Friday, December 26, 2014

Cats: Carolina Blues

A few final thoughts about Villanova's 83-69 loss to North Carolina in the national semfinal game.

Cats: Carolina Blues

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A few final thoughts about Villanova's 83-69 loss to North Carolina in the national semfinal game.

Don't misundderstand this part. North Carolina beat Villanova fair and square and the Tar Heels, as even Jay Wright said, were the better team.

However, the Wildcats got no favors from the officiating crew. Carolina shot 37 free throws. Villanova shot 16. There's no question Villanova committed fouls, but there is also no question that there were some Carolina fouls that weren't called.

When Scottie Reynolds and Corey Fisher began to take the ball to the rim, there were a number of occasions when there was contact, often plenty of it, and no call. When Tyler Hansbrough went over Villanova players from behind to get a rebound, there was also no call.

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More than even the free throws, where this might have evened up the game slightly was in the personal foul situation that Carolina would have been facing. At halftime, the Tar Heels had three fouls on guard Danny Green and two each on Deon Thompson and Ed Davis.

At the end of the game, Hansbrough, Thompson and Green each had four fouls and Ty Lawson three. Could a foul here or there have changed things, maybe gotten a Villanova run going?

Maybe, but the Wildcats didn't play well enough to inspire any confidence they could have definitely taken advantage of it. They shot 26 percent from the floor in the second half -- when they were rushing shots at the end, admittedly -- and the overall 5-for-27 on three-point shots speaks for itself. Fisher took 19 shots in 25 minutes on the floor, which is hurrying it up there even for him.

Better team won, and it could be that the 'Cats have been knocked out for the fourth straight time by the impending national champion. Nevertheless, Carolina had some help, both from the way the game was called and from the way Villanova played.

If those two teams met 10 times, Carolina might win most of them, but the margin between the teams would not average out to 14 points. That much is for sure, and that, much more than the loss, is what frustrated Jay Wright as the game drew to a close on Saturday.

Villanova was better than they played, which is the reverse of a team that usually maximizes its resources. 

Bob Ford Inquirer Sports Columnist
About this blog
Bob Ford has been writing about Philadelphia sports since 1981, and is still trying to figure it all out. A former beat writer covering the Phillies and the 76ers, Ford became a general sports columnist for the Inquirer in 2003, following in and occasionally falling in the deep footsteps of Bill Lyon, Frank Dolson and many distinguished others. He comes to the Philly.com blogosphere after award-winning success as designer/editor of the fabulous Pen & Pencil Club softball blog. Likes: Palestra, inside-the-park home runs, sunny days. Dislikes: phony people, cloudy days, rewrites. Reach Bob at bford@phillynews.com.

Bob Ford Inquirer Sports Columnist
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