The North Carolina Tar Heels and Marquette Golden Eagles recently announced the scheduling of a nonconference basketball game for Wednesday in Chapel Hill. It was a decision that left many people confused, with North Carolina a bubble team (entered Wednesday 33rd in the NET rankings) that wouldn’t get much reward out of beating Marquette (100th in the NET) in what would be a Quad 3 game for the Tar Heels. Additionally, while just 10-12 entering the game, Marquette is a talented team that has wins over Wisconsin (19th in the NET) and Creighton (24th in the NET) this season. Marquette has shown that they’re very capable of beating teams that have been even better than North Carolina this season.
So, with such little potential reward out of winning a Quad 3 nonconference game at home, and very real risk in the possibility of losing to Marquette, it was a very questionable decision for the Tar Heels to schedule this game. Well, sure enough, Marquette won, and rather convincingly. The Golden Eagles came away with an 83-70 win in Chapel Hill.
During his postgame press conference, North Carolina head coach Roy Williams was asked about the decision to schedule Marquette.
Reporter: “What would you say to Carolina fans who are questioning whether or not it made sense to schedule this game considering the result?”
It would’ve been a good idea to stop the question before “considering the result.” There’s a big difference in what you think of an idea before it happens vs after you know how it went!
And that led to a hilarious response from Williams, before he walked out:
Roy Williams with an absolute classic tonight: pic.twitter.com/sxwy1sgH8M
— Mark Armstrong (@MarkPArmstrong) February 25, 2021
Williams: “Well, if I’d known we were gonna lose, God almighty, I wouldn’t have scheduled them. Come on. We can’t operate in damn hindsight. God almighty. If you told me we we were gonna lose, hell yeah, we wouldn’t have played the game. If you told me we were gonna beat the Lakers, I’d have scheduled them. Carolina fans, they’re not that dumb. If they are, I’ve got no answers for them.”
Classic, and the Lakers line is particularly terrific.
But of course Williams now wishes they hadn’t scheduled the game (after all, “we can’t operate in damn hindsight,” as he so eloquently put it). It’s a pretty brutal loss for the Tar Heels (14-8) that puts a lot of pressure on them to do well in tough upcoming games — vs Florida State (12th in NET), at Syracuse (on the bubble; 57th in NET), and vs Duke (on the bubble and red-hot; 48th in NET ) — and in the ACC Tournament in order to get an at-large bid.
Still, even before knowing the result, it didn’t make much sense for North Carolina to agree to play Marquette, and the college hoops Twitter world had a lot to say after the Tar Heels’ loss.
It’s Monday Morning Quarterbacking, I acknowledge. But you have to question the strategy behind a bubble team like UNC adding a Q3 game vs. Marquette at this point in the season. A win was never going to help the Tar Heels’ resume, and this loss clearly hurts.
— Gary Parrish (@GaryParrishCBS) February 25, 2021
Parrish nails it with this. Made no sense to schedule Marquette. https://t.co/3NtO9a3zjb
— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanHoops) February 25, 2021
Marquette is exactly the sort of team you want to avoid. Talented enough to beat you, but zero upside if you beat them. And North Carolina took this game, willingly, four days ago. Why???
— Jeff Eisenberg (@JeffEisenberg) February 25, 2021
If Roy wanted another buy game, I’d get it. If he wanted a marquee Q1 (or even Q2 game) I’d get it.
Instead, he scheduled a very talented team that could easily beat you and be a Q3 loss if they do. It was scheduling malpractice for a team anywhere near the bubble. https://t.co/4nHYKJEXJh
— Kevin Sweeney (@CBB_Central) February 25, 2021
Hard to overstate the magnitude of a bad Q3 home loss like this for the Tar Heels. Significant ding on the NCAAT resume.
— InsideCarolina (@InsideCarolina) February 25, 2021
Either way, Williams’ press conference was great.