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“It doesn’t have a lot to do with last year’s team,” Williams said. “It was so many simple things.”

Harrison Barnes, the first freshman preseason All-America team pick, disappeared from the offense after a 19-point first half against Hofstra. He went scoreless in the second half of that rout, and was a non-factor against Minnesota. He missed all 12 shots and scored only six points.

“It’s tough on a freshman when everyone’s saying he’s the greatest thing since sliced bread to live it up to that,” Williams said.

Tyler Zeller scored 16 points, Reggie Bullock had 11 and John Henson grabbed 12 rebounds for the Tar Heels.

“We have to change something, because whatever we did tonight didn’t work,” Zeller said.

Back in North Carolina, the Cameron Crazies learned of the Tar Heels’ loss late in top-ranked Duke’s rout against Colgate and started chanting “Minnesota!”

The Gophers controlled the action from the opening tip and never looked rattled. When the score was tied at 41 in the second half, Hoffarber made a 3 and Mbakwe followed with a dunk.

Smith built Tulsa into a legitimate NCAA tournament threat, restored Georgia’s program to respectability and took Kentucky to a national championship, five Southeastern Conference titles and six regional semifinals.

He took over a Gophers program in 2007 that was ruined by NCAA sanctions and quickly made it competitive again, taking Minnesota to the NIT in his first year and two straight trips to the NCAA tournament.

It’s early, but he could be primed for more this season.

The Mountaineers stand in their way.

West Virginia’s Casey Mitchell could hardly believe his luck when he hit his winner. One Vanderbilt defender flailed at the ball on a steal attempt and a botched defensive switch left him all alone on the wing with a clean look ahead.

“I took my time, took a deep breath and let it go,” Mitchell said.

He let the shot fly, and hit the winning 3-pointer with 3.8 seconds left. He finished with a career-high 31 points.

Mitchell worked his way wide open when Vanderbilt switched to a 2-3 zone during the possession that helped leave him open.

Story Continues →