UNC vs. Miami: The Forecast is for Pain

Tonight, UNC plays the Miami Hurricanes, and I’m going to be there for the event. Normally I would dismiss a game like this; Miami is a clearly inferior opponent. But they have the one thing that they can use against a team like UNC: depth. Like the Tar Heels, Miami has a 10 man rotation, and their distribution of the ball makes it difficult to key on any one guy (except maybe shooting guard Jack McClintock, #33).

Having said that, UNC is going to win this game for one big reason other than the ones you saw from the Arizona game, or the fact that Miami is on a 4 game skid, or the fact the the Canes are incapable of forcing turnovers. UNC is looking for revenge. Prior to the egg we laid in Blacksburg, our last regular season ACC loss, and our last double-digit loss period, was to the Hurricanes in the Dean Dome last year. You can bet these guys haven’t forgotten that.

Tonight it’s going to be chilly, and it looks like there’ a winter weather advisory for Chapel Hill, NC. Miami is about to feel the big chill.

Cookin’ Up Some Turtle Soup: #2 UNC vs. #3 Maryland (Hey Ladies!)

Tonight is one of the biggest games of the regular season in Women’s college basketball, as the undefeated UNC Lady Tar Heels face the defending Champion Maryland Terrapins, and hope to avenge the only two blemishes in last year’s campaign. Much of the focus of this game will be on the point guards, UNC’s Ivory Latta and Maryland’s Kristi Toliver. However, this game will be won in the paint, and and whether Carolina’s frontcourt of Erlana Larkins and LaToya Pringle can keep up with Crystal Langhorne and Laura Harper of the Terps. Certainly our frontcourt is formidable and talented enough, but Larkins needs to stay out of foul trouble. In a key game against UConn, Larkins got in foul trouble, getting 4 fouls by early in the second half. During her absence the huskies were able to recover from a 14 point deficit. Luckily, UNC was able to pull out the win in that game. Maryland will not be nearly as forgiving.

At this point, UNC, Duke, and Maryland are the odds-on favorites to compete for the national Championship. Therefore, any game between two of the three (this is #2 of 5) will have implications on the national picture of women’s college basketball. This battle on the court will be just like “8 Mile”, except no one is a guy. Or white.

7:02 pm: Wow. Apparently, nearly 18,000 people will be attending this game (17, 950, to be exact). I can’t recall the last time that this many fans attended as women’s regular season game, outside of the whole UConn-Tennessee games.

7:04 pm: I think it woulb be much cooler to see UNC and Duke fight it out undefeated a day after the the Men’s UNC-Duke game. That would be awesome, even better than Super Bowl weekend.

7:05 pm: UNC starts off with a steal by Larkins. McCants throws up a bad shot.

7:07 pm: Shay Doron draws first blood with the trifecta. 3-0, UMD.

7:08 pm: Pringle gets a tough basket for UNC first points, and Camille Little gets a basket off an offensive rebound. UNc needs to crash the boards well in this game. It’s now 4-3, UNC.

7:09 pm: Larkins hits her first basket off another offensive rebound to make it 6-3, UNC.

7:10 pm: Maryland is doing a good job of crashing the offensive boards as well. Crystal Langhorne gets the basket and the foul to tie the game, 6-6.

7:11 pm: I swear to (insert your deity here), Rashnada McCants looks like Rashad in drag. The next time they show her, take a good look. I assure you that you’ll agree with me.

UNC is playing well, but to pull away they will need to speed the game up.

7:13 pm: Oh no…now Dan Marino has 10 other football players losing weight on Nurtisystem. All I need is a YouTube clip of it and we have journalistic gold. If by gold, we mean a golden liquid we expel during commercial breaks.

7:14 pm: An exciting sequence that amounted to nothing: UNC gets the ball, has it stolen, Maryland turns the ball over before getting outside the backcourt, UNC then proceeds to throw it away, and then get it back. After Larkins heads to the line, Little gets a layup off the steal to make it 9-6, UNC.

7:17 pm: Latta hits the Heels’ first three, but Langhorne gets a bucket on the other end. 12-9, UNC.

7:18 pm: What the hell was that? A Maryland player tried to hit a three, and instead of hitting the broad side of a barn, she hit the silo.

7:22 pm: If you ever take me to Kia Fest, try to sell me a Sportage and I see that ridiculous dance number, I will kill you and claim self defense.

7:24 pm: Camille Little hits a nice baby hook to make it 14-9, UNC.

7:25 pm: McCants is out, Alex Miller and Jessica Breland are in. UNC gets another inside basket to make it 16-9. Maryland’s shots are simply not falling right now.

7:26 pm: Larkins hits another shot in the paint to make it 18-9, UNC. Just like in the Duke game, I have not heard much at all from Langhorne tonight.

7:28 pm: 20-9, UNC. Things have gotten bad enough for Brenda Frese to take a timeout.

7:29 pm: UNC is really going to their bench in the frontcourt. This is good because we cannot afford to see Larkins or Pringle get tired or in foul trouble. Maryland, meanwhile, ends the drought to make it 20-11, UNC.

7:34 pm: 21-11, UNC. Claytor is in for the Heels. Maryland is shooting 21% from the field. Just as I even think that, Harper hits a basket for the Terps, then Claytor hits a three, and then, each team gets a basket on the inside. Then Latta hits another three. Wow, this game got fast in a hurry. 29-15, UNC.

