Now I Am Ready to Talk About It

This actually constitutes the first game of the season where I actually screamed at the TV, threw a few “doggones” around and even had a nice “Come on Tyler!” when Hansbrough missed the free throw with 13 seconds left.  It also took me a good 30 minutes before I could successfully re-enter society.  The other three losses I took with a grain of salt and the optimism that the season’s end would vindicate the journey we took to get there.  And in the case of both Virginia Tech and NC State I rested on the notion that both had to come to Chapel Hill and a proper punishment would be exacted.  So losing last night at home, especially given that UNC was leading the game by three possession in the second half and had Wes Miller hit that three with 5:54 remaining to give UNC a 10 point lead, that would have most likely been the end of the game.  Instead UNC let VT off the mat who showed absolutely no fear.  Zabian Dowdell was unstoppable for the most part and on top of that it is a football school for crying out loud.  Where is our vindication for football season?

Needless to say this one hurts.

The problem with VT is they matchup really well with UNC in the areas that are most disruptive to the Tar Heel offense.  Dowdell and Jamon Gordon can flat play defense and if you can bother Lawson and Ellington enough, you can prevent them from feeding the post and hitting perimeter jumpers.  That is not to say Lawson was not getting it done, he was, but Ellington was non-existent in the second half, Reyshawn Terry could not turn around without doing something boneheaded and all game long the shots were just a tad off.

And I will say the while the refs never cost you the game, they sure as heck were of little help to UNC when it counted.  In fact it was clear to me Lawson was fouled at the end and it was also clear to me that Dowdell was given a lot of leeway concerning the use of his free hand when he had the ball.  Like I said it was not a game breaker but at the same time it was one of several things that went wrong such as not dominating the boards and shooting a tad better from the free throw line.

Roy Williams has taken it upon himself to assume full responsibility for the loss.   I am not sure how true that it but I think it is clear what Roy is doing here.  He does not want this young team destroyed over this loss which so much basketball left to be played.  It would be really easy for this team go to into a tailspin facing a huge road game at Boston College which could drop them into fourth seed territory in the conference should they lose.  So, Roy has decided to bear the burden of this loss and spare the pysche of his team.  And he is right to do so, since the things that went wrong do not seem to be necessarily the results of a breakdown in effort/motivation.  The offensive rebounds were troublesome, but the defense was not poor(VT shot 38%) and the ball handling was good(only nine turnovers) so there is really no one to point a finger at other than the coach and that is what Roy has done.

As for the mess which are the ACC standings, UNC is not in a three way tie for second with three losses and BC up a game at 9-2.  Here is the scenario for UNC:  Just win baby.  Win the next five games to get to 13-3 and in doing so hope that Virginia Tech loses one of their next five.  The game at Virginia seems like a good choice but I would not count out BC or Clemson coming to Blacksburg.  That being said the game this Saturday at NC State is the purest trap game you will ever see for them.  If VT drops to four losses and UNC wins out it does not matter what UVa or BC since UNC would own the tiebreaker against both of them.

One more thing.  I said during the live blog that I do want to see VT in the ACC Tournament.  I take that back.  I absolutely want them on the opposite side of the bracket and I want to see them on the court in Tampa for the ACC Championship.  I may end up eating crow when it is said and done but I think the chances of us losing three straight times to the same team is slimer than us losing at home to them.  So let’s see what happens when all the marbles are at stake.

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7 Responses to Now I Am Ready to Talk About It

  1. Chris says:

    This is not a great revelation to most basketball fans, but this season demonstrates once again the value of having a great point guard, regardless of how good the rest of the team is. A great point guard (Raymond Felton, Chris Paul, Jason Williams, etc.) leads, inspires, pulls teams to victory. Duke would be a very good team with a great point guard. Carolina would be a final four team with a great point guard, and may still be if Lawson can continue to develop. As for now the Dowdells and Singletarys are carrying their teams to victory. I continue to question the use of Wes Miller as the defensive stopper, and I believe that Wayne Ellington has missed enough late game clutch shots to question if he should be in there in critical situations. The losses can be pretty instructive for a young team, and I think Roy will have them playing very very well come tournament time.

  2. C. Michael says:

    Umm, yesterday was really the first late-game, clutch shot that Ellington has taken. And he hit it. (Albeit after the clock, but it was still one of the more amazing shots I have seen!)

  3. Chris says:

    No, you missed the two that he took late in the game in the NC State game, last 2 minutes, and then watch last night’s game again, last 4 minutes, at least 3 mid to 3 point range shots that couldn’t connect. You’re correct if you only watched the last 5 seconds of the game.

  4. C. Michael says:

    Two games does not a trend make…

  5. hokieb says:

    Face it Heels, VT has your number this year and beat you twice. Not saying we will win the next one, but we are clearly the better team today and at this point in the year.

    I know what you are saying…”just wait until footballs starts…” umm, nevermind

  6. william says:

    It is disappointing because Carolina is now unlikely to top their conference record from a year ago when they had much less talent. If Virginia Tech thinks that they are better than UNC, well so be it, they earned that right by winning twice. The Washington Wizards also beat Phoenix in Phoenix two months ago, but nobody thinks that Washington is better than Phoenix. Styles and match-ups sometimes lead to strange results, where A beats B and B beats C and C beats A. South Carolina beat Florida two out of three times last year, but nobody thinks that South Carolina was better than Florida.

    I am old enough to remember back in 1981 where Carolina lost twice to Virginia in a very similar manner and then blew them out in the Final Four.

    On the other hand, what difference does it really make to Carolina? Very little. VPI is still trying to ensure a bid, given some of their horrendous losses this year. losing to Marshall, GW, Western Michigan and to BC by 21. VPI is likely to lose at least 2 more in conference. Carolina knows that it is in the tournament and basically wants to make sure that they get 1 or 2 seed.

    Last year, we had to use just about everybody to compete, but this year it is a real struggle to figure out who should be on the floor and to keep everyone happy. You have to win 6 in a row and I don’t think that these guys will be truly focused until after the ACC tournament.

  7. Srious Tarheel Fan says:

    Both Roy and Sylvia are two of the best coaches in the game but when will they learn that you just can’t hope to out score the other team. In all of our loses our defenses were weak and it seems we never try to exploit the other team’s weaknesses, yet they take full advantage of ours . They study us, find who they need to stop and then we fall apart under the pressure. With the talent and ability that is on both the men’s and women’s teams how can they be so easily over powered?

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