The whole world watched in shock Sunday night as No. 7 seed Texas A&M absolutely steamrolled No. 2 seed UNC with a score of 86-65. The Tar Heels have been in the Championship game of the NCAA Basketball Tournament the last two seasons. In 2016, they lost an extremely close game to Villanova, but in 2017 UNC took home the trophy and had a stellar tournament performance all around. The defending National Champions undoubtedly expected to see that Championship game again this year. Unfortunately for UNC, the Aggies were too much to handle and sent them back home in just the second round. The loss Sunday night would be just the second NCAA tournament loss for North Carolina in the past 14 games. UNC head coach, Roy Williams, certainly did not see the Tar Heels season ending this way.
The Physical Advantage
Although A&M was the 7.5-point underdog prior to the game, the Aggies did have one clear advantage: their size. In regards to their size, Williams even said they may be the biggest team he’d ever looked at. Texas A&M had the length and size it would take to dominate UNC and they did just that. With four players reaching heights of 6’8″ or more in the rotation for A&M, their physical superiority was on display from start to finish.
TEXAS A&M IS DOMINATING pic.twitter.com/dlqXmRos1w
— CBS Sports (@CBSSports) March 18, 2018
Texas A&M had the rebound advantage of 50-36 and also picked up 8 blocks. The Tar Heels missed plenty of shots that normally would’ve been made. They had three turnovers and went 0 for 8 from the field. In just a matter of seven minutes UNC saw their seven-point lead diminish and transform into a 10-point deficit in the first half. Texas A&M head coach Billy Kennedy knew that UNC did not play their best Sunday night.
The Aggies Kept Pushing
When A&M trailed 20-13 in the first half, their Junior Center, Tyler Davis, refused to let them roll over and get beat. Davis went on to lead A&M on a 15-0 run, leaving UNC scoreless for over six minutes. He would post 18 points, nine rebounds, and three blocks in the 86-65 win over the Tar Heels. The game’s momentum would bounce back and forth for most of the first half until back-to-back three-pointers powered the Aggies to a 42-28 lead at the half; that was the largest halftime deficit for UNC all season.
At halftime, #UNC is shooting from 33.3% the field and 7.7% from three | Texas A&M is shooting 50% from the field and 45.5% from three.
— Ross Martin (@RossMartin_IC) March 18, 2018
During the second half, the Aggies just wouldn’t back down and at one point extended their lead to 24 points; the largest point deficit the Tar Heels had faced all season. After the half, UNC never really jeopardized the the Aggie lead and that brought their season, and chance to repeat to a disappointing end.
The defending champs are out!
Texas A&M dominates UNC as Roy Williams loses a tourney game by 20+ for the first time EVER. pic.twitter.com/aUHuC17dNH
— ESPN (@espn) March 18, 2018
Aggie’s Billy Kennedy leads A&M into its fifth Sweet 16 appearance in program history, and it’s second in his three-year tenure as coach. Even in the midst of a crippling defeat for the Tar Heels, Roy Williams was classy and graceful as ever and actually said that he was happy for Coach Billy Kennedy.
A&M moves onto the Sweet 16 to face Michigan on Thursday night in Los Angeles, California. A win for the Aggies would mean their first Elite Eight appearance in school history.