No. 5 North Carolina led No. 20 Duke for pretty much the entire game Wednesday night. Only the Tar Heels lost 74-73, despite a monster 29-point, 19-rebound performance by Brice Johnson.
“I think it was a game that Carolina dominated and just let it slip away at the end,” former Tar Heel and current CBS college basketball analyst Brendan Haywood said on CBS Sports Radio’s The Doug Gottlieb Show. “Guards didn’t make enough shots and they let Duke get a game they probably shouldn’t have got.”
Johnson shot 13-of-17 from the floor but attempted just one shot in the final 12 minutes – despite Marshall Plumee being saddled with four fouls.
“That was one of the things that was really weird to me watching the game,” Haywood said. “I know Roy Williams has probably forgot more basketball than I even know, but it was one of those situations (that made me wonder). Marshall Plumlee has four fouls. Either I’m going to put him in every screen-and-roll until they take him out of the game, or I’m going to run post plays for Brice Johnson until they take him out of the game. Brice Johnson had one touch the last 12 minutes. He had 29 and 19, and he had one basket the last 12 minutes of the game. That’s one of those things I think that when they look at the film, coach will realize he dropped the ball on that one. Marshall Plumlee should have been attacked. There’s no way you should have allowed Duke to let that guy play 10 quality minutes in the second half with four fouls.”
Despite North Carolina’s dominance inside – Johnson and Justin Jackson shot a combined 19-of-30 (63.3 percent) – the rest of the Tar Heels shot just 11-of-40 (27.5 percent). Marcus Paige and Joel Berry shot 4-of-22 (18.2 percent).
Doug Gottlieb feels UNC’s offense has become “stale.” Haywood wouldn’t go that far, but he agrees it needs work.
“I think (saying it’s stale is) harsh (because it) makes people believe it’s not working, and that’s not the case because they’re still getting shots inside,” Haywood explained. “Is it easier to prepare for them? Yeah. Some of the plays – and even some of the hand signals – haven’t changed since when I was in school. I ran a lot of that stuff because the Kansas/Carolina playbooks are very, very similar. But I don’t think it’s stale. I have to give Coach K his credit. He has taken so much from USA Basketball.”
Indeed, Krzyzewksi runs a lot of NBA sets that he learned from Mike D’Antoni, among others.
“As a Carolina guy, I hate to say it, but what he’s doing is groundbreaking,” Haywood said. “But I’m not going to condemn Roy because a lot of coaches in college basketball only know how to coach inside their box. I think Roy is comfortable in his box and doesn’t want to step outside of it. . . . I look at Coach K, and I’m like, wow, this guy was running trapping, aggressive, man-to-man defense. (He) immediately looked at this year’s team and said, ‘I can’t do that. We’re going to run primarily a 1-3-1 zone, 2-3 zone and drop back into that a lot.’ That is not what Duke basketball has been for the last decade. It pains me to say it, but that is why he’s the best.”