He Is Not Going to Call A Timeout

On Sunday when Georgetown had cut the lead down to 75-70, UNC brought the ball up and [UNNAMED ANALYST] said, “Probably should think about getting a timeout here” and I responded, “He’s not going to call a timeout, so quit saying it.” And he did not because that is what Dean Smith did and that is what Roy Williams does.

The question is how crucial was that decision in the way the game unfolded?

The answer for anyone who is being totally honest is we have no way of knowing. For myself, I probably would have called the timeout and seen if I could have settled the troops down, maybe given Lawson another break, and reinterated the offensive game plan which seems to have been abandoned. And it is possible it would have made a difference. It is possible they come out of the timeout and hit a key basket to put the lead back to seven.. Then again the shots were not falling so to some extent it might not have mattered one iota anyhow. Sometimes the ball just will not go in the hoop no matter how hard you try and timeouts or plaintive pleas from the bench are not going to change that reality.

Of course my point of view since Sunday is that Roy was less to blame for this loss than the hit job media was willing to assign him. I still hold to that view for the most part except for the minor exception related to the extent the players needed a steadying influence during the last six minutes when the sky was indeed falling. If there was a mistake made by Roy it was not the last play call which ended up being a missed Wayne Ellington three pointer, it was not recognizing that in the absence of a David Noel on the court it falls upon the coach to say the things that needed to be said. That was the irony of the whole weekend in that Roy discussed, in-depth, on Saturday how discouraged the Tar Heels looked coming to the bench with 32 seconds left and down by one against the Hoyas in 1982 until Dean Smith sold them on the idea that everything was going to be fine. If you read that account you understand what happened in 1982 on the final play was more about the players executing, not Dean drawing up a play. The crucial part of that timeout came in the reassurance from the coach that they could go out and win the game over the next 32 seconds. On Sunday it was not the play call that got Roy in trouble. Ellington could have hit the shot but he didn’t because sometimes the shots are not falling. The one move Roy could have made was to steady the storm of emotions these young players were feeling. And while it may not have worked, in hindsight it seems to have been the right move.

In the final analysis this is not a debate of whether you should use a timeout when the other team has seized momentum. Roy has won 524 games doing it Dean’s way and Dean won 879 and I imagine there have been far fewer lost over this than we all realize. Roy is a fallible human just like the rest of us who is stubborn in some of his ways and flexible in others. Our fault as fans is we lose sight of that fallibility sometimes assuming that any coach will have all of the right answers for every situation. The reality is that I would surmise that Roy is prone to a mistake about as often as his teams lose games which is in the neighborhood of 20%.

Sunday just happened to be in that 20%.


24 Responses to He Is Not Going to Call A Timeout

  1. Tardy Turtle says:

    Those jump shots might have been open looks, but NONE of them was a GOOD shot because a) they were low percentage and b) they resulted in long rebounds. Now Roy doesn’t necessarily need to call timeout to tell the perimeter players about the difference between open looks and good shots, but he DOES need the timeout if the players haven’t already learned that lesson over the previous 30 games. In other word, either way it does come back to coaching. Either the discipline learned during the season comes through in the pressure situation, or the coach calls timeout and reminds them. Dean’s method worked because of discipline.

  2. williamodouglas says:

    Dean’s team didn’t make any shots in 1997 vs. Arizona either. Not to mention, re-watch the game, I have and the Heels did take several inside shots down the stretch and missed them all but one.

  3. Tar Heel Fan says:

    It is really the common thread for UNC losses in the Elite Eight and beyond that is making shots, especially perimeter ones. 1998 was the same problem as was 1991.

    Assuming all we lose is Wright I would hope we would see better shooting from outside next season. I also think that if Lawson is there then Roy should put Frasor out there as the 2 instead of the backup PG. Let Thomas be the backup at 1. In fact as soon as he knows if Lawson is returning he should tell Frasor and Thomas that will be the case so Frasor can spend his summer working on his jumpshot along with Ellington.

  4. 52BigGameJames says:

    who knows what’s right-Roy has most certainly forgotten more than any of us know, and we can’t be privvy to all the info that goes into his decision-making process. I’ve been an “unbeliever” in Ellington ALL year, but maybe Roy believes you’ve got to take those risks with Freshman like Dean did with Michael. THF, I’ve felt all along that Frasor or Miller, or Ginyard presented better options at the Wing than E, but E may still turn out to be a cracker-jack player, and this experience will play no small part. I don’t think we had a terrible 3 point shooting team. Tardy Turtle touched on it above-if you are a moderately decent shooting team, shot timing, and selection (ie-when there’s good rebounding position & game-flow allowance) are critical to your success. Green & Ellington were all year the most suspect in that regard, despite having a modicum of success. Roy has touched on it, but some of these guys (read: Green & Ellington) have still got a little of that “I am da MAN” left over from being the Star in HS. In that regard, Green reminds me alot of Capel, although Danny is much more talented. Being a “shot-maker” is about so much more than having good form. Although we all wanted one, there really was no Worthy or Lynch on this team—there was one on G’town–Jeff Green. My feeling is Marcus will fill that role amply in the future for these Heels.

