Walker Kessler and Garrison Brooks went through up and down weeks in the SEC while Brandon Huffman’s Jacksonville State team picked up two big victories and Walker Miller played well in a Monmouth victory. Kessler had 22 points, seven rebounds and seven blocks in Auburn’s Wednesday’s 94–80 home win over Vanderbilt but was held to 11 points and three rebounds in Saturday’s 63–62 loss at Florida. The loss to the Gators was only the second game this season without a block for Kessler, who leads the country with 4.56 per game.
For many older Carolina fans who remember N.C. State’s dominance in the early 1970s, the Tar Heels’ run to the 1975 ACC Tournament title in Greensboro in Phil Ford’s freshman year was memorable. The 1975 tournament is one of the main focuses of the ACC Network documentary “The Tournament” in Episode 5, which debuts at 9 p.m. Monday.
No matter how ugly it might have been, UNC’s women were happy to battle through it all to finally get a victory over Florida State. It helped that sophomore guard Deja Kelly was pouring in the points, distributing the ball and playing solid defense. The No. 24 Tar Heels didn’t play nearly as well as in their upset Thursday of No. 3 Louisville. But they pulled away with a 16–3 fourth-quarter run for a 64–49 win to snap a six-game losing streak against the Seminoles with their first win in Tallahassee, Fla., since 2014.
There was good and bad news on North Carolina’s NET ranking even after the Tar Heels’ big 65–57 Saturday victory at Virginia Tech, as they continue to navigate life on the NCAA tournament bubble. The good was that it gave UNC (19–8, 11–5 ACC) a badly needed Quad 1 victory to, at the moment, put Tar Heels 2–7 in Quad 1 games. Michigan (14–10) moved up to 29 in the NET rankings after the Wolverines’ 84–70 road win Thursday over Iowa.
George Karl, a star guard at Carolina in the early-1970s who coached in the NBA for 27 seasons, is one of 11 finalists for the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame’s Class of 2022. The inductees will be announced in New Orleans on April 2 at the Final Four.
Karl was the Tar Heels’ starting point guard all three of his seasons in Chapel Hill, leading them to an NIT title in 1971, the Final Four in 1972 and the NIT semifinals in 1973 when he was All-ACC. He played five seasons for the San Antonio Spurs, the last three as an ABA franchise and the first two as an NBA franchise.
The ascent of Carolina’s women’s basketball program under Coach Courtney Banghart has been on a clear path to becoming a national-title contender next season. With their talent, poise and determined mindset, though, the Tar Heels showed Thursday night that they might just be ready to do some damage this season. No. 3 Louisville (22–3, 12–2 ACC) is no doubt convinced after losing 66–65 at Carmichael Arena to the No. 23 Tar Heels (20–5, 10–5).