UNC 86 Clemson 81[ANALYSIS ADDED]

ACC CHAMPIONS!


Back to back titles for the Heels and their 17th overall. UNC will be #1 in the East Regional heading into the NCAA Tournament.

So this game did not have a last second shot to win, did not have some wild free throw/foul discrepancy and did not have a furious UNC rally to erase a double digit deficit down the stretch.  In other words, all those people who whined that the Heels should have lost two games versus Clemson can stuff it.  UNC beat Clemson for a third time and did it because they were the better team on the floor and that is saying a lot because Clemson is pretty doggone good in their own right.  I will be shocked if they do not make at least the Sweet Sixteen.

On to the game and let me say, “Welcome back Ty Lawson!”

It is interesting to watch Lawson move slowly through the process of getting back to normal.  I had reached a point where I was not sure he would make it back to full speed this season but today those fears were allayed to some extent with Lawson doing some of the things he did before the injury.  I also wonder what was said to him at halftime since he was fairly quiet in the first half but was far more aggressive after the break.  Lawson ended up with 12 points, eight assists and four turnovers which marks his best game running the point since he returned to playing.  Also, Lawson played 28 minutes showing his durability is hopefully returning.

The interesting aspect of this game is how UNC was getting their offense.  Clemson did as good a job as they did in the first game preventing Tyler Hansbrough from having a huge game.  The interior defense was very good in limiting his looks and  covering him when he had the ball.  Despite all that he ended up with 18 points and grabbed 11 rebounds as UNC controlled the boards with a +12 in rebounding.  UNC also got balanced scoring from Danny Green with 12 and Marcus Ginyard mainly because the transition offense was working so well.  Clemson was content to press UNC and it did create 20 turnovers but it also led to several layups for the Heels as they attacked getting the ball past the Tiger press.  In many ways the transition game is also part of the reason why Hansbrough was less of a factor and why you saw more points from Green and Ginyard.

However, the Tiger tamer in this game was Wayne Ellington who did not go for 36 again but put in 24 hitting big shot after big shot.  Ellington averaged 29.3 ppg against Clemson in three matchups this season and was also one of the streaking players down the court for layups after UNC broke the Clemson press.  And on the Green/Ellington watch it was a total of 36 from the duo which more than compensated from a less productive day for Tyler Hansbrough.

Let’s not forget what happened on the defensive end.  Despite the 81 points, Clemson only shot 42% from the floor and 34% from three point range.  UNC forced 16 Clemson turnovers on nine steals.  It was a good defensive effort in shutting down an offensive unit with plenty of weapons and favorable matchups at some sports on the floor.  In my opinion this team is playing defense close to a level they need to be to challenge for a national title.  They are close and I am thinking it will not take much raise the defensive intensity to national title caliber.

UNC has now won 11 straight game since the first loss to Duke and capped off a wild six weeks since Lawson was injured winning an ACC Championship.  It is interesting to note the amount of hand wringing we as fans have done all season from worrying about the outside shooting to the defense to if the Heels could win with Quentin Thomas to if they could win if Lawson came back and Thomas went back to the bench and so on.  And this is season is nowhere close to being over but for all the worrying done UNC stands at 32-2 and champions of the ACC for the 17th time.

Now the real work begins.

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27 Responses to UNC 86 Clemson 81[ANALYSIS ADDED]

  1. keithunc says:

    Congrats Heels. Great game. This team is something special. Well, except for the fouls at the end. Can’t wait to see who we get paired in the NCAA’s. I know I’m biased but it seems every year we get the hardest bracket. Anyone else feel this way? Well once again WAY TO GO HEELS!! You guys had a tremendous ACC year.

  2. Silent Sam says:

    I just hate that I have four tickets to the 1st & 2nd NCAA rounds in the RBC Center.
    Well, maybe not so much . . .

    Congrats to the Tar Heel coaches, players, managers & fans!!!!

  3. Josh Bowling says:

    Exactly. These Heels played tremendous this year, each and every one of them. Every game someone did something special in order for our team to succeed/win. Quentin has become a great pg and I look forward to seeing him in tournament action. Hansbrough refuses to get beat. Lawson can drive in traffic and finish with quickness unseen at NASA. Ellington has had a few Jordanesque shots & drives to the basket. Thompson has good post up moves. Stepheson can rebound & score down low with beauty. Ginyard & Greene can stop anyone in the country on defense & can block shots as well. Graves & Copeland come off the bench and we have no drop off in intensity and pressure. This is a very special Heels team. Thanks to each and every one of you! Great job of coaching these guys ROY!!!

  4. Josh Bowling says:

    We should get the weakest number 2 seed in our bracket. Whomever that may be? THF?

  5. C. Michael says:

    Right now it’s looking like G’town.

    East: UNC/G’town
    South: Memphis/Texas
    West: UCLA/Wisconsin
    Midwest: KU/Tennessee

  6. Jonathan Starsmore says:

    Apparently Tennessee is considered the weakest 2 seed. I wonder if the Committee didn’t end up listening to some of Bruce Pearl’s lobbying and decide that well, we can’t give you a #1 seed, but we’ll do the next best thing and put you in Charlotte for the regionals anyway… as a #2.

