Last year the North Carolina Tar Heels lost a heartbreaker in the championship game to Villanova at the buzzer. Move forward a year and the number one seeded tar heels are back! Once again they in the hunt for a Championship and a favorite to win it all. North Carolina is no new comer to the college basketball scene. A long time powerhouse they have been in the thick of the tournament more often then not. With five national titles, 26 tournament championships and 19 final fours, they are the team many programs aspire to be. However, with all that success came a few seasons of under achievement.
With an NIT appearance after the 2009 season and failing to reach a final four from 2009-2015, many hard core supporters questioned if the program was headed in the right direction or if Roy Williams should retire all together. While the noise was heard in the basketball world, Roy made it clear in February 2016 that he wasn’t going anywhere . As reported by the News&Observor, Williams had this to say about a reporter who said he would retire after the 2016 season. “You have no freakin’ idea what you’re talking about.” After that Williams took it to another level. “That’s the guy,” Williams said, (who) couldn’t put his damn pants on the right way when he was playing at Oklahoma State.”
Needless to say, Williams wont be retiring and after some underperforming seasons, North Carolina showed they still belong among he elite. Having won the ACC regular season two years in a row (2016,2017) and if not for a three pointer to take the lead in the waning seconds by Villanova in last years title game they would be seeking their second title in as many seasons. Carolina has stayed the course, believed in their coach and the process. A team that still thrives on big men and power post ups. A team that still recruits four year players and remains dominate down low when others teams base their game around the perimeter. This type of mentality puts you in position to not only be a number 1 seed but also win a lot of games. Williams knows this all to well. “I’m very pleased with what our team accomplished,” coach Roy Williams said Sunday night, “because they don’t give those (top seeds) away, you have to earn them.”
March is upon us and the tournament is in full swing. Nothings given but earned, and any Cinderella team can steal the show. The favored Tar Heels know that and with their record 16th number one seed in program history are ready to get to work and bring a sixth title to the dean dome. While the order is tall for the Heels to return to the title game its not out of question and Roy Williams with a record of 392-115 will lead the way. With a dominant 39 point win over Texas Southern on Friday, they are set to take on Arkansas 3/19/2017 at 6:10 Eastern. With the likes of Justin Jackson, Kennedy Meeks and Luke Maye on the floor, its not a question of whether the talent is there but putting it all together and playing consistent.
Oh! And by the way, Retirement for the programs head man is nowhere in sight.