7:27 PM Cannot Get Here Quick Enough

And why it is 7:27 and not 7:30 or 7:25?

At this point in the tournament you have to deal with endless discussions of the matchup and naturally the hype.  I actually find myself caught up less in the hype and more of the worry since this could be the last game of the season should the Heels decide to play a horrible game this evening.  Worry is a part of the fan psyche though making my predilection to anxiety perfectly natural.

The talk all week has been about the WSU defense and how it will show UNC something they have never seen before.  Joe Ovies at 850 raises a good point about how the door should be swinging both ways:

Conventional wisdom says North Carolina hasn’t faced a team like this. For some reason, the fact that Washington State hasn’t seen a team like the Heels has been glossed over. The PAC-10 has become a defensive league, and no team in that league has the same weapons as the Heels. “But, but…Oregon tried to speed them up and lost!” The Ducks don’t have the same caliber athletes as the Heels.

This is a spot on point which is lost because folks tend to think a great defense always trumps a great offense.  As much as UNC has to figure out WSU’s defense, that same defense has to figure out how to keep UNC from doing what it did to Arkansas on Sunday.  Everyone is talking about the possessions game and how UNC will get far fewer but versus the Razorbacks UNC had a low possessions game but because their offensive efficiency was so ridiculously high they score often enough to post 108 points.  Granted the fast break helps with that but I see no reason why UNC cannot come out and use their superior offensive talent to score often enough with the opportunities afforded them to win this game.

I also was thinking how nice it would be to have Bobby Frasor available for this one.  I know you play with the team you have not the one you wish you had but if it so happens that Ty Lawson and Quentin Thomas get antsy with the pace, having Frasor to calm the storm would be huge.  Since that is not happening we simply have to hope Lawson and QT stick to the game plan of being patient and taking what the defense gives them.

There is a chance this game could be a repeat of the Villanova game in 2005 where UNC faced another team intent upon the dilberate pace who could also play great defense.  UNC scraped by in that one after snagging a ten point lead with three minutes left that somehow dissipated to the point Villanova almost had a chance to take the lead.  I also am a firm believer in the “Near Death Experience Game” it seems like all national title teams face at some point in the NCAA Tournament.  The most famous one is Duke beating Kentucky in 1992.  UNC had the Cincinnati game in 1993 and the aforementioed Villanova game in 2005.  And you might even considered the 52-50 win over James Madison in 1982 along this line as well.

Given the level of anxiety we all will endure during the game makes the ocean of trepidation we are all floating in now much more unbearable.  A little less than nine hours to go here and it cannot get here soon enough.

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35 Responses to 7:27 PM Cannot Get Here Quick Enough

  1. jackiemanuel says:

    Seriously. I noticed it was 10:11, looked at my clock after what must have been five hours and it was 10:23.

    Let’s hope that Tywon does not get in foul trouble like Raymond did. I really really really hope tonight is not like that game.(other than the result)

  2. william says:

    I know. The weird thing is that I have all of my Carolina yearbooks and programs and basketball stuff down out of the attic and I am hoping we can at least win a couple more because I know I won’t want to read any of it after a loss, so I have been hurredly trying to finish a book by Art Chansky about Dean Smith that I got from the library.

  3. Will says:

    I hate to say this, but this matchup mostly reminds me of Georgetown last year in that both teams are very strong defensively and can pack the lane. Of course, Georgetown was much deeper.

    I have tried to block out the Georgetown game as much as possible, but I do recall getting some fouls in the first half, and then the refs swallowed their whistles after Thompson started complaining and picked up a technical.

    To UNC’s advantage, though, is having played that game last year and their determination not to let that type of result happen again.

  4. william says:

    A big difference there was that Georgetown had comparable talent and superior height, although in terms of pace and defense, you are right about WSU being similar to Georgetown. We also have lately seemed to be able to hit big outside shots when we need them.

