First of all I would like to send out my sincere congratulations to N.C. State. They deserved this win. They were the better team. UNC is very young and just not ready to compete on the road against this level of opponent. That being said, I have learned many things about this team tonight.
First of all: Dexter Strickland, please shut your mouth! UNC had beaten State 13 times in a row before tonight. Strickland had nothing much to do with any of those wins, but he felt the need to run his mouth, then didn't show up to back his words up. He and Marcus Paige were so thoroughly overwhelmed that Roy Williams put them on the bench for much of the second half, instead relying on transfer Luke Davis. P.J. Hairston and Reggie Bullock were also conspicuosly absent from this game. In other words; the three players who should be relied upon the most for North Carolina simply did not show up.
Roy Williams also deserves his share of the blame for this embarrassing defeat. During a critical 20-2 run in the last 7 minutes of the first half Williams had many chances to stem the tide with a timely timeout. He chose not to, and the result was to kill what little confidence his guards had in themselves tonight. The worst offense was during four fast break dunks in a row. Any coach would have called a TO after any one of these. Roy let four go by before finally, mercifully, putting an end to the slaughter.
That being said, several players gave me confidence in the future with their display of heart and work ethic, especially after the game seemingly was out of reach. Joel James, Brice Johnson, J.P. Tokoto, and especially Jackson Simmons all played with a lot of heart and effort. All of these guys are young and showed that in the future they are going to be a group of core players inside for UNC that no one is going to want to face. James Michael McAdoo also survived early foul trouble to provide leadership for this young team. He never gave up and continued to fight.
Overall I think this was the worst first half performance I have ever seen by a UNC team. But this was also the gutsiest second half performance I have seen by a young UNC team. This team is going to frustrate and fascinate UNC fans all season. However I think UNC showed that once it puts the pieces together they are going to regain their place among the ACC elite.
N.C. State is the better team. This is their year. State fans should enjoy this win. They should savor it too. Because next year is going to be a very different story.