UNC is Number 8? What the Hell!

This week, UNC was ranked #8 by the AP and ESPN men’s basketball posts. What?!? What’s the logic in this? I understand that we have 5 losses. But we were previously #5, a lot of teams around us in the rankings (Florida, Wisconsin, Pittsburgh) lost games, and our loss was on the road, in conference, to a 22-7 Maryland team who is now ranked in the AP poll. Seriously, #8? Behind the Memphis Tigers, who play in one of the weakest conferences in Division I? The pollsters must have had their minds warped. Like these guys:

(Yes, this is an excuse to post a bizarre Japanese clip.)

On the other hand, Joe Lunardi still has us as a #1 seed in the NCAA, which surprised me, to be honest. I think we still need to win out the rest of the season and make the finals of the ACC tournament to guarantee a #1 seed. But if the committee thinks we’re still worthy, I’m not complaining.

UPDATE (3/2): This post was made under the assumption that we wouldn’t lose to Georgia. But our defense decided to see a Lil’ Jon show in Atlanta while the Yellow Jackets absolutely lit the Heels up. WHAT?!?! So forget what I just said.

UNC Men vs. Maryland Live Blog: Who is Mike Jones?

This game is about to start just as the UNC-Duke Women’s game is getting interesting. Doing them both simultaneously, even if for half an hour, will be hard. It looks like Maryland’s tourney hopes are safe, as they will most likely finish .500 or better in the ACC. But They still need a signature win, and UNC would certainly fit the bill if they can pull it off.

5:35 pm: Turtles are cold-blooded animals, and thus will not survive in the snow of Maryland tonight.

5:40 pm: 2-0, UNC. Hansbrough opens the scoring for UNC. There is no stopping him when he’s in position.

5:41 pm: Rayshawn Terry always gets himself injured in a game. This time, he hits his fingers against the backboard. Nothing you can do about it, but it’s still like, his 10th mini-injury of the season.

5:46 pm: 10-3, UNC. Wow. A lot can happen in five minutes. This could get ugly.

5:47 pm: The Comcast Center’s most interesting feature is the “the wall”. The seats behind the opponent’s basket are all on one plane in a 35 degree incline, creating the illusion of a wall of fans looking down upon the opposing players. I understand that it can be pretty intimidating. It will be interesting to see what kind of role it plays in the second half.

6:01 pm: 24-11, UNC. UNC is absolutely dominating this game. Frasor just hit a three. Don’t ask me how, I’ve been watching the other game.

6:11 pm: 30-21, UNC. Now thatthe women’s game is over, I can finally focus my attention to the dudes.

6:13 pm: 34-29, UNC. This game is happening at such a fast pace, I can barely keep up. UNC is playing really bad defense right now, and Maryland keeps getting easy shots inside.

6:15 pm: 34-32, UNC. Maryland brings it to within two thanks to three the hard way by D.J. Strawberry off an unbelievable pass by Mike Jones! Who? Mike Jones! Who? Mike Jones! Who? Mike Jones!

6:17 pm: 37-34, UNC. Just as the Terps have all the momentum, Wes Miller comes in and sinks the three.

6:18 pm: 39-36, UNC. Lawson hits an off-balance jumper, but Ibekwe gets an easy basket inside on the next possession.

6:22 pm: 41-36, UNC. Danny Green makes an easy layup off a Brandan Wright rejection on the other end.

6:24 pm: 44-38, UNC. How does Maryland not know that Wes Miller is going to shoot that every time?

The announcer was very observant about the crowd. They have been enigmatic, in and out of it today. FSN may have the best commentators. Not a lot of fluff, just good commentators. The kind of coverage that I crave, but also makes me sleepy.

6:28 pm: The first half ends, with UNC holding on to a 44-41 lead. Honestly, I didn’t see enough to give a full critique of the first half (watching the end of the UNC-Dook women’s game), but it looked like UNC was struggling because they seemed to shift in and out of focus. They need to play better defense and clean the glass to keep their lead in the second half. Maryland is one of the few teams whom I see can run with the Heels.

6:38 pm: Video evidence of perhaps the only situation where Hooters and Dick do not go well together.

6:45 pm: The ball is stolen by Mike Jones! Who? Mike Jones! Who? Mike Jones! and UNC is very lucky that he missed the layup.

6:46 pm: 48-42, UNC. Hansbrough gets two consecutive easy baskets inside. The Maryland crowd is shockingly quiet at the beginning of the half.

6:47 pm: 48-46, UNC. D.J. Strawberry is an insane athlete. He just made the drive to the basket between Terry and Hansbrough look easy. What was Wright doing on that play?

6:49 pm: 52-48, UNC. Just as Maryland makes a great play to tie the game, Wright and Hansbrough get two easy shots on two straight possessions.

6:50 pm: 52-52. Wow. This game is going at an extremely fast pace. Maryland gets two quick baskets to tie the game in 35 seconds, the second one off of a big block by Ibekwe.

6:53 pm: Oh no! BRANDAN WRIGHT IS SHOOTING FREE THROWS! AAHHHHHHHH!!!! MY EYYYYYEEESSSSSS!!! Fortunately, he can dunk it. 54-52, UNC.

6:55 pm: 56-52, UNC. Green gets an easy layup off a rebound and pass by Marcus Ginyard.

I simply can’t get over how well Bambale Osby is playing today. Or his hair.

6:56 pm: 60-53, UNC. Hansbrough shows his range with a 15 foot jumpshot. Frasor follows it with a nice midrange shot of his own. The Tar Heels seem to have the momentum right now.

7:01 pm: 62-57, UNC. Maryland gets to within 5 thanks to another basket by Mike Jones! Who? Mike Jones! Who? Mike Jones! Hansbrough has continued to play like the beast that he is on the offensive end in the second half.

7:05 pm: 64-57, UNC. If there were a Bojangles in the DC area, I would start chanting for biscuits about now.

7:06 pm: 69-59, UNC. Osby makes another shot to keep it close, but Lawson’s three extends the Tar heel lead to double digits.

I like Osby. He and his afro can become the next Ben Wallace.

