Heels Get Louisville

As expected UNC-Louisville set for a 9:05 PM ET tip on Saturday night….and we thought Thursday was a long day.

Watching Tennessee play Lousiville last night I was actually hoping UT would find a way to win that game since I think UNC would flat run the Vols right out of downtown Charlotte.  As much as we talked about “ugly” basketball from WSU and teams in the Pac 10 or Big Ten because they play slow, Tennessee plays “ugly” basketball playing fast.  It was playground ball and I lost count of the instances a Vols player went into the lane, got into the air, contorted his body around and did not know whether he was passing or shooting.  In short, Tennessee is a poorly coached team and Chris Lofton has been ice cold for so long the UT trainer was checking his pulse during the timeout to make sure he was actually alive.

So it is Louisville which is playing some good basketball right now with their only major issue last night being turning the ball over 20 times versus a Tennessee team which is not know for playing great defense.  Then again that not playing great defense part for the Vols showed up in the Cardinals shooting 52% from the floor.  UL also outrebounded UT 42-24 pointing to an area that might give the Heels some trouble.

This game will be a rematch of the 1997 East Regional Final UNC won 97-74 which is a little deceiving.  I recall UNC being up big and then allowing the then Denny Crum coached Cardinals to draw within one point before pushing it back out again and winning by 23.  UNC owns a 2-1 record against Lousiville in the NCAA Tournament with the other win coming in the 1972 3rd place game at the Final Four.  Louisville smoked the Heels in the 1986 Sweet Sixteen on their way to winning the national title and christening the Pervis Ellison era.  And UNC is also 3-0 versus Rick Pitino all time and 1-0 versus him in the NCAA Tournament, the 1995 regional final win over Kentucky.

Also of interest is the fact this matchup should have been played back in late November.  UNC and UL were both a part of the Las Vegas Invitational.  At the time UNC was #1 and UL was #6 with the Heels playing Old Dominion and the Cardinals playing BYU.  Louisville had been beset with injuries and lost to BYU who UNC beat the next night.  After that the Cardinals went into a tailspin but then got healthy and here they are opposite UNC in the regional final.

The other storyline you will hear about in this game concernes UL center David Padgett who was a class of 2003 commit to Kansas and Roy Williams.  Unfortunatelt for Padgett, Roy left for UNC and if I remember correctly Kansas refused to release him from his LOI.  Padgett went to Kansas and did not do well under Bill Self so he transferred to Lousiville.  Roy indicated earlier this week he did talk to Padgett about coming to UNC but it never worked out.  I also think that move would have deepened some already nasty feelings between UNC and Kansas that cropped up from Roy’s departure.

It is funny how playing a “normal” team lowers the anxiety level a bit.  Trepidation for this game is present but it is your standard “Elite Eight I want to go to the Final Four” jitters.  Playing WSU the standard tension was present plus this daunting “their defense and tempo has destroyed whole cities before” fear sparked by the fact the media was hyping their defense and style as something UNC could not handle.  Still, UNC needs to come out and play in the same way they have been playing.  The Final Four is within reach, let’s hope they can grab it this time.

37 Responses to Heels Get Louisville

  1. Will says:

    WSU had a great defense for 10 minutes, but having no substitutes wore them out. Louisville goes 9 deep, and Pitino will rotate. The problem for them is their backcourt depth is not that great in that Edgar Sosa has gone MIA from last year. We will need to exploit that. Hansbrough will have his hands full with Padgett and Earl Clark. Will will definitely need Deon and Alex to show up real big.

  2. jack says:

    I have looked at CBS web site and they list the game at 6:40 and then the UCLA at 9:05 pm. Here is the link http://www.sportsline.com/collegebasketball/scoreboard/mayhem/20080329

  3. Tar Heel Fan says:

    UNC is showing 9:05 on their website as does ESPN.com and NCAASports.com which is the official website. CBS has it wrong.

    It is a ratings game. UNC is a better draw so they put them on in primetime to maximize the ratings whereas if you put UCLA in that slot, most of the east coast would go to bed since they would be falling a sleep watching the Bruins play.

