the ACC semi-finals against Clemson.

The Tar Heels, now 20-13, were led by R.J. Davis, who scored 24 points including four of eight from three. Now Carolina must wait to see if they can get into the NCAA field and, if not, they'll have to decide if they want to go the National Invitational Tournament.

Box score

Carolina 85, Boston College 61
With backs to the wall, Heels hot again
North Carolina shot 55 percent, hit 10 three pointers and were able to play well without a hobbled Armando Bacot in blasting Boston College 85-61 in the ACC Tournament in Greensboro. (3/8)

With their NCAA Tournament hopes apparently resting on their play in the ACC Tournament, things might have looked bleak when Bacot went to the lockerroom in the first half with a turned ankle. But the Tar Heels had built a fairly comfortable 39-20 lead when the injury occurred.

BC cut the lead down to 14 points by halftime, 43-29, after Bacot went down.

Trainers were able to loosen the ankle enough to get Bacot back on the court to start the second half. Bacot scored the first points of the second half to start a 15-2 run that ended with an R.J. Davis three from the left side to put Carolina in control at 58-31 with 15:22 left in the game.

With the luxury of a big lead, UNC coach Hubert Davis was able to sit Bacot the rest of the way.

"When you play possibly four games in four days, you need depth and the guys off the bench were ready and did a really good job tonight," Coach Davis said.

The Tar Heels got 23 points from their bench including eight from D'Marco Dunn and five from Dontrez Styles.

"The guys coming off the bench did a really great job," said UNC's Pete Nance, who had 10 points and four blocked shots. "The scoring was great but I thought they played with a lot of energy and intensity."

The starting backcourt of Davis and Caleb Love played as well as they have in the same game all year. Love led the way with 22 points on nine of 20 shooting and three steals. Davis added 18 points, hitting four of six three pointers.

The team's seven three pointers in the first half set the tone for the game but Carolina also beat the Eagles 36-28 in the paint.

"We like to push the pace," Love said. "I thought we did that tonight... Our defense is our best offense. It allows us to get out on the run."

Coach Davis said that when his team plays inside out - that is letting someone touch it in the paint and possibly scoring before pushing it back outside for a good shot - helps the offense flow better. He said that balance will be important against Virginia in the quarterfinals. That makes a healthy Bacot even more important.

"Mondo is as tough as nails," Love said. "He wanted to be out there for this team. There's no doubt he'll be out there tomorrow."

Despite playing just 18 minutes, Bacot scored 10 points and dished out three assists.

Boston College, which ends the season 16-17, was led by Makai Ashton-Langford's 16 points.

The Tar Heels, now 20-12, tries to keep it going against Virginia at 7 p.m. Thursday.

Box score


2022-2023 UNC Season Preview

Read about any UNC basketball game since 2007-2008
Other old archived headlines:
2012-2013 UNC basketball season preview
2010-2011 season began with Late Nite with Roy

ESPN blows it - What were they thinking?
Read about UNC's 2010 football bowl win
Readers weighed in on Tar Heels' 2009-2010 troubles
Shorthanded Heels get big game from freshmen in opener
Season Review: UNC baseball had one of its best years in 2008
Carolina basketball's run ends after comeback falls short
Tar Heels run out of gas against Fresno State
Season Review: Carolina ends season where it wanted - in Omaha

Flack does it in the clutch again as Tar Heels fight on
Federowicz heroics keep UNC alive in College World Series
Carolina in the College World Series again
UNC is one win away from third straight trip to the World Series

Carolina baseball advances to host Super Regional starting Saturday
Heels defeats UNC-Wilmington 7-3 with five-run inning
UNC's wins over Miami vault Heels to No. 1 in the nation
Carolina baseball reaches 40-game win mark
Tar Heels take two of three from Florida State

Also, check out my articles for the UNC alumni Web site on Carolina's 8-4 win over LSU, the 5-3 loss to Fresno State, the 7-3 win over LSU, the 4-3 victory over Fresno State and the season-ending loss to Fresno State.

© 2023 CB3media Cary, NC


Heel Prints reviewed each UNC game
As a student sports editor years ago, prior to the season, Clifton Barnes predicted a national championship for the Tar Heels and indeed they won. In fact he wrote his lede paragraph for the national championship game almost a year early. He regrets that he didn't keep a journal after each game. He kept a journal after each game of the 2007-2008 season and you can reach them here. At the request of readers, he has kept up his journal of each game ever since. He also has written about UNC baseball and wrote an analysis after each 2008 UNC football game.


Editor's Note: HeelPrints chronicled the UNC basketball, baseball and football seasons for 2008 and 2009. Since the vast majority of comments I get about the site relate to basketball and since this isn't a paying job for me, I decided to limit my coverage and analysis to basketball. Baseball and football will remain archived and if I have comments or opinions I want to make on those or any other sports at UNC, I will make them here on the front page and then archive them in the corresponding sports section. Thanks for all the positive comments I have received about the site. Should I get sponsorship in the future, I will reconsider adding baseball and football again. Ironically, my favorite sports to watch in person are baseball and football. But my first connections to UNC came from watching Dean Smith's basketball teams on TV or listening to them on the radio in the days before all the games were televised. It should come as no surprise that people pay more attention to the basketball coverage. Thanks for your interest in this site.