I stayed up late to watch the North Carolina-Gonzaga NCAA Men's Championship game Monday night.
The triumph at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona came in sharp contrast to the scenes of utter dejection a year ago when the Tar Heels fell to Villanova on a buzzer-beater in Houston, Texas. Unfortunately, this was not good enough to defeat the crowd favorite Tar Heels.
NOTES: North Carolina appeared in its 11th national championship game, having it won it in 1957, 1982, 1993, 2005 and 2009. But for anyone who bleeds Carolina Blue, it sure was a thing of beauty. The ups and downs that we've had, it's all worth it. "It's all worth it".
"And we said that from previous year we were going to just give it our all throughout the whole season and get back to where we wanted to be", Berry said. He took two quick dribbles and threw a hard pass to Justin Jackson, who ran ahead of everyone toward the basket.
To make things exponentially worse, the officials did everything they could to disrupt the flow of the game with incessant and inane foul calls.
Berry was joined by teammates Kennedy Meeks and Justin Jackson. Good three-point shooting by the Bulldogs (5-9, vs. 2-12 for the Tar Heels) helped give them the lead, but turnovers kept them from getting away.
Blown call on a scramble in last night's title game aside, Few and Gonzaga are headed to elite status. "From my angle, it didn't look like an out of bounds situation or I would have called a review". It's tough to hear.
While those officials were doing their own version of 40 minutes of hell, two No. 1 seeds did everything they could to play a national championship game.
"It stings a lot right now", Williams-Goss said.
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Monday, he fouled out in a mere 14 minutes. Center Przemek Karnowski and forward Killian Tillie - pressed into service because of the foul trouble - both grabbed nine rebounds as well. They brought steady cascades of boos from the crowd of 76,168, as fans from each side took turns protesting the whistles.
It may get lost in the details, but the Tar Heels turned the ball over just four times in the 71-65 win over Gonzaga. "I think it affected his lift and explosiveness".
Berry, who scored 22 points on 7-of-19 shooting despite dealing with ankle injuries, was named Most Outstanding Player.
Jackson, the ACC Player of the Year, scored 16 points but missed all nine shots from 3-point range. Pretty bad. The Zig-Zags nailed only 20 of 59 shots (33.9 percent). Gonzaga would not score again. I can't even describe my feeling right now, but I'm just glad I was able to do something with this team just because of our personality and what we went through. But he also said that perspective will come in time.
But most of the team that finished 37-2 is expected to return and is nearly certain to have enough talent to earn a 20th consecutive trip to the NCAA Tournament.
For 10 years, he was an assistant on Smith's staffs until he took the head coaching job at Kansas in 1988.
"They wanted redemption", Williams said.
Monday night's national championship put a microscope on far too many problems for college basketball, and I'm not even talking about North Carolina's academic fraud scandal. "I mean, I don't think either team played exceptionally well offensively".