UNC 105 UCSB 70

That’s more like it.

I also imagine this makes going home for Christmas a much more pleasant proposition for the players. The Heels did a lot of things right in this game. UNC fully redeemed the defensive egg they laid Wednesday night against Nicholls State with a complete dismantling of UCSB with efficient execution on the offensive end and hard nose defense. The bottom line is the Heels obviously paid attention during the past two days of practice when Roy undoubtedly had them fearing for their lives and come out today with the requisite intensity on defense which included being very active in their matchups and contesting shots. Or looking at it another way, UCSB was ranked 60th according to Jeff Sagarin and came in shooting 44% from behind the arc. UNC held UCSB to 38% from three. Compare this to the 171st ranking of Nicholls State which entered the Smith Center shooting only 32% from three but rang up half the shots they took from that distance. So based on those factors alone it is obvious UNC did a better job playing defense. Offensively speaking the best way to describe how well the transition game was working is the fact UNC scored 105 points while making only three from beyond the arc out of 16 attempts. Yes it would be nice to get some perimeter shooting but 105 points pretty much without it seems to work pretty well too.

Among the individual performances there were the usual suspects in Tyler Hansbrough who had 21 but only seven boards breaking his streak of double-double games at five. And despite what folks say about Hansbrough’s athleticism or lack thereof, today marked the second time Ty Lawson was just plain good all over the place. The fast break ran about as well as I have seen it run this season with Lawson dropping 15 points, six assists and collecting four steals. The bigger headlines in this game were Marcus Ginyard and Deon Thompson. Ginyard had 17 points which was simply bonus material off his defensive efforts against Gauchos leading scorer Alex Harris. Thompson, who had been very much the subject of discussion as it pertained to his less than stellar play showed up today with 12 rebounds and three blocks. The hope is this level of play continues for Thompson and he can begin to allay the concerns that UNC misses Brandan Wright.

And UNC’s great play was capped off with the debut of football player Greg Little who had five points in his debut which included a made three pointer. Not bad for a first game.

UNC will return to action on December 27th versus Nevada which will give the players a nice break for Christmas before resuming the quest for a national championship.

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8 Responses to UNC 105 UCSB 70

  1. Howard says:

    One thing that I’ve been thinking about after reading news reports of the game is the idea of motivation by anger. Seems reports this year, and some last year if I remember correctly, emphasized how upset and angry the coach was, and how in response to this, the team played well.
    I remember scenes over the past years of the Maryland coach hopping mad, berating his players left and right. I wondered then if that was a good thing or not. Now, it seems Coach Williams is taking up that mantle and coaching by anger.
    I’m sure glad the Heels are winning, but I also wonder some about this anger-as-motivation thing. Is this just a media emphasis, or is it real? And what do others think about this?
    I don’t recall Dean Smith ranting and raving against his players. And his teams won.
    Just wondering.

  2. 52BigGameJames says:

    Dean had a 2-pack-a-day habit and a fondness for Scotch. I also heard Dean could be a real booger in practice, when it was warranted. I understand what you’re saying, but I think Roy just senses what his particular team needs at the time and applies it. Doubt he’s changing his MO. Gary is just nuts-he can’t help it lol–love him just the same. The only artificial, or manufactured anger I’ve witnessed in recent years was with Doherty, and I believe he learned his lesson, and will become a better coach for it. If anger-management was Roy’s style, he would’ve strangled Rashad McCants before the Championship season was half over.

  3. MDTarheel says:

    I’m worried about all these cupcake victories. This team has not been challenged except for Davidson. I think the weak schedule could hurt the Heels in ACC play. Don’t be surprised to see a close lost to a sub par ACC opponent. Its hard to get up for every game when your blowing out every team. I don’t expect the Heels to go completely undefeated but I don’t want to see another loss like last year against G-town. Bring on the ACC.

  4. William says:

    I cannot recall Dean Smith ever making a negative comment about any individual player during his tenure. Roy does this all the time. Coaches aren’t clones and I believe one distinction here is that Roy often criticizes his own performance, something the Gary Williams and Bob Knights never do and Dean Smith rarely did (although honestly, I can rarely recall any situations where Dean “blew” games, if any). Maybe that Georgia Tech game back in 1989….

    With regard to Dean’s making comments about his teams in general, it is harder to remember. I think he tended to be more low-key. Roy likes the lime-light and this media character that he has created named “Ol Roy” is more in fun than anything else. Thus, the comment about making them “throw up” was probably mostly schtick, although no one doubts that it was a tough practice.

