For North Carolina men’s basketball coach Roy Williams, that’s probably what goes through his mind after every agonizing loss this season. Last season, Williams was basking in the glow of winning his second national championship in the last four years at UNC.
Williams had already established himself as a great college basketball coach during his tenure at Kansas. But because his Jayhawk teams were known for flaming out in the NCAA tournament, that kept Williams from elite status.
That changed in 2005 when the Tar Heels won their third title — their first under Williams. When the 2009 Heels won the school’s fourth championship, Williams tied Dean Smith for national titles.
That started some debating whether Williams had topped the legendary Carolina coach.
I don’t believe those discussions are happening much around the water-cooler or in barbershops these days. We live in a “What have you done for me lately?” world. For Williams, who is one of the most accomplished college hoops coaches of all time, there are some frustrated Tar Heel fans questioning his coaching creditability.
Knowledgable basketball fans had to admit that, more than likely, the inexperienced Heels were going to take a step back after losing four players off the championship team to the NBA.
But no one — not even the biggest UNC hater — could foresee the team nose diving to an overall record of 14-12 and tied for ninth in the ACC at 3-8.
There’s no doubt that the players deserve a lot of the blame for the lack of on-court leadership, and also their poor, heartless performances throughout the season.
However, Williams must also take his share of the responsibility.
In big-time college sports, high-profile and successful coaches are usually the face of the school and Williams certainly fits that bill.
But on the outside looking in, it appears Williams has had little clue on how to inspire or motivate his team.
North Carolina has lost seven games this season by 10 points or more — six of those in a down ACC. The 68-51 loss to Georgia Tech may have been the most horrible and lethargic effort of the season.
The Heels are far removed from the team that was ranked No. 4 in the preseason polls, started the season with a 7-1 mark and defeated both No. 11 Michigan State and No. 13 Ohio State.
North Carolina teams are known for getting better during a season, but the 2010 squad has gotten progressively worse.
A NCAA bid on Selection Sunday is certainly out of the question, and the resume might not look good enough to be considered for the NIT.
Williams’ dejected body language on the sidelines, and the depressing expressions on his face during post game press conferences are a few examples of how rough the season has been on him.
Williams is a highly intense coach, who is known for uttering controversial or ridiculous statements.
Last week, Williams had to apologize for saying that, in his life, UNC’s struggles are as important to him as those of Haitian earthquake survivors. Williams’ comments were indeed foolish, but for him this is uncharted territory.
One year removed from being national champions, UNC’s only recourse for postseason play might be the CBI.
Contact sports reporter Corey Davis at 997-3111, ext. 44; e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org