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When the clock hit 0:00 on the game between UNC and Kansas in the Elite Eight, and the Kansas players began hugging each other in celebration, the season was over for UNC.

Most fans dejectedly turned their televisions off and started thinking about next year, but the journey wasn’t over yet for UNC’s team.

They still had a flight to catch back to Chapel Hill:

While most players hope for a hero’s welcome that comes with winning a national championship, every team except one will return home from the tournament in defeat. And every year, UNC fans come out to greet their players, reminding the Tar Heel boys that they’re still proud:

It was a quiet but enthusiastic crowd that gathered in the parking lot behind the Dean Dome, awaiting the team’s arrival. Most of the students in the group were seniors, but there were plenty of freshman, older Chapel Hill citizens and University staff in attendance as well.

Students wait behind barricades at the parking lot behind the Dean Dome, ready to greet the returning men's basketball team. Eliza Kern/reesenews

Senior Anthony Dent waited in line with his girlfriend, who he said was “better informed about these things,” than he was, and alerted him about the event.

What would he tell the team, if he got the chance?

Click below to hear Dent’s advice:

The team was expected to arrive around 11:15, but didn’t make an appearance until much later. In the meantime, students stood with friends to re-hash the game and plan what they’d do when the team finally arrived:

Click below to hear students singing Hark the Sound, the alma mater:

One of the members of the crowd was Lisa Woodard, a Chapel Hill resident since 1966. When she first bought season tickets, they cost $27 for nine games. “I won’t tell you what they cost now,” she laughed.

Woodward said she’s come out to support the homecoming Heels most years she’s lived in Chapel Hill, and it’s easier to hear when they’ll arrive with Twitter and Facebook. She says she follows @TarHeelMonthly on Twitter, although “a lot of my contemporaries think I’m a little crazy for being on Twitter.”

Click below to hear why Woodard talk about why she keeps coming to support the team:

Woodward Tweeted at the players, thanking them for a great season and letting them know fans were waiting:

Soon, it began raining, and students pulled out their umbrellas. They kept waiting.

When it started raining, fans pulled out umbrellas to continue waiting for the Tar Heels to return home. Eliza Kern/reesenews

John Coffey, another Chapel Hill resident, said he’s been coming out to greet the homecoming Heels for more than 20 years.

Click below to hear Coffey talk about about the first UNC basketball championship he remembers:

When the bus finally arrived, it crept into the parking lot and went right past the waiting students into the parking garage under the Dean Dome. Loud cheers turned into disappointed grumbling when students thought the team was going to bypass them.

But before long, a familiar gray-haired head appeared from the underground parking area, coming up to greet the students. Head Coach Roy Williams appeared with an umbrella in hand, and started shaking hands with every students lining the parking lot. If they fans weren’t enthusiastic about Williams before, they were now:

Click below to watch a video of Williams thanking the waiting fans:

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After Williams left, the players began emerging from the underground area, heading to their cars parked next to the students. First came Dexter Strickland in his purple sweater, then Tyler Zeller, who walked with his head down to his car.

The waiting fans cheered loudly for every player who emerged, but when Kendall Marshall emerged, they went nuts. The beloved point guard, who injured his wrist in the game against Creighton a week earlier, went to put this bag in the car, and then turned back to the fans. Marshall proceeded to go down the line, shaking hands with every student waiting:

Kendall Marshall goes down the line of UNC fans waiting to greet the returning team. Eliza Kern/reesenews

When the last player left the parking lot, the security guards started collecting up barricades, and the crowd turned to head home:

Despite Tyler Zeller’ s 20 point 23 rebound performance, UNC needed an extra five minutes to put away Ohio in the Sweet 16.

After leading by as much as 15 points in the first half, UNC looked out of sync for most of the game, obviously missing starting point guard Kendall Marshall on the floor.

UNC had an uncharacteristic 23 turnovers in the game and Ohio was able to keep pace with the Tar Heels thanks largely to their three point shooting. The Bobcats were 12-32 from beyond the arc.