  4. Bleed Blue says:

    Good evaluation Will, I truthfully dont see even with Pitino substituting every chance he gets helping them to much, I mean UNC’s starting five could run the whole game without a subsititution if Roy wanted too, really we probaley could. And UNC’s bench compared to UL bench is like David and Goliath. Danny Green is defiantly the best 6 man in the league and with Stevenson and Thomas theres no way anyone can run with us, I mean all three of those guys could start for Lousiville…and too top it all off if for some reason we get in shooting trouble Roy can sub in the North Carolina native Will Graves to help us out from the perimeter. Finally to silence all the critics if UL tries to run with us and they will there is no way they can do it for 20 min! UNC over UL 89-76

  5. william says:

    I think in that Louisville game in 1997, they got it down to four points with about four to play and then Dean called time-out and congratulated the team on a great season and told them that maybe that day was not their day. Louisville was getting tired and Carolina then did about what Louisville did last night, blowing out the Cardinals in the final minutes. It was Denny Crum’s last hurrah. After years of excellent service, a new administration came into Louisville and forced him out.

    I honestly think that what happened to Crum may have influenced Roy at Kansas when he ended up with a new athletic director. Crum had 2 national titles and at least five final fours and got dumped. Williams at that time had no national titles and four final fours. Something similar happened to Donnie Walsh at South Carolina, although he certainly landed on his feet.

    With respect to Padgett, he chose Kansas over North Carolina because of Roy Williams and you are right. There was no way Williams could bring him to UNC without further enflaming that minority of bitter and enflamed Jawhawk fans. Self ended up pushing him out, just like JR Giddens, Micah Downs and several others.

    The ones I really feel sorry for are the guys like Omar Wilkes, son of Jamaal, who was highly recruited and left Kansas and we have never hear much from him since.

  6. Will says:

    I believe what happened at Kansas was that Bob Frederick was the long-time AD and Roy’s good friend (who hired him). Kansas forced out Bob because the football program was in the tank and hired Al Groh. Al Groh and Roy immediately butted heads, probably because Al wanted to take away some of the basketball budget for football (basketball being the revenue generator). Another issue was Groh fired the football coach (another Roy) friend and replaced him with 2 games to go in the season.

    When Kansas heard Roy was thinking about leaving for UNC when Roy was mad, they IMMEDIATELY fired Groh. In the end, Roy left anyway.

    In hindsight, was Groh really an idiot? The coach he hired was Marc Mangino.

  7. william says:

    We usually get the marquis match-up, as I am pretty sure that Carolina is the most popular team in the nation in terms of casual fans. Duke is probably close, but Carolina sells more merchandise.

    In terms of yesterday’s performance, that was our second best defense effort of the year in terms of defensive efficiency per possession.

    When we were asking what it would take for Stanford to be rated ahead of WSU by Pomeroy, well, the answer, almost, was a 21-point thrashing by Carolina. WSU is not rated just barely ahead of Stanford. Carolina has jumped a spot, barely, ahead of Memphis, although firmly behind Wisconsin.

    In terms of defensive rankings, Carolina jumped all the way to 20th in the country. Obviously, some of this is a bit paradoxical, because Carolina is the same team they were yesterday. The computer is always behind the curve and reflects the past, not the ability that those of us who watch, knew was always there.

  8. william says:

    WSU is now (not, not) just barely ahead….

    Also, Pomeroy has Saturday’s game as Carolina by 2 points and winning 57% of iterations, which is probably about right, although I expect the Vegas line to be closer to 4.

  9. william says:

    Yeah, I think Groh was an idiot and I think the guy at Wake Forest is an idiot.

    With very, very few exceptions, universities excel either in football or they excel in basketball, not both. There is a reason why Florida is the only school to ever hold both titles at one time, and let’s be honest, people in Florida and Texas (another school decent at both sports) do not really care all that much about basketball.

    Look at the either/or way it works:

    UCLA= best overall program all time in basketball, so-so in football
    USC=best overall program all time in football, so-so in basketball
    Kentucky=second best overall program of all time in basketball, mediocre in football.
    Indiana=third best overall program of all time in basketball, mediocre in football
    UNC=fourth best overall program of all time in basketball,mediocre in football
    Duke=fifth best overal program of all time in basketball, not currently fielding teams in Division I football
    Michigan State–generally excellent in basketball, so-so in football
    Michigan–generally excellent in football,usually so-so in basketball with a couple of major exceptions

    Arkansas, LSU, Michigan, Florida, Tennessee and Texas have, at times, been exceptions to the rule, but let’s not kid ourselves here about which one they really care about.

    Wake Forest is not big enough to be good in both and I doubt that Kansas can sustain their blip. The Heels were decent in the early 80’s and mid-90’s but it didn”t last. We just went to the games to drink and meet girls.

  10. william says:

    What matters more, good offense or good defense? Dean Oliver says they both matter about the same, but it is possible that offense is more important….


