CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) - Nothing went easily for North Carolina all season.
The Tar Heels never had top player P.J. Hairston due to NCAA violations and started 0-3 in the Atlantic Coast Conference. Yet they also beat the top four teams from the preseason Top 25 and had a 12-game winning streak to return to the NCAA tournament.
The Tar Heels (24-10) fell to Iowa State in Sunday's third round, marking the first time they failed to survive the tournament's opening weekend in consecutive seasons since Roy Williams took over in 2003-04.
Still, sophomore Marcus Paige developed into an all-ACC performer, while sophomores J.P. Tokoto and Brice Johnson showed significant improvement. It's unclear whether junior James Michael McAdoo will return or enter the NBA draft, but UNC adds Rivals.com's No. 3-ranked recruiting class.