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Flashback: UNC-Wisconsin in 2005

Posted on Mar 24, 2015 by

North Carolina and Wisconsin will meet in the Sweet Sixteen in Los Angeles this Thursday night. The game will be the second ever meeting of the two schools in the NCAA Tournament — the first of which was in the Elite Eight in 2005. Thanks to the NCAA’s Video Vault, the game (sans commercials) can be watched in its entirety below.

Whether you have time to watch the whole game or not, it’s worth revisiting at least the first five and last five minutes of the game. Here are a few takeaways from my own rewatch:

    • A lot of people like to compare Sean May and Kennedy Meeks based on their somewhat similar body type, but Meeks is nowhere near the force that May was in 2005. May absolutely dominated the game and was a lot more explosive than people remember. Watch the run out and tomahawk dunk by May at the 3:20 mark of the above video. Meeks has a bright future but has a long way to go if he wants to emulate May in 2005.
    • Speaking of explosive, all the (admittedly deserved) jokes about Raymond Felton’s weight in the latter stages of his NBA career tend to obscure the memory of Felton’s brilliance at UNC. Felton penetrates the defense, leads the break, knocks down jumpers, and hits clutch free throws down the stretch to seal the game. In the pantheon of Tar Heel greats, Ray has become somewhat under-appreciated.
    • It’s really apparent how much of an advantage North Carolina gained by having its players take AFAM classes. I mean it’s so obvious that only having to write a paper for credit was what ultimately gave UNC the edge over Wisconsin in this game.
    • On a more serious scandal note, Rashad McCants has gone out of his way to alienate the UNC fanbase and teammates alike over the past few years. Nevertheless, McCants was one of the most exciting players to put on a Carolina Blue uniform in the past decade. His sequence in the last three minutes — blocking (and recovering) a Wisconsin three point attempt and then nailing a three on the other end of the court — served as the final momentum swing in Carolina’s direction. There certainly seems to be a chance he suffers from real psychiatric illness and thus I don’t want to attack him for his recent actions. If that is the case then I hope he one day can reconcile things with his teammates and the Carolina family.
    • Random note, but it’s cool how the regionals were played on the home court of the host arena — even if the thinner “SU” logo looks archaic compared to today’s block letter “S.”
    • What does this game mean for Thursday night’s matchup? Likely very little. But hey, it’s better to be 1-0 head-to-head in NCAA tournament games than 0-1. Hopefully we’ll be left with another game Tar Heel fans will want to revisit a decade from now.

Feature Image credit Jamie Squire/Getty Images

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