  11. Tar Heel alum and fan says:

    I heard some analyst on the local radio say Louisville’s weakness is shooting; that if they can’t get their points in transition or in drives to the basket they can be erratic. Also that some teams have fallen back into zones, daring them to launch threes. While we all know Roy doesn’t like zones, I think the kind of in-your-face defense played by UNC against WSU will be very effective. I suppose Pitino will try to press but with Lawson out there that might not work too well. If Louisville falls back into a zone Ellington, Green and Lawson should get good looks.

  12. Flitz says:

    this is the test now…wash state was strong for about ten minutes than wiltered…louisville is big east, tough, athletic and well coached….i think this is the test to see if we can win it all…

  13. Tar Heel Fan says:

    UNC has been known to break zones one of two ways. Obviously you can shoot over the top of it. The other way is what they did in the Ohio State game where they flashed Deon Thompson into the middle and allowed him to shoot or at least draw attention. Danny Green is a huge key since teams get focused on the starters and no one bothers to keep an eye on him when he comes in the game until he has buried three perimeter shots.

  14. Tar Heel alum and fan says:

    That’s a great point about Danny Green. The Seattle P-I referred to him as a “reserve swingman” as though their team was beaten by some unknown reserve, while we all know he would probably start for any of the other teams left in the tournament and is the best 6th man in the country.

    From the stats from the WSU game: Ginyard and Q both had 4 assists each, which was particularly good work by Q in 13 minutes of play.

  15. Wilson says:

    I dunno, I almost feel less anxious about this game because we’ve just played so darn well. I’m not sure the Heels have given me anything to worry about. If we play our game, we win. Not much that me worrying will do to change anything.

  16. Josh Bowling says:

    That’s the attitude I am trying to take Wilson. I mean TRYING!

  17. Will says:

    Interesting that Louisvilles guards are both 6 foot. Wayne should be able to shoot over them.

  18. william says:

    If–If, Thompson and Stepheson keep playing the way they are playing, it is going to take a monumental effort to take down the Tar Heels. We’ve seen it all week and last year against Arizona, teams simply cannot defend us when we have other inside scoring options besides Hansbrough.

  19. Tar Heel alum and fan says:

    Agreed. Looking at the stats from the WSU game, in terms of minutes played, it looks like Roy has settled on his tournament roster. All these players got at least 10 minutes: Ginyard (27); Thompson (19); Hansbrough (36); Lawson (26) ; Ellington (31); Thomas (13); Green (23) , and Stepheson (18). Graves and Copeland each only had 1 minute in the game but their playing time will perhaps change depending on foul trouble, matchups etc.

  20. Looking at Louisville’s stats, particularly their poor free-throw shooting:

    Would it be a good idea (particularly given the officials’ apparent reluctance to call fouls down low), to play post defense with zero concern for fouling? Half the time, the officials won’t call anything, and if they do get to the line, they’re not likely to hurt us.

    What do y’all think?

  21. william says:

    Maybe I will try to write something up, but looking at the results for both teams since Jan. 19, when both UNC and Louisville lost, this game could be the de facto championship. Louisville has played really good teams since that date, losing four, while Carolina has played perhaps weaker teams, but lost only twice. In that period, after getting Padgett back, Louisville has beaten Georgetown, Marquette, Notre Dame, Villanova, Pittsburgh and Tennessee. Counting Jan. 19th, they’ve lost to Seton Hall, Georgetown, Pittsburgh and UConn…. They play a versatile tempo and all of their last 3 losses were heartbreakers, at UConn, at Georgetown and against Pitt in OT in the Big East tourney.

  22. Dr. Seuss says:

    You say Patino I say Potato… (should there be an ‘e’ on there, lol!)

    Ok Rick Patino is a really good coach, if you say he is a great coach I wouldn’t argue with you. But all the talking heads keep saying how sharp he is without mentioning Roy except as a brief afterthought. Let’s see, (and I realize I am preaching to the choir here) Coach Roy Williams:

    1) Won more games in the first 15 seasons of his coaching career than any coach in NCAA history

    2) Has the highest winning percentage of any active coach in Div I basketball at 80.7% (that alone is a ridiculous statistic)

    3) Has been inducted in the NCAA Coaching Hall of Fame

    4) Has won the National Championship once (so far), been in the NCAA Championship game 3 times, the Final Four 5 times (including 3 of the last 6 Final Fours), the Elite Eight 8 times, and the Sweet Sixteen 12 times

    5) Has won at least one game in the NCAA Tournament for 19 consecutive years, an all-time NCAA record

    6) Is alone in 3rd place for the most NCAA Tournament wins of any coach in NCAA Tournament history (recently passing the legendary John Wooden)


    7) Has led the 2007-2008 Tarheel team to the most wins (35 and counting) of any team in the history of Carolina basketball

    So I guess that makes him mediocre, huh?
    What’s the deal with shunning Coach?