7:36 pm: One of Maryland’s bench players (a big girl) hits a mid-range jumper. That was cool. Even though Maryland is scoring. The Terps get another basket to make it 29-19, UNC.

7:37 pm: 31-19, UNC. Oh, Jesus, there it is again! Rashanda, you are really confusing me. If you got a buzzcut, then I would really freak out.

7:40 pm: Bizarre ad alert: OH YEAH! No pudding for Dook Boy!

7:42 pm: What is Langhorne doing defending Rashanda? No wonder Larkins is having a field day. 31-22, UNC.

7:44 pm: This game has been pretty sloppy for the last minute or so; turnovers, bad shots, no boxing out. Regardless of who’s playing, a sloppy game can get tough to watch.

7:46 pm: 33-24, UNC. Wow. That’s something you don’t see everyday. Larkins can really run.

7:47 pm: The Terps finally hit a three to make it 33-27, UNC. Maryland is closing in fast. Just when Maryland is getting momentum, Brenda Frese basically puts herself in the middle of the court and gets a technical.

7:50 pm: The first half ends with the Tar Heels leading, 35-27. UNC is playing excellent defense, forcing the Terps to 27% shooting. For the Heels to keep their lead, Larkins needs to keep getting the ball, so that she can get points in the paint and then dish it out to the perimeter to keep the defense honest.

8:06 pm: Larkins hits another easy shot to take a 37-27 lead. Her move remind me of another UNC forward: Tyler Hansbrough. Latta hits another three to make it 40-27, UNC.

8:08 pm: Prepare to be bombarded by Juelz Santana’s “Second Coming” just as much, if not more, than you were bombarded by John Mellencamp’s “This is Our Country” during football season. Mark my words. Camille Little hits another inside shot, but the Terps finally get a shot (the trifecta) in the second half to make it 42-32, UNC.

8:11 pm: 50-35, UNC. Larkins vs. Langhorne: advantage Larkins. Latta vs. Terps perimeter shooting: advantge Latta.

8:12 pm: Ivory Latta officially has a following. Apparently Lebron and Ludacris are huge fans, and try to watch all of her games. I think she has both the skills and the attitude to make people pay attention to the WNBA next year.

8:14 pm: Bizarre ad alert: Unpimp ze auto.

8:16 pm: 55-35, UNC. OOOOHHHHHHHHH!!! Latta hits another three, her sixth of the game! WHOOOOOOO!!!! She is on fire tonight. I don’t think Maryland can come back at this point.

8:19 pm: 55-37, UNC. Laura Harper stops the bleeding. Brenda Frese is giving the thumbs down. I understand, even Roger Ebert would give a thumbs down to her team’s performance.

8:21 pm: 55-39, UNC. Toliver makes a perfect pass to Brenda Frese. Too bad she’s the coach.

8:22 pm: 55-41, UNC. Maryland hits their third straight shot. I’m starting to get worried that they’ll let Maryland back in this game.

8:24 pm: The ESPN commentator just said that a one of the Terps players tries to motivates her teammates with chest bumps. I’m here trying to envision how girls would do that. I have a filthy, filthy mind.

8:25 pm: 57-45, UNC. The bad news: UNC’s lead is down to 12 and is threatening to come within 10. The worse news: The crowd is back in the game. Frese made an excellent adjustment after the first TV timeout, and UNC is playing too timidly, as though they are playing not to lose rather than playing to win. Hatchell needs to makes them get aggressive again.

8:28 pm: Langhorne hits a tough shot off a rebound to make it 57-47, UNC. The Terps have outscored Carolina 14-2 in the latest stretch.

8:30 pm: 59-47, UNC. Larkins stops the bleeding with two free throws. Claytor is in the game to give UNC some offense.

8:32 pm: Harper gets two quick fouls on the defensive end. More importantly, the Heels ate up some clock without Maryland scoring. Too bad they couldn’t score.

8:34 pm: Doron hits three straight shots to bring the game to 61-53, UNC. Pray to god that she’s not Eminem in my “8 Mile” analogy.

8:36 pm: 63-53, UNC. I just saw a sign that says “Frese the Turtle.’ That makes absolutely no sense, because it sounds like “freeze the turtle”, something that a UNC fan might say. But the guy holding it up was clearly a Terps fan. That sign simply cannot be explained in a rational way.

And speaking of irrational, that Nike ad is on again. “The Second Coming/the new beginning/the idiot is speaking/you should shut up.”

8:40 pm: UNC is still not hitting their shots. I’m really concerned now; all the momentum belongs to the Terps.

8:41 pm: 65-55, UNC. Wow. Larkins just went completely Psycho T on Langhorne just now. She’s having a huge game.

8:43 pm: 65-59, UNC. WTF? Traveling! TRAVELING! CALL TRAVELING!!!

8:44 pm: 67-59, UNC. Breland hits a tough shot in the paint, but I am feeling very uncomfortable right now. We need to hit our shots better.

8:46 pm: 67-62, UNC. Doron hits a three, another big shot. To boot, McCants fouls out. AAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRGGH!!!!!!

