My ears are killing me!
First of all, I was in the Smith Center tonight so a big “thank you” to a friend of man who hooked me up with some center court seats on the lower level. More on my visit to the Dean Dome later.
As for the game, UNC played horrible defense, the offense was decent but had trouble finishing and Roy Williams is six kinds of pissed. Aside from the purple flaming monkeys recently ejected from my ears flying around the Smith Center tomorrow, according to Roy the players’ most recent meal will also be flying around. Listening to his postgame comments on the radio during the ride back to Raleigh, I would advise the Tar Heel players to please review the Geneva Convention provisions on torture before heading to practice.
All in all this was a classic letdown game. NSU played solid fundamental basketball and did a great job getting penetration, drawing help defense then getting the ball to wide open three point shooter who hit the shot 14 times out of 28 attempts. In fact the first nine points the Colonels scored came from the exact same corner in front of the UNC bench with the ball being kicked over for an open look. On one hand, NSU hit the shots but so far this season they had only shot 32% from beyond the arc. The Colonels made the most of the gratuitous number of open looks afforded to them by the late responding UNC defense.
On the offensive end, Tyler Hansbrough had a huge game, Wayne Ellington was streaky at points but also made some stellar moves to the basket satisfying for me any doubts he is incapable of creating his own shot. Marcus Ginyard had a very quiet double figures night as did Ty Lawson. The latter did not play all that well. Lawson was decidedly non-aggressive for most of the game not really attempting to penetrate and pressure the defense. The fast break was somewhat muted but some of that had to do with a well prepped NSU team that did a great job of disrupting it.
I would point out that despite the struggle to defend the Colonels, UNC did actually win the game and looked very much like the dominant team on the floor during the opening stretch of the second half. After that they seemed to back off and NSU begain raining threes again to the point they found themselves with a chance to cut the lead to eight with one minute left. And despite the manner in which this game unfolded I am still not panicked in the least as to this team’s potential to win a national title. As Roy said in the postgame this is a small step on a long journey. Weirdly enough I am less concerned about a performance like this against a low tier team following the end of exams and playing at home for the first time in a month than I would be had they not shown up for Clemson or Virginia. The point is the Heels will learn from this and get better. If we learned anything from last season it is that following the loss to Virgina Tech at Blacksburg, Roy put the team through a similar stint in practice hell and the result was a double digit win at Clemson.
Hopefully UCSB will get a similar treatment this Saturday.