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Roy Williams rips UNC as 'the worst defensive team I've ever coached'

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On the heels of his Tar Heels allowing 95 points to North Carolina State, North Carolina coach Roy Williams didn’t mince words when describing his team.

Williams isn’t exactly a newcomer to the sidelines, so you know it had to be some really shoddy play that prompted Williams to make the claim.

Last Monday, UNC gave up 80 points in a loss to Virginia Tech after allowing just 63.8 points per game in seven previous games (all wins) against the Hokies.

After the Virginia Tech loss, Williams lamented the play of his team by saying, “I shouldn’t have to coach effort.”

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His team’s effort didn’t get any better Saturday as the Tar Heels fell to the Wolfpack 95-91. It was the most points UNC had allowed at home in seven years and it ended their 15-game home win streak against ACC opponents.

The offense clearly wasn’t the problem, and it was only the fifth time in 140 games under Williams the Tar Heels scored at least 90 points and still lost.

Those two efforts, or maybe non-efforts, is what led Williams to label his team as perhaps the worst defensive one he’s ever coached. There is a bit of hyperbole in his statement, but the numbers back up the coach.

North Carolina is allowing 72.7 points per game this season, which would be the second most his team has ever allowed since he rejoined his alma mater. Only in Williams first year at Carolina in 2003-04 did the Tar Heels allow more points.

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During his 15-year stint at Kansas, only twice did the Jayhawks allow more than 72.7 points per game. So maybe this team isn’t the worst defensive team he’s ever coached, but perhaps the worst defensive team he can remember coaching.

The biggest problem for North Carolina is its three-point defense, which ranks 64th out of 65 Power-5 teams. After watching the Wolfpack knock down 15 of 30 three-pointers on Saturday, Williams said it’s the Heels’ biggest problem.

“If I had to pick one thing, I’d say we have to do a heck of a lot better job defending the three-point shot,” said Williams.

As a result of the showings over the last week, UNC has dropped to No. 19 in the AP Top 25. They were ranked No. 10 in last week’s poll and have been as high as No. 5 this season.

This was the second two-loss week of the year for UNC, but they had a four-game winning streak sandwiched in between. Williams may have overreacted with his statement about this being the worst defensive team he’s ever coached, but he’s still managing to keep everything in perspective.

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“We’re not ready to panic or abandon the ship or anything like that,” Williams said. “After we lost one game, we won four in a row before getting to VT the other night. We’ve got to play better.”

The next chance for UNC to play better will come Tuesday at No. 20 Clemson. Two weeks ago, the Tar Hells defeated Clemson to push their home record against the Tigers to 59-0. That is the longest home winning streak by any team against a single opponent in NCAA history.

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Ross Kelly has been a sportswriter since 2009.
Ross Kelly has been a sportswriter since 2009 and previously worked for ESPN, CBS and STATS Inc. A native of Louisiana, Ross now resides in Houston.
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