8:48 pm: UNC continues to miss their shots, and Maryland continues to hit them. 67-64, UNC.

8:50 pm: I just went downstairs to get mt rosary for good luck. Hopefully it helps. So far it’s brought me a lot of luck.

8:53 pm: Doron is on fire; she hit a another shot to make it 67-66, UNC. We have been outscored 33-12 since gaining a 20 point lead.

8:54 pm: Just as I say that, Larkins hits another shot and UNC leads, 69-66.

8:55 pm: Uh-oh, Camille Little is cramping up. We cannot afford to have her out at this stage of the game.

Yesss! Latta hits a shot in the lane to make it 71-66, and they get the ball back.

8:56 pm: Little hits a good shot despite her cramp. UNC now leads, 73-66. They have outscored the Terps 6-2 since I got my rosary from downstairs, 6-0 since I wrapped it on my hand.

8:58 pm: 75-69, UNC. Maryland is still hanging around, but they are forced to foul at this point in the game (less than 1 minute left).

9:00 pm: 77-69, UNC. 45 seconds left. It looks like UNC has weathered the storm.

9:05 pm: The game goes final: 84-71, UNC. The Tar Heels played very well for most of the game. Like against UConn, squandered a big lead in the second half by playing too conservatively, but we did just enough in the end to get the victory. Credit that to Ivory Latta (32 points) and Erlana Larkins (20 and 13), who both had an amazing game. I can’t wait until the week after the Super Bowl, when Duke and UNC face off in Cameron Indoor Stadium, The Men on Wednesday night and the Women (#1 vs. #2) on Thursday night. In Chapel Hill, this is much bigger than the Super Bowl. This is gonna be huge.

One last thought. The ESPN play-by play announcer made weird references to rap songs the entire game. At the end of the broadcast he said this:

“And as the popular rap song goes, Ivory Latta was ‘Shakin’ her Moneymaker’ tonight”.

Aaaaaaaaaawwk waaaarrrrrrrrrrrd.

UNC vs. Arizona: Cats get spayed

On second thought, this game may be closer than we think. Arizona’s losses were close and to quality opponents, and Wright and Ginyard are not playing due to illness. On the plus side, we won’t have to see Wright shoot free throws. UNC will win because the Cats have no bench presence, and we will run them into the ground.

1: 07 pm: Hansbrough wins the tip; Wright usually takes the tipoff, but he’s in street clothes today. Thompson starts in his place. It’s his first start, but certainly won’t be his last.


1:09 pm: Arizona is playing sloppy at the start, they get two quick unforced turnovers.
Lawson hits the big three to make it 6-0, UNC. He’s been stroking his shot very well lately.

1 :12 pm: Arizona hits a shot in the paint to make it 6-4, UNC.

The Heels aren’t hitting their shots right now. They need to be a little pickier with their shot selection.

1:13 pm: Terry get two quick baskets, including a three point play to make it 11-4, UNC.

The bad news: I’m not a big fan of CBS coverage. I’d much rather hear Dickie V calling this game. The good news: they’re playing the Foo Fighters before the TV timeout.

1:16 pm: Green, Miller and Stepheson are in the game. CBS correctly spelled his name, unlike ESPN who insists on calling him Stephenson. Worldwide leader in Sports, indeed.

1:17 pm: Shakur penetrates the heels inside defense to get a good layup and make it 11-6, UNC.

1:19 pm: Stepheson hits a tough shot to make it 15-6 UNC. Hansbrough returns, and Q gets in the game. Marcus Williams hits an easy shot off an inbound pass to make it 15-8.

1:20 pm: Arizona attacks the lane again, and they are again rewarded. It’s now 15-12, UNC. The Heels have to close that lane.

1:21 pm: Thompson hits two good shots on the inside, including a dunk, and blocked a shot and delayed an inevitable dunk. UNC leads, 19-14.

Psycho T has not been heard of much in this game. Seriously, they haven’t even been passing it to him much. Is he suffering that stomach virus that Wright and Ginyard have and not telling anyone?

1:25 pm: Super Bowl XLI is on CBS this year. Can you believe I didn’t know that until just now? And to think I call myself a sports journalist.

1:26 pm: Tyler’s a really, really, really good player. But he has GOT to stop traveling. And letting guys guys dunk in the lane. Again. 19-16, UNC.

1:27 pm: UNC has got to have better shot selection. Taking poor shots is allowing Arizona to get good shots on the other end. Shakur gets an easy layup to reduce the lead to 1.

1:28 pm: What is Hansbrough doing on the offensive perimeter? No wonder Stepheson is having a better game. Psycho T is not attacking, which is his raizon d’etre. He just got pulled. 23-20, UNC.

1:30 pm: 25-21, UNC. Ty Lawson is just fast. So fast that he went coast-to coast before I could look up from my keyboard.

1:31 pm: 27-21, UNC. Stepheson gets another good look in the paint, this time off an offensive rebound. He’s filling in well for Wright.

Robert Jarvik is advertising for Lipitor. Did you know he’s married to Marylin Vos Savant? He just wants to appear smart. What a joke.

1:34 pm: Terry is robbed blind before he could get an easy shot. Hansbrough steals back but Arizona deflects it out of bounds. Tyler proceeds to commit an offensive foul. The most exciting play in this game that ultimately amounted to nothing.