  7. C. Michael says:

    Surprised to see Wisconsin as a 3…

  8. C. Michael says:

    South is STACKED! Memphis, Texas, Stanford and Pitt is tough,..

  9. Matt says:

    Well, VT just got screwed.

  10. Jonathan Starsmore says:

    UCLA gets a stroll to the Final Four. Not that that is at all surprising.

  11. C. Michael says:

    BYU is a tough matchup for UCLA.

  12. 52BigGameJames says:

    Davidson-Gonzaga is an interesting 1st rd match-up. Jayhawks might get to see the eye of the Tiger, lol! DC might as well be a home game for Duke. Pitt is my dark-horse.

  13. mugley says:

    watch out for drake too

  14. Schwartzy says:

    Davidson plays in Raleigh, which is bizarre considering Duke is in DC, but I think Davidson could give Georgetown more than they bargained for.

  15. Santiago says:

    Seth Davis just picked TN in the Final Four saying they had “the hot hand.” Ah, Seth, the ‘Heels won their conference tourney final. TN wasn’t even in theirs. Maybe the “hand” he was referring to was Bruce Pearl groping Erin Andrews during the Memphis game.

  16. C. Michael says:

    Davis is a Duke homer/ABCer…

  17. Santiago says:

    CM,

    Granted. But to say any team–not to mention the overall #1NCAAT team–on an 11-game win streak is less hot than a team that’s lost (I believe 2) games since the streak began is just plain dishonest.

  18. C. Michael says:

    Duke homer versus just plain dishonest… you and I are saying the same thing!! 😉

  19. Tar Heel Fan says:

    Seth Davis must be drinking buddies with Mike Freeman. And it should be noted he jumped all over Georgetown’s bandwagon on Selection Sunday last season. Unfortunately he ended up being right. I am betting UT never sees the regional final.

  20. 52BigGameJames says:

    well, at least Dickie V is with us…and besides, we’re going to Disney.

    “Black Magic” coming on ESPN right now.

  21. I think UNC got a pretty tough draw to the final four. Tennessee, Notre Dame, Louisville, Indiana, and not to mention Butler.
    Of course a perfect scenario for me is George Mason winning a couple of games so a bit of revenge can be taken fromt he guys that were on that team two years ago……..

  22. TxTarheel says:

    The last 2 games this weekend against VaTech and Clemson were excellent primers on winning close games in March…both teams proved very resilient (Clemson today could have folded but ran off 8 straight to slice the lead back to 5). Possibly facing IU in 2nd round could be an interesting match-up.

  23. mugley says:

    Santiago Says:
    March 16, 2008 at 7:06 pm

    Seth Davis just picked TN in the Final Four saying they had “the hot hand.” Ah, Seth, the ‘Heels won their conference tourney final. TN wasn’t even in theirs. Maybe the “hand” he was referring to was Bruce Pearl groping Erin Andrews during the Memphis game.

    I’d grope her too

  24. Russell says:

    Welcome back Lawson, indeed….at least the 90% that is back. I still didn’t see that blinding bullet thingie down the lane.
    Deon Thompson needs to ramp it up and join the caliber of the rest of this team. He is a weak link. Roy chooses to play him rather than Stephenson for whatever reason…I’m sure it’s a valid reason (can’t be offense or defense production, check the Clemson game stats). But I like Stephenson. I just wish Thompson could solve his issues with whatever it is, and soon. Like by Thursday.
    Russell

  25. Josh Bowling says:

    I couldn’t agree more Russell. Stepheson is so good around the basket with defense and offensive rebounds & put-backs. Stepheson also doesn’t look for his offense (as he recognized all the offensive talent around him) and instead he just waits his turn and when he sees a rebound opportunity, he goes for it and usually sticks it back in. Whereas Thompson looks for his offense, takes a shot, while better offensive decisions could be made with better scorers on the floor. Not to say Thompson shouldn’t look for his offense, it’s just that he robs other better offensive players of opportunities, while Stepheson complements other players out there better.

  26. NETarheel says:

    I’ve been a fan since 1967. I been to 2 final 4’s and think this team can will make it to San Antonio.They must take better care of the basketball (20 turnovers usually result in a L) and hit foul shots. Yesterday’s game with Clemson could have easily gone the other way had Clemson hit their fouls shots or converted the 6 layups they missed. Ellington played big time was uncharacteristically off from the foul line 4-9 for Sat and Sunday with some of those being 1 and 1.

  27. william says:

    True, although Clemson will never hit their foul shots. If Memphis or Clemson fans are hoping that their teams will now be able to concentrate more or something, it’s not going to happen. Clemson hit about their normal average against Carolina, 13-25. If they had hit say 20-25, it might have made a difference, but Carolina probably would have been less loose with the ball.

    There were also some very poor officiating decisions that benefited Clemson and VPI this week-end. Ellington should have been given a warning rather than a technical and there were several non-calls on Clemson when Carolina had the 13 point lead that put the Tigers back in the game.

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