7:07 pm: 73-61, UNC. Psycho T robs Osby blind and dunks it on the other end. He now has 19 points in the game, and UNC could be on pace to hit the century mark.

7:10 pm: 75-65, UNC. Vasquez brings the Terps deficit to within 10, but Ibekwe has four fouls.

The Heels seem to have no problem scaling “the wall” tonight.

7:14 pm: The Terps student section has broken out the hypnotic spirals for free throw shooting, and they seem to have fazed Alex Stepheson.

7:16 pm: 77-67, UNC. Frasor, Gunyard, and Wes Miller are in the game. Frasor misses an easy layup, and Mike Jones! Who? Mike Jones! Who? Mike Jones! hits a three to bring the lead down to 77-70.

7:17 pm: 77-73, UNC. Strawberry is very sour for me right now. He just hit a three to cut the deficit to four after an Ellington miss. No Stairway? Denied!

7:18 pm: 79-75, UNC. Tyler Hansbrough is an unstoppable force. There is simply no other way to say it.

Mike Jones will make sure you know who he is by the time this game is over. Back then, they didn’t want me; now I’m hot, they all own me.

7:22 pm: 80-77, UNC. Nothing scares the crap out of me more than a sweaty, pissed off Gary Williams. The Terps are now within one possession in this game with less than four minutes left.

7:26 pm: 81-80, UMD, 2:45 left. Mike Jones! Who? Mike Jones! Who? Mike Jones! I am really scared now.

7:28 pm: 82-81, UNC, 1:55 left. UNC gets a very lucky bounce, as their shot clangs in.

7:29 pm: 85-84, UMD, 1:26 left. Maryland simply cannot be stopped right now.

7:32 pm: 89-84, UMD, :55 left. UNC is taking bad shots, and Maryland is suddenly outhustling Hansbrough for the ball inside.

7:33 pm: 89-87, UMD, :48 left. WAYNE’S WORLD! WAYNE’S WORLD! PARTY TIME! EXCELLENT! WHOOOOOOO! (riff)

7:34 pm: 89-87, UMD, :18 left. UNC manages to force a turnover, jarring the ball out of a driving guard without fouling. UNC will now have the ball with a chance to tie.

7:36 pm: 89-87, UMD, :04 left. UNC’s hopes lie in the free throw shooting of Brandan Wright. And naturally he misses his first shot. If karma is any indication, Wright will make his next free throw while trying to miss. AHHHHHHHHH!!! MY EYYYYYYYEEESSSSSS!!!

7:38 pm: Wright misses like he should but Hansbrough is unable to control the rebound, and Maryland wins 89-87. I am just completely speechless. How is UNC outscored 24-10 in the final minutes of the game? How do the Tar heels allow that to happen. I give huge credit to Maryland, who played a great game, but I was very surprised to see that in the closing minutes, Maryland played more physical in the paint that Wright and Hansbrough did, which I thought was impossible. UNC also only made four free throws in the second half of the game, something that simply cannot happen if they want to keep a lead down the stretch. Maybe “the wall” and the hypnotic spiral did make a difference. But Maryland is going to be one of the most dangerous teams in the NCAA tournament. You have to be very good to recover from a double digit second half deficit to beat a team like North Carolina. This UNC team is much better than they’re playing. We cannot underachieve like this in March if we want to go to Atlanta.

Update: You know I couldn’t leave you without a Mike Jones video.

UNC vs. Duke Women Live Blog: Goestenkorsopolis Is a City of Lies

Today is a double dip for the Tar Heels. First the Women play their regular season finale against the Dookies in Cameron Indoor at 4:00. Then the UNC men play the Maryland Terrapins in College Park at 5:30. I have to somehow find a way to cover them both. Meanwhile, the Extrapolater is covering Wisconsin-Ohio State at Digital Headbutt. In the first matchup, Alison Bales and Elrana Larkins canceled each other out, and the game was decided in the backcourt. Harding and Waner had great games for Duke, while Ivory Latta may have had the worst game of her career, shooting 3-20, including 0-11 from three. She and Larkins will need to be effective if the Heels want to win this game. It’s a big day in college basketball, so enjoy.

4:04 pm: 3-0, Dook. Harding draws first blood with a three from the top of the key. UNC needs to box out better, that opportunity happened because of Dook’s lowpost presence.

4:05 pm: 5-0, Dook. Alison Bales shows her range with a nice midrange jumper.

4:06 pm: 5-2, Dook. UNC finally gets on the board as Larkins hits a basket off an offensive rebound. We need her to dominate the offensive glass for us to win.

4:07 pm: 5-4, Dook. Latta hits a nice jumpshot to reduce the lead to two.

This Cameron Indoor crowd is almost as intimidating as during a men’s game. I have to give them a lot of credit for that.

4:08 pm: 7-4, Dook. Dook scores easily again to bring the lead back up to three. What’s worse is that Larkins makes a nice move and misses an easy layup on the following possession. We simply cannot afford to miss those kinds of opportunities against such a defensively sound opponent.

4:13 pm: 9-7, Dook. Harding steals the ball and drives for an easy layup, but Camille Little hits a three to reduce the deficit to two. She’s usually in the post, so she was left wide open.

4:14 pm: 12-7, Dook. Alison Bales hits a three. Her versatility is unbelievable. I can;t believe i’m complementing a Dookie.

Big trouble for the Tar Heels: Larkins seems to have injured her ankle. UNC cannot afford to have her out long.

4:16 pm: 14-7, Dook. UNC commits their fourth turnover already, and it leads to a nice floater by Harding. How is allowed to be that open?

4:17 pm: 14-9, Dook. The good news: UNC hits another ourside shot. The bad news: She forced a turnover on the next possession, drove into the lane, and missed her layup.

4:19 pm: 16-9, Dook. Wow. Alison Bales can block our shots without even jumping.

Jessica Breland steals the ball and gets an easy basket inside to make it 16-11, Dook.

4:20 pm: Interesting story: my siser and I were at Carmichael Auditorium to pay our last respects to Latta and Camille Little at their home finale against Wake. We blew them out, but what was fun for me was that we ended up sitting next to Jessica Breland’s entire family. Wake is at the bottom of the ACC barrel, so Breland, a bench player, got significant playing time and ended up scoring a season high 14 points. They were completely ecstatic. I had a lot of fun watching their reaction. Every time she had the ball her mom said “Shoot it!”, and eventually I got into it and started rooting for Jessica specifically.

