Upset of North Carolina ‘definition of Butler Way’

They did it again: Butler tops No. 6 North Carolina for 2nd straight time, 74-66.

      
 

 

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Upset of No. 6 North Carolina is ‘definition of Butler Way’

They did it again: Butler tops No. 6 North Carolina for 2nd straight time, 74-66.

      
 

 

View full post on USATODAY – NCAA Top Stories

Same Old Problems Plaguing New-Look North Carolina After Upset Loss to Butler

It didn’t take long for the Battle 4 Atlantis to produce a shocking upset with No. 5 North Carolina losing by a score of 74-66 to unranked Butler.

So much for that dream final between North Carolina and Wisconsin, huh?

Already, Butler looks nothing like it did last season, when the Bulldogs posted a 14-17 record. Even before this huge win, they were shaping up as a potential tournament team.

North Carolina, on the other hand, looks exactly like it did last season.

That’s anything other than a compliment.

It’s a new year for the Tar Heels. They have a lot of new, talented faces in Justin Jackson, Theo Pinson and Joel Berry. Kennedy Meeks and Brice Johnson have seen their roles increase drastically.

But the Tar Heels still have all the same problems that killed them early in 2013-14.

Remember that team? The one that inexplicably lost a home game to Belmont and a road game to the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB)? The team that lost four of its first five ACC games before finally starting to figure things out 10 weeks into the year? That team couldn’t shoot three-pointers. It couldn’t shoot free throws.

Considering it failed to capitalize on free chances and rarely traded three points for two, if you could hang with 2013-14′s North Carolina on the glass, you could beat it on the scoreboard.

In the two nonconference losses, the Tar Heels were 3-of-19 (15.8 percent) from three-point range and 26-of-59 (44.1 percent) from the free-throw line.

Well, it was more of the same on Wednesday afternoon. The Tar Heels had a rebounding margin of minus-17. They made just four of 16 three-point attempts and shot 18-of-32 from the charity stripe.

As Associated Press writer Tim Reynolds astutely noted, having North Carolina get into the double bonus with more than 10 minutes remaining practically worked in Butler’s favor:

As much as North Carolina lost the game, though, Butler won it. The Bulldogs grabbed an absurd 29 offensive rebounds and forced 19 turnovers on defense. They willingly played at North Carolina’s uptempo pace (76 possessions) and looked more comfortable running the floor than the Tar Heels did.

We’ll see what happens in the next two days, but perhaps the Battle 4 Atlantis will serve as a springboard for an underrated Big East team for a second consecutive season, as Villanova surprisingly won this tournament last year.

However, that’s a comparison for another day if or when Butler shocks the world another two times in the next 48 hours.

For now, the biggest question is, what’s wrong with North Carolina?

How does Johnsona 6’9″ forward who can nearly jump out of a gymnasiumgrab just five rebounds against a Butler team that doesn’t have a single player taller than him?

How does Meeksa mountain of a man averaging 16.7 points per game coming into this tournamentget just four field-goal attempts in the entire game?

When will Marcus Paige figure out that he actually is allowed to score in the first 36 minutes of the game? Late-game heroics were his modus operandi last year and he was up to his old tricks again on Wednesday, sitting at just seven points at the final media timeout but finishing with 18.

Most critical of all, why can’t anyone on this team seem to make an uncontested, 15-foot shot?

Justin Jackson was 2-of-2 from the line, but he was the only Tar Heel in the game who attempted at least one free throw without also missing at least one free throw.

At the core, every single one of these issues comes down to a lack of effort.

Free-throw shooting is all about mental toughness and putting in the reps. If Roosevelt Jones can make six of eight free throws with perhaps the ugliest shooting stroke in the nation, anyone can shoot 75 percent.

Paige seems to coast through games until a desperation switch finally kicks in. Johnson and Meeks could both record a double-double in every single game if they so desired.

Who really knows what’s to blame for the lack of effort?

Maybe it’s the off-the-court distractions stemming from the Wainstein report.

Maybe they spent too much time this offseason reading about how they could win it all and decided they don’t need to try that hard to win games.

Maybe this is just modern North Carolina basketball. The Tar Heels have suffered at least one loss in the first month of each of the past six seasons, losing a total of 11 games in the first few weeks of the last half-dozen years.

Whatever the cause, the Tar Heels really need the new guys to infuse the team with some new blood, and it appears the freshmen will have plenty of opportunities to flex their muscles.

Down by four points with 16 seconds left, Berry, Jackson and Pinson were all on the court trying to force a turnovertrying to give the Tar Heels a spark that they desperately needed to avoid slipping into the “here we go again” mindset.

