UNC 90 Valpraiso 58

This was a game of streaks.

UNC went out 13-0.  Valpo answered by outscoring the Heels 37-24 and had possession of the ball with the game knotted at 37.  From there UNC took complete control of the game in every conceivable facet outscoring the Crusaders 53-21 over the final 17 minutes to completely run Valpo out of the building.  This was also a game where UNC played medicore perimeter defense in the first half and allowed Valpo to do a lot of things they wanted to do.  Even when Valpo was missing their first eleven shots, they were still getting those looks and it was only because they were just plain off that UNC ran out to a 13-15 point lead early on.  Taking those eleven misses out of the equation Valpo shot a blistering 54% against the UNC defense.  Also Valpo shot 7 for 20 from three with seven of those misses coming in that drought during the first few minutes.  Taking those out Valpo was 7 for 13 from beyond the arc over the final 13 minutes of the half.  Needless to say this was not the kind of defensive effort you want to see.

So fast forward to the second half and UNC comes out guarding the perimeter fairly well but giving up some baskets inside and Valpo manages to tie the game.  From that point on it was all Danny Green followed by a heavy dose of Deon Thompson blocking shots and finished off by Tyler Hansbrough with an assortment of dunks and free throws.  From that point on UNC held Valpo to 34% from the floor and only nine three point attempts of which they only hit two.  It went from being a poor defensive effort to nearly a clinic on the topic with UNC coming up with 11 steals and 12 blocks on the game and holding Valpo to only 27 second half points.  That is a tremendous effort but the fact they flipped a switch and got that kind of effort it a tad scary.  I think it speaks volumes about the Heels’ toughness as a team and also speaks to an ability to mentally bounce back from a poor defensive effort within the same game.  This was something they seemed incapable of doing in the Nicholls State game but this time out the team responded.  When you also consider that UNC is very much readjusting to life without Bobby Frasor and for now Quentin Thomas, it is a huge deal they figured out how to defend a perimeter oriented team without Frasor providing defensive leadership on the floor.

The performances we saw tonight from certain individuals definitely will pique some folks’ attention. I think Deon Thompson is finally showing up in the manner everyone expected from him in the preseason.  Prior to the Nicholls State game, Thompson had only two multi block games(two versus Iona and three versus Rutgers)  Since then he has record three blocks versus UCSB, two versus Nevada and five versus Valpo.  Thompson also seems to have settled into a pattern of contributing either on the boards or on offense.  Against Valpo it was both with 11 points and eight rebounds.  The blocks were the bigger deal to say the least.

And what in the name of Dean Smith did they put in Will Graves pre-game meal?  Obviously time will tell if this was some kind of one time explosion of incredible shooting or if Graves is ready to step up given the loss of Frasor.  I would be very interested to know if one of the coaches sat down with Graves to discuss the situation and he basically responded.  At any rate I am all for seeing more of that from him.  Same goes for Danny Green, not that we have not been seeing Green play like he did tonight but it was so clutch during that dangerous period in the second half.  And understand it was not just the shooting from Green but his defense in general with three steals and four blocks to go along with the 20 points and five assists.  And had you told me coming into this game that UNC would hit as many threes as Valpo while shooting 10% better than the Crusaders from beyond the arc I would have probably laughed.  UNC offset the primary weapon Valpo has and in doing so made it about whether he Crusaders could defend the Heels’ break and interior game.  They couldn’t, in a bad way and it showed in the lopsided second half.

In the end it was a great win and despite the effort on defense in the first half, UNC played extremely well in the second half on both ends of the floor.  As I said previously, the ability to adjust and toughness shown by the players to step up when Valpo basically smacked them in the mouth cannot be underscored enough.  As UNC works through the schedule they are showing how capable they are of winning in various game scenarios.  And UNC will need every ounce of it next week at Littlejohn.

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10 Responses to UNC 90 Valpraiso 58

  1. Russell says:

    “And right when it was 37-37, we weren’t as focused as we needed to be. We were at the point where they were going to get a lot of momentum and go on a run, or we were going to get our act together and play the style of basketball that we know how to play.”-MARCUS GINYARD

    This is becoming (an unsettling) MO. I believe that championship teams come out “with their act together” by the end of the first 10 minutes and do not wait until the second half to do so. But Roy’s teams have exhibited the tendency to wait until adjustments (mental and tactical) at halftime to tune their game to the opponent….and then, too often, as in this Valpo game, only after a secondary Roy Tirade to – apparently – remind them of what they were told during halftime.

    A solid, talented and well-coached team will smother this squad at the outset so thoroughly and without let-up that Roy & Co. will spend halftime and the ensuing 20 minutes struggling to prevent sheer embarrassment by say, 20+ points. This is, I believe, securely possible.

    Back in the day, Dean and Wooden applied the philosophy that concentration on perfecting one’s own teamwork was THE principle to master, that whatever the opponent brought to the game would thus be met and surpassed by one’s own accomplished prowess. There was no serious “scouting” of opponents.