4:24 pm: 16-15, Dook. UNC definitely has the momentum now. Larkins is back in the game after the TV timeout, UNC score two straight baskets (the latest by Larkins), and the Heels are really starting to force turnovers defensively.

4:26 pm: 18-16, UNC. WHOOOOOO!!! Latta hits a three to give the Heels their first lead of the game. But she got hit hard by a Bales screen and may miss time.

4:27 pm: 20-18, Dook. The Devils take the lead thanks to UNC not bothering to box out. If Duke gets three straight chances, they’re going to score.

4:28 pm: 20-20. Good news: Latta didn’t miss any minutes. Better news: Larkins just tied the game.

4:34 pm: 22-21, UNC. UNc gains the lead, but can;t extend it despite 4 opportunities in the paint. Dook makes them pay and takes the lead.

4:35 pm: 23-22, Dook. What?!? A travel? THAT WAS A FOUL!

4:36 pm: 26-22, Dook. I have to say, UNC is playing a lot better in this game than the first matchup at Carmichael. But it looks like the same things are starting to happen. Latta is starting to take ridiculous shots, and Abby Waner is starting to make it rain like Pacman Jones.

4:38 pm: 26-24, Dook. UNC reduces the deficit to two, as Rashad…er, Rashanda McCants finally gets on the board.

4:40 pm: 28-24, Dook. The reason Dook is winning is because they have 13 second chance points to 4 for UNC. If not for them, the Heels have a 5 point lead.

4:41 pm: 28-28, Dook. Wait a minute…since when does Rashanda play out of her mind? Surely this must be Rashad changing places with her in drag. Which is understandable, because the Timberwolves only play him 3 minutes a game anyway.

4:47 pm: 35-28, Dook. What the hell just happened? Dook seemed to have just opened the floodgates. UNC is simply not getting their rebounds.

4:48 pm: 35-30, Dook. UNC stops the the momentum with a great assist from Latta to Larkins.

4:49 pm: the half ends, Dook leading 35-30. The scoreboard is eerily similar to the last matchup, and Latta’s performance is similar (7 points, 2-9 shooting). But this game seems to be going at a much faster pace. UNC needs to hit the shots that the Dookies are allowing them. Right now that’s the 10-15 foot jumpers. If they can hit those and outrebound the Devils in the second half, they have a very good chance of winning.

5:06 pm: 35-32, Dook. Larkins scores the first points of the second half for the Tar Heels.

It’s nice to see at least a decent UNC constituency in the stands.

5:07 pm: 35-34, Dook. Larkins gets another shot (she now has 12), but butmore importantly the second half has begun very sloppy. In fact, this game ahs been pretty sloppy since midway in the first half.

5:09 pm: 37-34, Dook. Bales is left all alone in the middle and gets an easy layup.

5:10 pm: 40-36, Dook. Wainisha Smith hits a three to extend the lead to 4. She led the Dookies with 17 in the last matchup.

5:11 pm: 42-38, Dook. Smith hits another outside shot, and Latte gets her first points in the half from the one place her shots are uncontested: the free throw line. The Devils’ defense has been more tenacious than a trial lawyer.

5:15 pm: 42-42. One of the UNC forwards (I think it’s Pringle) makes a great left-handed layup, and then Larkins drives right past Bales to tie the game.

5:17 pm: 45-42, Dook. Just when the Tar Heels get the momentum, Lindsey Harding gets three the hard way to swing the pendulum right back.

5:19 pm: 46-44, Dook. Jessica Breland’s mom: “Oh my God! Yeah! Whoooo! That’s my baby! That’s my baby!”

5:21 pm: 51-46, Dook. There is no excuse for Abby Waner to be that open on the perimeter.

5:22 pm: 51-49, Dook. UNC steals the ball, and Latta gets an easy layup.

The UNC men play the Terps in ten minutes. I still don’t know how I’m going to pull this off.

5:26 pm: 51-51. Latta drives the lane and ties the game with a tough layup over the trees. She’s really heating up in the second half. More importantly, she’s making better decisions.

5:29 pm: 52-51, Dook. Wow. Lindsey Harding is missing her free throws. She must be getting really tired.

5:30 pm: 53-52, UNC. Yes! Larkins makes a nice shot in the paint, and takes the lead for the first time in a while.

5:32 pm: 53-53. This game has been really intense. Both teams must be spent at this point. Their effort certainly has not wavered.

5:33 pm: 55-53, Dook. The other Waner sister robs Ivory blind, and gets an easy layup on the under end. NOOOOOOOO!!!

5:37 pm: 56-55, UNC. Camille Little hits a huge three to give the lead back to the Tar Heels. She was able to make that shot because of great perimeter passing.

5:38 pm: 56-55, UNC. How does Larkins miss those shots? They were point-blank! She’s been on fire today! Why did they not go in?!?

5:43 pm: 57-56, Dook. The Devils get the lead back. Don’t ask me how, I was watching the start of the men’s game. My suggestion is, watch the women’s game until it’s over. I’ll still try to double dip. Boy, that sounds weird, doesn’t it?

5:45 pm: 59-56, Dook. Abby Waner hits a nice shot to extend the lead to 3. More importantly, UNC can’t buy a decent shot attempt right now.

5:50 pm: 61-56, Dook, 2:50 left. Dook has done an unbelievable job on defense today. UNC hasn’t gotten any chances in the last five minutes. They must solve this problem quickly, as time is now a factor and the Dook band, in all their arrogance, is now playing salsa.

5:54 pm: If the Dookies were able to make their free throws, this game would be over. It’s not looking good for UNC. They have not hit a shot since there were eight minutes left in the game.

5:56 pm: 62-56, Dook, 1:03 left. It looks like the Heels have simply run out of gas.

5:59 pm: 64-58, Dook, :53 left. Latta hits two free throws, but this is their first points in 6:52. You simply cannot go clod like that late in the second half in a close game and expect to win.

