Off the cuff: There were two or three plays late that hurt Carolina, that's for sure.
The play that started Iowa State's late run was Marcus Paige's hurried three-point shot with about four minutes left. Carolina should have taken time off the clock and should have gotten a better look.
UNC was up by eight and a bucket of any sort, three or not, could have been a big blow to Iowa State. Instead Iowa State quickly got the ball up the court and hit a three. What could have been an 11 or 10 point lead was instead five.
On Carolina's very next possession the Heels turned it over on a foul. I'm not necessarily saying that McAdoo didn't foul on the offensive end without the ball, but that's a strange call for an official to make anyway, much less that late in a game.
The perfect storm continued on the next possession. After a Nate Britt miss, Kennedy Meeks had a chance for a relatively easy rebound stick back and he rushed it without fully controlling the ball and the tip missed.
North Carolina had every chance to win the game - well, make that almost every chance. After the final bucket, UNC players should have called a timeout. Of course the officials should have known Coach Williams was calling a timeout.
Yes, the clock should have started when Carolina inbounded the ball but once that ship has sailed it seems unfair to simply call the game over. If officials can look at the video to check the clock, it seems they could also look at the coach calling timeout.
A game should not end like that. A season should not end like that.
If you have the game on tape, go back to the 15.7 second mark after McAdoo tied the game at 83-all. The clock failed to start for about one or two seconds after an Iowa State player touched the inbounds pass. If you are going to call a game over when there is time left on the clock because there shouldn't have been time left on the clock, it seems you would be a stickler with 15.7 seconds left also.
In fact, there were times throughout the game where the clock didn't start accurately yet it's only a problem at the end.
Could you imagine an NFL playoff game ending because the officials said the clock should have started and didn't so one team doesn't get to attempt a field goal even though there is time left?
While these NCAA games are exciting, it's frustrating to see officials call these games differently than they do during the season.
It seems someone has told them to take the whistle out of their mouths and let them play ... but still enforce the hand check foul.
This was the first time Carolina has seen these officials this season and it appeared that Providence's style more suited the officials because Carolina had two players in foul trouble - McAdoo and Johnson - before Providence even had a foul.
Providence shot 21 free throws on the night compared to just 13 for Carolina.
There were a number of traveling violations ignored as well.
I'm not one to complain so much about officiating because it normally evens out in the end. But when guys are being knocked out of bounds and it's not called, yet itty bitty contact draws a foul, that's bull.
UNC's Nate Britt got run over and knocked out of bounds on a loose ball and UNC's Leslie McDonald was not only knocked out of bounds without a foul being call but the ball was awarded to Providence.
A number of times players on both teams were hacked down low without a call and then a touch foul closer to the key would be called.
There were a couple of block/charge calls that on replay one can see the officials made the wrong call. One such call against McAdoo gave him his fourth foul.
Speaking of McAdoo, there was no excuse for the officials taking so long to determine how much time was left on the clock when he went to the line at the end of the game. They in essence were icing McAdoo, who had to wait a total of five minutes while officials tried to get the time right.
And they didn't even get the time right the second time as the clock started late on McAdoo's rebound. There should have been less than a second left when he was fouled.
The call that seemed to perturb Coach Williams the most was when Desmond Hubert set a screen at midcourt and was called for a foul. In looking at the replay, Hubert seemed to be set in proper position when the defender ran into him.
The call was a big one as Carolina was looking to extend a five-point lead to seven or maybe eight at the end of the half. Instead, Bryce Cotton hit a bucket and Providence went into the locker room at the half with some momentum and just a 39-36 deficit instead of perhaps a 41-34 or 42-34 deficit.
Not sure Providence coach Ed Cooley meant to be condescending to North Carolina after the game but he was.
Most coaches praise the other team after a loss. Cooley said, “Nobody even thought our guys would be here to play the almighty blue bloods… I thought we deserved to win. But you’ve got to get lucky at the right time and we didn’t.”
Hmmm. He’d be a good coach for one of Carolina’s chief rivals. Calling someone a “blue blood” isn’t considered a positive. Neither is calling the other team lucky, even if Coach Williams thinks his team was fortunate.
Perhaps Cooley's team deserved to win but not any more than the Tar Heels deserved to win.
