Three years ago, a top-seeded
In an almost identical challenge Friday, North Carolina wasn't nearly as impressive as in 2009. Superior at every position, the Tar Heels didn't dash Vermont's hopes at history until midway through the second half.
The 77-58 final was a far cry from three years ago in this building, when North Carolina, without ACC player of the year Ty Lawson (toe), dump-trucked Radford 101-58, starting its run to Roy Williams' second national championship.
But the Tar Heels, seeded No. 1 in the Midwest Regional, shot a pedestrian 41.5 percent and were outrebounded by the Catamounts, looking to become the first No. 16 to ever win in the tournament.
North Carolina (30-5) wasn’t pulling a
Yet there was an occasional carelessness to Carolina's play that left coach Roy Williams foot-stomping mad.
At the television timeout with 15:55 remaining, Williams was as exorcised as a coach with a 12-point lead in the NCAA tournament could be.
Four minutes later, when
Williams later dismissed his irritation.
"That's just the perfectionist or the stupidity," he said. "I don't know which one you want to use, you use either one and it will be all right with me. But I do get frustrated when we make mistakes."
Williams was visibly enthused by McAdoo’s macho rebound and follow of a Reggie Bullock shot. McAdoo’s 3-point play gave Carolina a 54-37 lead, and when P.J. Hairston followed with a three from the left corner, the margin was 20 and all baby blue faithful could look ahead to Sunday’s round-of-32 encounter with
That game will match Barnes against his former teammate at Ames (Iowa) High, first-team All-America forward
McAdoo's first-half, one-handed dunk was the game's enduring image and came after he'd missed his first several shots.
"It felt good. So, yes, it relaxed me," McAdoo said on the interview podium.
“It looked good, too,” said teammate
"I didn't watch it on the replay," Williams said, "but I'm looking forward to watching it on tape."
McAdoo was 5-for-8 from the floor during a 13-point second half, a solid rebound from his 2-for-10 game in the ACC championship game loss to
"I don't know how much of it was just getting my feet under me," McAdoo said of his skittish start Friday. "I felt I was taking good shots; they just weren't going in. And seeing that I really just tried to get to the offensive boards, I feel like I was able to get to the free throw line, and I was able to get that dunk. And then just coming back in the second half, I just tried to be aggressive and things seemed to just fall in my lap."
Much as Lawson returned for a 2009 second-round game here against LSU, Henson may be back Sunday against Creighton. The overriding question: Will the parallels continue with North Carolina reaching the Final Four and hanging a championship banner?
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