6:03 pm: 66-60, Dook, :14 left. UNC gets its first basket in over seven minutes, but Dook is salting it away at the free throw line.

6:06 pm: The game goes final: The Dookies win, 68-62. Duke is the first team in ACC history to go undefeated in women’s basketball. Combine howw good this team is with the very real pssobility of playing all of their regional games in Raleigh and Grrensboro, they can pretty much punch their ticket to the final four at this point, barring something really bad happening. Congratulations, I hope Goestenkorsopolis is very, very cold tonight.

UNC vs. NC State Live Blog II: God Is Withholding The Destruction Of China Until He Gets A Bootleg Copy of “Snakes On a Plane: Air Force One”

If you’re wondering about the title, the part after the colon has nothing to do with tonight’s game. I just though you should know that before you make any travel plans. I have my sources.

Anyway, when these two teams last met at the RBC Center on Feb. 3, NC State managed to pull off the upset 83-79. Now, we could talk about how UNC may have overlooked their opponent, how soft the Tar Heel defense was, how well prepared the Wolfpack were for their opponent, how they managed to squeeze their starters for all they were worth, what a boost the return of point guard Engin Atsur was, how well they passed the ball, how they dictated the pace of the game by bringing to a screeching halt, and how the Wolfpack shot 76% in the second half. We could dissect every angle of the game, but you and I both know there was only one reason they won that game:

sidney_lowe.jpg

lowe-and-roy.jpg

That’s it. It was that friggin’ red blazer that our good pimpalicious friend Sidney Lowe wore on the sidelines. They won because of coach Lowe’s gaudy outfit! Good lord, I wish I knew how to use Photoshop so I can give him a red fedora and “cheerleader” by his side. That would complete the image. If he does that, the Wolfpack will be unstoppable. However, I don’t think he’ll go that far today, which is why I think that the Tar Heels will be prepared enough not to allow lightning strike twice. It will still be a nail-biter; the Pack will be able to hold on until the bitter end. But at some point, the Heels are going to dictate the pace of the game; if an when that’s happens, UNC will win. I just hope the game does not rest on Brandan Wright free throws. Then all bets are off.

(By the way: if you found this blog in the WordPress dashboard, the preceding photograph is the reason you found me. I posted this photo after the first game. Yesterday a forum on InsideCarolina.com was looking for a picture of Lowe in his pimpadelic garb. Some dude in Virginia linked to my article.)

9:05 pm: 2-0, UNC. The Heels are trying to dictate the pace early. Brandan Wright starts off with an easy layup in transition. Hansbrough then gets the steal on the other end, but he turns the ball over himself.

9:07 pm: 2-2. Gavin Grant gets behind the defense for an easy dunk.

I see Coach Lowe is pimped out once again tonight.

9:08 pm: 5-2, UNC. Danny Green hits the first 3-pointer of the game. Ironically, NCSU has had three open attempts from beyond the arc and missed them all.

9:09 pm: 5-5. Just as I type that, Brandon Costner gets three the hard way.

9:10 pm: 7-5, UNC. Hansbrough gets his first basket of the game. That’s only the second time he’s touched the ball in this game.

9:13 pm: TAR! HEELS! TAR! HEELS!

9:14 pm: NC State is doing a good job of collapsing on the ball defensively. That has prevented several potential baskets for UNC so far.

9:15 pm: 9-6, UNC. WAYNE’S WORLD! WAYNE’S WORLD! PARTY TIME! EXCELLENT! WHOOOOOO!!! (guitar riff)

I just saw Ty Lawson slow down on his way to the halfcourt. Maybe it means nothing. Maybe it means everything.

9:18 pm: 9-8, UNC. Bobby Frasor is in at point for the Heels. Thompson, Miller and Ginyard are also in the game.

9:19 pm: 12-8, UNC. Brandan Wright makes a relly nice shot inside and drwas the foul. Perhaps even more impressive is that his free throw was nothing but net.

9:20 pm: 16-11, UNC. Engin Atsur hits the first three for the Wolfpack. Ginyard then gets 4 points in one possession. First he goes to the free throw line, makes the first, and misses the second. UNC rebounds, and Ginyard hits a quick three.

9:23 pm: 16-14, UNC. I would say that luck is on UNC’s side, but then State hits another open three pointer, and then Ginyard commits an offensive foul. That was a bizarre series of events. This calls for a really bizarre commercial. You gotta love Japan.

9:25 pm: 18-16, UNC. Costner ties the game for NC State, but the Hansbrough makes a hook shot from the baseline.

9:26 pm: 21-18, NCSU. The Wolfpack are really starting to hit their shots, and have taken the lead. Hmmm. The basketball gods must not like Japanese TV.

9:28 pm: 25-20, NCSU. At the beginning of the game, NC State couldn’t make a shot. Now, they can’t miss. The red blazer is working its voodoo. Roy should have known better than to not wear some gaudy Carolina Blue blazer.

9:30 pm: 28-24, NCSU. Lawson makes a nice layup inside, but he picks up his second foul. This means that Quentin Thomas enters the game. Believe it or not, he may be the team’s best passer.

9:35 pm: 28-26, NCSU. Thomas enters the game and the pace immediately picks up. The transition goes form Hansbrough rebound to Thomas pass to Ellington layup in 5 seconds.

9:38 pm: 29-28, NCSU. Q! QIUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU!!!!! I think that’s the seventh shot he’s hit this season.

9:39 pm: 30-29, UNC. Hansbrough gives the Heels the lead on free throws. UNC is on a 8-1 run.

9:42 pm: 32-31, UNC. Psycho T is getting his touches, and it shows. But Atsur hits another three to make it 34-32, NCSU.

9:43 pm: 36-34, UNC. OOOOOHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!! That did not just happen! NC State was rejected, UNC won a scrum for the ball, and Q threw an alley-oop to Wright. Q made it look too easy.

9:44 pm: Wait a minute…Q plays absolutely phenomenal at point for 4 minutes, and then Roy puts in Bobby Frasor? That makes no sense. But I love when Engin Atsur is shouting “BULL—-!” on the court. You may not have heard it, but I could read his lips.