    People tend to remember the narrative in their heads about past games but when you watch the game again, the Heels had plenty of decent outside shots against Georgetown in the last 8 minutes, any one of which would have probably been the final dagger. Since none of them went in, we say, well, they should have gone inside.

    They didn’t go inside when they got into trouble down the stretch against Illinois. Melvin Scott took a wild 2-pointer just inside the three point line and then Felton hit a long, long 3-pointer with 2 guys closely guarding him–but that shot went in, so nobody questions our tactics in that game.

  5. I’m glad somebody is pointing this out.

    I also hope that Roy is pointing out to our boys that the officials don’t seem to call fouls inside during this tournament, that WSU will be depending on it, and to get the ball in the hole first, and not worry about drawing fouls.

  6. Will says:

    Yes, in the G’town game I recall getting good outside shots (other than Danny’s bomb) and missing them. But then when we went inside, Tyler wasn’t getting the calls he got in the first half. The end result was getting blanked, but only a good defensive team is capable of that.

    I think the key to this game (assuming we aren’t getting out on the break) is Ty getting past the first line of defenders and making a good decision once he gets inside. I don’t think WSU can match up with him.

  7. C. Michael says:

    B&BE,

    I think Roy Hibbert would beg to differ! 😉

  8. I guess the exception proves the rule. Does anyone know who tonight’s officials will be?

  9. C. Michael says:

    FTR, UNC has averaged 25 FTA/game this season and 21.5 in its first 2 NCAAT games, so there does appear to be some drop-off. Although I have to wonder how much the fact that UNC won both gams by 30+ has to do with the drop (i.e. no fouls at the end to extend the game.)

    Anyone have historical data?

  10. keithunc says:

    Sorry if this is to long.

    In the G’town game the officials forgot that Hibbert was playing in the last half of the first and the entire second half. The guy should have had 4 to 5 called fouls in the first half and at least 7 in the second. I still die with every Carolina loss that game no different. A blessing in disguise this year was Lawson getting hurt. before he got hurt i thought our greatest weakness was that we had absolutely no half court game. Sure we ad the talent in the end to pull out some games but If a team got back on D we look out of place on the floor. With QQQ having to step up he brought a slower pace for sure to the team but our half court game improved dramatically. I think we are two different teams now. If we can run were going to run if someone slows us down I don’t see a weakness for us. Go Heels and Good luck.

  11. Tar Heel alum and fan says:

    If UNC makes its outside shots at a good clip the Heels win going away; if not it will be a grind-out battle but UNC has a good record of winning those as well. With Q’s great play the latter half of the season I’m not too worried about our guard play and WSU did not fare well with UCLA’s Collison, so Lawson should bedevil them.

  12. Tar Heel Fan says:

    ^That had to do with JTIII getting a technical and after that the officiating changed in favor of Gtown.

    CM,

    I think the UNC offense was so freaking efficient over the weekend that it did not allow for the other team to foul as much. In other words they got a lot of open looks, a lot of transition points which meant there was never the opportunity to foul.

  13. Josh Bowling says:

    William. I will say that the only reason we don’t question the decisions made in 05 is because we won. Yes, that shot by Felton is a bad decision in my point of view, but the shot went in & I saw absolutely no reason to complain. The shot Danny Green took when he passed the half-court mark was a terrible shot wether he makes it or not, I just wouldn’t have said a word had he made it. If he makes that shot, we are up 13, not ten. Instead, he missed, Georgetown got the rebound, fast-breaked for a quick two points, and the lead cut to 8. 8 points is easier to deal with than 12 if you are Georgetown.

  14. william says:

    I really see Stepheson and Thompson as keys. If they play like they did Sunday (which eerily resembled their play at Arizona last year resulting in another blow-out), the Tar Heels are undefensible.

    What good does it do to ratchet down on Hansbrough, when Deon and Alex are shooting just as well or better than he is. Let’s be honest–when the Heels have been in tough games this year–particularly against Clemson–Deon and Alex have often been underwhelming.

