UNC 84 NCSU 70

Taking care of business and improving as they do it.

First of all, Tyler Hansbrough continues his beastlike march through the ACC and I really do not give a crap what Michael Beasley is posting at Kansas State, Hansbrough is playing on a top five team and since Lawson went down he has averaged six more points and four more rebounds per game to carry this team in what is arguably the toughest stretch of the season.  Tonight was more of the same.  32 points, 13 rebounds and five steals.  Counting the charge he drew in the first half, Hansbrough was responsible for six Wolfpack turnovers.  What else can you say without repeating the same points over and over?

And how incredible has the transformation of Quentin Thomas been?  As a Tar Heel fan you cannot help but feel a swell of pride to see this senior, who has paid dues for three years, become everything the Heels needed him to be at a crucial point in the season.  Tonight was another great effort from QT who has become very good at picking the right moments to take shots and he is hitting them.  In terms of running the offense he had seven assists and only two turnovers.  It has been a remarkable transition for him and I could not be happier for him.

On the quiet side, Wayne Ellington and Marcus Ginyard just put in a workman like effort.  Ellington had a hot hand with 21 points on 8-13 shooting.  He also had eight boards which was necessitated by the fact Deon Thompson did not play much and Danny Green was largely invisible.  Ginyard has really embraced the offensive side of his game and was extremely aggressive in driving the lane and looking for a shot or dunk since the Wolfpack were content to give that to him…twice.

Jay Bilas, who despite his alma mater, is probably the best basketball analyst ESPN has, made several good points during the game. One of which was the fact UNC will be a better team when Lawson returns.  And as I argued this point earlier in the day in countering J.P. Giglio’s assessment I was focused on the improvement of QT as the main part of that equation.  As Bilas pointed out in reference to Thompson specifically and this can be applied to Ginyard as well is everyone is playing better.  When Lawson went out it became an all hands on deck situation where players had to step up or the team loses games.  That is a testimony to the coaching and also an indicator of this team’s toughness and maturity.  The bottom line is guys like QT, Ginyard, Thompson and even Stepheson and Graves all stepped in to fill the void and right the offensive ship in the absence of Lawson.  The result of this will be Lawson returning to a team with players who have a better idea of how to contribute, especially on offense.  And the defense is most definitely improving to the point I think we can slowly start moving that down on the list of concerns.

The road is still a long one but two weeks ago many UNC fans were fairly nervous about whether this team could get it together in time to make a run for the title.  In my opinion that coming together is happening as we speak.

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26 Responses to UNC 84 NCSU 70

  1. Silent Sam says:

    A couple of unexpected bonuses tonight — VPI beating the Twerps and the Tropical Depressions beating the Dookies!

  2. seth says:

    Did Mike Patrick compare Tyler Hansbrough to Steve Wojciechowski? Did I hear that right?

  3. Tar Heel Fan says:

    (sigh) Yes he did and Jay Bilas(who I think UNC should hand an honorary degree to just so we can be okay with liking him) bailed him out by saying Hansbrough was beyond that saying Wojo had to learn, Hansbrough has been all this and more from day one.

  4. william says:

    He was only talking about getting the most out of a person’s ability, not that they were comparable talents.

    By the way, I am now wondering if this current Duke team doesn’t resemble Matt Doherty’s 2001 team, which actually beat Duke at Duke and finished first in the ACC over Duke’s national champs but was in actuality light years worse than Duke was that year and faded horribly in February….

  5. william says:

    After starting 11-0 in the ACC in 2001 and being number one in the nation, Carolina finished up 4-4 in the ACC, including the tournament and simply got annihilated in the ACC finals in perhaps the most embarassing game we have ever had in the tournament, 79-53.

    http://www.kenpom.com/sked.php?y=2001&team=North%20Carolina&t=p

  6. Tar Heel Fan says:

    That could be but IIRC the 2001 was rife with internal dissension by the end of the season. Of course that is not saying Duke is not having similar issues, because you would never, ever hear about it if they were.

  7. william says:

    Duke definitely had dissension last year and Feinstein revealed it in the Washington Post.

    Apparently, McRoberts and K really got into it. Shavlik Randolph apparently was not a big K fan either. On paper, Duke was much better last year but they have been running that effete Phoenix offense that teams haven’t figured out yet this year. It has never worked for Phoenix or the national team, so I expect it is about to wear off down on the college level as well.

    I sure wish we could get another national coach so I could start rooting for the U.S. in the Olympics again, but I admit it is fun watching K go down in flames each time….

  8. william says:

    Hoosiers is on the UHD network. Time-out by Hickory. Things aren’t looking too good right now. Jimmy needs to start shooting more.

