This is like deja vu all over again. Last year UNC hosted then #1 Ohio State in a game that did not include Greg Oden. This time it is #1 UNC(I have always been an AP poll kind of guy) heading to Ohio State who is 4-1 but presently unranked. The Buckeyes beat #21 Syracuse in the NIT semifinals but fell hard to #15 Texas A&M in the title game 70-47. I expect this fact alone to give OSU a little more edge, not that they need it facing a team ranked at the top of one of the polls and has the word “North Carolina” on their chest. This is a true road contest for UNC and one I would very much like to see them make a statement in with or without Ty Lawson.
Live blogging after the jump.
8:50 PM: NC State is getting absolutely throttled by Michigan State. There is no underestimating how embarrassing a loss this has to be for a program than everyone thought was on the cusp of being a top tier ACC team.
8:51 PM: Apparently if Michigan State scores 70 the fans get tacos. What is that? Perhaps if you played real basketball in the Big 10 which includes, you know, running a fast break and playing some pressure defense you can set your sights a little higher, like at UNC where 100 points gets you a Bojangles biscuit.
8:54 PM: Start time has been adjusted to 9:10 PM because the Spartans are taking way too long to beat the Wolfpack senseless.
8:59 PM: I really am shocked that NCSU is getting run like this. Everyone is high on Sidney Lowe as a coach, well he will earn his paycheck this season if he can figure out how to get this team on the right page.
9:05 PM: The posters at IC are having a great time with the 70 points taco deal at MSU. One said: “Only 70 points? We would run their taco stands out of business.”
9:08 PM: BC has secured another win for the ACC giving them a 6-1 lead. Nine times they have played this thing and every time the ACC has mopped the floor with the Big Ten.
9:11 PM: Tom Izzo wants to drag this thing out for reasons that pass all understanding.
9:12 PM: Maryland is up seven on Illinois. If that hold it will be 7-2. Miami is beating Alabama St which can apply for Big Ten admission since they are also able to lose to ACC schools.
9:14 PM: Here we go!
9:15 PM: Lawson is not on the floor. Frasor is in and I think Lawson is in uniform based on a glimpse of the bench.
9:16 PM: Lawson will not play. OSU opens with a three and the refs have nailed UNC with three fouls in 1:15.
9:17 PM: I love Tyler’s tenacity but he still needs to learn when to pass the ball out. Ellington needs to step up and see if they can break the zone.
9:19 PM: UNC into the lead with Ellington and Thompson. OSU seems content to shoot and miss from outside. Be nice if Ginyard could hit a wide open three.
9:20 PM: 1st TV timeout. UNC 4 OSU 3.
9:22 PM: The Heels look a little unsettled until they got on the board.
9:24 PM: I think Alex Stepheson was trying to pass to Hansbrough there. Way too many missed show for everyone on the court.
9:25 PM: Good night for rebounders I suppose. OSU with a second three to go up 6-4
9:26 PM: Heels work the zone really well there to get Hansbrough the dunk. OSU is going to simply pass the ball around looking for the open three and right now they are hitting them. Same thing happened last season in Chapel Hill.
9:28 PM: Very good offensive execution versus the zone nets the three from Green.
9:29 PM: 2nd TV timeout. UNC 13 OSU 9. After a shaky start the Heels have calmed down and are going a great job working around the zone and looking for the opening. Is would be real easy to force things here which they did for the first minute or so. Now they are being patient and taking what the defense gives them.
9:33 PM: Okay, I don’t care about Les Miles and I don’t care who Johan Santana is talking to. I do care about this game which is what I would like to see with a full screen.
9:34 PM: I really wish Frasor could hit a decent clip of threes. The looks are good but the shots are not there.
9:35 PM: Have I mentioned that I love Ellington now. UNC running a little break to open up the 18-13 lead and forcing the OSU timeout.
9:38 PM: Not much to talk about before the 3rd TV timeout of the half. I hate it when they do that.
9:40 PM: I was just looking at the radio affiliates list for UNC and they broadcast games on a radio station in Poplar Bluff, MO just so the folks there can listen.
9:41 PM: Lots of ugly here. Too many turnovers and trouble finishing plays on offense.
9:43 PM: The Tyler vs A Taller Player Collorary is in effect. Wayne Ellington is also in effect with another three.
9:44 PM: Well, if they are going to pull up from 24 feet on the break what are you going to do. It usually works out that a hot team cools off as the game proceeds.
9:46 PM: 4th TV timeout of the 1st half.
9:49 PM: Ellington, Ellington, Ellington.
9:51 PM: I would go right at the Koufus kid and see if you can get a couple of fouls on him. UNC 27 OSU 23
9:52 PM: Deon Thompson must hit jumpers in the paint which are largely uncontested. Might want to (1) not let Frasor shoot any more threes and (2) guard the Deibler kid.