    These whole year I had that Arizona game in mind for what this team could accomplish because we played without Wright (and somebody else as well, I think) and we were absolutely dominating due to those guys.

    The main reason why I never have been as high on this team as on the 2005 team is because Alex and Deon simply have not played up to their potential for whatever reason, but then on Sunday, they were back! Watch those guys closely, as they are virtual twins on the court and the announcers often mix them up, but I predict that if Carolina wins any games easily from here on out, it will be because Deon and Alex make collapsing on Tyler untenable.

  15. william says:

    I am not defending the Green shot, which I think was taken in exhuberence. But remember, to a certain extent, you have to take what the other team is giving you and if Hibbert and Ewing were packing it in on Tyler, somebody needed to hit a shot to make them come out and guard us.

    Remember back in the 4 corner days, once of the chief reasons was to make the team behind come out and not pack it in–you can equate Hibbert with Sampson in that regard–well, now a team can’t hold the ball until they come out, which is precisely why Dean Smith argued that you had to have a 3 point shot if you added a shot clock.

    The Felton shot, I don’t know. It was long and he was pretty well guarded, but on the other hand, he seemed to be one of the only ones not feeling the pressure at that point, with 30,000 Illini fans roaring.

    McCants had a poor second half, and well, Marvin tipped in a big shot at the end which was fortunate in that all he had to do was tip it, because he couldn’t catch or hold onto the ball or make free throws, he truly looked a bit out of it down the stretch and they were expecting us to go to May.

    Felton ended up the year the top three point shooter in the ACC, so it was a calculated risk, but definitely one of those at the time, where you might say, “what is Ray doing? Great shot!

  16. Tar Heel Fan says:

    If Green hits the three, UNC is up 13 and the Hoyas are likely done for the day.

    Wasn’t the shot clock running down on the Felton shot?

  17. william says:

    I will pull it up on my Tivo and see.

  18. Josh Bowling says:

    THF, I say if Green milks some clock, and we get a two or three point bucket, it might have been over. But taking a shot as soon as you pass the half court line when you’re up 10, and time is running out for the opposing team, without setting the offense is almost wreckless. Now is the time to right the wrongs.

  19. Josh Bowling says:

    William, you still have that game on your Tivo? Is there any kind of DVD or VCH that is out for UNC’s 2005 title run?

  20. Josh Bowling says:

    William, exhuberance Exactly defines what that Green shot was taken out of.

  21. william says:

    He put Carolina back ahead 68-65, just when it looked like they might have withered had they not scored that time down with about five minutes to play. There were about 13 seconds on the shot clock when Felton let it go. It was probably McCants attempt to create something out of nothing, with the score tied at 70 and a minute and a half to go that you were thinking of, because there were only five seconds on the shot clock when McCants did his dipsy do hoping someone would tip it in.

    I am glad that Marvin made that last tip in because he really had just a horrible last 10 minutes in that game: bad offensive foul, a couple of dropped rebounds which gave Illinois extra points, a horrible wild outside shot with his foot on the three point line, 2 missed free throws (and he never missed free throws). I usually do not buy the notion that people choke due to nerves but you have to wonder if Marvin wasn’t a little nervous down the stretch.

  22. william says:

    Yes, but I didn’t have high def then. It may be out on hi-def now from CBS. Tivo refuses to let me upgrade my Tivo without buying a new service contract, so my Tivo is still analog and thus I have started using a DVD recorder instead. They will show the entire game on ESPN Classic the week of the tourney finals, which is basically what I have, although obviously without the pre-game and post-game shows and with different commercials.

    Home-made DVD’s turn out almost in hi-def now, due to upsampling, but it takes 2 DVD’s to record a whole game, so I usually just have been doing the second half. By the way, the Duke game at Cameron appeared to be copy-protected by the network. My DVD turned out fine but when I attempted to copy it, the computer refused to do anything. Anybody else have that issue?

