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The Daily Tar Heel

M. Basketball: Heels face tough 'Nova rematch


Former UNC guard Jackie Manuel started in the 2005 Sweet 16 matchup with Villanova, a win he named as one of the top three or four of his career.

Jackie Manuel remembers almost everything from North Carolina's one-point victory against Villanova in the Sweet 16 in 2005.

The former UNC guard remembers the intensity between the two teams that duked it out in Syracuse N.Y.

He remembers a Villanova squad that pushed the Tar Heels as few others did during their championship run.

But more than anything" he remembers the ending.

""The final moments. Raymond (Felton) fouling out. The travel call. The Villanova team — only four guards. And those guys" they played well they were tough to defend" Manuel said in a phone interview Wednesday.

Though many of the names and faces have changed since the last time UNC and Villanova played, the 2005 game still holds a significant place in North Carolina lore.

Usually every time when I come back home to Chapel Hill (when) my teammates are there" we usually talk about it — talk about that game" Manuel said.

When asked about the 2005 game during his Tuesday Final Four press conference, coach Roy Williams let out a heavy sigh as he searched his memory.

I remember it was a big-time game" and we had to make some great plays down the stretch" Williams said. Melvin (Scott) made two big free throws at the end.""

There's no hyperbole in Williams' statement. The game was nothing short of epic.

The one-point win was the Tar Heels' closest in the NCAA Tournament since the 1982 championship game. Felton fouled out with 2:11 left in the game"" leaving UNC without a true ball-handler.

And then there was the infamous last-second travel call on Wildcat guard Allan Ray that doomed Villanova.

""That was a crazy game"" Bobby Frasor said. That game could have gone either way and would have changed the history of Carolina basketball.""

As gripping as the action was on the court — Manuel said he got ""a little nervous"" when Felton fouled out — it was a television viewer's nightmare for recruits.

""I mean" everybody was nervous watching that game" Marcus Ginyard said Tuesday. It was definitely tough to watch — just glad we pulled it out.""

Though many of this year's Tar Heels shared Ginyard's relief when UNC finally closed out Villanova"" one claims he wasn't affected by the emotions of UNC fandom.

""I was neutral" man. I was neutral" admitted guard Wayne Ellington, who was being recruited by both schools at that time. I wasn't really cheering for either.""

But there's more to this story than just a trip down North Carolina memory lane.

Villanova is still coached by Jay Wright" and the Wildcats employ the same system that nearly led to an upset of the Tar Heels.

Manuel got a close-up look to that style in 2005" and he sees similarities to that Wildcat team in this year's group.

""I think I do" I do" he said. They go to the four-guard offense with one big in there.

""And it's tough on a lot of teams to stop because you have to make that adjustment. You can't keep your big guys on the floor trying to guard a 3-guard or a 2-guard.""

'Nova's multi-guard lineup has given teams fits all season and has led the school to its first Final Four appearance since 1985.

And unlike against Duke and Pittsburgh (Villanova's East Regional opponents)"" a small sense of payback might be driving the Wildcats on Saturday as they take on UNC for the first time since 2005.

""I think there's just as much potential for it to be a barn burner just like that was"" Ginyard said. I'm excited about it. I'm sure the coaching staff there is definitely thinking about some revenge.""


8:47 p.m. Saturday
TV/Radio: CBS" local channel 5/WRDU 106.1 FM" WCHL 1360 AM

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