He did say it was a well-played game. Of course he also said, "I thought the game was well officiated."
By the way Cooley, who has a skin condition that prevents hair from growing in certain spots on the back of his head, has lost more than 100 pounds. For more on that, please click here.
Carolina Football: Golden anniversary of a redeeming 50-0 victory over Duke.
Carolina Football: Excerpts from an article on the history of the Carolina-Duke rivalry.
Henson Barnes, nation's top high school player, signs letter of intent
Duke hurt most by decision
Heartbreaking end to Tar Heels' season
North Carolina fought adversity before the season, during the season and in the last game of season.
With a key player sidelined by injury and players in foul trouble, the Tar Heels came from behind to take an eight-point lead late, only to see Iowa State hit seven of its last eight shots to eliminate UNC from the NCAA Tournament 85-83. (3/23)
The last shot, by Iowa State's DeAndre Kane, came with 1.6 seconds left to win it.
UNC's James Michael McAdoo had hit two free throws with 15.7 seconds left to tie the score before Kane hit a driving, high-off-the-backboard shot that won it.
What made the loss even more devastating for Carolina was a clock snafu after the Kane shot and the fact that officials didn't see UNC coach Roy Williams calling for a timeout. After several minutes of viewing the video, officials said that the game clock should have started and didn't and proclaimed the game over.
UNC senior Leslie McDonald said that "it hit us hard" that the Heels didn't get a chance to score after Iowa State's late bucket but neither he nor Williams blamed the officials. "Kane just hit an unbelievable shot," McDonald said.
McAdoo, who now must endure the speculation that he might go pro, agreed. "We played it really well. He just hit a tough shot," McAdoo said.
Kane dominated much of the game, scoring a game-high 24 points. But it took a pair of threes by ISU's Naz Long late to put Kane in the situation to win it.
"They made plays down the stretch that they needed to make," Williams said.
Carolina, down by three at the half after trailing by as many as nine, seemed to be the team making the plays in the second half.
A three by McDonald tied the game at 52-all with 13:14. Marcus Paige hit a pair of threes over a three-minute period, including one with 8:18 left to give Carolina a 66-60 lead.
A weaving drive by JP Tokoto followed by a bucket inside from Kennedy Meeks put the Tar Heels in control at 76-68 with 4:21 left.
But that's when things fell apart for the Heels. Paige, usually a steadying force, put up and missed an ill-advised three early in the shot clock. Seconds later, Long hit the first of his two late threes to cut the lead to 76-71 with 3:42 left.
Instead of the Heels up 11 if the Paige three had gone, all of a sudden the lead was just five with plenty of time left.
An offensive foul call on McAdoo gave it right back to Iowa State which hit another three - this one from Morris - to make it 76-74 with just less than three minutes to go.
Meeks, who had been steady subbing for Brice Johnson (out after twisting an ankle just two minutes into the game), rushed what looked like an easy two on a rebound followed and missed.
Again Iowa State capitalized, tying it at 76-76. McDonald hit a three from the left corner to put the Heels up 79-76 with 1:31 to go.
Carolina was still up by three, 81-78, when Long hit his second key three to tie the game at 81 with 51 seconds left.
Paige lost the ball in the lane and Iowa State quickly turned it into a fastbreak bucket by Kane to give ISU an 83-81 lead with 28 seconds to go.
McAdoo drew a foul with 15.7 seconds left and sank both free throws to tie it, setting up the Kane heroics and the devastating ending for Carolina.
Had Carolina players called a timeout immediately after the basket, they could have gotten a decent last second shot that might have won it. After one timeout, the Heels could have gotten it to midcourt and called a second timeout to set up a shot. Instead, it was a gut-wrenching finish to a game and a season.
Five Tar Heels scored in double figures with Paige leading the way with 19 but he also uncharacteristically had no assists and four turnovers. McDonald hit four threes on his way to 18 points. Meeks, getting his highest minutes in a game this season, scored 15 points and hauled in 13 rebounds. McAdoo, who failed to score in the first half and who missed his first six shots, finished with 14 while Tokoto added 11.
North Carolina finishes the season at 24-10 while Iowa State moves on to the Sweet 16 to face Connecticut.
