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Roy Williams has seen a little of everything over the last few years. He's seen heartbreak, as his Tar Heels were on the wrong end of a national championship winning buzzer-beater. And he's seen redemption, as his team came back from stunning defeat the next year to win it all.
He's been called a cheater, came out vindicated in an academic scandal, and on Sunday, he saw an early exit from the NCAA Tournament after bowing out in the second round in a lopsided 86-65 loss to Texas A&M.
Williams reflected on the game and what it meant after the defeat, and became emotional realizing it was not only the end of an era for seniors Joel Berry and Theo Pinson, but the end of the season for a group he called his "salvation."
"I'm not ashamed to say I love these kids," Williams said. "If you only had any idea how much fun that they have been for me .. three of the last four years have been very difficult, and those kids were my salvation. They really were.
Things were not pleasant. I didn't like what people were saying to me, and I didn't like what people were saying about me. I didn't like getting a piece of mail that was addressed to 'Mr. cheating bastard.' Those kids on the court were my salvation, and you have no idea how much fun that was."
The loss for North Carolina is a stunning one. Not only did the Tar Heels enter the game as the favorite, they were rolled up in their home state -- and the game wasn't all that close.
Such is life in the one-and-done NCAA Tournament. The seventh-seeded Texas A&M Aggies move on to the Sweet 16 to face No. 3 seed Michigan, and the Tar Heels' season -- along with the careers of four seniors including Joel Berry and Theo Pinson -- is over.