North Carolina falls to UAB, remains college hoops' biggest mystery team

By Matt Norlander | College Basketball Writer

Second-year UAB coach Jerod Haase is a former UNC assistant and made the most of hosting the Heels. (USATSI)
UAB coach Jerod Haase is a former UNC assistant and made the most of hosting the Heels. (USATSI)

UNC lost for the second time in two weeks to an unranked team from a small conference, while UAB earned its first W over a team ranked in the top 25 since 2009.

Two very different results for two very different programs that had a common thread: Jerod Haase. Haase is the second-year coach at UAB, a former North Carolina assistant. UNC coach Roy Williams tossed Haase a solid by agreeing to a home-and-home. After losing 102-84 at North Carolina 365 days ago, Haase's Blazers got revenge and returned the favor, winning 63-59 in Alabama on Sunday night.

Chad Frazier was strong in the first half for UAB, a real difference-maker, and he ultimately finished with a game-high 25 points.

The Blazers won despite shooting just 30.6 percent from the floor, 13 percentage points lower than UNC. But it was terrible free throw shooting (4-of-11) and anemic 3-point effectiveness (1-of-11) for the Tar Heels that prevented Roy Williams' team from winning on the road.

J.P. Tokoto led all Heels with 16 points. Marcus Paige had 13 and five assists.

"I've been in the locker room on that other side too many times, and I knew it was going to be a big-time competition," Haase said in a TV interview afterward.

It's a very nice win for UAB and the new-look Conference USA -- but the latest notable loss for the ACC, which has not proven to be heads and shoulders above the rest of college basketball. Specifically, for UNC, the loss drops the Heels to 4-2 and confuses matters all the more. It was two weeks ago when Williams' club dropped a home game against Belmont. Last Sunday, on a neutral floor, UNC took it to Louisville (93-84). Now we've got this.

Anyone know just who the heck UNC is this season?

As a reminder, the team remains without P.J. Hairston and Leslie McDonald, as both are awaiting verdicts from the NCAA regarding matters of impermissible benefits for two separate issues.

Things don't get easier at all for this team, either. A flight home, a few days to recover, and then a road game on Wednesday at No. 1 Michigan State awaits. Ten days after that, Kentucky comes to town.

 
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