Tudor: Heels ready for NCAAs after strong tournament - WSLS 10 NBC in Roanoke/Lynchburg Va

Tudor: Heels ready for NCAAs after strong tournament

Posted: Updated:

North Carolina's basketball team didn't win the ACC championship in Greensboro on Sunday, but the Tar Heels left town in much better shape to flourish in the NCAA Tournament than was the case Thursday.

Thanks to three straight impressive performances by freshman point guard Marcus Paige, the Heels (24-10) were in position late to beat top-seeded Miami (27-6). The Hurricanes have more size, talent and experience than UNC is likely to face during its first NCAA weekend and possibly second weekend if it comes to that.

The Hurricanes pulled away during the final minutes for an 87-77 win behind remarkable playmaker Shane Larkin and a stable of perimeter marksmen.

But Paige, only 6-foot and barely 155 pounds, had 17 points against Miami and 34 points, plus 22 assists, over the three tournament games.

"Marcus is better now than he was December," said UNC coach Roy Williams, who was denied his 700th career win. "I'm proud of how our kids got better."

After being held to four points while committing six turnovers in a 69-53 loss to Duke in Chapel Hill on March 9, Paige had the look of a lingering question mark at the end of regular season.

But if Paige (second team all-tournament) advanced, so did sophomore forward P.J. Hairston, whose tournament performance was downright remarkable.

The Heels will enter NCAA play with one of the smallest starting fives in the entire field, but Williams and his players have reached a point where they are comfortable with what they are.

That's important.

"We made a couple of mistakes, but we were tough, we were ready," Williams said.

Only a few weeks ago, UNC exited a few opposing buildings to "NIT! NIT!" chants.

Not only are the Heels going back to the NCAA Tournament, they're going to be a tough out.

Very tough.

  • UNC SportsMore>>

  • Trubisky gets solid finish to UNC spring drills

    Trubisky gets solid finish to UNC spring drills

    Saturday, April 12 2014 6:30 PM EDT2014-04-12 22:30:21 GMT
    Mitch Trubisky closed spring drills with a solid finish in his battle to wrestle North Carolina's starting job away from Marquise Williams.
    Mitch Trubisky closed spring drills with a solid finish in his battle to wrestle North Carolina's starting job away from Marquise Williams.
  • New UNC offensive coach to continue fast-paced style

    New UNC offensive coach to continue fast-paced style

    Friday, April 11 2014 2:34 PM EDT2014-04-11 18:34:50 GMT
    Seth Littrell took the job running North Carolina's offense to play the same fast-paced style that coach Larry Fedora wants.
    Seth Littrell took the job running North Carolina's offense to play the same fast-paced style that coach Larry Fedora wants.
  • UNC's McAdoo to enter NBA draft

    UNC's McAdoo to enter NBA draft

    Thursday, April 3 2014 2:28 PM EDT2014-04-03 18:28:58 GMT
    North Carolina junior James Michael McAdoo will forego his senior season and enter the 2014 NBA Draft, the University announced Thursday.
    North Carolina junior James Michael McAdoo will forego his senior season and enter the 2014 NBA Draft, the University announced Thursday.
Powered by WorldNow

WSLS 10, P.O. Box 10
Roanoke, VA 24022-0010

Telephone: 540.981.9110
Fax: 540.343.3157
Email: news@wsls.com

Can't find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.