9:48 pm: 37-36, UNC. McCauley finally gets on the board for the Wolfpack, but Horner picks up his third foul. the frontcourt is in real foul trouble.

9:49 pm: Oh no. BRANDAN WRIGHT IS SHOOTING FREE THROWS!!! MY EYYYEEEESSSSS!!! IT BUUUUUUURRRNNNSSS!!!

9:50 pm: 39-36, UNC. Wright hits 2 of 4 free throws. Still, it was pretty ugly.

9:52 pm: 40-39, NCSU. The Wolfpack draw two quick fouls, and suddenly they take the lead at the line.

9:53 pm: 41-40, UNC. Brandan Wright gets a nice inside basket at the end of the half. NC State cant get a shot off, which means that UNC leads 41-40 at halftime. Believe it or not. the Heels did not play too badly so far in this game. NC State seemed to control the pace for the first 12 minutes, and UNC seemed to regain some semblance of control in the final 8 minutes, especially when Quentin Thomas was at point. I definitely think that he is a better matchup against point than the slower, more conservative Bobby Frasor. That’s what UNC needs to do to win this game in the second half. They must absolutely be the aggressors in the second half, and tire out the thin Wolfpack.

10:12 pm: Apparently Sidney Lowe fell ill at some point during halftime. What this means is that his red blazer can no longer do its voodoo, which means it’s only a matter of time before the Heels pull away.

10:14 pm: 43-40, UNC. Actually, all bets are off again. They coach filling in for Lowe, Monty Towe, was the point guard of the 1974 Championship team.

10:15 pm: 43-42, UNC. Costner hits the first FG of the second half, but McCauley picks up his 3rd foul.

10:16 pm: 45-45. Hansbrough is fed the ball again, but Costner hits an NBA three. He is an unbelievable athlete.

10:18 pm: 49-45, UNC. Well, the momentum from the three pointer lasted about 10 seconds. First Ellington drives in for a layup the gives UNC the lead, then the Heels force a steal leading to a two handed dunk by Terry. Which is good, because I haven’t heard from him all night.

10:22 pm: 51-45, UNC. NC State turns the ball over again, and Bobby Frasor gets an easy layup.

10:23 pm: 55-47, UNC. Gavin Grant stops the bleeding with a dunk, but Deon Thompson proceeds to get two straight baskets inside. UNC has outscored NC State 14-7 in the second half. More importantly, the Heels are dictating the pace of the game.

10:26 pm: A travel?!? BOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!

10:27 pm: 57-50, UNC. How does Courtney Fells get that open?!? Fortunately, Wright and the UNC frontcourt are dominating the offensive paint.

10:28 pm: 57-52, UNC. RUN TO THE HILLS!!! BRENDAN WRIGHT IS SHOOTING FREE THROWS!!!

10:29 pm: 60-52, UNC. Sidney Lowe is in the hospital, but he’s okay. Now to the important stuff: Hansbrough just dunked! WHOOOOOOOOO!!!

10:32 pm: 62-54, UNC. What was UNC doing not boxing out? They gave up a basket because of that! Fortunately, Wright makes another basket off a Hansbrough miss.

10:34 pm: 65-54, UNC. Yes! Lawson hits a three, and UNC has its first double digit lead of the game.

Dear Hansbrough: wear prescription goggles. This contact lens stuff is getting ridiculous.

10:36 pm: 68-54, UNC. Danny Green hits another three for the Heels. More importantly, it looks like the Wolfpack are out of gas.

10:37 pm: 68-56, UNC. Gavin Grant gets a breakaway dunk. I just had to open my trap, didn’t I?

10:39 pm: Bizarre ad: Young man, you may wanna wean off that Photoshop.

10:42 pm: 70-56, UNC. Wait…did that just happen? Did Brandan Wright hit both of his free throws? ITS A MIRACLE!!! The answer to my prayers!

10:44 pm: 72-58, UNC. WAYNE’S W– ooh…YEAH! WRIGHT’S WORLD! WRIGHT’S WORLD! PARTY TIME! EXCELLENT! WHOOOO!!! (guitar riff)

10:46 pm: 74-61, UNC. Brandan Wright is truly having a career day. Not only does he have a caree high 24 points, he has dominated the paint on both sides of the ball unlike I’ve ever seen him before.

10:50 pm: 78-61, UNC. Hansbrough gets a nice basket inside. He has 18 tonight. The frontcourt has dominated this game. But why hasn’t Q seen more time on the court? He played very well when he was on the court (better than Lawson, to be honest), but he only played 4 minutes. What gives?

10:53 pm: 80-61, UNC. The Heels pretty much have this one in the books. This is a game closer to what I expected in our original matchup: That the Wolfpack was good enough to hang around in the first half, but UNC’s depth would allow them to pull away in the second half as NC State ran out of gas. To be honest, the game was over the moment their pimpadelic coach left the building. It’s hard to overcome that.

10:56 pm: 83-62, UNC. WHOOOO!!! WES! WES! WES! Miller hits a three.

10:57 pm: And that’s how the games ends: UNC wins 83-64! WHOOOOOO!!! Cue the Band! With this win UNC remains solidly in first place in the ACC at 10-3. Regardless of what I said about coach Lowe, I really hope he’s OK.

11:00 pm: Oh. Good Lord. The NC Powerball drawing just killed that atmosphere. Way to go WRAL.

UNC vs. Boston College: The Ultimate Battle for ACC Supremacy…Sort Of

Both of these teams have been well documented both on this blog and on my non-Tar Heel blog, Digital Headbutt. The key matchup may not be Terry vs. Dudley or Rice vs. Lawson/Frasor/Miller/Thomas, but it could Sean Marshall vs. UNC’s shooting guards. Marshall has a height advantage on Wanye Ellington, and Wayne is not famous for his defense, so Ginyard and Danny Green will get a alot of time in his grill. Brandan Wright is coming off of injury, so he could be tested early and often by Tyrelle Blair.

The reason UNC will win is because, as this clip shows, Roy is Dr. Honeydew to Hansbrough’s Beaker.

9:04 pm: 2-0, UNC. Hansbrough scores an easy basket over 6-6 Jamare Spears.

