Winning on the road in college basketball is tough. Winning on the road in the ACC is really tough, but the Tar Heels were off to a great start in league play with wins at Pitt and 15th-ranked NC State. The expectation was that the 12th-ranked Heels would come into their ACC home-opener and handle business against unranked Louisville. But the opposite happened, as UNC suffered its worst loss in the Dean Dome under Roy Williams’ tenure as head coach – losing to the Cardinals 83-62.
The Tar Heels were never in this game. Louisville jumped out to a 10-3 run to start the game and never looked back.
“They hit us early,” Coach Williams said afterward. “They made their first six threes, which was six out of the first nine. They made their first seven shots overall. We never really got into the game and I would like to give you a brilliant answer as to why, but I can’t give you that brilliant answer.”
The Heels would cut the lead to four with 17:00 remaining in the 1st, but that would be the closest they’d ever get the remainder of the contest.
“We got our butts kicked,” Cam Johnson said about today’s performance. “They came out and hit us in the mouth early and we struggled to get back. They made some shots, we didn’t make shots. They kinda took it to us.”
Although this is just UNC’s first ACC loss, the way in which they lost is concerning. Coming into today’s matchup UNC was the best rebounding team in the country. They were out-rebounded 40-31. Tuesday against NC State every starter scored in double figures. Only Cam Johnson (10) and Kenny Williams (12) scored more that 10 points. UNC finished the game with just 13 assists – matching season lows against Texas and Kentucky…both games they also lost.
The ACC will humble you quickly and this loss might be just what the doctor ordered for a Tar Heel team that has questioned their own enthusiasm and focus during the season.
“Coach likes to use ‘Fat and Happy’,” Kenny Williams said. “That’s probably what we were. We got a little complacent. We got a reality check really quick and it’s probably what we needed. Now we can use this to grow as a team.”
- This was the largest home loss in 16 seasons under Roy Williams. The previous was a 69-53 loss to Duke on 3/9/2013.
- Louisville made 11 three-pointers, which tied the most by an opponent this year (11 in loses to Texas and Michigan)
- Luke Maye led UNC with 11 rebounds.
- Kenny Williams led UNC in scoring for the first time this season. His 12 points