Reggie Bullock and John Henson both hit key shots early in over time to put UNC ahead and the Tar Heels managed to squeak by into the elite 8.

The  Tar Heels will take on Ohio University tonight in their sweet 16 matchup without point guard Kendall Marshall.

Marshall, who injured his right wrist against Creighton on Sunday, hasn’t participated in practice with the team. Coach Roy Williams said he did not know if Marshall would play against Ohio, most likely pushing freshman backup Stilman White into the starting role.

White will most likely be aided at the point guard position by senior Justin Watts. Neither player has seen significant playing time this season. The two players average 11 minutes per game combined.

Read the News & Observer article about White assuming the role as starter for the game.

The game will be broadcast on TBS at 7:47 p.m. EST.

Check reesenews for updates and photos after the game.

Earning a spot in the NCAA Sweet 16 became bittersweet for the Carolina Tar Heels when Sunday’s game ended with sophomore point guard Kendall Marshall breaking his right wrist. But now, Twitter-active Carolina basketball fans have reacted by creating four Twitter accounts for Marshall’s wrists.

Wrists began to appear on Twitter after John Henson’s recent wrist injury. A Twitter account titled “Henson’s wrist” quickly gained 315 followers with its bio line: “Not even a brace can hold me down.” “Henson’s wrist” has tweeted updates and jokes since March 11. After Marshall’s injury, it tweeted:

“Henson’s wrist” offered its support to Marshall, tweeting:

More wrist Twitter accounts erupted after the game on Sunday, and now fans are tweeting at Marshall himself as well as at his wrist. Four accounts, “Kbutter’s wrist,” “Buttery wrist,” “Marshall’s wrist,” and even “Kendall’s other wrist,” have gained a collective total of 782 followers. Marshall’s wrist is the most popular with 598 followers as of this writing.

A shoutout to teammate Stilman White earned at least eight retweets:

“Marshall’s wrist” also had a proposition for “Henson’s wrist”:

“Buttery wrist” has kept tweets humorous:

But the funniest tweets have come from Marshall’s other wrist, the left wrist, that says “Hey guys, I feel fine!” (Marshall is left-handed.)

Twitter account “UNC Problems” has provided a representation of Tar Heel emotions on behalf of the entire student body since Sunday. A recent tweet from UNC Problems expressed discontent as Marshall’s injury has left Carolina as an underdog in the NCAA tournament.

Teammates have also shown continued support for Marshall. John Henson tweeted yesterday:

One more Twitter account that should not be missed: Check out “Kendall’s bald spot,” which has more than 1,000 followers.

UNC students are now able to request a ticket to the NCAA tournament through the online process on Requests must be made before 4:30 p.m. on March 19.

The 2012 NCAA Regional ticket booklet is $170. If randomly selected, you must be willing to purchase the booklet for games played in St. Louis, Missouri.

The ticket office will email the winners March 19 after 5 p.m. All orders must then be paid in full before noon March 20.

For more information, visit Carolina Heel Mail.

On Thursday, the men’s basketball team departed from Chapel Hill on their way to Greensboro for the first round of the NCAA tournament. Tune in this Friday to see UNC play the Vermont Catamounts, seed No. 16.

Have you made your NCAA bracket yet?

Check out Barack Obama’s bracket.

The basketball team leaving the Smith Center on the way to Greensboro.

Tyler Zeller and John Henson greet students while leaving the Smith Center.

Roy Williams waving at students and Tar Heel fans as he heads toward the bus to Greensboro.

Kendall Marshall heading toward the bus to Greensboro.

Reggie Bullock and P.J. Hairston giving high-fives to Tar Heel fans.

Photo Credit: MORGAN JOHNSON/reesenews

Barack Obama filled out his bracket today with ESPN, and picked UNC to win the national championship over Kentucky.

Read more on Obama’s pick, and click here for the full-sized bracket from The White House:

President Barack Obama filled out his NCAA bracket, and the Tar Heels got lots of love from POTUS, who picked UNC to win the national championship over Kentucky.

“I’m just a sucker for the Tar Heels,” he told ESPN.