  5. Tar Heel Fan says:

    Ginyard is the next great Tar Heel leader because he is not necessarily the star but he does the little things. His play versus USC was HUGE even though it was only 12 points and nine rebounds, some of those points were smart hustle points at a key moment. He has two more years and I think before it is done we will be speaking his name in the same breath as David Noel and George Lynch. I hope he as a ring like those guys too.

  6. 52BigGameJames says:

    agreed–Roy’s kind of player, and he seems to relish being the vocal leader, but for all the right reasons!

  7. Tar Heel Fan says:

    Also, I think you have to be a starter to really take that role and be effective with it. I think there is some credibility involved with being the team leader and also being a starter. Ginyard should be that next season in place of Terry at the three spot.

  8. 52BigGameJames says:

    excellent point! should be a cinch decision imo.

  9. williamodouglas says:

    Ginyard was big on Friday, but even he was down some on Sunday. I think a lot of guys keep improving until their junior year and then things level off. I thought that Deon and Alex were sensational and we have another guy coming off redshirting this year, who could be a pleasant surprise. As good as B. Wright is, I think that at the college level, Deon can be just as good and perhaps Alex. Look what they did out in Arizona.

  10. Mike Johnson says:

    I am hardcore tarheel fan for over 35 years, as many final four , championship game losses and other NCAA tourney losses, this one hurt the most. With the game pretty much in hand at the 5 or 6 minute mark up what ,,, 10. You can’t as a coach, looking at the previous 10 minutes, see your youngsters are just throwing bricks from bad shot selections, and GT is making layup after layup and dunk after dunk that you may need to gather the troops, make sure you are pounding the inside to at the very least go to the foul line and make some FT’s.. and maybe just maybe you might want to try the zone defense to stop all the players running by your men like they are standing still as you are in man to man D.

    I mean really,,, the kids are only 18 -20 years old. The coach is expected to coach in these situations when, for heaven’s sake, the Final Four is on the line.

    I put the last 5 minutes of complete and utter collapse by UNC squarely on Roy Williams. I’m sure if we had fed the ball inside time and time again, we could have come up with a foul and or at least one shot to drop inside,, and has it turned out, we only needed 1 shot and that would have made the difference.

    Not only did these players collapse in the shooting dept, Roy had a total collapse in coaching at that point as well. I could be wrong but that is how I see it.

  11. Mike Johnson says:

    As it turned out, we had the game in hand, we had the big man in foul trouble, and we handed a trip to the final four to the GT hoya’s on a silver platter. Dean Smith always said you needed some breaks as well as outstanding players to win a championship. I’m sure in private sessions the players as well as GT coaches and fans, are saying in very low tones as they speak of thier good fortune….. “can you believe that UNC fell apart like that and couldn’t make a shot , man did we dodge a bullet Sunday or what???”.

    the same thing that was said about the errant pass in the GT / UNC game in 82. I guess what comes around goes around. Ironic, they handed it to us,, and we handed them one back.

  12. Tar Heel Fan says:

    I didn’t think about that part of it. I guess we have come full circle.

  13. Mike Johnson says:

    Yes we have, however , they did it with one boneheaded play, we did it by shooting around 7% for the last 17 minutes of the game to include overtime. 7% , that is almost unimaginable for a powerhouse like Carolina in such a long time span with so much on the line. It was one for the ages.

  14. williamodouglas says:

    That is just so stupid. They didn’t hand anything to us, Michael. That is just ignorant. There was far from any guarantee that Georgetown would score at the end in 1982; points were hard to come by and we had the lead.

    If anyone out there thinks that a ten point lead means that the game is in hand, please try to watch some more basketball. I believe that I saw OSU win two games in a row coming back from more than that and Georgetown came back from more than 8 point deficits twice in a row. Georgetown also missed 8 shots in a row from approximately 10 minutes on until 6 minutes to go, so I guess they collapsed first.

    And Michael, if this is your worse loss, then good. I hope it hurts you so much that you cannot sleep and hopefully enough that you won’t bother to post here anymore. Go root for some other team with a better coach, like Georgetown. Take your negativity somewhere else because while you may have watched for 35 years, you know absolutely zero about basketball.

