Dan Bonner: ‘Roy Williams Is Underrated As A Coach’

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(Credit: Grant Halverson/Getty Images)

(Credit: Grant Halverson/Getty Images)

Roy Williams has been to seven Finals Fours and has won two national championships.

And yet, John Feinstein feels he’s underrated as a coach.

“It’s interesting. How can somebody who’s in the Hall of Fame be underrated as a coach?” CBS college basketball analyst Dan Bonner asked on The John Feinstein Show. “But I agree with you 100 percent. I think he is.”

North Carolina’s win over No. 5 Duke on Thursday night might be evidence of that. The Tar Heels won despite shooting just 2-of-9 (22.2 percent) from three-point range and 20-of-31 (64.5 percent) from the foul line.

They did, however, get a season-high 21 points from senior guard Leslie McDonald – which Williams knew the Tar Heels would need to win.

“We were able to talk to (Williams) before the game last night, and he felt like they had to have a big game from Leslie McDonald,” Bonner said. “And clearly, knowing that Duke was going to put a lot of pressure on Marcus Paige, I think North Carolina did some things to try to get McDonald open, and it obviously worked out. So it wasn’t just the defensive adjustments (Williams made). He was in control of that game.”

Feinstein, a Duke grad, feels the Duke/Carolina rivalry seems to mean more to North Carolina these days – that the Tar Heels hate losing to the Blue Devils more than the Blue Devils hate losing to the Tar Heels.

Is there something to this?

“I’m not sure,” Bonner said. “I think that in a period where each team is winning sort of the same amount – where it’s a 50-50 kind of thing – I think both schools want to really beat the other school. But in this situation where lately in this rivalry Duke has had the upper hand, I think that it does mean a little bit more to (North Carolina) right now.

“I’ve done a lot of games in the Dean Dome over the years, and I’ve done Duke/Carolina games over the years,” Bonner continued. “I have never been in the Dean Dome when the atmosphere (for) both of the teams, the fans – everything – was so unbelievably intense. It was a really interesting and nice experience for somebody like me in my position. That was an unbelievable atmosphere last night, and I think it has something to do with how much the people from North Carolina want to beat Duke.”

Still, wasn’t it a little surprising that North Carolina fans rushed the floor after the win? After all, this is a program with five national titles and 18 Final Fours.

“I was a little surprised by that,” Bonner said. “But again, I think it speaks to the intensity of the environment.”

With the win, North Carolina became the first team to ever beat the top four teams in the preseason poll (Kentucky, Michigan State, Louisville and Duke).

“They have plenty of talent, and I think it’s talent that has really applied itself to the defensive end of the court – and I think you saw that last night,” Bonner said. “They have become, in my view, a much better half-court defensive team than you associate with North Carolina.

“They can be really good in man-to-man, they can be really good in a couple different types of zones – I think that’s the key. They still struggle to score from the outside, so they’ve got weaknesses. But I think they’re a really good basketball team.”

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