UNC 81 Michigan State 67

Quote of the night from 850 the Buzz blog:

…as my press row compadre`, Bomani Jones just mused, “they are Felton and May. That’s what this has evolved into.”

Tyler Hansbrough 33 points, nine rebounds.  Ty Lawson 20 points, 8 assists, 5 rebounds.  Reyshawn Terry 14 points, 12 of UNC’s final 23.

On a night where Brandan Wright was muscled out of his game and Michigan State’s Drew Neitzel made every effort to light UNC up, it was these three guys who made the plays.  Hansbrough was unstoppable, when they got him the ball.  In fact I would surmise that most of what we saw during the stretch where the Spartans rallied and took a three point lead was related to the fact UNC was not able to get the ball to Hansbrough and the offense sputtered.  Then with about six minutes to go, Terry, who was battling sickness, flipped the switch.  Lawson was incredible all game, pushing the ball whenever he could and keeping the Michigan State defense off balanced.  It was a tough game and as much as UNC could have let it get away from them like they did against Maryland or Virginia Tech, they did not.  The defense has been so active over the past five games and it seems like these young players have finally locked into what Roy wants on the defensive end.  They are overplaying the passing lanes and doing a lot of jumping out with psuedo traps at the ball handler.  They also seem to be able to really ratchet up the defense when needed.  That is what happened tonight and when it came down to the brass tacks, UNC clamped down on the Spartans.

Now it is on to East Rutherford, NJ and a matchup with the winner of the Texas-USC game on Sunday.  In the bottom of the bracket, #2 Georgetown will take on #6 Vanderbilt.

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20 Responses to UNC 81 Michigan State 67

  1. williamodouglas says:

    I think that we can beat South Carolina, even though they are the defending two-time NIT champs…. Wait, nevermind.

  2. williamodouglas says:

    What happened to B. Wright? That is why Tyler had to score 30. Was Wright ill or is Roy trying to keep him from going pro, lol. Deon outscored Wright. I kept wondering where Wright was.

  3. Dr. Seuss says:

    THF,

    Great synopsis. The only thing that I would add is a mention for Wes Miller and Marcus Ginyard for their defensive effort (along with Ty’s) on Drew Nietzel. Not to mention what a great job both coaches did with their respective teams tonight. I thought that Izzo had a great game plan and executed it well, but so did Roy, the result being that the better team won. I thought it was especially clever the way that Ty was assigned to guarding DN at the beginning of the game, when DN still had fresh legs and too quick for Marcus. But after contending with Ty (man he was fun to watch tonight: brilliant passes, penetration layups, three pointers, etc., etc.) and Wes, he was fatigued enough to where Marcus could keep up with him. This allowed Ty to save his energy for offense. Meanwhile, with Marcus having a several inch advantage in both height and wing span and now able to keep up with this fatigued version of DN, it proved very difficult for him to get any decent looks down the stretch. Very well orchestrated. Overall I thought we played damn well tonight, other than the 6/16 3pt shooting, which can arguably be attributed to RT’s illness, as he was 2-7 behind the arch, Ty was 3-5, Ellington 1-3, and DG 0-1; not terrible but is definitely going to have to get better, esp. if we end up facing off against GT. That Hibbet cat is a freakin’ giant; 7’3″ ??!! I wonder how effective he will be though after we run his big ass up and down the court for 40 minutes. One game at a time though. I’m just glad the selection committee was kind enough to make us the number two overall seed, thereby providing us with practically a cake walk to Atlanta. (note the dripping satire here)… I think who ever comes out the champion this year will definitely have earned it. There is a lot of talent in this years tournament, unlike last year. After the ’04 season, there was a mass exodus of talent that either graduated or went to the NBA. I think that any of the Final 4 teams from ’04 would have wiped the court with last years Florida team. I really felt they won because there was such a lack of talent last year. That having been said, after going through that whole experience, and with all of them returning I think they are legit this year. But they are probably going to have to face either a very good Kansas team or a very good UCLA team. Like I said there is still alot of talent left in most of the brackets. There is not easy road to Atlanta. Although the road in the Midwest certainly appears a lot less bumpy than the one here in the East.

  4. 52BigGameJames says:

    how’d you like to see Felton and Lawson go head to head? that would be kool–maybe in a Carmichael pick-up this summer! You’re right, Wes deserves a LOT of credit for wearing DN down last night–he was incredible imo, with his ball-hawking-if you have it on tape, his effort is worth another look–didn’t even fall for DN’s fakes.