1:35 pm: Another exciting series that amounted to nothing. Hansbrough’s hot is swatted off the backboard, Shakur takes the ball drives in the lane, kicks it out to a wide open Nic Wise, who missed the shot, Hansbrough rebounds, and Lawson draws a foul and hits 1 of 2 free throws. 28-21, UNC.

1:39 pm: Q is back in the game. He dishes a nice assist to Thompson, hitting a tough shot and the foul. 30-23, UNC. Zona is now in foul trouble.

1:40 pm: Q gets another assist to Thompson to make it 32-23, UNC. Marcus Williams is really hurt, possibly a twisted ankle. UNC’s basket count because it was on the opposite end of the floor. I know I want to see the Heels win, but I hate to see a guy go down in pain like that. Unless It’s J.J. Redick.

1:43 pm: Wow. Q hits a shot to make it 34-23, UNC. He rarely takes a shot.

We only have 6 offensive rebounds today. This has to change.


1:47 pm: Hansbrough gets his first points of the game at the free throw line. 39-23, UNC. The Heels are really pulling away.

1:48 pm: Arizona is being too trigger happy right now. Hansbrough picks up his second foul. It’s very rare for him to get in foul trouble.

1:50 pm: 41-23, UNC. That is simply unfair. How did Lawson hit that shot? He shot it under the arms of Radenovic, right under the basket.

UNC has been on a 20-3 run since leading 21-20. At this point the Cats can’t hit a shot to save their souls.

None of the commercials during this game have been bizarre yet, just bad.

1:54 pm: Lawson steals the ball and gets an easy layup near the end of the half. At halftime, The Tar Heels are dominating this game. UNC 43, Arizona 25. UNC is playing extremely well; the only thing I would improve is offensive rebounds.

2:13 pm: Chase Budinger, who only played 5 minutes in the first half, gets two quick shots in the first minute of the second half. 45-28, UNC. Thompson is now also in foul trouble, picking up his third.

2:15 pm: 47-31, UNC. Hansbrough finally hits a field goal, but Radenovic hits a three, and now twice, Shakur has blocked a seemingly easy layup in transition.

2:16 pm: 49-32, UNC. OOOOOOOOHHHHHHHHHH!!!! Terry jumps up over everybody, grabs the offensive rebound and slams it in. WHOOOO!!!

2:17 pm: 50-34, UNC. Arizona is really crashing the boards, but they aren’t making good shots (except for Budinger).

2:18 pm: Just as I say that, Radenovic gets the tough basket and the foul with the possibility of cutting the lead to 13. 50-37, UNC.

2:22 pm: Hill commits an offensive foul; he’s out with 4 fouls. Marcus Williams is back in.

2:23 pm: Danny Green hits the shot and the foul. 53-37, UNC.

2:24 pm: 55-37, UNC. Just when you think Arizona van get back in this, UNC retains their dominance. Just as I say that, they throw up a low percentage shot.

2:25 pm: Lawson takes the lead to 20 with another layup in transition. He wasn’t getting blocked this time. Green gets a transition shot of his own to make it 59-37, UNC.

2:28 pm: I stand corrected. CBS’s coverage is pretty good today. Billy Packer is providing good analysis, and they correctly spelled Alex Stepheson’s name, an error that ESPN has yet to correct (that means you, Mike Patrick), and even I made in this space once.

2:30 pm: Chinese dentist time. Which makes sense, because the Wildcats must feel like they are having their teeth yanked out right now. Both in pain and having their bite removed by the Heels.

2:34 pm: Stepheson gets another basket, but fouls out. Q is back in the game. 61-39, UNC.

WTF? Even WordPress spell check wants me to say Sthephenson. He needs more respect.

2:36 pm: Hansbrough hits a mid-range jumper in traffic. UNC is now up 63-39. Lawson is back in. So soon?

2:38 pm: Psycho T travels again! and to boot, Lawson nails the shot off his pass. bummer.

2:39 pm: Terry hits a wide open three pointer to make it 66-43, UNC.

2:41 pm: OOOOOHHHHHHHHH!!!! Hansbrough absolutely posterizes Radenovic. And he is absolutely pumped. We Tar Heel fans love him, but in the rest of the country he’s probably this year’s J. J. Redick, the player that most fans love to hate.

2:46 pm: The following series is a microcosm of today’s game: Rayshawn Terry is not defended, he hits a wide open three at the top of the key, and then Lawson steals the inbound pass, dishes it to Ellington, and he hits a layup. This has been a thorough beating. UNC leads, 76-51.

2:50 pm: 78-55, UNC. You know it’s a blowout when Mike Copeland is in the game.

2:53 pm: WAYNE’S WORLD! WAYNE’S WORLD! PARTY TIME! EXCELLENT! WHOOOOOO! (riff) Ellington makes a huge dunk. He now has more dunks in this game (1) than Arizona has threes (0).

3:00 pm: 82-60, UNC. Okay, at this point the game has just become a dunk contest. Terry gets another one.

3:01 pm: 88-63, UNC. Hansbrough gets another dunk. In with the benchwarmers!

