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Off the cuff: I said that it would take at least 12 three-pointers by North Carolina to defeat Kansas. The Tar Heels got half that, hitting just six of 21 against the Jayhawks.

Meanwhile, Kansas had missed all six of their three-point attempts in the first game of the NCAA Tournament and all six of their three-point attempts in the first half against Carolina. But in the second half the Jayhawks found its eye, hitting five of eight threes.

Now, regrettably in this day and age, the yearly speculation begins regarding whether any UNC underclassmen turn pro. North Carolina can be a national contender next year and an ACC favorite if McAdoo, Hairston and Bullock all stay. And they should.

As former UNC center Eric Montross, who serves as a Tar Heel radio announcer, said, "I don't think our players are good enough to jump to the league (NBA)." Amen.

With UNC coach Roy Williams claiming that 95 percent of Carolina fans basically aren't real fans because they gave up on the team earlier in the season (untrue although I'm sure he gets tired of critical callers to his radio show), if any of those three players go pro, I wouldn't blame Tar Heel fans from losing some interest in the program.

Regardless of what Williams thinks, North Carolina fans are loyal and passionately so. But it gets old with players going pro early - too early - and leaving the fans to root for a continuously rebuilding team.

It's also a downer for the fan base to be unfairly generalized by the coach.

This team came a long way and had moments of great promise. That promise will only be realized if they continue their education - both in the classroom and on the court.

Kansas 70, Tar Heels 58
Cold Tar Heels blitzed as season ends

North Carolina, despite leading favored Kansas by nine at the half, was blitzed in the second half as the Tar Heels could not seem to hit a basket and the season ended with a 70-58 loss to the Jayhawks. (3/24)

Perhaps it was predictable for the season to end this way for a Carolina team that lived by the three and finally died by the three. But the Heels couldn't hit two-point shots either as they finished the game shooting just 29 percent, the lowest of the season.

Meanwhile Kansas, who turned the ball over 12 times in the first half, scored 49 points in the second half after managing just 21 in the first half and shot 63 percent in the second half after shooting just 25 percent in the first half.

"We were swarming in the first half and got some turnovers," UNC coach Roy Williams said adding that the Heels couldn't sustain it into the second half.

North Carolina collapsed in the lane with two or three defenders on Kansas big man Jeff Withey in the first half. But Withey, who scored just four points in the first half, scored six in the first three minutes of the second half during an 11-3 run. He finished with 16 points and 16 rebounds.

The perfect storm came together with Carolina's cold shooting meeting a larger team that controlled the game close to the rim. Kansas outrebounded North Carolina 50-36.

PJ Hairston led Carolina's scoring with 15 points but sank only three of nine three point-attempts and only three of eight two-point attempts. The Tar Heels' other long-range shooter Reggie Bullock was a dismal one of seven from the field including just one of four from beyond the arc.

Besides Hairston, James Michael McAdoo was the only other Tar Heel in double figures with 11 points but he got there by hitting only five of 19 field goal attempts.

Travis Releford, who averaged 11 points a game during the season, led all scorers with 22 points

It was the third time in six years that Kansas has eliminated North Carolina from the NCAA Tournament. One joyous Jayhawks fan held up a sign which read "Can't Beat Self" with a picture of UNC coach Roy Williams, who as everyone knows previously coached at Kansas.

"It's not any more painful," Williams said.

It was particularly painful however for Dexter Strickland, who played his last game as a Tar Heel. North Carolina's season ends at 25-11 while Kansas moves to 31-5 and advances to play Michigan Thursday.


"This year's team will probably finish with about 25 wins, finish second or third in the ACC, make it to the semi-finals of the ACC tournament and could be good enough to sneak into the Final 8 if they stay healthy and Williams works his magic with young players. A more realistic outlook would have the Heels falling in the Final 16 game."
- Clifton Barnes, Heel Prints Nov. 8, 2012

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