    Donning the (very) amateur psych hat here, I wonder (based on Dr. Seuss’ assessment) if Brandon isn’t having some soul-searching second guess moments out there–you know, the unwitting self-sabotage thingy? I know it’s a stretch, but I am at a loss too to explain his sudden dis-appearance.

    I disagree with Fla being a fluke last year–I had UCLA picked because of how they were playing going in to the Championship, and Gators absolutely spanked them—good seeding by the Committee this year as it looks like a rematch coming, which should be good–I’ll go with last years pick again, should it take place.

  5. C. Michael says:

    More reason to loathe Doug Gottlieb:

    Same story, different year. Put UNC into a half-court game and the Tar Heels are very beatable.
    UNC has a major issue: The Heels can’t shoot unless Wes Miller is in the game, yet Miller is not nearly the athlete they want in the open court or on defense.

    1. This guy REALLY hates UNC and Coach Roy.
    2. Entering the tournament, MIller was tied for 5th on the team in 3PT FG%.

    Outside shooting may be this teams weaknes (37% as a team is fairly respectable), but come on, get your facts straight!

  6. Tar Heel Fan says:

    It is worth mentioning that Gottlieb was one of the analysts at ESPN to put UNC in the Final Four.

    It seems like all of the analysts jump on UNC weaknesses as though no other team deals with such problems. Seth Davis is far worse than Gottlieb.

  7. Chris says:

    I didn’t see the first half, but wasn’t part of Brandon’s problem fouls? It seems that he was sitting a fair amount, and maybe it was fouls and the fact that the team on the floor was playing well. Whatever, that block that he had at what seemed to be at the top of the backboard in the second half got the NBA’s notice regardless of how he played.

  8. MDTarheel says:

    Great game. Like I said earlier in the year, this team strives on Terry’s performance. When he is on this team is unstoppable. Roy’s rotation of players was right on. Brandon’s play wasn’t completly on but Tyler made up for that.

  9. Dr. Seuss says:

    Fortunately with TH DOMINATING the way he did, it wasn’t essential that BW get his usual numbers. It doesn’t seem like BW logged 23 min last night that’s for sure. And yes, he was saddled with foul trouble early. For the most part I think he lacked the physical strength to keep the Mich St. big men from pushing him off the blocks. Although his length sometimes makes it seem as tough he could get the ball on the perimeter and turn it into a layup. Our two big men have completely different styles. One is long the other is strong. Depending on our opponent one or the other may have a difficult night at times. The awesome thing is that if that happens the other has the potential to put on a an absolute show. If Tyler were to get shut down (as seemingly impossible as that sounds right now) I don’t doubt for a minute that BW could have a 30pt. night as well. I am in agreement that that was an awesome block (perhaps close to being a GT but I don’t think it was). Even if it had been, I think the refs would have had trouble closing their the mouths in order to blow the whistle. BW can definitely deliver some jaw dropping blocks, esp when he is the second defender. The guy with ball shoots it high enough to get it over TH only to have BW scale to the rafters with the emphatic rejection. I really love watching the different combinations of players on this team playing together both on offense and defense. These guys have really geld as a team, and just the right time.

  10. williamodouglas says:

    In defense of Seth Davis: one of the great moments in analyst history was at halftime of the 2005 Carolina and MSU game. Carolina was trailing 38-33 and the insufferable Clark Kellogg was gloating and talking about how MSU was schooling Carolina. Davis told Kellogg that MSU had been very fortunate but that Carolina could break out at any moment and that MSU desperatedly needed to slow the pace of the game further. Kellogg disagreed, stating that MSU was doing fine and could continue playing its normal game, which was to run almost as fast as Carolina.

    After a dizzying 20 minutes, Kellogg should have simply removed his microphone and left the booth forever. Seth Davis was 100% correct as the Heels simply ran the MSU team into oblivion, taking down its second Big Ten squad with one more to follow.

    Among Duke-educated analysts, Davis, Bilas and Gminski actually know the game and are quite fair. I enjoy listening to all of them.

  11. TxTarheel says:

    I take any of those 3 D-eductated analysts anyday over a Vitale, Packer or Digger and his horrendous tie/highlighter combos. It’s great to see UNC knock down FT down the stretch, much like the ACC final against NC State. just ask Xavier how big a single FT can be this time of year

  12. Tar Heel Fan says:

    Davis has been bugging me this tournament. I got put off from the start with all of the Texas and G’town love he was spewing.