    But even better, why don’t you do this, Michael, since you are such a genius–go down to a local hospital and see if there are any surgeons who have recently lost any patients–maybe you can tell them exactly what they did wrong and help them correct their mistakes because genius like yours, Michael, should not be wasted on Carolina basketball and I am sure that you know more about just about any profession than the people who actually practice it.

  15. Tar Heel Fan says:

    I thought they had the game in hand but that does not mean they cannot drop it. I also think that they were in control of the game and in a position to control the ending when they stopped doing the things that got them there in the first place long enough to open the door for the Hoyas to climb back in it. At that point it was simply a matter of making one more play than your opponent. They didn’t there at the end and that was a seson.

  16. 52BigGameJames says:

    this begs a good question william–I do recall noting how many times Dean lost in the NCAA to the eventual Natl Champs–or something close thereabouts-sometimes that gets lost in the dis-appointment of losing. I’m admittedly lazy, but can you dig that one out? It wouldn’t surprise me one bit to see the Hoya’s crowned this year, especially if they hit their outside shots, and the winner of the other bracket is spent by Monday night like I think they will be.

    early prediction: Georgetown over UCLA

  17. Mike Johnson says:

    williamodouglas , I figured that this like any other chat forum there would be a complete asshole like you that would respond with name calling and insults to posters. You have absolutely no class and proved it by your response. No need to respond I’ll never read it. People like you are so brave to call people names behind the protection of the internet, which makes this forum another wasted place to post because theres always one dumbass in the crowd like you that can’t exchange ideas without being abrasive to other posters that have a different view than yourself. So don’t waste your time responding , I won’t be back.

    You sound like a far left politician, when you don’t like what others say, when they differ from you, you just respond with name calling and insults. You should try church. It may do you a bit of good for you. then again, it might not. Enjoy your ranting and raving with someone else.

  18. williamodouglas says:

    Like I said. Good luck improving the world. Now that you have started with your intense and amazing knowledge of basketball, perhaps you can now move on to cancer or work for international peace. With your talents, the sky is the limit. You are just an amazing intellect. To think that you know more basketball than Roy Williams just from watching for 35 years is amazing. I will send an email to Adam Lucas, the sports informationn director and I will let him know that according to Mike Johnson, “this loss is on Roy.” Thanks for clarifying that for all of us Carolina fans.

  19. williamodouglas says:

    Carolina lost to the eventual national champs in 1968, 1977, 1981, 1985, 1986, 1989, and 1997. The first three of those were in the title game against, UCLA, Marquette and Indiana. The others were to Villanova, Louisville, Michigan and Arizona.

    Another little remembered fact is that Dean lost a tournament game in overtime by a greater margin than last weekend. In 1980, Carolina lost to Texas A&M in the second round, in double overtime, by 17 points! It was a similar situation and the other team didn’t miss free throws, which is the same reason why the Marquette score seems fairly handy, although that was a 2 point game with less than 2 minutes to go.

  20. williamodouglas says:

    I will just say, am I the only person who taped this game?

    CBS has it online if any of you want to see it again. Memory is something that I have to deal with in my profession and honestly many Tar Heel fans are not remembering the game correctly.

    I re-watched it and took notes and Carolina had many inside shots in the last six minutes and missed them all except for one by Tyler. Brandan Wright missed one of those that he seldom misses. Green missed a lay-up. Ginyard had a lay-up blocked but got fouled. Tyler missed a bad short jumper. On another occasion, Tyler got fouled and then B. Wright also got fouled down the stretch and made both!

    It is not as though we stopped scoring down the stretch, but most of the points came from free throws. The Heels also missed several outside shots of varying quality but all makeable, but most people who are posting are remembering the overtime, not regulation, as proximate events are remembered better. In overtime, the Heels did primarily shoot from outside as they fell behind so quickly. The overtime was ugly but that is a different issue as we were starting off tied.

    The other thing that people are not remembering correctly is that Georgetown’s center did not have four fouls until close to the very end, so all this stuff about fouling him out by going inside was not really true in regulation. He only was in during the last 9 minutes of the second half. He picked up his four foul by fouling Ginyard (which I thought should have been goaltending but it wasn’t called). At the same time, our only player really able to compete with him, B. Wright, also had four fouls, so that was even and we did not have him to play as freely as he had before.

    The idea about feeding the ball “time and time again” down the stretch is ludicrous. There were only a handful of possessions and Carolina did go inside several times.

    Nobody likes to lose, but before we trash the coach, let’s all try to make sure we at least remember exactly what plays occurred when.