3:10 pm: The game ends as UNC wins, 92-64. This is officially the biggest loss Arizona has ever had at home under Lute Olson. I cannot recall the last time I saw a team put such a beating on a top-25 opponent, on the road, with two of their key players suddenly out for the game. The Tar Heels may have reached the point in the season where they have balanced amturity with talent, and simply cannot be stopped.

I think that since the Va. Tech loss, and the ensuing heel known as Roy’s Monday practice, UNC has made a point to not just beat opponents but to destroy them. I’d be really scared of this team if I were Dook. Roy is the anti-Bunting.

UNC vs. Wake: Annihilation Would be an Understatement

Tonight UNC goes to Winston-Salem to play Wake Forest. Once a formidable foe, as recent as two years ago the Deacons were the 2005 ACC regular season champions. They simply have not been the same since the departure of Chris Paul to the NBA, even though they returned many of their players int o 2006, and have a big-time NBA prospect now in center Kyle Visser (below). At this point the Deacs are composed of Kyle Visser and not much else. Their future is bright, as 14 of their 16 players are underclassmen (which, come to think of it, is eerily like the Heels); however, they have not developed in the way that the Heels have. Who knows? If they can get good play out their bench, force turnovers and keep the crowd in it, they could keep it close. But I doubt it.


7:04 pm: Starting lineup: As usual, Tyler, Brendan, Rayshawn, Wayne, and Ty.

7:05 pm: Terry starts the scoring, but Wake gets two quick shots, including a three from Michael Drum. 5-2, Wake.

7:06 pm: Hansbrough gets a tough bucket in the paint, but Wake outruns the Heels to the other side of the courts and gets a basket of their own (this time, LD Williams). 7-4, Wake.

7:07 pm: Danny Green is in quickly, and he hits a three. It’s now tied, 7-7.

7:08 pm: Thompson is in early. Lawson misses an open three. It looked good on the release, but it missed badly.

7:09 pm: WAYNE’S WORLD! WAYNE’S WORLD PARTY TIME! EXCELLENT! WHOOOOOOOO! (guitar riff) Ellington hits a jumpshot from the free throw line. 9-7, UNC.

7:10 pm: This is from earlier today, but it’s still a bizarre ad: stay sharp with Mountain Dew Claymation.

7:11 pm: This is really bizarre: not only do the Wake fans wear tye-dye T-shirts in the stands, Wake cheerleader outfits are tye-dye as well. That’s really weird.

Q is in the game.

7:12 pm: Q almost throws it away, but he gets the ball back. Ultimately nothing becomes of it, it it looked like it could have been disastrous.

Wake has four turnovers in five minutes.

7:14 pm: Brendan Wright dunks off a sweet backdoor pass.

7:15 pm: Wake hits a three from NBA range, but Tyler gets an easy basket on the other end.

7:16 pm: Q plays really good defense and forces another Wake turnover. Wright hits another easy shot on the other end. Wake needs to close the paint, and fast. Where is Visser?

7:18 pm: Wake hits another NBA three to make it 15-14, UNC. Wake is shooting the ball well. UNC seems to be playing OK defense; I don’t know if our defense is playing its “B” game or if the Deacs are are just hitting their shots and ther’s nothing the Heels can do.

7:22 pm: Wake gets a steal, a layup in transition, and the lead. Wake leads, 16-15. Wait….what?

7:23 pm: Q is not playing well today. He just got trapped and turned the ball over.

7:24 pm: Lucky for Q, Ginyard steals it back and dishes it to Terry who gets a HUGE dunk. 17-16, UNC.

7:25 pm: Hansbrough follows it with a tough basket and the foul. He steals the ball on the other end and draws the foul from Visser. 20-16, UNC.

Lawson is back at point. Roy has seen enough of Q, and as much as I like him, so have I.

7:27 pm: Visser finally gets on the board. 20-18, UNC. Lawson picks up his second foul.

7:28 pm: Wake takes the lead back as Hale hits another three. 21-20, Wake.

7:29 pm: Skip Prosser is really pissed at the refs right now. He’s yelling at them, but to no avail. Hansbrough hits two free throws to make it 22-21, UNC.

7:30 pm: That’s the play Wake wanted out of Visser. He fights into the paint, gets an offensive rebound, and gets the basket with the foul. He misses the FT, but still, it’s 23-22, Wake.

7:33 pm: Danny Green hits a three, but I missed it because I was distracted by the Giant inflated chipmunk in the stands. Alvin has really let himself go. 26-23, UNC.

7:36 pm: WAYNE’S WORLD! WAYNE’S WORLD! PARTY TIME! EXCELLENT! WHOOOOOOOOOOOO! (guitar riff)…But Wake responds with a quick basket on the other end. No “Stairway”? Denied! 29-25, UNC.

7:38 pm: Q is back in the game, and hits 1 of 2 free throws. 30-25, UNC.

7:39 pm: UNC gets two offensive rebounds, and Hansbrough finally gets a tough shot. 32-25, UNC.


7:41 pm: Hansbrough allows a guy to hit a wide open three, but Ellington follows with a tip-in on the other end. Ellington is having a very good game so far.

7:45 pm: Brendan Wright hits another easy shot to make it 40-30, UNC.

7:46 pm: Visser hits a tough shot off the double team, but UNC gets another easy layup. 42-32, UNC.

