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Ol’ Roy is back at it

Just when you thought it was going to be difficult to muster the appropriate level of disdain for North Carolina this year—when we’re treated to the hilarious Tweets of Kendall Marshall, when center Tyler Zeller is making the case as the nicest player in the ACC, when you look at the roster and see an aggravating lack of Tyler Hansbrough or Rasheed Wallace or Rashad McCants or any of the other players of yore that you loved to hate—you remember why it’s okay to hate Carolina like the Duke fan you are.

The program still has Roy Williams, and you know that at least once a year, he’s going to do something kind of dumb.

In past years, we’ve seen moments like the memorable quote, “I could give a s--t about North Carolina,” which was said after his Kansas Jayhawks lost in the 2003 NCAA national title game. Williams would take the Carolina job one week later. Then there was the Presbyterian fan he had ejected from the Dean Dome, all for the crime of cheering for the wrong shade of blue.

And, of course, who can forget his comment comparing the disappointing 2010 season to, um, the earthquake in Haiti.

Yes, there is always seems to be that triumphant moment once a year that only Roy Williams can pull off.

That moment came Saturday. Down 33 points to a team that counts two Ivy League schools among its six losses, Williams said on his radio show that he walked over to Florida State head coach Leonard Hamilton and asked if he would be okay ending the game with 14.2 seconds left on the clock. Now, typically the only people with the power to end games at will are officials and presumably whoever is pulling the strings at Buffalo Wild Wings, but this didn’t matter to Ol’ Roy. He was ready to get out.

Williams would claim later that he did this in order to protect his players during the inevitable court-storming. He said that after the Tar Heels’ loss to UNLV Nov. 26, a female manager was hurt by a fan.

Okay, that makes his decision seem somewhat reasonable. Court stormings can be scary. I covered the one after Maryland’s upset of Duke in 2010, and the mass of people rushing the court at one time creates a mob mentality where seemingly anything can happen. For Williams, who may have had in mind the incident involving the female manager in Las Vegas, the idea of leaving his players out to the teeming masses may have been too much to bear. The gentleman’s agreement or whatever he negotiated with Hamilton may have seemed like a sensible option at the time.

Okay, with that out of the way, let’s now look at what really occurred. When Williams left the court with his starters and other role players, five of their teammates, three of whom are walk-ons, were left on the court by themselves. Williams claimed that he didn’t know they were still there, but he walked off the court with his head down and went straight to the visiting team locker room. He wasn’t exactly being vigilant about making sure all his players were with him. He was mad about the outcome of the game.

And let’s also not forget that Williams has been involved in coaching for 38 years. He was a player before that career started. He’s been around basketball his entire life. Don’t you think he would know coaches are not allowed to end games early? It’s simply not done.

“I’m not aware of any precedent where officials ended a game early because both coaches wanted to,” NCAA national officiating coordinator John Adams told the (Raleigh) News & Observer. “Not to say it’s never been done, I’m just not aware of it.... From the 30-minute mark in warm-ups, until the time the officials designate the final score as correct, the jurisdiction, the management of the game falls within the hands of officials.”

This means only one thing: Williams was displeased that the team was down 33, and he did not want to linger in the Donald L. Tucker Center.

Don’t lie about it, dadgummit.


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