  23. Tar Heel Fan says:

    You can buy all sorts of games from the NCAA Tournament here including the UNC National Champ Collection of 1982,1993 and 2005 for around $60.

    http://www.ncaaondemand.com/

  24. Josh Bowling says:

    I appreciate that William & THF!

  25. C. Michael says:

    iTunes also sells several classic Duke/UNC games, as well as all of the One Shining Moments.

  26. Jack of all trades says:

    The slow pace game of the WSU wont hurt the Heels.The teams that hurt the Heels are teams can do both run and slow the pace down.Teams that have bunch of 6’5″ guys that can run and good enough slow down the pace.WSU will only beat the heels if they mix the tempo.If they run with the Heels , they will run out of gas and it will be another blow out for the Heels.If they play a slow pace game ,they will gradually get behind.You cant come back with a slow pace offense.Tarheels will have about 30 scoring chances(balls beyond midcourt) in the first half.That should be good enough for 35 pts at the half.(throw in bunch of free throws and 3 pointers, (well not that many ) Tarheels come out in the second half running again.WSU gets too far behind and has to run with the heels.YEa TArheels finally make it to 80 pts with 30 seconds to go. Tarheels 84-69

    J.J.
    UNC 95′

  27. Dfrom Floirida says:

    With all the press talk it seems that at least 10 WSU players will be guarding our five. Did they change the rules since Sunday?? Looking for another big fat W! Go Heels!

  28. william says:

    I am predicting that each team will score its season average. If we can resolve all this today, we won’t even have to watch the game, lol.

  29. Tar Heel Fan says:

    It probably will not happen but for all the talk of WSU holding Winthrop and ND to around 40 points I would be amused if UNC came out and put over 40 on the board in the first half.

  30. C. Michael says:

    THF, I’d honestly be surprised if they didn’t.

  31. william says:

    Roy says our defense this year is better than in 2004 (didn’t Wake drop 117 on us!) but not as good as in 2005.

    http://www.chathamjournal.com/weekly/sports/basketball/unc-ncaa-press-conference-80326.shtml

  32. william says:

    I would love to know exactly what Roy does to de-emphasize the ACC tournament, in spite now of having won it two years in a row, although we didn’t look that great either year.

    It seems clear that he is trying to tell the media not to take the VPI game too seriously:

    Q. Roy, does this have a different feel? The rest of the conference is gone, it’s just you now?

    COACH ROY WILLIAMS: To me there is a definite different feel in the NCAA tournament than the ACC Tournament. And, again, people pick on me and say bad things because of it, but it’s the fact that the ACC Tournament is not what it was 25 years ago. We’re trying to beat our brothers, neighbors, establish bragging rights, but we knew that we were going to have an opportunity to play after that. Right now it’s none of that. If you don’t play, you go home and you get out the golf clubs.

    So there is a much different attitude, a sense of urgency, and along with that sense of urgency is a realization of you getting closer and closer to a bigger prize. So I think it’s a totally different atmosphere.

  33. Wadsworth says:

    I am most concerned about the turnover situation tonight. I believe I saw that WSU averages only about 10 turnovers a game. This will severely undermine the relatively common theory amonn commentators that UNC will be able to simply generate turnovers and therefore force the tempo. I think we will be stuck in a half court game and we will be best served to not force bad shots quickly out of a frustration for slow play.

    I am also rooting for a 40 point first half just to stick it to Pomeroy.

  34. Johnny says:

    The Cougs won’t turnover the ball like Arkansas. The Heels had 9 points off TOs in the first few minutes againast Arkansas. WSU is much more protective of the ball. I’ll be surprised if the game is not very close at halftime. THe Heels settled for a lot of outside shots against Arkansas early on–fortunately they either went in or offensive boards resulted. Heels need to rebound to win.

  35. Flitz says:

    big heel fan from jersey havin a nice party at my house tonite for the game….we were just wondering, what is roy’s legacy down there, does he catch critcism for winning the title not with his “own players”?87-64 tonight

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