  21. Tar Heel Fan says:


    Hibbert picked up the fourth foul with 3:48 left which led to the two Wright free throws. Ewing got his fourth which sent Tyler to the line with 2:26 left. I think the stretch everyone is focused on is from 6:31 to 4:22. UNC was up 10 and in this two minute period took three three point shots and a two pointer from Wright. To me the crucial series was this:

    UNC is up 75-68, Ellington misses a three, Hoyas rebound and get a jumper from Green to make it 75-70. UNC came down and Lawson misses a three which is the third such attempt of the last four shots taken by UNC. Where I say we stopped feeding the ball inside, it is during this two minute stretch which permitted the Hoyas to rattled off seven unanswered and it was at this point Roy called a timeout with UNC up 75-72. It is clear from that point on the ball went back inside except for a Terry three pointer at the 3:03 mark with UNC up three. Gtown cut it to one Hansbrough got two FTs followed by a Sapp layup and then a Hansbrough layup. Gtown tied the game on the three and Ellington missed the game winner.

    As far as where I think Roy was responsible it is he took the timeout at 75-72 and not at 75-70. After the 75-72 timeout UNC went back to going inside except for the one Terry three which I will not fault because he had been hitting those since the Duke game in Chapel Hill. Outside of that I think Roy took all the right timeouts plus only he and the players know what was said in the huddle.

    However looking at the tape, the biggest play of the final nine minutes of regulation was at the 50-45 second range left in the game. Tyler takes a 15 foot jumper which hits the back of the rim and Sapp goes up for the rebound comes down and knocks Tyler down who was standing behind him. They call a foul on Tyler. Perhaps the ref was ruling that Tyler did not give Sapp a place to come down and that is a foul but at any rate it was the difference between Tyler shooting FTs to go up five and Wallace hitting that three to tie.

    Yes there are some in Tar Heel Nation which apparently have nothing better to do than criticize the coach and it makes me wonder what it would have been line between 1983-1993 for Dean Smith had we had this wonderful internet community. Like I said my only criticism was waiting too long to take the timeout, make sure everyone was on the same page, drawing up something they could run out of the timeout, and setting a tone. Then again it is possible Roy did all of those things and it turns out these guys just were not poised enough to handle it due to lack of experience.

    I just hope we bring everyone back except for the obvious losses of Wright, Terry, and Miller because THAT team will be battle tested and motivated.

  22. Tar Heel Fan says:

    One more thing. Watching it again in the cold clinical manner really shows you what the shots just did not fall. Period. That has less to do with coaching and more to do with just a strange ice cold patch of shooting coupled with the fact the Hoyas could not miss and we could not rebound on the offensive end.

    2 for 23 is just not meant to be.

  23. williamodouglas says:

    Thank you THF for watching again. I cannot tell you what a difference it makes doing that because the second time a person can watch disspassionately, which is impossible due to nerves when the game is live, which also aids memory.

    I watched the UNC-Marquette game recently, from 1977 and it really surprised me just how different things were from how I remembered it. I had thought that UNC was never in that game down the stretch, when in reality it was a two point game with under two minutes to play.

    Everything that you said is correct. But having watched it again, you noticed that the major problem was that two minute period. This is far different from what many fans and media people are saying. It was similar to when we had that 68-61 lead against VPI at home and managed to lose it. Georgetown was really packed back into a zone and Vanderbilt had taken advantage of this and almost beat them with outside shots.

    It didn’t work for Carolina and I believe one reason is that all of us, Roy included probably, felt that Carolina was a better outside shooting team that our statistics indicated. Ellington seems better from outside than he actually performed and I think Roy and many of us thought that eventually one of those would fall. Danny’s first three, especially was not a good shot, but in hindsight it is worse. Had he hit it, it would have been lights out.

    And like you said, 2-23 was so much like the 1998 Utah game in terms of shooting, but we know as a psychological principle that people feel more disappointed when losing a lead, than in being behind the whole game and that is why so many are so disappointed I believe. Most of Carolina’s bad tournament games in the past involved being behind and not catching up; very few involved losing a lead, as happened here.

  24. 52BigGameJames says:

    imagine if UNC had a fully healthy Ford for that game–Butch Lee was awesome however, it should be noted.

    I’ll take a second look tonight–it won’t change my opinion on E & Green’s season long dubious shot selections however, but I readily acknowledge that’s part of the learning process. They’ll both no doubt benefit from the experience. Roy may or may not be at the top of the heap as far as game mgmnt or X & O’s, but I doubt there’s anyone out there better at developing players, mentally & physically.

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