(Originally posted on Facebook immediately after UNC lost to Duke in Durham, 93-81. Follow us on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/CarolinaTarHeelsOnMyMind.)
McAdoo’s early foul trouble, Meeks’ illness, a great game by Hood, and a stellar game by Parker were too much for this Heel team to overcome. They’ll learn from this, and they’ll grow because of this.
This season is far from over, and we’ll still make some noise this year in both tournaments. But the dividends of some of these tough losses — especially the one tonight — will really show up next year and even the next.
We can’t start a game like this not matching their intensity. We have to stay poised and take care of the ball much better than we did tonight. (Early in the game, we had 6 points and 6 turnovers. Think about that.) And Paige can’t wait until the second half to start exerting his will on the offensive end. He has to break that pattern.
A coach can tell players those things over and over and over. But sometimes the players only partially understand words. They think they understand, but on nights like tonight, it becomes clear what “playing with a sense of urgency” and “playing the full 40 minutes” really means.
We have good guys on our team. They have heart, they’re talented, they’re coachable, and they’re resilient. They never give up — one of my favorite things about this team. They have far exceeded my expectations once we all learned PJ would not rejoin the team. But my expectations for them next year will be much higher.
For now, let’s finish the season strong. Let’s try to continue to exceed expectations. Let’s keep getting better.