I bit the bullet and paid to watch this game on Tar Heel Blue so I could get my first look at the Heels and I was not disappointed. Granted it is still early but there were a lot of positives I saw despite the fact they were playing a team they outclassed by several levels. As for the kinks, there are always kinks and UNC still seems to be a little turnover prone with 20 in this one. My impressions of the game after the jump.
- The defense, which was a concern in the last game, showed a lot of intensity. UNC employed quite a few traps and there was a definite swarming quality to the way they attacked the ball and the opposing players.
- Hansbrough went out midway through the second half with a thumb injury that according to Roy Williams was minor and something he could have played with had it been a game that counted. Prior to that Hansbrough had another stellar game on both ends. I was impressed with the quality of his one-on-one defense which included three steals. He also continues to run the floor well. One fast break he dribbled the ball down, spun off a defender and drove in for a dunk. Unfortunately the refs called a cheap foul on the spin move but the play itself was impressive. Hansbrough also dropped in a sixteen foot jumper and if he keeps doing that, even if it is once or twice a game it will stretch the defense. Hansbrough had 17 points and 10 rebounds in 21 mins.
- Danny Green was huge with 16 points and 10 rebounds. He also played stellar defense with three blocks and two steals. Green continues to contribute in all the little ways and adding a huge offensive performance to that only serves to give UNC another dimension in terms of being an X factor for opposing defenses to deal with. Green also showed great athleticism which is something UNC can always use.
- Deon Thompson continues to be a beast. Thompson had 13 points and looks incredibly lean and quick on the court. His moves around the basket are going to be tough to defend.
- Ty Lawson had an uneven game. On one hand he absolutely carved up the Bears defense driving to the basket on his way to 14 points. He also had four turnovers and was a little erratic running the offense. I thought he was pressing a little and that resulted in some poor decisions.
- Wayne Ellington found the range outside to go 2-3 ending up with 16 points. Generally speaking he played well and showed some of that potential so many have expected of him.
- Bobby Frasor, Quentin Thomas and Alex Stepheson all had solid games. Thomas did a great job spelling Lawson at the point running the break and making some great passes for assists. Frasor actually knocked down the first three from the regulars this season. Marcus Ginyard struggled at times but should be fine down the road.
- UNC shot 51 free throws in this game making 40 of them. This led to Roy Williams being less than worried about the three point shooting since they had enough success getting the ball inside and the defense is perpetually a bigger deal to him and rightfully so. I am personally a big believer in having offensive balance and based on past UNC title teams, I think it has to be there at some point. At the same time, UNC has tremendous players on the block along with versatile players in Green and Ginyard. In that respect it will be interesting to see how the offense develops.
- By and large it was a good final tune-up before UNC sees real action next Wednesday in Charlotte. Davidson is the best team in the Southern Conference and seeing that fellow conference member UNC Greensboro went to Atlanta and whipped Georgia Tech, the Heels better make sure they show up.