    But I believe that knowing what a Valpo does to win games and drumming the counter measures into the team’s PRE-GAME preparation is required in today’s game. That waiting to provide the counter measure until halftime adjustments is passé and will not work with the caliber of game teams – really good teams – bring today. This extraordinary young team of talent needs to have its act together without time-lapse or secondary Roy Tirade.

    Now, On to Austin! Go Heels!

  2. Andy in Omaha says:

    Why does this team like to make things close in the first half then go on a tear in the second?
    Are they taking teams for granted? Are they seriously not focused until “danger time?”
    As much as I hate to say it, I agree with Russel. As good as this team is, it’s perplexing that they can allow teams like Nichols State and Valpo come so close to something really emberassing and then get the W. One day the three’s that the other team shoots may just continue to fall, then the Heels are in a lot of trouble.
    Looking at the box score, roughly 68% of Valpo’s first half points came from behind the three point line. If Valpo continued the onslaught from behind the arc in the second half this may have been a much different outcome. The extra pass kills this team, especially when someone goes to help out the defender on the ball.
    I’ve been known as a pesimist with my sports teams, but I can’t say I would be surprised if we get emberassed at Clemson (provided they don’t have to shoot a lot of free throws). Then again, it may just what UNC needs to wake the heck up and actually play the full 40.

  3. 52BigGameJames says:

    OMG-I understand why Roy shows fan-fatigue at times. It’s a process and this is a still-maturing team of 19 & 20 year olds…an undefeated team I might add, that just had to shuffle it’s line-up. If it’s robots you want, then K’s your man. Appreciate the art (and the process) of what Roy is about–development.

  4. 52BigGameJames says:

    I’ll add that the Championship Team had Illinois down 10 in the first half, and probably should have put foot on neck at that point, but they were still “Champions” despite the supposed lack of killer-instinct.

  5. Joe says:

    THe second half explosions that the Heels have had are a credit to the adjustments that the coaching staff have made. While I would love to see the Heels go out early to a big lead and put the foot down on the opponent’s throat, I do like the way the adjust their game and finish the other team off as the game progesses.

  6. Josh Bowling says:

    I am not of the thinking that we are lackluster because we do not dominate a team for all 40. At some point in time, even against a weaker team, they might have their own runs. It still impresses me that we were tied with this team minutes into the second half, and still won by 32. How often is a team tied at any point in the second half and win by that kind of margin? The let up does frustrate me however, because I know how much and how hard we work to get leads, and they shouldn’t be taken for granted. There will be some games (Duke) that we will need to learn how to shift gears and preserve a lead. Our up-tempo game allowed Valpro back into the game, but it also destroyed them by game’s end. By the way, Good points BigGame! This team is special everyone.

  7. CarolinaGirl says:

    Comparing Valpo to Nicholls State shows that some of you don’t know much about college basketball. Valpo came in with just two losses, both to top-25 teams, and is a likely Tournament team. Nicholls State is – well, not a Tourney team. You know what ole Roy says – the other team has a right to be pretty good, too. The ’05 team did lose to Santa-freaking-Clara, for those of you pining for that “killer instinct” of old. That team did exactly what this team has been doing – letting the other team hang around for awhile and then going on a huge run to put them away. The Nicholls State game was the only bad exception.

    I also think it was a good game for our team because as we’ve all learned, we don’t always get to the line in the NCAA Tournament. Neither team got to the line much in the first half.

  8. Mark says:

    I too, believe that Valpo will be a tournament team this year. They are well coached, spread their scoring around, and have two decent big men ( one of which is comfortable shooting from the outside). That being said, they did not shoot very well in the the opening 8 minutes. Eventually, their shots started falling and they did get back in the game. Watching Deon makes me believe that his game is much more complimentary to Hansbrough’s as opposed to Wright’s last year. He seems to be more reliable on defense than Wright (and his occasional lapses in focus). You could tell that Danny Green was feeling it and offense and defense. Even with a defender in his face, he showed a lot of confidence in his 3’s. I’m sure he has been reminded of Marvin’s contributions as a sixth man. I think as the season progresses , his effort off the bench will be a momentum builder.

    William Graves was also feelin’ it. 4 for 5 behind the line. I think you hit the nail on the head when you said that he was getting his points within the flow of the offense. I remember seeing him at the Smith Center two years ago right after he signed. Someone pointed him out on the concourse after the game, and I remember thinking “He’s got to lose some weight if he’s going to run in Roy’s system”. Sure enough. He went from looking like Charles Barkley of the Sun’s to Barkley of the Sixers. I bet he’s lost thirty pounds since he signed. I hope he continues to contribute like he did against Valpo.

  9. william says:

    It was all those moving screens set by the Illini….

  10. 52BigGameJames says:

    lol, I guess we need to perfect the art of the flop to counteract poor reffing, eh? maybe K teaches a summer course.

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