9:55 PM: Well crap. This is what always kills me about teams shooting three pointers against UNC. In some cases they give up open looks but then you get garbage like guys hitting from 24 feet out and shooting fall away threes from the side and banking them in at the buzzer to give OSU a 32-29 halftime lead.
I think we can hang some of this on Lawson being out since his speed and penetration could make staying in a zone more difficult for Ohio State. I also think Bobby Frasor is shooting way too much for someone who is missing threes. It is one thing if he hits one or two but he has been ice cold and yes they will let you have it until you prove you can hit it. The bottom line for UNC is getting some slow down on that OSU perimeter shooting and finding more open looks for Hansbrough. UNC has missed opportunities pure and simple. Open shots have been there and UNC is shooting 32%.
10:07 PM: Let me also point out that I am not sure what UNC can do differently defensively. They held OSU to 31% shooting and 32 points total. Heels outrebounded the Buckeyes by five. The issues are on the offensive end with UNC simply not scoring with the opportunities handed to them. Hansbrough has like 10 or more FT attempts per game and so far in this one he has none.
10:13 PM: Second half starts. UNC comes away with nothing on the first possession.
10:14 PM: UNC is not hitting the good looks and that bothers me more than what they are doing on defense.
10:16 PM: Nice defensive play by Ellington to get the block and attack on the basket. He fell hard though and may have banged his hip which apparently throws off his first FT.
10:17 PM: Dick Vitale is talking about Duke. That took longer than I expected.
10:18 PM: I have no idea who Hansbrough hits those shots like that, three point play ties it up and Ellington is now hurt. That is not a good sign.
10:19 PM: Offenses are heating up a bit here.
10:20 PM: 1st TV timeout of the 2nd half with the game tied and Ellington looks like he might be hurt in a way that would effect his play. Likely a bruise hip or buttocks based on the way he landed. It will really be step up and get tough time if he is limited from here on out.
10:23 PM: I agree with Andy in the comments section. I think Thomas might need to be on the floor more since he is more capable of running the break.
10:26 PM: UNC has been in a position to stop OSU if they could just grab rebounds.
10:27 PM: Frasor. Stop. Shooting.
10:28 PM: I guess the hip is okay. Ellington banks it in from three to put UNC up seven, take the crowd out of the game and entice Thad Matta into a timeout.
10:31 PM: If OSU is content to brick threes then I say let em do it.
10:32 PM: Did I mention I hate TV timeouts coming 30 seconds after full team timeouts? UNC up nine.
10:34 PM: UNC is at a point here if they can execute some on offense and keep OSU from scoring they can extend this out and effectively snuff the life out of the Buckeye team.
10:36 PM: Supposedly Koufus was the key player coming and UNC is doing a great job of keeping him in check.
10:37 PM: Thompson is having a nice game and looks to be making the real difference here as UNC is now up 11.
10:38 PM: UNC with so many chances to put this out to 13, 15, 17 points and not converting. Makes me nervous.
10:40 PM: This lead is stuck at 11. It does not matter what the Heels do they cannot seem to push it out. 3rd TV timeout of the second half. UNC 53 OSU 42.
10:42 PM: OSU has hit exactly three shots this half. Shooting is down to 24% for them. UNC is up to 36%.
10:45 PM: The defense has done the job, but it is very clear looking at the BYU game and this one that UNC is not very effective on offense without Lawson in the game.
10:46 PM: UNC now up 14 working the OSU zone very well. Credit to OSU for sticking with it despite the fact UNC has basically solved it.
10:47 PM: The Heels held OSU 10 minutes without a FG. I want someone to tell me now they cannot play defense.
10:48 PM: This is what was worrying me, the fact they had a chance to push this out to 15-20 points and did not do it. Now OSU hits two threes and gets it down to six before Thompson strikes again.
10:49 PM: Final TV timeout. UNC up six.
10:50 PM: Now is gut check time and UNC needs to execute on offense. This is the point in the game where you expect Lawson to take over, drive to the basket and shred a tired defense. Without him, the Heels need to be patient and look for the right opportunity.
10:53 PM: Ellington with the DAGGER!!!!
10:54 PM: Really, that three pointer by Ellington with the shot clock expiring would have been an iffy proposition last season, now he looks like an assassin out there.
10:55 PM: Really off night for Hansbrough. Missed three straight free throws. Ellington hits another key jumper to keep UNC up nine.
10:57 PM: I am not sure why UNC feels compelled to attack the basket with 1:30 left. Pull out and make OSU foul you or milk the clock.
10:59 PM: Looks like UNC is going to pull a tough one out. Ellington has 23 points for a career high.