Don’t be fooled by the purported comeback. Yes, North Carolina enjoyed sustained success during the final 10 minutes versus Butler, but that’s mostly because the Bulldogs had amassed a 29-point point lead and simply lost focus as the game’s outcome already had been decided.
The talented and experienced Bulldogs proved too tough for young, finesse UNC. The Tar Heels appeared shell-shocked when Butler attacked them physically, dominating the rebounding edge early and winning that margin 39-29 overall. Carolina’s offense had clicked into place the day before, versus lowly Mississippi State, but Butler diligently eliminated open shot opportunities and forced the Heels to become a team they are not: gifted slashers and interior scorers.
The fall has been precipitous. A year ago, no one apart from national champion Kentucky dared Carolina to beat them on the interior; this year, however, the Heels lack the intuitive post scorers they’ve largely enjoyed during the Roy Williams era.
The team will receive no time to reflect. Carolina will play either Illinois or tiny host Chaminade on Wednesday at 7:30pm EST. Click here to view the UNC/Butler box score.