Obviously, they were unable to pull it off, but it speaks volumes about where this North Carolina team is and where it’s going that three freshmen who had yet to play in a game decided by fewer than 16 points were the ones that Roy Williams thought gave the Tar Heels the best chance to win.

Can the new guys help turn things around or is North Carolina headed for another subpar season and early exit from the NCAA tournament?

On one hand, this was a very ugly showing from the Tar Heels. On the other, they only lost by single digits despite getting destroyed in virtually every aspect of the game other than blocked shots (UNC had 10, Butler had one).

It’s still way too early to make an overarching judgment on the season ahead, but we’ll get a few more pieces of the North Carolina puzzle in the next two days.

Even after suffering the loss to Butler, the Tar Heels will face either UCLA or Oklahoma in the consolation bracket before potentially drawing Georgetown on Friday.

After Atlantis, they play Iowa, Kentucky and Ohio State in a span of 17 days before embarking on a tumultuous ACC slate.

Yes, it’s still November, but they need to figure out how to play with intensity while actually making some free throws and three-pointers. Otherwise, things may start spiraling out of control.

Again.

 

Kerry Miller covers college basketball for Bleacher Report. You can follow him on Twitter @kerrancejames.

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Butler knocks off No. 5 North Carolina, 74-66 (Yahoo Sports)

North Carolina head coach Roy Williams directs his team against Davidson during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Charlotte, N.C., Saturday, Nov. 22, 2014. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)

PARADISE ISLAND, Bahamas (AP) — Butler’s shooting numbers were awful. And it didn’t matter.


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No. 6 North Carolina defeats Davidson 90-72

Kennedy Meeks scores 19 points, No. 6 North Carolina defeats Davidson 90-72 to stay unbeaten

      
 

 

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Chery’s 20 lead Baylor to win vs. S. Carolina

The senior scores career-high 20 in Baylor’s 69-65 victory at South Carolina.

      
 

 

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No. 6 North Carolina beats Robert Morris 103-59 (Yahoo Sports)

North Carolina's Brice Johnson shoots as Robert Morris' Lucky Jones defends during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Chapel Hill, N.C., Sunday, Nov. 16, 2014. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) — For one night, Brice Johnson and Kennedy Meeks gave North Carolina the inside scoring and rebounding that coach Roy Williams wants to see.


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No. 6 North Carolina beats NC Central 76-60 (Yahoo Sports)

North Carolina's Kennedy Meeks dunks during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against North Carolina Central in Chapel Hill, N.C., Friday, Nov. 14, 2014. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina had trouble pushing the tempo and setting up preseason All-American Marcus Paige.


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Perry Dozier Jr. to South Carolina: Gamecocks Land 4-Star SG Prospect

The South Carolina men’s basketball program scored a major recruiting win Wednesday as it secured a commitment from Perry Dozier Jr.    

ESPN.com’s Jeff Borzello first reported the announcement:

Dozier is a 6’6″ shooting guard from Columbia, South Carolina, whom 247Sports lists as the No. 26 overall prospect in the Class of 2015, according to its composite system. He’s also listed as the sixth-best shooting guard recruit and the top player in this state.

The Spring Valley High School standout was pursued by several top schools, with 247Sports listing South Carolina, Louisville and Georgetown as the top three candidates prior to his decision.

According to Phil Kornblut of GoUpstate.com, Dozier’s father said his son was undecided as recently as last week.  

“It’s still hard to say,” he said. “These guys have all done a wonder job. PJ is going to have a real tough decision. I say that but it’s still anybody’s game right now. Hopefully we’ll know within the next few days.”

Dozier ultimately decided that head coach Frank Martin’s team offered the best situation for him.

This is despite the fact that the Gamecocks haven’t had a winning record since the 2008-09 season, and haven’t qualified for the NCAA tournament since 2003-04. If Dozier is as good as advertised, though, that drought could come to an end in the near future.

 

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North Carolina Basketball: Complete Roster, Season Preview for 2014-15 Tar Heels

North Carolina is coming off an up-and-down season in which it got hot down the stretch but failed to make it out of the first weekend of the NCAA tournament for the second straight year. The slate has been wiped clean, however, and the Tar Heels are primed to make a hard push at the ACC title and another deep tourney run.

UNC, which is ranked sixth in the preseason Associated Press poll, opens play Nov. 14 against North Carolina Central. Before we get to that initial tip-off, it’s time to take a comprehensive look at what to expect from the 2014-15 Heels.

With three starters back and a heralded recruiting class on board to fill in the holes, Carolina has a lineup that looks to be far more balanced than the Marcus Paige-heavy team that went 24-10 last year. Scroll through our preview to see what’s in store from the Heels this season.

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