    Roy substitutes so much more than Smith used to, that I am not positive about the following remark, but it looks to me as though Williams will immediately yank a player for a mental error. My recollection is that Smith would not do that but would rather wait until a discreet moment to get the player out of the game.

    Dean Smith was the son of schoolteachers and was the ultimate public gentleman. Some saw him as insincere but there was a time where people were expected to hide their sincerity and this was seen as the mark of being a gentleman. Roy comes from a different state and a different background and is coaching in a different period where coaches are now bigger stars than the players. Given his recruiting success, “Ol Roy” must know what he is doing.

  5. William says:

    Georgetown was pretty darn good last year. That was not a fluke loss. With respect to this year’s schedule, Sagarin has the ‘Heels number one and has them playing the toughest schedule of any of the top 14 teams in his poll.

    We have had two true road games against tough competition and four overall, (versus 0 at all for Duke) and have several games against fringe NCAA tournament teams like Valparaiso, Davidson, BYU, and Nevada and Kent State. We also have two annual games against Duke, something that no other major program (except Maryland) faces every single year.

    By the way, MDTarHeel, what part of Maryland are you from?

  6. Tar Heel Fan says:

    Dean was often concerned with how doing or saying something might impact a player negatively. It is my understanding that he left a certain player in the 1977 title game too long because he did not want to embarrass the player by taking him out of the game. He was more apt to positive reinforcements versus negative ones.

    Roy tends to practice a tough love, perfectionist mentality. He is very tough on players but I think tough in the same way a father would be tough on a child to motivate them. I think he cares for his players and does what is best for the team. I also think that is why he is so high on recruiting “character” players because he wants guys mature enough to understand when he calls them out for making a mistake it is for their benefit. And yes, William, there some punitive nature to the way he pulls players but I also think it has to be pretty egregious.

    As for MDTH’s remark, I think this team has been tested and shown some incredible toughness. The problem is the schedule should have been tougher than it has turned out to be. UK is down, OSU is down, Louisville had injuries and should have beaten ODU then played UNC in a top ten battle since they were #6 at the time. BYU is ranked now. I have plenty of confidence in this team and how it will respond when pushed.

    Also, welcome back William! It has been awhile and I hope all is well with you.

  7. 52BigGameJames says:

    William: I guess it sounded like I was being negative on Dean–didn’t mean it that way, as the man was a God in my eyes growing up– I was just trying to make the point that the pressure is so great, each coach deals with it in his own way. You were mainly right about Dean, but with one notable exception, and I suspect it was done in frustration at the time, and he would take it back if he could. Ranzino Smith was singled out by Dean after an NCAA Tourney loss, in negative post-game quotes. It was so out of character (and unfair) that Tudor did a column on it the next day.
    ditto on THF’s sentiments!

  8. William says:

    I didn’t see anything negative. These were good comments all. Dean loved Ranzino. He always talked about how he didn’t think Ranzino or Hubert Davis could really play for UNC and said, “shows what I know.” I can’t remember the game, but maybe Dean had a reason to inspire Ranzino. You would have thought it would have been either Rasheed or J.R. Reid, (the man who launched a million haircuts) lol.

    I have twin boys who are very different and I can’t choose between them and I feel the same way about Roy and Dean. Just read about Dean and how he has always respected his father or about him going in with Mitch Kupchak to surgery and it will bring tears to your eyes and then read the Roy Williams feature in Sports Illustrated in 1997 about the Cokes and his mom and try not to blubber.

    I have been trying not to get too caught up in this thing too early this year. In 2005, I was a bit off the deep end, analyzing points per possession and researching the health of Rashad McCants at all hours in my attempt to push us past the Illini. Then, after everyone on the team when pro, I spent way too much time following our quest for Uche Echefu, a local Maryland boy who ended up with FSU and is doing well, but hey, we ended up doing pretty well in 2006 without Uche.

    Anyway, I thought this was the most fun of all the Carolina blogs last year and it was a good place to console each other during the USC scare last year and then the Georgetown disappointment. You have a good group of people on here with a spirted but measured tone.

    I think this year we have a fun squad. We are obviously more seasoned, but also less talented than last year (add Will Graves and subtract B. Wright) and that will make things very interesting during ACC play. I expect that we will outdo our 11-5 mark of last year in conference but unless Deon and Alex step up, I am not sure if we can get past the round of eight again, but then again Roy is the master of February so who knows what heights this team may achieve.

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