UNC 98 Miami 82

Yeah, I have no idea.

About the defense that is.  I think there were some positive signs like the way they played defense out on the perimeter.  The intensity seemed to be there from guys like Wayne Ellington who quite frankly worked his rear end off on both ends of the court and only drew Roy’s ire for allowing Miami defenders to tap the ball away from behind on the break.  Marcus Ginyard did a great job on Jack McClinton holding him to only 11 points on 4-12 shooting.  In general everyone seemed to step up the energy.  However you look at the boxscore and Miami shoots nearly 50% and scores 82 points.  It is pretty much a headscratcher because in some instances it looked as though no matter how well UNC defended the Hurricanes or contested a shot they went in anyway.  It was also baffling that UM guard Lance Hurdle came in averaging 6.5 ppg but pleft with a probable career high 20 points or Brian Asbury, owner of a 12% shooting percentage from behind the arc, somehow hits 2 of 5 despite the fact he had not hit one since ACC play began.  So it was a mixed bag.  At times it seemed very good or at least Miami had to work for the shots but on the other hand the Hurricanes got some good looks, especially in transition.  Of course when you talk about 96-82 score, if you do better on five possessions you end up winning the game by 26 and no one questions the defense so much.  Overall I think the defense was improved but it is also a work in progress.  Eight days off will hopefully help with it some.

On offense, the shots just were not falling at points in the first half with only the play of Ty Lawson and Ellington keeping the Heels rolling.  In the second half, it was an incredible performance from Tyler Hansbrough scoring 27 of his 35 points.  It was a fairly impressive outing because of the mix of shots he scored on as well as the 15-16 FT shooting.  Not many big men in the country can get to the line that many times and knock down all but one free throw.  Lawson was equally impressive with 23 points and 10 assists while turning the ball over once.   Lawson is very effective when he is aggressive and looks for his shot or at least acts like he might shoot because it baits the defender a bit.  The ten assists might be the bigger deal since his numbers in that area had been a little down.  Ellington was hot early but cooled which appears to be a pattern with him of late.  He still work exceptionally hard on offense in attempting to get his shots.  Danny Green continues to be real quiet pretty much everywhere with only seven points and Deon Thompson had 10 on 5-10 shooting which really was not that memorable despite it being a decent effort.

One other concern, aside from the defense, is the fact Hansbrough, Lawson and Ellington all clocked over 30 mins.  In fact Hansbrough had 35 mins and I figure the best way to resolve some of this is starting blowing some teams out so these guys can limit the minutes from time to time.  Of course Roy was well aware he had eight days off ahead so he might have been less concerned with the minutes as he might be at other points in the season.   The little over a week off will be helpful since some of the players are banged up a bit and UNC hosts Boston College next Thursday which promises to be a physical game.

So in short, it was a move in the right direction and no one should be complaining about a sixteen point win on the road against a decent Miami team.


11 Responses to UNC 98 Miami 82

  1. HEEL4EVR says:

    I can’t complain about being 19-1….but I’ve had an uneasy feeling about this team all season. I expected them to look more fluid (since the core group has been together for 2-3 years)…but every game seems to have a choppy flow….It was a better defensive effort, but there’s still plenty of room for improvement. It seems like the opponent always has at least (1) guy that surprises/goes-off…and last night it was Lance Hurdle. That guy was fast/smooth….It also helps that Lawson seems to be missing on lot of his cherry-picking steal attempts…which allows his man to break-free & disrupt the defensive rotation…(creates easy shots)

    Deon is Deon…he was effective on offensive & somewhat less than effective on defense (soft & slow). I’m not sure which Miami big man he was guarding out on the wing…and the Miami player just blew by Deon for a dunk…(please move those feet, Deon).

    At least we have a week to rest-up for the physical muggnig that BC will bring next week….

  2. Josh Bowling says:

    We all know in a game of mugging which team has the benefit of the doubt, and it usually ain’t us! I would pull a damn Rick Barnes before I would soften up on defense if they (BC) is allowed to play physical.

  3. Wadsworth says:

    I think there are two points of interest concerning last night’s game. First, UNC did go to a zone for 3-5 possessions. Of course, we gave up offensive rebounds and a couple of 3’s in those possessions, but it was interesting to see it nonetheless. I believe this occurred int he second half when foul trouble was really not an issue so I suspect is was purely an experiment.

