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ACC Roundup - UNC Loses At The Buzzer (Repetitive But True)

A painful season grows even more so

NCAA Basketball: North Carolina at Notre Dame
Feb 17, 2020; South Bend, Indiana, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish forward Nate Laszewski (14) shoots the game winning basket in the second half against the North Carolina Tar Heels at the Purcell Pavilion.
Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

When we were watching Duke dismantle Notre Dame this past weekend we noticed a couple of things, and specifically about Nate Laszewski (rhymes with Krzyzewski): first, that the guy has an amazingly quick first step for a guy that size, and second that he was totally willing to pop a three.

We’ve been meaning to talk about him because after watching him our thought was this: if the guy is willing to put in the work, he could be great.

Not good. Great.

He put a down payment on that Monday night.

Tuesday’s ACC Action

  • Pitt @ Florida State || 8:00 || ACCN

Monday’s Result

  • Notre Dame 77 UNC 76

ACC Standings

In a season of collapses for UNC, it gets harder to rank them. We’d guess the Duke collapse, because of the rivalry, was the worst. Virginia might be second. But where does that leave Clemson?

See the problem?

By any standard, the Notre Dame collapse was pretty bad. UNC was up by 15 with 8:38 left.

Naturally, given the way this season has unfolded, Notre Dame came back. And with 1:05, Armando Bacot was called for an illegal screen with UNC up 76-72.

TJ Gibbs hit a basket with :47 left to cut it to two.

Then, in a play that people may wonder about for a long time, Cole Anthony, rather than using his size and strength to muscle a smaller Irish defender close to the basket, took a longer three - and airballed it.

Not too long before that though he had hit a gorgeous and difficult three from the corner near the UNC bench. No doubt he felt confident.

As it turns out, it was a death knell and when Notre Dame got the rebound it was only a question of time.

After Notre Dame got to their end of the court and moved the ball around a bit, John Mooney got it and drove on Garrison Brooks, who defended him well. The two point attempt missed with and Rex Pflueger got the rebound with :06 left.

Here’s where it approached tragedy, as much as a game can.

In the Virginia loss, Leaky Black drifted toward the lane to potentially defend Kihei Clark’s drive.

Unfortunately by moving into the lane, Black left Virginia’s Tomas Woldetensae alone briefly and by the time he turned around, and leaped to block a potential game winning shot, Woldetensae just waited for him to come down, stepped over to the right, and shot uncontested.

Too late - game over.

In the Notre Dame game, Black - “Too Late” Leaky now - made a similar mistake. The activity around the basket understandably caught his attention, fatally as it turned out.

Because two Notre Dame players were not in the lane, TJ Gibbs, who Black was loosely guarding, and Laszewski. Black drifted towards the action and as soon as the ball went to Laszewski he turned back out to attempt, for the second time in two games, to block a winning three point shot at the buzzer.

Once again he was Too Late Leaky.

The sad part - one sad part - is that Black came to UNC as a great winner. He won two North Carolina high school state championships with Concord’s Cox Mill High.

Flip your mind over to Durham for a minute and imagine what his old teammate at Cox Mill, Wendell Moore, thought while watching the game.

On the one hand, he knows Black as a real winner, an older teammate he may have looked up to.

On the other, in two consecutive games he’s made terrible errors of omission. What must Moore think?

In his press conference, Roy Williams cursed in public. It’s certainly not the first time - when he was rumored to be the next UNC coach, before taking the job in 2003, and after Kansas lost in the NCAA tournament, a CBS reporter asked him about UNC.

“I don't give a shit about UNC right now,” Williams said. Ten days later he took the job.

It was the first time most of us heard it.

We don’t care honestly. Certainly Coach K curses with the best. His favorite word for a tough player has twelve letters and starts with m, has an f about halfway through and ends in r.

What is funny though is all the years that UNC fans mocked Krzyzewski and argued that Dean Smith was morally superior because at least the f****r didn’t curse in public.

Well now the difference is this: although you might get a hell or a damn out of Coach K - as in “that was a hell of a game” or “he played damned hard” - but dropping an F bomb to the media?

You can find many things to criticize in Mike Krzyzewski, as you can in all of us, but a lack of self-control is not high on the list.

You would have a harder time making that argument with Williams.

With its sixth straight loss, UNC falls to 10-16 and 3-12 in the ACC.

Here are those losses:

  • BC 71 UNC 70
  • FSU 65 UNC 59
  • Duke 98 UNC 96 (OT)
  • Wake Forest 74-57
  • Virginia 64-62
  • Notre Dame 77-76

And things don’t get easier. Coming up is Louisville at Louisville on Saturday followed by NC State at home on Tuesday.

In one other important note, the ACC joined the Big Ten in a call to allow all college athletes to transfer once without penalty.

No one has said this but it will essentially turn smaller schools - non power conference schools - into bus stops as football and basketball players prove themselves before moving up. You could imagine, say, the Curry brothers leaving Davidson and Liberty after their freshmen years and transferring wherever to play the next year. David Robinson might have left Navy after his sophomore year. Ja Morant might have left Murray State after one year to see how he could do at, say, Kentucky.

We’re not saying it’s a good or bad idea, just that the other conferences will fight it tooth and nail.

Only one game on Tuesday as 15-11 Pitt visits FSU. We’ve seen Pitt’s potential and they’ll get there eventually. It won't be easy to do it on the road at Florida State though.