    And can someone answer me this: Doug Gottlieb – what’s that dude’s f@#%&! problem?!

  23. Tar Heel Fan says:

    Gottlieb? He has a personal vendetta against UNC now. A few weeks back he called out Danny Green’s dancing as being classless. Roy Williams subsequently refused to do an interview with him and from that Gottlieb was quoted as saying that Lawson’s ankle injury was “karma” for Roy snubbing him. Ever since then 90% of the things he says as it pertains to UNC is negative to the point it shows his professional behavior has been clouded by the events mentioned above.

  24. Jonathan Starsmore says:

    The ex-Kansas AD was Al Bohl. Al Groh has never been an AD.

    The coach Bohl fired mid-season (that really got Roy’s hackles up) was Terry Allen.

  25. C. Michael says:

    THF, not, “since then,” it is basically, “since forever,” with Gottlieb. I think this really goes back to some grudge he has for KU always beating up on OSU…

  26. 52BigGameJames says:

    I want to say something about Roy that is another “feather” in his cap imo. The guy is candid, almost to a fault. Very refreshing when many other coaches are so guarded & pc in their comments as to be totally vanilla.

  27. Tar Heel alum and fan says:

    I liked his comment about WSU missing open shots; I personally thought a lot of those shots were well defended but gracious on his part to make that comment.

  28. Tar Heel Fan says:

    He says it almost every game UNC appears to put in a good defensive effort because in his mind the fact there were open shots albeit missed ones means they are not playing at the level he wants. Roy is ever the perfectionist because he knows if you can get to 90-95% of that you will be pretty doggone good.

  29. James, you are spot on. I would use the word “genuine”. Roy says what is on his mind, period. (Even when he doesn’t give a you-know-what about Carolina). Contrast that with other leaders of men. Have you watched a K press conference recently? You can see the self-serving/coachspeak gears whirring while he tries to filter his comments. The only filter Roy has is the one his mama gave him about not cursing. The man wears his heart on his sleeve, and means what he says. How can you not love the man?

  30. I personally thought Louiville and Tennessee was one of the UGLIEST games I’ve seen in a long time. The only difference was that Louisville played less ugly. THF is right; some of the moves that the Tennessee players were putting on in the lanes were uglier than I see when I play at my gym.
    I also wanted to see Tennessee win because I would have loved to thrash Bruce Pearl like no tomorrow. Just as well to get the opportunity to thrash Pitino, though. I still haven’t forgiven him for destroying the Celtics the way he did.
    While all the haters are already thinking that Louisville has this wrapped up, the Cardinals are so much like Clemson that UNC will be able to adjust to them all too well; they can run the floor, play physical defense, and even shoot the three a little. But if you put them at the free throw line (a whopping 64.9%) your troubles are all over.

  31. Will says:

    This is not a traditional message board, so I will try to be respectful of that. Anyone who writes on a message board to point out typographical errors obviously has nothing original or analytical to add. Please don’t bother contributing your inane thoughts.

  32. Tar Heel alum and fan says:

    It seems to me that the Hells’ defense has been steadily clamping down as needed since the ACC Tournament. Let’s see that trend continue!

  33. Tar Heel alum and fan says:

    Speaking of typos… sorry about that last one; it’s Friday!

  34. william says:

    Do you guys really think Roy Williams is a good coach?

  35. Tar Heel alum and fan says:

    Not good, great. Look how his teams play for him.

  36. william says:

    I was just kidding. I had posted earlier about one of Dean Smith’s teams playing Kansas in the early 1990’s and one of the Heels exclaim that playing against Kansas was almost like going against a mirror image, since Kansas ran almost exactly the same sets and plays, except, the player exclaimed, Kansas seemed to run them even better than Carolina did…. That is when I knew Roy Williams was destined for very special things….

  37. william says:

    If you look back, Larry Brown was a similar story. The reason for the Blue-White game is that Brown prepared the freshman team one year for the annual freshman-upper classman game and Brown’s team beat the upper classmen. Dean Smith was furious (but impressed) and swore never to pit teammates against each other publicly again.

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