Heels win NCAA thriller on McAdoo FTs
North Carolina, which led by nine midway through the second half, trailed by seven late but outscored Providence 15-6 over the last four minutes to advance in the NCAA Tournament 79-77. (3/21)
It took free throws by James Michael McAdoo, much maligned for his free throw shooting during the season, in the closing seconds to win it for the Tar Heels.
Trailing 71-64, UNC's Brice Johnson got free for a dunk to pull the Heels within five. Carolina's pressure defense stopped the Friars and Johnson hit a short jumper in the lane seconds later to make it 71-68.
Johnson followed up the offensive spurt with a blocked shot on the defensive end that led to a Marcus Paige three from the top of the key to tie it with just over three minutes left.
Twice Providence, behind Bryce Cotton, got the lead back up to three. But Carolina came back both times. The first time JP Tokoto converted an old-fashioned three-point play when he hit a hanging in the air, across his body, off the backboard shot in the lane.
The second time Paige swished another three, this one shaded to the left of the key, to tie it at 77-all with 1:06 left.
Johnson came up with another good defensive play with 35 seconds left when he bothered a shot and came away with a rebound.
Carolina held for a last shot. Johnson got the ball down low and put up a shot with six seconds left. The shot was a wild one but McAdoo got the offensive rebound with 3.5 seconds left and was fouled.
It took officials three minutes to determine how much time was left on the clock. Then Providence coach Ed Cooley called a timeout to further ice McAdoo, who shoots only 54 percent from the line.
McAdoo's high-arching shot swished through the net to give Carolina a 78-77 lead. The second free throw was long and McAdoo got his own rebound and was fouled with 1.7 seconds left. This time it only took officials two minutes to determine the time.
McAdoo again swished the first free throw but missed the second one. Providence's Cotton got his hand on the rebound but it went out of bounds with less than a second left.
Carolina inbounded it to advance to the Round of 32 and move to 24-9 on the season.
The Tar Heels led by as may as seven points in the first half before settling for a 39-36 lead at the break.
UNC got the lead up to eight at 46-38 in the first three minutes of the second half and extended the margin to nine at 54-45 on a Johnson dunk follow with 13 minutes left.
A couple of minutes later, the Tar Heels still led by nine at 58-49 but Providence went on an 11-0 run to take a 60-58 lead, which the Friars extended to seven at 71-64 before Carolina's late comeback.
Cotton, who scored a game-high 36, was nearly unstoppable over the last 10 minutes, scoring 13 points during that stretch.
Carolina's scoring was more balanced as Paige led five Heels in double figures with 19. Johnson and McAdoo each scored 16 while Kennedy Meeks added 12 and Tokoto chipped in 10.
While Providence shot 53 percent from the floor, the Tar Heels got more shots because of superior rebounding, especially on the offensive end. Carolina, which outrebounded the Friars 40-26, scored 26 second-chance points.
Carolina plays Iowa State, a winner over NC Central, on Sunday at 5:15 p.m.
© 2014 CB3media Cary, NC
Heel Prints reviewed each UNC game
As a student sports editor years ago, prior to the season, Clifton Barnes predicted a national championship for the Tar Heels and indeed they won. In fact he wrote his lede paragraph for the national championship game almost a year early. He regrets that he didn't keep a journal after each game. He kept a journal after each game of the 2007-2008 season and you can reach them here. At the request of readers, he has kept up his journal of each game ever since. He also has written about UNC baseball and wrote an analysis after each 2008 UNC football game.
Editor's Note: HeelPrints chronicled the UNC basketball, baseball and football seasons for 2008 and 2009. Since the vast majority of comments I get about the site relate to basketball and since this isn't a paying job for me, I decided to limit my coverage and analysis to basketball. Baseball and football will remain archived and if I have comments or opinions I want to make on those or any other sports at UNC, I will make them here on the front page and then archive them in the corresponding sports section. Thanks for all the positive comments I have received about the site. Should I get sponsorship in the future, I will reconsider adding baseball and football again. Ironically, my favorite sports to watch in person are baseball and football. But my first connections to UNC came from watching Dean Smith's basketball teams on TV or listening to them on the radio in the days before all the games were televised. It should come as no surprise that people pay more attention to the basketball coverage. Thanks for your interest in this site.