7:48 pm: Wake hits another three as Ginyard is caught collapsing to the inside. 42-37, UNC.

7:51 pm: The first half ends with the Heels leading, 42-37. UNC seems to be playing good interior defense, but they have to stop committing turnovers and allowing big threes. UNC certainly hasn’t been playing like we know they can play.

8:07 pm: UNC starts the scoring in the second half, but Wake follows as Visser makes a nice alley-oop pass for the dunk. 44-39, UNC.

8:10 pm: Ty Lawson gets a quick steal and draws Ishmael Smith’s 3rd foul. 45-41, UNC. Wake cannot afford to lose their PG.

Just as I say that, Lawson hits a big three to make it 48-41, UNC. He has a sweet shot.

8:12 pm: Lawson speeds into the paint and gets a good layup. He is wicked fast. 50-41, UNC.

8:13 pm: The Heels are letting the Deacs get too many offensive rebounds. They make it up for blocks (7), though. Brendan Wright gets an easy dunk. 52-43, UNC.

8:14 pm: Another offensive rebound leads to another three for the Deacs. 52-46, Wake. They’re crashing the boards like giant inflatable chipmunks for sunflower seeds. My brain seriously can’t get rid of that.

8:18 pm: Lawson hits another three. They cannot leave him open. 55-46, UNC.

8:19 pm: Skeen is a promising player. He’s very versatile, playing a good inside/outside game. If he were a little quicker, he could be all-ACC caliber next year.

8:21 pm: Wes Miller is in the game for Ellington.

I can’t believe that even on the road, UNC fans are audibly chanting “TAR! HEELS! TAR! HEELS!”. I love this team.

8:23 pm: UNC gets two quick steals by Lawson, and before you know it, it’s 60-49, UNC.

8:24 pm: UNC hits another three. It must be demoralizing for a team like Wake to be struggling against an opponent like UNC, playing them well, and as both teams are getting tired, the Heels bring in four or five fresh guys who are just as good. As Roy put it, “The other coach might really like his team, but I really like both of my teams.” The rest of the ACC must hate us.

8:28 pm: I’ve been surprised by the good defense that Hansbrough has shown tonight.

8:30 pm: Holy crap, I just realized that I am sadly mistaken. What appeared to be a giant inflatable chipmunk is actually a giant inflatable snail that goes by the name of “Snail Earnhardt” (pictured below). He apparently “eats” people during games. And yet the fans do not step in, they just laugh. How barbaric of you! There is no explanation for this other than the new plan for population control and no one telling me about it.


This remind me of the mascot at the AAA Baseball All-Star game (of the same concept) Rochester’s “Roger Clamens”:


8:32 pm: WOW! What an unbelievable play by Rayshawn Terry. He just stole the ball from a guy in mid-air. Unbelievable.

8:32 pm: The Heels are running the transition to perfection right now, pulling away and leading 69-51.

8:36 pm: WAYNE’S WORLD! WAYNE’S WORLD! PARTY TIME! EXCELLENT! WHOOOOOOO! (guitar riff) UNC is really pulling away, and the score is now 72-51.

8:37 pm: Wake’s 3-pointers are now ice cold. This is perhaps the biggest reason (other than perfect execution by our offense) for Wkae’s second half collapse. Terry gets another layup to make it 74-51, UNC.

8:42 pm: Ellington is really shooting the ball well in this game. It’s a far cry from his previous ACC games, but maybe Wake is just making him look good. The gap is now 25: UNC 78, Wake 53.

8:45 pm: 82-54, UNC. There are five minutes left in the game. What’s the first team doing still in there for the Heels?

Mike Patrick of ESPN is shocked that Duke is #10 in the polls. Why should he be? They’re 16-3and have a good nucleus of young players. I guess the reason he can’t wrap his head around is that Duke doesn’t have any player’s that make you say “wow”. UNC has at least five. That’s why the Tar Heels are undoubtedly the best team in the ACC.

8:50 pm: I have come to the conclusion that this commercial makes absolutely no sense.

8:55 pm: “TAR! HEELS! TAR! HEELS!”

8:58 pm: The game ends the way we expected it to: a complete annihilation. UNC wins, 88-60.

UNC vs. Georgia Tech Live Blog

Tonight UNC comes back to Chapel Hill after two tough road ACC games, during which they got a wake-up call from Virginia Tech and proceeded to deliver a b—-slapping to the Clemson Tigers. That was a game where UNC intended to make a statement, that the loss to the Hokies was a fluke. That’s why they couldn’t just beat the Tigers, they had to humiliate them. But let’s not dwell in the past.

Today College Gameday was at the Dean Dome. You better believe I was there. I spent the previous night making a great sign for the whole nation to see. I worked until 1 am to make it, and I got up early to put the finishing touches on the sign and get in line before the doors opened at 9 am. Imagine the buzzkill when ESPN confiscated my sign not to be seen. Other than that I had a great time. I’ll write another article about my experience at College Gameday.

Georgia Tech biggest strength is our biggest weakness: perimeter shooting. The Jakets lead the ACC in 3-point FG percentage, whereas our struggles with the trifecta is well documented. Georgia Tech is led by Freshman 6-5 point guard Javares Crittenton. This creates a huge size mismatch against Ty Lawson. We may see more Q Hooray!