  13. williamodouglas says:

    G’town is legit, but Texas not so much. Look at Pomeroy: Carolina is number one on offensive and number three on defense. No one else even comes close to being that good on both ends of the court. It is becoming apparent that to beat UNC on a neutral court, it is going to take an almost perfect effort, a la NC State, who may end up the second best team in the ACC.

  14. Dr. Seuss says:

    This article could compete for the most ridiculous thing I’ve read this year.

    http://sports.yahoo.com/ncaab/news;_ylt=Am0lAHlrEvol6yLfrXJg4MU5nYcB?slug=jr-east2007northcarolina031707&prov=yhoo&type=lgns

    This guy’s brain must have frozen during the Michigan winter.

  15. williamodouglas says:

    Let the record reflect that my Texas comment above was at 4:56 pm, before the game with USC began, just to assuage all of you worrywarts about Texas. Don’t forget that USC whipped us last year, so be careful what we wish for, lol.

    Many sportswriters don’t even have any idea what they are talking about anymore. They are before the moneyball generation and have no idea what points per possession analysis means. All they know is that UNC scores a lot, so they say watch out for Georgetown, they play defense. Now, those of us who are stats heads go to Pomeroy and check and what do we find? We find that G-town and UNC are virtually tied for top in the nation on offense, but that UNC is far better than G-town on defense. Oh well, so much for that sportswriter’s angle. Why pay any attention to it? Maybe G-town will and will think they can beat us easily and come in overconfident?

    And sorry we don’t know all of your names. You see, we find Big Ten basketball ponderous and boring, except for the Illini a couple of years ago. They were pretty good. Anyway, have a good trip home and enjoy the cherries. Isn’t that what life is a bowl of?

  16. 52BigGameJames says:

    in this case it would be a bowl of grapes–sour ones.

  17. Dr. Seuss says:

    I realize that I am preaching to the choir here, but Roy likes to spend the large majority of time working on developing the things that his team does best and lets our opponents worry about what they are going to do. Perhaps if Michigan St. had spent more time working on their skills instead of worrying about what the Heels were going to do, they might have had better luck; then again, probably not. Roy’s ‘spend your time improving on what you do best and let your opponent try and stop you’ coaching strategy seems to be working pretty well. One thing the Heels seem to do really well is beat Michigan State every single time we meet up in the NCAA Tournament. But I guess Joe Rexrode knows much more about how to prepare the Heels for a game than Roy does.

    I even wandering if he even watched the game last night after making comments such as this:

    A little more attention from these tremendously gifted players might have prevented MSU guard Drew Neitzel from getting more wide-open shots than he saw in all of February in the Big Ten. He was 9-of-27 from the field. Maybe three of those were contested. Had Neitzel shot the way he did in a lot of games this season, he would have dropped 40 and the Spartans might have dropped the Tar Heels.

    WIDE OPEN SHOTS!!! You’ve gotta be freakin’ kiddin’ me!

    That may have actually been worse than this statement:

    “And a little more toughness would serve North Carolina well in future rounds”

    This guy has to be either a complete jackass, a crack head, or both. Every article I have read about the game from legitimate sportswriters have all made reference to how well the Heels demonstrated their “toughness” last night.
    http://sports.espn.go.com/ncb/ncaatourney07/columns/story?id=2802987&lpos=spotlight&lid=tab2pos1

    Perhaps I am being a little over zealous about this guy, but I don’t think I have ever encountered a published article with such an utterly inaccurate assessment of a team’s performance. He might as well be a weatherman.
    It’s one thing to dislike a team or be upset over a loss, but this guy is borderline delusional!

    You said it 52BigGameJames… sour grapes.

  18. Chris says:

    Ask any of the Michigan State players and Tom Izzo whether Tyler played tough, and then have them report back to Rexrode……….

  19. […] back at yesterday.  Post Up recaps too. Ken Pomeroy has updated odds for advancement. Tar Heel Fan has thoughts on Saturday night. Next Up: Southern California.  ACC sucks? Tuesday Triangle […]

  20. Chris says:

    And the bottom line is that tough, gritty Michigan State team and Rexrode will get to watch Carolina play from the luxury of their seats in their local Hooters………

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