Heading into this year, Rashad McCants was labeled a one-dimensional player.
He was supposed to be an unstoppable force on offense but a liability on defense.
In four NCAA Tournament games, McCants has proven the first part, scoring 17.8 points per game.
Thanks to his offensive production — particularly a 15-point second half against Villanova on Friday and a 21-point performance Sunday against Wisconsin — the junior swingman was named to the Syracuse Region’s all-tournament team.
But McCants’ biggest contribution of the whole tournament came on the defensive end.
With little more than two minutes remaining and the Tar Heels clinging to a three-point lead against scrappy Wisconsin, the Badgers’ Clayton Hanson got what seemed to be a good look from the right wing.
Hanson had been tearing the Tar Heel defense to shreds all day, finding holes in the 2-3 zone and making five of his first seven field goals — all 3-pointers.
But this time, as Hanson rose for the potential game-tying shot, McCants swooped in and swatted the shot away.
“It was the biggest play of the game — definitely changed the game right there,” said senior forward Jawad Williams. “That guy had been killing us all game with open 3s, and Rashad made a great effort to get over there and block the shot.”