9:05 pm: 4-2, UNC. Oates gets a putback in the net, but Hansbrough responds by hitting the near exact same shot on the other side of the court.

9:06 pm: 7-4, BC. John Oates hits a big three pointer to put the Eagles up. That will be his secret weapon, the fact that Hansbrough or Wirght will have to come up to the perimeter.

9:08 pm: 10-6, BC. Deon Thompson comes in and hits a basket around the free throw line, but Oates gets a dunk off a rebound.

9:10 pm: 10-10. Danny Green comes in and his short rattles in, and then Psycho T steals the ball, runs half the court and delivers a rim-shattering dunk to tie the game. For The Tar Heels to control the tempo of the game, they will need to get defensive stops and turnovers like this.

9:13 pm: 13-10, UNC. WAYNE’S WORLD! WAYNE’S WORLD! PARTY TIME! EXCELLENT! WHOOOOO!!! (riff) off a great screen he hits a three. Lawson follows with an easy layup in transition to make it 15-10, UNC.

9:15 pm: Bobby Frasor is in the game. Laet’s see how he plays against Rice.

9:17 pm: Boston College is really playing sloppy. They’ve turned the ball over 5 times in 6 possessions.

9:19 pm: 17-14, UNC. Dudley and Rice each get their first points of the night.

9:20 pm: 19-14, UNC. Hansbrough gets the basket and the foul. He’s going to shott the free throw after the stupid TV timeouts.

Did you know that When SMU played Memphis earlier this year, the game managed to bypass an entire TV timeout, so then ESPN put 2 TV timeout 27 seconds from each other. That should be illegal. But at the same time, weshould be thankful; in Spain, commercial breaks last 15 minutes.
9:23 pm: 20-16, UNC. Blair is in the game, and he gets an easy dunk wothout being challenged. Rice drwas Wright away from the paint.

9:24 pm: 22-16, UNC. Wright gets his first basket of the game, a 10-foot hook shot.

9:25 pm: 24-16, UNC. The Heels get more help from Thompson, whose shot rattles in. UNC has shot 67% from the field so far.

9:29 pm: 25-21, UNC. Tyrelle Blair rejects a Hansbrough shot, and Rice hits a three in the fast break. That was just too easy.

9:33 pm: 25-23, UNC. Dick Vitale and product placement: they just go together.

9:34 pm: 26-25, BC. Dudley hits a big three of the backboard to give the Eagles the lead.

9:35 pm: 29-28, BC. Lawson gets a three off a nice pass, but the Eagles respond. Trouble arisesw as Dudley picks up his third foul. They simply cannot afford to have him on the bench.

9:37 pm: 31-30, BC. Tyrese Rice makes an unbelivable shot, a layup off the top of the backboard.

9:38 pm: 32-31, BC. Q enters the game and immediately delivers an assist to Hansbrough, who hits an outside jump shot.

9:39 pm: 33-31, BC. Al Skinner picks up a Technical foul. Wait…wow. Al is usually a very, very calm person. That’s about as unusual as this:

9:41 pm: 33-33. Rice hits free throws to tie the game.

North Carolina has already made 22 substitutions in 16 minutes That’s approximately once every 42 seconds, which means on almost every offensive possesion Boston College sees someone different.

9:45 pm: 37-33, UNC. The Heels take the lead off of Hansbrough free throws, and then Wright gets a nice basket. UNC is dominating the paint so far.

9:46 pm: 40-33, UNC. WAYNE’S WORLD! WAYNE’S WORLD! PARTY TIME! EXCELLENT! WHOOOOOOO!!! (riff)

9:47 pm: 42-36, UNC. Marshall hits a three to stop the run, but Wright gets another nice basket inside.

9:48 pm: 42-38, UNC. An unbelievable play by Blair: He gets the rebound, the basket. and the foul on Wright and Hansbrough.

9:49 pm: 44-38, UNC. WAYNE’S WORLD! WAYNE’S WORLD! PARTY TIME! EXCELLENT! WHOOOOO!!! (guitar riff) Wait…they counted it as a two! Booooooooooooo!!!

9:51 pm: The game hits halftime, as North Carolina leads Boston College 44-38. Both teams played fairly well in the first half, but Boston College was hurt by turnovers, Jared Dudley’s foul trouble,a nd being outrebounded by the Tar Heels. UNC needs to shut down Tyrese Rice, who is picking apart Ty Lawson, and keep getting the ball to Hansbrough and Wright. Boston College needs to get Marshall more involved, and Dudley cannot foul out, period.

10:00 pm: Bizarre ad: The Superfans are back! DAAAAAAAAAAA BEARS!

10:07 pm: UNC has to play better defense. They have allowed 59% shooting by the Eagles.

10:08 pm: YES! UNC gets the rebound, ad 3 seconds later Wright gets the three point play on the other end. 47-38, UNC.

10:09 pm: 47-40, UNC. Marshall drives down the baseline and gets an emphatic dunk.

10:10 pm: 51-42, UNC. WAYNE’S WORLD! WAYNE’S WORLD! PARTY TIME! EXCELLENT! WHOOOOOOO!!! (riff) He gets two baskets on two straight possessions, and the Heels take a 9 point lead.

10:11 pm: 51-45, UNC. Dudley gets the basket and draws the foul from Terry. Spears follows with a basket of his own off an offensive rebound to reduce UNC’s lead to 4.

10:13 pm: 55-47, UNC. Lawson makes a reverse layup inside, a la Jordan, and then Tyler Hansbrough just makes it look easy.

10:14 pm: 55-49, UNC. UNC does not have a lot of defensive stops today. When the Eagles have botten shots they usually have been able to make them; this has to stop.

Oh no…The Heels get a 4-on-1 opportunity and turn the ball over. In a game this important, we cannot afford to let those chances slip.

10:18 pm: 55-51, UNC. At halftime I said that for BC to win, Marshall needed to get more involved. He certainly has. This time he hits a floater in the paint. He now has 6 in the second half.

10:20 pm: 57-51, UNC. Hansbrough hits two free throws. He has 17 in the game.

10:22 pm: 59-53, UNC. Jared Dudley gets another basket inside, but Terry finally reminds me that he exists.