    Also, Thompson was pulled extremely quickly in the second half. I realize he picked up his third foul, but it took a long time for him to get back in the game. I thought Stephenson performed excellently on defense during that stretch. Is it time for a change in the starting lineup?

  4. Tardy Turtle says:

    Wadsworth, I had the same idea that maybe Stephenson should start instead. He is a more talented rebounder (probably the best on the team), but Thompson has that smooth offensive game. But if Thompson isn’t going to take over in the post for stretches (and he really isn’t needed to do that, b/c Psycho apparently doesn’t get tired), then I’d rather have someone who meshes with Hansbrough on the defensive end, who can guard the big guys and box out, even though Stephenson is very limited offensively.

    So I was keeping an eye on Thompson’s defense last night to see what exactly he was doing. I didn’t break down the tape or anything, but it looked to me like he was giving great effort on defense, probably in response to the work in practice this week. On one play (I think the second half play where he eventually got benched), he fronted his man in the post then hustled back behind him when he couldn’t get the entry pass and got whistled for a sketchy foul for his effort. That’s just what youre supposed to do. I also saw him move his feet against post players and force them to give up the ball. He helped stymie Miami’s big guys last night and really take them out of the game. Which is significant b/c they are one of the better front line units in the ACC. All in all, to me he is putting in effort and trying to get better at something that does not come naturally. I would say that it’s too early to shorten his leash, let’s recognize the effort and see what happens.

  5. william says:

    Watching the defensive stats game by game can be a little tedious due to the self-fulfilling nature of such stats. For example, if a team wins easily, generally it will have good PPP stats on both offense and defense. If a game is close, then both teams will generally be more equal.

    I think it is more important to focus on the overall result and the perceived effort, both of which were pretty good here. What makes it a little hard is the fact that Miami seems to generally not play well against us, almost to the point of getting psyched out. With the exception of the freshman-laden 2006, Miami has not been very competitive against UNC.

    Finally, let’s focus on a tremendous positive that few if any other top teams have. UNC is a great free throw shooting team and this is going to make a big difference compared to last year when we were so-so from the line and lost a whole host of close games. This year, we have had four close games and won three, which is not bad.

  6. John says:

    I think going with Stepheson over Thompson might be the right choice at this time. North Carolina has other players that can score the basketball. What they need now is solid post defense and the tough play of Stepheson seems like a good compliment in the post. Just evening out the minutes a little more might even be enough to create a large difference on defense.

  7. Wadsworth says:

    Stephenson’s biggest strength is that he is the only player on the team who can help on defense and still get the defensive rebound. That may be because he is not very quick, but it seems that he generally comes into help situations with control, he is long enough to affect shots, and he usually remains in position to rebound. Thompson is almost always out of position for rebounds on the rare occassions when he helps effectively. Hansbrough provides good help defense in drawing charges, but otherwise does not generally alter a lot of shots.

  8. Josh Bowling says:

    I would challege the assessment that Stepheson has bad offense. I rarely see him look for it. When he does, he looks fairly successful to me. He doesn’t look any worse imo than Thompson, its just that Thompson takes more shots. WE HAVE TO FIND a way to get offense when Tyler, Lawson, and Ellington go to the bench. We had a span where only Green hit a 3 in about a 4-5 minute stretch (at least it seems). Why not let that be a point in the game that Graves gets some playing time? Any response THF?


  9. Tar Heel alum and fan says:

    After the recent loss, there was some speculation in the media and in other blogs regarding rebounding that UNC simply is not tall enough. The official team roster lists Hansbrough at 6’9″; Stepheson at 6’9″ and Thompson at 6’8.” Some particularly tall teams have given us trouble and last year Georgetown was a handful even with Brandan Wright and his great reach for the Heels.

  10. Tar Heel Fan says:

    I will have an in-depth analysis of Stepheson vs Thompson based on the stats later tonight.

  11. TxTarheel says:

    Had a random thought today that UNC fans can be an “in-grateful” lot (myself included)…largely based on another’s response to the win (“yeah but…”) All this team has done thus far in the season is go 19-1 and thus far remain undefeated on the road. I don’t care who they play non-conference, but wins at Clemson, GT and Miami all signal something that might be overlooked, in spite of their defensive shortfalls.

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