This post from Bryanth1a from the PackPride boards pretty much sums up my thoughts:
How can anyone really be pissed about the outcome of this game? The team played reasonably hard the entire game. We got burned consistently on the defensive end by not being able to match their speed and athletic ability.
This game was not a result of bad coaching or stupid TOs. Even in our best years we could have lost this game.
We biatch and moan about the team for good reasons, but today they performed to their ability. We just have to accept the Holes have a lot of Studs in the stable while we're trying to build a stable.
Hear hear. By all accounts, this was a game that State would've needed to play perfect wire-to-wire to win. The Pack's not a good enough team offensively to play sub-par defensively for any length of time, and when the Pack let the Heels double a six-point lead to 12 over the final 2:38 of the first half, that essentially killed off any hope of the upset.
The game was not without drama in the final seconds, though. The Heels' infrequently used role player Mike Copeland came off the bench and in the closing moments tried to notch a couple of points on a breakaway. Ben McCauley would have none of it, fouling Copeland hard, sending the big man to the floor. Copeland took exception to the foul; he popped off the floor and charged McCauley:
Copeland had to be restrained and was sent to the locker room early by Roy Williams. To Roy's credit I think he handled the situation with class, taking the time to talk with Sidney and Ben to smooth over any hard feelings.
I imagine Copeland's got an interesting week of practice ahead of him.
As a fan, I always enter games against Carolina -- especially in the RBC Center -- believing an upset can happen. Sidney's first game coaching against the Heels and the game in 1998 over in Chapel Hill prove it can be done, no matter the odds. But like the poster above said, we just don't have the horses yet. Not many teams do.
I thought we played pretty well, avoiding a lot of the bugaboos that have done us in against lesser opponents. We only had nine turnovers -- a tremendous feat considering how poorly we protected the ball just weeks ago. We shot 54% from the field, and only suffered one minor, five-minute scoring drought in the first half. Courtney Fells had another good game, leading all Pack scorers with 22. Playing that well in most games will get you a victory.
But Carolina's just too good offensively to play lax transition defense. The Heels got plenty of easy baskets, shooting 63% for the game. When the Heels are playing that well, it's darn near impossible to beat them.