10:23 pm: 59-57, BC. Rice is single handedly keeping BC in this game. He gets a nice layup inside, robs Ty Lawson blind, and makes a nice dish to Marshall, who gets an easy layup and his 8th point of the second half.

10:27 pm: 61-59, UNC. Marshall is simply on fire in the second half; he now has 11 points in 9 minute. Our two best defenders play his position; what the f— is happening? Why isn’t Ginyard in the game?

10:29 pm: 64-61, UNC. Dudley ties the game, but Terry finally hits a three. Where the hell has he been?

10:30 pm: 68-63, UNC. A great series of events, first Rice attacks and gets an easy layup (NOOOOOOO!!!), then Lawson gets a layup of his own (YESSS!!!), then Wright hits a floater off another offensive rebound. This game is getting so exciting and fast, my fingers and eyes can’t keep up.

10:35 pm: How does Doug Flutie, BC legend/god, end up with an upper level seat?!? I was born in Boston, and that is an insult!

10:36 pm: 68-65, UNC. Marshall hits yet another basket. He has 12 points in 14 second half minutes He must be stopped! Where is Ginyard?!?

10:38 pm: How does Hansbrough foul Marshall and not get fopuled by Oates or Bliar?!? HOW?!?!?!?

10:39 pm: OOOOOOOOHHHHHHHHH!!!! What a play by Rayshawn Terry! He runs over a guy and gets the basket! 70-65, UNC.

10:40 pm: Dudley shoudl’ve been called for an offensive foul. It was clear that Hansbrough had his feet set when Dudley made contact.

10:42 pm: Dudley steals an inbound pass, but Rice can’t capitalize. Terry makes his presence felt by hitting another three to give UNC a 73-66 lead with less than four minutes left. The difference between 73-66 and 70-69 is about half an inch.

10:46 pm: Oh, now I know why Ginyard’s been on the bench. He just fouled a guy whiloe shooting, saving precious clock for BC and allowing the Eagles to get points.

10:50 pm: 73-70, UNC. The Heels play 35 seconds of great defense, but Rice still hit a jumpshot as the shot clock expired.

10:51 pm: Get it to Tyler! GET IT TO TYLER! WHY ARENT THEY GIVING IT TO TYLER?!?!

10:52 pm: Jared Dudley draws the 3-point foul on UNC’s resident moron, Rayshawn Terry. But he misses all three! OH MY GOD!!!

10:54 pm: This is why we lost to Virginina Tech: in crunch time, the team collectiveely decided to deny Tyler Hansbrough’s existence.

10:55 pm: UNC plays great defense and Rice STILL gets the basket with 30 seconds left. UNC will have the ball, but ifr Hansbrough doesn;t touch the ball I will disown Ty Lawson.

10:57 pm: With 22 seconds left Ginyard is sent to the line. He hits both of his free throws and gives UNC a 75-72 lead.

11:00 pm: Holy crap, is the BC band playing “Smack That”?

11:01 pm: Rice’s shot is blocked by Brandan Wright, and then Dudley misses a three and the Heels rebound. Ty Lawson is sent to the free throw line and hits his free throws.

11:04 pm: Carolina Wins 77-72! WHOOOOOOOOO!!!!!! CUE THE BAND!!!

The Heels did a good job of responding to adversity in this game; every time the Eagles tied, took the lead or got too close for comfort, UNC gave themselves some breathing room. However, there were a lot of things I didn’t like about how we dealt with a close game. We still should have done a better job of getting it to Hansbrough in the final minutes, they allowed the Eagles to shoot 51% from the field, and they were very lucky that Jared Dudley missed his free throws. If he makes those free throws, Rice’s layup gives BC the lead, and the Heels might lose. I am still very apprehensive about being in a close game in the tournament, because good teams like Wisconsin, Kansas, Marquette, Vanderbilt and Southern Illinois will not be as forgiving.

Dick Vitale Finally Loses His Mind

Well, we all knew this was going to happen eventually. Dickie V, in all his exuberance, was clearly running out of brain cells, and his cranium finally went empty during last night’s Duke-Boston College broadcast, when he said: “It doesn’t matter if Mike Krzyzewski wins games. He’s a great humanitarian.” At that point his final brain cell committed seppuku, and two hours later, the following was caught on tape in his “hotel”.

ESPN plans on a brain transplant in time for Saturday night’s game between BC and the Tar Heels. Pray for the surgery’s success, the fate of college basketball rests on it. If not, ESPN will be forced to use Digger Phelps as their color commentator. Do you want to live in a world where Digger Phelps is trying to comment on Ty Lawson’s latest turnover while sniffing his highlighter and using his matching tie as a diaper? I don’t want to live in such a world, so you’d better hope Dickie V has a successful transplant.

Analysis of Virginia Tech 81, UNC 80 (OT): If I see Zabian Dowdell Shoot One More Free Throw, I’m Going To Choke A Dog

On Tuesday I was at the Dean Dome for what I expected to be a beatdown to avenge our 94-88 loss to the Hokies in Blacksburg. Virginia Tech is an excellent team, as proved by their 7-3 record in the ACC, most notably at home against the Tar Heels and at Cameron Indoor against the Dookies in January (you know, back when everyone still thought Duke was good), but UNC may be the most talented (if perhaps not the best) team in the nation. Surely, I thought, the talent of Virginia Tech would not be underestimated this time. Surely, I thought, Roy was prepared this time for Seth Greenberg’s subterfuge. Surely, I thought, holding Va. Tech to under 40% FG shooting would be enough for our offense. Surely, I thought, All-ACC candidate Zabian Dowdell wasn’t going to get 19 free chances at points (which MUST be some sort of Dean Dome record). Give huge credit to the Hokies, but I came away disappointed in how the Heels played, especially in the final minutes. Let’s move on to the analysis.

Pace of the Game:

UNC was fairly successful in getting the ball from the defensive side of the court to the offensive side quickly, but they had difficulty passing the ball well once they got there. In particular, the Heels frontcourt were rarely able to receive the ball in favorable situations. Lawson and Ellington shot 27 field goals compared to 17 for Hansbrough and Wright, who are normally the focal point of our offense. Psycho T may have had 22 points, but only 8 of them were from field goals, and of his 10 field goal attemts, only 6 of them were in the paint. It shocked me that with the game on the line and two Hokie players with four fouls, Wright was on the bench, UNC was playing 3 guards, and Ellington and Lawson were chucking up shots instead of feeding the ball inside.