The President’s full bracket

Obama unsuccessfully picked Kansas to win the championship for the last two years, The Washington Post writes.

Trying to fill out your own bracket? Check out the science behind bracketology, where you have only a 1 in 9.2 quintillion chance of picking perfectly.

UNC fell to FSU in the ACC championship game on Sunday, losing 85-82 in a nailbiter after coming back from a 16-point deficit.

See photos from the game.

Harrison Barnes had a team-high 21 points for the Tar Heels, who will learn of their seed in the NCAA bracket Sunday night at 6 p.m.

Scott Fowler writes for the News & Observer on the Seminoles’ win and the impact of a missing John Henson:

While the first two days of the ACC tournament were mostly snooze-worthy, the last two where fascinating. The final three games all went down to the buzzer and were decided by a total of only eight points. The Seminoles took advantage of the absence of John Henson – the ACC’s Defensive Player of the Year played only seven minutes in the entire tournament due to a left wrist injury, and none in the final.

The News & Observer wrote that the ACC refused to comment on issues with officiating in the tournament:

On Sunday, ACC commissioner John Swofford, associate commissioner Karl Hicks and head of officials John Clougherty declined to comment about the officiating issues at the tournament, which started on Thursday when three officials each wore the initials “KH” on a piece of white tape on their sneakers.

Ryan Fagan writes for AOL sports that UNC is still a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament:

Even though Kentucky lost in the SEC final and North Carolina lost in the ACC title game, both remain solid No. 1 seeds. UK will retain the No. 1 overall spot. Syracuse, the only other competitor for the top seed, lost to Cincinnati in Friday’s Big East semifinals. Kentucky has nine wins against RPI top 50 teams and 18 against top 100. The Tar Heels lost to Florida State for the second time this season Sunday, but John Henson’s wrist injury is improving daily and he’ll be ready for the NCAA Tournament.

The Orlando Sentinal wrote what it meant for the Seminoles to win the first ACC championship in school history:

The words were few, but for a 65-year-old basketball program that in its time has known more postseason failures than successes, their meaning was significant.

“This ain’t about the ‘ship (championship),” one Florida State assistant said late Sunday morning, standing tucked away in a corner of Philips Arena, courtside. “This is about history … making history.”

ESPN wrote about Florida State’s first ACC championship grab:

Goodbye, Tobacco Road. The Atlantic Coast Conference championship is heading to the Sunshine State.

It was the first time since Maryland’s title in 2004 that a team outside the state of North Carolina won the tournament.

The Wilmington-Star News on the ACC All-Tournament first team:

Neither was the fact that his teammate Luke Loucks or the Tar Heels duo of Tyler Zeller and Kendall Marshall made the All-Tournament first team.

UNC beat Maryland 85-69 in Atlanta on Friday to advance to the ACC Semifinals on Saturday afternoon.

UNC will play the winner of the UVA-N.C. State game, which will play at 2 p.m. today.

Harrison Barnes and Reggie Bullock led the Tar Heels with 15 points each, and Tyler Zeller had 14. Kendall Marshall had 13 points and 12 assists.

The Tar Heels grabbed the win despite an injury for John Henson, who left the game with an injured wrist:

The News & Observer’s Andrew Carter writes about freshman James Michael McAdoo’s breakout success in the tournament so far:

There were nights not long ago, only a few months, when James Michael McAdoo lay awake, restless. He arrived at North Carolina amid such great expectations, yet he questioned whether the Tar Heels needed him at all.

Less than a semester into his first year of college, negativity and doubt raced through McAdoo’s mind. Eventually McAdoo came to believe, though, that he could accomplish the kind of thing he did here on Friday, when he helped lead top-seeded UNC to an 85-69 victory against No. 8 Maryland in the ACC tournament quarterfinals at Philips Arena.

The Fayetteville Observer writes about John Henson’s injury:

“I got to sit with Blue Steel and see what they talk about,” said Tar Heels All-ACC forward John Henson on the only bright side to missing most of the game after injuring his wrist.

First look gallery: