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Heel Tough Blog: Hubert Davis Named to Naismith’s COY Late Season Watch List

Nicholas Faulkner- Getty Images

When this season started, the talk from many Tar Heel fans was that this was a crucial year for head coach Hubert Davis. Many believed that it was tournament or bust for him with many spewing serious doubts about his ability to even make that happen after his first two seasons as a college head coach. Now, just a few months later, Davis is a coach of the year candidate and has the team positioned to win its first ACC regular season title and earn a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament since 2018-19.

The Naismith Awards foundation revealed their late season watch list for their Coach of the Year Award on Friday, which features fifteen coaches that are left battling for the prestigious. Davis is joined on that list by Grand Canyon’s Bryce Drew, Dayton’s Anthony Grant, Connecticut’s Dan Hurley, Alabama’s Nate Oats, Iowa State’s T.J. Otzelberger, Purdue’s Matt Painter, South Carolina’s Lamont Paris, Auburn’s Bruce Pearl, New Mexico’s Richard Pitino, BYU’s Mark Pope, Houston’s Kelvin Sampson, Indiana State’s Josh Schertz, Washington State’s Kyle Smith and Utah State’s Danny Sprinkle.

The Tar Heels enter Saturday’s matchup with Virginia in Charlottesville tied for first place in the ACC with Duke with a 20-6 (12-3) record. The Tar Heels currently hold the tiebreaker between the two sides after the 93-84 victory over the Blue Devils in the Smith Center back on February 3rd, but the teams will meet for a second time to close the season, as they always do, in Cameron Indoor Stadium.

As for the team’s pursuit of the 1-seed in the NCAA Tournament, they were listed as the fifth overall seed in the first official seed rankings that were released last Saturday. They will likely have to win out to be on that one line on Selection Sunday, but to even be talking about that after where the team was at this time each of the last two years feels amazing.

There is a ton of competition for this award this season and the bounce back nature of this season may not be enough to win him this award if this doesn’t at least make it to the Final Four because he coaches at arguably the most storied program in the sport’s history. However, this recognition perfectly encapsulates the type of year that Davis has had and the respect that he deserves moving forward.


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