Silly to rip Roy for ensuring UNC’s starters avoided court rush

Leave a comment

source: AP

North Carolina’s 90-57 loss to Florida State was an embarrassing and humbling experience for Roy Williams’ team.

But when he took his entire team — except for five walk-ons – off the court in the final seconds, it wasn’t to avoid further embarrassment. It was a cautionary move. Williams figured the crowd would be ready to rush the court to celebrate a win against the nation’s No. 5 team.

And he was right. The crowd came, and came in a hurry.

“Let’s make sure that we understand that I was not trying to embarrass Florida State by pretending that they could not control the crowd,” Williams told the Raleigh News & Observer. “That’s not what I was trying to do at all. I was just trying to protect our team. We had an ugly incident at Las Vegas and one of our female managers got knocked down.”

Can’t say I disagree with Williams there. Court rushes rarely leave anyone unscathed and occasionally turn ugly for the players. Tough to avoid when you have thousands of people swarming the floor. They’re awesome and a part of college hoops. But they can be bad.

Besides, FSU coach Leonard Hamilton agreed with Williams that leaving would be a good idea.

“I want to be clear to one thing: I wanted very much for Roy to take his team off the floor, so that they wouldn’t get caught up in the excitement and jubilance of fans,’’ Hamilton told Robbi Pickeral. “It wasn’t a negative on his part, or anything disrespectful. As a matter of fact, I suggested he do that. Because it’s college basketball, and the students and fans get excited … I just thought it would be in the best interest for all of us, with 15 seconds to go and us up like we were … I didn’t see anything wrong with that.”

Fair enough. If the Heels couldn’t handle anything the Seminoles did Saturday, why would the crowd be any different?

Related stories:

You also can follow me on Twitter @MikeMillerNBC.

Kennesaw State blows eight-point lead in 16 seconds, loses to Elon

Elon Athletics
Leave a comment

Kennesaw State entered Monday night at 1-6 on the season, but with 19 seconds left, it looked like the Owls have their second of the season locked up. Kendrick Ray made a pair of free throws with 19 seconds left to put KSU up 89-81, and all they had to do was avoid a complete meltdown to get out with a win.

They couldn’t.

A Luke Eddy layup with 16 seconds left cut the lead to six, and after KSU’s Nigel Pruitt missed two free throws, Dainan Swoope his a three with seven seconds left to make the score 89-86.

On the ensuing inbounds, Kennesaw State threw the ball away … and then proceeded to foul Eddy when he was shooting a three. This is what that disaster looked like:

Eddy would hit all three threes before, shockingly, KSU turned the ball over again. Elon could not capitalize this time, sending the game to overtime, where the Phoenix outscored the Owls 14-4.

Elon won 104-94.

Here’s what the comeback looked like on the play-by-play:

Screen Shot 2015-12-01 at 7.39.27 AM

Rick Pitino: Louisville ‘just ignored’ in top 25 due of scandal

Rick Pitino
(AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley)
1 Comment

Louisville beatdown Saint Louis at the Barclays Center on Sunday night, a 77-57 win that was much closer at halftime than the final score might indicate.

The win moved the Cardinals to 5-0 on the season, and that, in turn, got Louisville into the back end of both top 25 polls.

They’re 24th in the AP Poll and 22nd in the Coaches Poll, but that happened on Monday morning. On Sunday night, Pitino made sure to get a rant in about how this team is viewed and why pundits and voters should overlook the scandal currently plaguing his program.

“I think people are looking at that and they’re not really studying the team,” he said, according to the Louisville Courier-Journal, adding that he thinks the team is “just ignored” because of the accusations leveled by self-described madam Katina Powell in the book she published back in October.

And here’s the thing: he is 100 percent correct. Louisville was overlooked in the preseason because the scandal, when combined with the fact that the Cardinals are integrating so many new pieces into their rotation, made it tough to see how they would be able to compete at a level that we’ve come to expect out of Louisville teams.

I know that because it’s why my colleagues at NBCSports.com, against my wishes, refused to allow me to rank Louisville in the preseason top 25. In other words, I’ve had first-hand interactions with the haters. But if we’re going to be honest here, scandal or no scandal, Louisville probably wasn’t going to find their way into the preseason top 25, not when they had to replace Terry Rozier and Montrezl Harrell.

And scandal or no scandal, no team from outside the top 25 is going to play their way into the top 25 by beating the likes of North Florida and St. Francis (NY) without some shenanigans — like Fred VanVleet getting hurt, like Indiana collapsing, like Arizona and Cal and Notre Dame playing their way out of the top 20 — happening around the country.

So Pitino is right: the scandal probably did have an impact on how his team was viewed in the preseason.

But Pitino the scandal isn’t what kept them out of the top 25 until Monday.

That weak non-conference schedule and roster turnover was why.

And if we’re going to be honest here, it probably should have kept them out for another week.