Coaching: The North Carolina Tar Heels have by far the best fronycourt in the ACC, and likely the second best frontcourt in the NCAA (as of now, Florida has the best). UNC has three offensive possessions in the final two minutes of regulation. Does Tyler Hansbrough take a shot? No. Does Brandan Wright take a shot? No. Do Rayshawn Terry, Ty Lawson or Wayne Ellington attack the rim? No, no, and hell no! Out of those three possesssions, the best the Heels could muster were three missed 3-point attempts, two by Lawson and 1 by Ellington. Of our 10 final shots in regulation, 7 were 3-pointers (all missed) and 3 were 2-pointers (all made). Obviously this is bad execution, but blame has to be put on the coach for this one. The ball should have been in the big guys’ hands without exception. Roy even said it himself after the game.”I did absolutely the worst job I’ve ever done in my entire life. It was just one awful, awful job of coaching by me – that’s the bottom line of the whole thing,” coach said after trying to make a statement by defacating on the court (picture below) but realizing he hadn’t taken his fiber that day, frustrating him further.Note the look on Steve Robinson’s face.

roy-williams.jpg
Coach Roy is normally a very good coach, but his big weakness is that he is unable to make substantial change to his gameplan over the course of the game. Seth Greenberg knew this, and changed the way he played significantly from their last encounter. Dowdell gave Lawson fits on the offensive side of the ball the entire game, and the Wright and Hansbrough rarely got an open look the few times they did get the ball.

Considering that Roy turned practice into living hell after the last loss to the Hokies, maybe he and his staff should be doing a few laps in practice himself this week. And Quentin Thomas should supervise. Imagine what that would be like…

Quentin: Konichiwa, b—-es! Now you guys know what the consequences are for giving bad effort in a game, now don’t ya? (blows whistle) Gimme 20 laps around the court! And don’t waste my time!

Assistant Coach Joe Holladay: Man, I feel like I’m gonna collapse!

Q: You shoulda thought about that before telling Ty to take indiscriminate shots at the basket like PETA at Burger King!

(lap 9)

Assistant Coach Steve Robinson: Who turned off the AC in this place, man? I need to towel off, I’m sweatin’ like a pig.

Q: Why don’t you purify yourself in the waters of Lake Minnetonka?

Coach Robinson: Isn’t that a little far?

Q: I’ll have you runnin’ all the way there unless you shut up, now get your bizz-utt movin’! (He’s from Oakland.)

Roy: Now, wait a second, I’ll do this little exercise, but you have to treat your coaches better than-

Q: You ‘gon hafta treat you PLAYERS better’n that! You want me to respect you? give me 15 minutes a game! Only giving me 1 against the Hokies? ONE M—–F—— MINUTE WHILE F—— LAWSON GETS 39?!?! WHAT THE F—!!!!!

Roy: Now, Quentin, you know I can’t do that for-

Q: THEN GET YO ARTHRITIC ASS MOVIN’!!!!!!!!

Roy: But I need some water!

Q: Aww, boo-f—ing-hoo, I’m dehydrated! Maybe you should’ve given some water to Hansbrough when he was gettin’ so tired, his free throws were airballs! Maybe you should’ve done that! Now keep running!
(After 15 laps, Q decides to go completely Prince, circa “Charlie Murphy’s True Hollywood Story”.)

Q: This bores me…Is anyone up for a game of…basketball?

Roy: (exhausted) What the blankety blank do you mean? (Roy is a prude)

Q: How about you and your friends, versus me…and the Revolution? (points to Alex Stepheson, Rashanda McCants, Micki Free from Shalamar and some dude from the Ultimate Frisbee team)

Coaches: (All faint)

Q: Game…blouses.

In a completely unrelated story, today Quentin Thomas was released from the basketball team for undisclosed reasons and mysteriously tore his ACL in the shower of the team locker room.

Atmosphere: You can’t blame this one on the Dean Dome crowd. I was at the game, and the fans absolutely came alive Tuesday, and were the loudest I’ve seen them all season and in a long time. There were times where I was convinced that the crowd noise made the Hokies miss a few free throws in the second half. I was so into it that a couple of students I didn’t even know came to ask for a picture because I was “the best cheerer ever.” Oh, how I wish this was a joke. I take my role as a fan very seriously, and my fellow Tar Heel faithful have previously labeled as a “wine and cheese crowd”. But last night they were admirable. There were at least 15 instances where even the wealthy alumni stood up cheered for extended periods of time, something they’re often not inclined to do. (Believe when I say this, for a 60-year old alumnus, getting up every 2 minutes to stand up, yell and clap for 20 seconds qualifies as a workout).

Conclusion: All things considered, this was probably the best UNC game to watch all season, even though we came up short. This will undoubtedly serve as motivation as the Heels take on Boston on Saturday at Chestnut Hill. That could ultimately determine who wins the ACC championship.

One more thing: The referees were absolutely crap on Tuesday. They gave preferential treatment to Dowdell, and Lawson was probably fouled on the last play of the game. But UNC is a team that is supposed to be good enough not to leave games in the hands of referees. If they had fouled immediately on the preceding Va. Tech in-bound, Ellington’s shot would have counted. If the team had adjusted to the way the refs were calling the game, they wouldn’t have allowed as many free throws and UNC would have won by 8-10 in regulation. If Hansbrough and Wright had gotten the ball consistently instead of Ellington and Lawson chucking up so many shots, this wouldn’t have been close. Refs may have made a difference in this game, but UNC didn’t play well enough to win in the end. THE HOKIES WERE WHO WE THOUGHT WE WERE! THAT’S WHY WE TOOK THE DAMN COURT! IF YOU WANNA CROWN ‘EM, THEN CROWN THEIR ASS! BUT THEY ARE WHO WE THOUGHT THEY WERE! AND WE LET ‘EM OFF THE HOOK!

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