Hatchell out-coached in North Carolina's loss to Delaware

USA TODAY Sports

In her opening remarks after the North Carolina Tar Heels' loss in the second round of the 2013 NCAA Tournament to the Delaware Blue Hens, UNC coach Sylvia Hatchell pointed to foul trouble as the reason for the team's loss. However, their inability to adjust to Elena Delle Donne might have pointed to a larger problem.

"I wish Delaware good luck when they get on a neutral court."

Now who could have made that comment?

None other than North Carolina Tar Heels coach Sylvia Hatchell whose Tar Heels had fallen to an excellent and veteran Delaware Blue Hens team, 78-69.

Delaware beat UNC not because they got all the calls; they beat UNC because Hatchell got out-coached once again, this time by Tina Martin who has Elena Delle Donne at her disposal.

Hatchell had to have known that Delle Donne was one of the top three players in the country. Yet UNC didn't appear to have a plan to combat the future WNBA lottery pick, either on the inside or outside. And Delle Donne took advantage by torching the Tar Heels for 33 points.

It's a pattern that has led to some strange losses for Hatchell's teams over the years. From 2009 though 2012, UNC was only 23-21 in ACC conference play despite superior talent. She does have a National Championship (1994), but many more losses in critical games which could have propelled her Tar Heel teams to greatness.

Hatchell has at times been compared to Syracuse Orange men's basketball coach Jim Boeheim: they each have over 900 wins and they each have a National Championship, but their styles are rarely copied by opposing coaches. It sometimes seems that they tend to both roll the ball out in October and let their players play. Few in game adjustments are made, as was the case with Hatchell in last night's game against Delaware.

There is a reason why Hatchell is the only coach with 900 wins, male or female, not yet inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame: there's an oft-repeated belief that she doesn't have the respect of her peers.

Looking ahead, Hatchell has the best recruiting class in the country coming in next year. Should that roster win at least one National Championship? Sure. Will they? Recent history suggests it's unlikely.

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