9:04 pm: I read a report that one of Tyler Hansbrough’s weaknesses was that he wasn’t comfortable facing the basket. His first offensive touch showed just that. Thaddeus young gets the first basket for GT.

9:06 pm: UNC gets two quick baskets, a Wright tip-in and an Elllington layup off a steal. 4-2, UNC.

9:07 pm: Both teams are playing aggressively on both sides of the ball, but UNc is crashing the boards better.

9:08 pm: 7-2, UNC. Terry hits a three from the top of the key. I did not expect him to just take a shot like that without a screen.

9:09 pm: 9-2, UNC. Lawson feeds a dunk to Hansbrough in transition. It was awesome.

The crowd is simply awesome tonight. Based on their decibel level, it’s pretty intimidating in there.

Bizarre ad alert (from before the game): Pepto Max.

9:10 pm: Tyler takes a pass and runs halfway across the court by himself for another dunk. YYYYEAHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!! Jeremis Smith of the Jackets counters with a circus shot, but UNC leads 11-4.

9:16 pm: The Heels put Q, Stepheson and Deon in the game. Dickey (GT) and Terry (UNC) each hit shots to make it 13-6.

9:17 pm: Thaddeus Young hits a good shot in the paint. Isn’t Terry supposed to cover him? Terry is fouled and misses both his free throws. Did he have Brendan Wright as a FT partner this week?

Ginyard is in for Wayne.

9:19 pm: Q runs the ball well in transition, and makes a great assist to Deon. Tech counters with a three. 15-11, UNC.

9:20 pm: 18-13, UNC. GT hits another shot, but Terry hits another three. He now has 10 points in ten minutes, about as many points as he had the previous three games.

9:22 pm: 18-16, UNC. Morrow hits another three for the Jackets. UNC hits a three ten seconds later, but Ginyard’s illegal screen negates it.

9:24 pm: Even when UNC turns it over they redeem themselves breaking up the play. Ginyard chases down the ball, takes it out of bounds, blocks the shot, and gets the layup at the other end. 20-16, UNC.

9:27 pm: YES! YESSSS! 6-7 Thaddeus Young just got blocked by 6-2 Quentin Thomas. I love it!

9:28 pm: 22-16, UNC. Danny Green gets a basket off an offensive rebound.

9:29 pm: Q is really playing well in this game. While not scoring, he makes good decisions in passing and on defense.

I noticed that UNC is having each lineup run their a—- off and switch them up when they tire out. They do this all the time, but tonight more so tha usual.

9:33 pm: Tech gets a quick basket in transition to make it 24-20, but Wes hits a three from NBA range! WHOOOOO!!!

9:34 pm: You know what? I haven’t heard much from Crittenton today…just as I say that, Lawson (in for Q) hits a three at the top of the key to make it 30-20, UNC. The Jacket’s momentum was stopped in a hurry.

9:37 pm: Brendan Wright is blocked on a DUNK! What’s worse is that it was a foul and Wright is being sent to the free throw line. That’s like hiring Stevie Wonder as a sniper. If he hits his target, it’s frickin’ amazing.

I know I’ve using this space to make fun of Brendan’s plight at the charity stripe, but for me to stop commenting on it, he has to hit the gimmes.

9:40 pm: Just as I say that, Brendan Wright’s first shot is nothing but net. I get my hopes up, but then he misses the second.


9:42 pm: What shocks me is that UNC left a Jacket guard wide open for three. What shocks me even more is that the same guard chose not to take the shot, even though he had two seconds, which is an eternity in basketball.

9:44 pm: That same guard took a shot with a guy in his face. He must be smoking something, that the only reasonable explanation for his shot selection. Not that I’m complaining about an opposing player making bad decisions. I’m just pointing it out.

9:45 pm: Georgia Tech’s offense tonight is characterized by missed opportunities. Even when they do something right, they follow it with a mistake. Q is back in the game.

9:47 pm: Nice save by Q. He sees the ball going out of bounds, he jumps, turns around in mid-air, and finds a teammate to pass it to. The game remains 34-23, UNC. Halftime draws near.

9:51 pm: Halftime hits, UNC leading 34-23. I have to say the game was pretty sloppy. the two have combined for 25 turnovers in the first half. UNC needs to control the ball better. to keep from allowing Georgia Tech back in this game.

10:01 pm: We should be up more. Crittenton had 5 turnovers and no assists. When your starting point guard has a assist to turnover ratio of negative infinity, you should be blown out. But Carolina’s turnovers has allowed the Jackets to stay in this game. If we exercise ball control Tech has no chance in the second half.

10:07 pm: Neither team has hit a shot in the last four minutes. Crittenton allows the shot clock to run out for his 6th TO.

10:09 pm: Tyler gets a dunk to make it 36-23, UNC. Is it me, or is Ty Lawson so smooth that he double dribbles without anyone noticing?

10:13 pm: Tech finally gets a field goal but Wright dunks wothout anyone around him! How do they leave him alone??? 38-25, UNC.

10:14 pm: The two teams exchange baskets. After Lawson fouls, Q is put back in tha game. Roy is not afriad to pull a player when he sees something he doesn’t like.

10:16 pm: UNC is really passing the ball well. Q gets in a bad spot, but finds help, and four passes later, Psycho T gets another dunk. Ga. Tech is really leting UNC drive the lane.