  9. This post on the SFN game blog just struck me as hilarious:

    http://www.statefansnation.com/index.php/archives/2008/02/20/statecarolina-live-blogging-aka-documenting-the-atrocities/#comment-163784

    “theTHRILL
    Feb 20th, 2008 at 8:31 pm

    My son just asked if we can pull for another team next year because State “is never any good.” I said, “They were good when I was a little boy.” He said, “That was a long time ago.” He’s right.”

  10. william says:

    Did anyone ever notice that this movie is kind of the opposite of the movie about Texas Western and Kentucky?

  11. Tar Heel Fan says:

    Hoosiers? Your right it is….weird.

  12. william says:

    State beat Carolina and Dean Smith 9 times in a row between 1972 and 1975…. I am proud to say that I was seven years to 10 years old during this period and I stuck with the Heels, when we were at best, the second best program in the ACC….

  13. william says:

    The Bears have a couple of white guys, just so it’s not too stark I guess….

    Jimmy is going to be a decoy….

    Wait, he says, “I’ll make it!”

    40-40 with 19 seconds to go, Hickory ball….

    2 seconds to go, Jimmy shoots….

    It’s no good! Wait a minute, what is this–oh, it’s the director’s cut….

  14. Tar Heel Fan says:

    No, that is the JJ Redick version of the movie.

    BTW, I consolidated your comments….hope you don’t mind 😉

  15. Wilson says:

    What a fine night Tar Heels! Soak it in, ahhh, feels good.

  16. Tardy Turtle says:

    People keep bringing up parallels to ’05. McCants absence late in the season set up the final push in the tournament by re-focusing the offense away from McCants and the jump shot and onto May and the paint. McCants illness forced May to step up and his team mates to recognize that he was the first option, something they might have “known” in their heads, but not really “known” in their guts.

    This year is the same. Tyler has taken over as the team knew in their heads he could. The difference now is that after this we won’t see any more 5 minute stretches where they forget about him on offense. They know in their guts now that there is no better option on the floor. As for Tyler himself, this stretch is just what he needed to REALLY get rid of those Georgetown doubts. Winning close games, knocking guys down, making it happen on both ends. This test has been good for him too.

  17. […] and team. Andrew Jones is not doubting Thomas.  Chris Clark shows us how bad it was. Tar Heel Fan has a recap. Can I get a caption? John…this is not funny. Carolina March writes that we might be getting […]

  18. JAG Heel says:

    LAst night, for the first time in four years, I did not find myself having that sinking feeling and shouting at the TV “get rid of the ball!” “get rid of the ball!!” every time QT touched it. His transformation has been phenominal. Aparently, all he has needed was a little confidence and not feeling like he needed to do something spectacular because he was only going to be in the game for two minutes. And, he has made it here without one gripe, complaint, pout or anything of the kind (as far as we know). If the Heels make it to the final four, they will owe a large share of that success to Q. I bet no one dreamt that would be the case back in November.

  19. william says:

    Q has become the new Mike Pepper….

  20. Chris says:

    Duke’s offense is actually working quite well and will continue to against man to man defense. Miami played a matching 2-3 zone the whole game and eliminated for the first 30 minutes the unguarded 3’s from the corners. It should be a message for anyone playing Duke. If you play them man to man, they lure your big man out to the foul line and then pick and the driver then has either an open lane to the basket or a kickout to the guy in the corner whose man comes to defend. The 2-3 zone eliminates that scenario which they’ve used all year. We need to suck up our pride and play them zone at least part of the time to see what it will do.

  21. MinnyTarHeelFan says:

    Chris – I agree to an extent, but I think the help on the drive can’t come from strong side. If you’re guarding the player in the corner, you have to stay on him and the help has to rotate from the week side. It’s much tougher to drive and pitch weak side than to your strong side, and that play usually comes down the right side. Also, re-watching the first UNC-Duke game, QT did a horrible job on defense, both in defending the pick-and-roll and losing his man on the weak side. I think he’ll be much better, and we’ll also have Tywon back at that point.

    Point-zone, anyone?

  22. william says:

    Greece didn’t seem to have any problems against K….

  23. Josh Bowling says:

    A young Mike D’antony as K’s replacement after retirement?

  24. Chris says:

    Greece played pure zone……..

  25. Tar Heel Fan says:

    Miami played a very active matchup zone which did give Duke some open looks but at the same time disrupted the flow of the offense. Roy might need to think about this to some extent.

  26. Chris says:

    Amen. We are NOT a good man to man team. So, swallow our pride and play some zone and let’s kick their butts! I’ve seen enough open uncontested 3’s from the corner from Singler, Paulus and Scheyer to last me a lifetime! The only way they win is by the 3…….let’s decide right now that we will not let them have those shots.

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