10:17 pm: 44-32, UNC. Wright gets another easy bucket in the paint, but the Yellow Jackets hit a three.

10:19 pm: ESPN is going to interview Terry Francona, Red Sox Manager, who is at the Dean Dome. How surreal is it when your favorite college team and your favorite pro team collide? Very.

10:20 pm: 46-32, UNC. I found out that Francona’s first daughter is at Carolina, and his second daughter is considering UNC. What’s even more surreal is that his daughter is not bad looking. So, are you doing anything tonight?

See, that’s the problem with a live blog. Whatever you’re thinking just gets blurted out there, and I want to delete but I choose to keep it because I find it funny. My mind has never truly been the same since I delved into this whole blog thing.

10:24 pm: The jackets hit another three, and UNC gets another easy basket in the paint. That’s basically the story of the second half.

10:25 pm: 50-36, UNC. Hansbrough is fouled intentionally. The good news is we’re getting the ball back. The even better news is they fould Tyler and not Brendan. Hallelujah!

10:27 pm: The game is still somewhat sloppy on both sides, but UNC is till playing better. Hansbrough hits a jumper to make it 52-36.

10:28 pm: Wright can pass, too. He just made a great pass to Ginyard, who made a relatively easy shot.

10:30 pm: 54-38, UNC. Ginyard is all over the court tonight . I love his hustle.

10:34 pm: 56-38, UNC: Do my eyes deceive me, or did Brendan Wright hit both of his free throws? Must be my imagination.

10:35 pm: OOOOHHHHHHHHHH!! Q just made a HUGE no look pass to Wright for an easy dunk. I’m telling you, he deserves PT, and I think he’s getting it tonight. 58-42, UNC.

10:40 pm: Okay, at this point the game has become a dunk party for the Heels. Terry puts it in for what, the 11th dunk of the game? SportsCenter can run its top 10 plays only with this game. 60-44, UNC.

10:43 pm: Who killed Javares Crittenton and put an alien in his body? UNC may be playing good defense, but good lord.

10:45 pm: 65-44, UNC. Have I told you how happy I am that Tyler’s the one drawing fouls and not Brendan. Terry gets another dunk to make it 67-44.

10:48 pm: I think Crittenton just hit his first or second shot. Just as I say that, Danny Green hits a thre to make it 71-46, UNC.

10:51 pm: Thaddeus Young is playing well now, but it’s too little too late. Then again, we must not forget the Virginia Tech game. Still, I doubt that the Jackets can come back under any circumstance. 73-53, UNC, less than 4 minutes left.

10:55 pm: WTF? NOW Tech is playing out of their minds!

10:59 pm: It’s garbage time at this point, this game has been decided. Bring in Surry Wood, Dewey Burke, Wes Miller and Michael Copeland! YEEAHHHHH!!!! 77-57, UNC.

11:02 pm: The game goes final: Heels 77, Georgia Tech 61.

YYYEEEEAHHHH!!! UNC 77, Clemson 55

Why the title, you ask? Clemson’s home court is Littlejohn Coliseum; I just couldn’t resist. Anyway, UNC is, like, totally playing their biggest game in more than three days. The Virginia Tech game was simultaneously disappointing and gratifying. We can come back from a huge deficit, but we can play bad enough to get a huge deficit on the first place. Both of these teams are coming off tough losses, but UNC is really looking to redeem themselves and prove they should still be at the top of the ACC. To win, UNC will need a strong outing from their backcourt, and Clemson will need one from their bench.

Clemson has a good chance for an upset at Littlejohn, as UNC has struggled here in the past. WHAT?!?!? This looks to be a very exciting game. OHKAAAY!!! Thank you for putting up with my bad punizzle.

7:03 pm: UNC starts on defense with a great block on James Mays, but Trevor Booker gets the first basket to take a 2-0 lead.

7:06 pm: Clemson gets a steal and gets a basket on the other end. 4-0, Clemson.

7:07 pm: UNC guards continue to struggle at the beginning of the game, but Wright gets a putback for our first points. 4-2, Clemson.

7:08 pm: Terry gets a steal and gets a three point play at the other end of the court. Nice play. 5-4, UNC.

7:09 pm: Green, Thompson and Stepheson are on the court. Lawson gets a layup to make it 7-5, UNC.

7:10 pm: ESPN just showed that Clemson is 28-1 with James Mays in the lineup and 8-13 without him. he may be as indispensable as Hansbrough. Speaking of which, psycho T gets two quick fouls in the first four minutes.

7:12 pm: For now, UNC’s defense seems to be more aggressive, and thus more effective. But can they keep it up for the rest of the game?

7:15 pm: Clemson’s forwards are REALLY aggressive, but I think the Heels should fo a better job of boxing out.

Brendan Wright is at the line…and he hits 1 of 2.

7:16 pm: UNC gets another steal, and Tyler gets to the line. he hits them both. 10-5, UNC.

7:17 pm: The Tar Heel defense is NOTHING like Saturday. Against the Hokies they seemed to be sitting back and waiting for the offense to attack. Now it’s UNC doing the attacking.

Just as I say that, UNC commits two turnovers, and Clemson ties it at 10 with two quick baskets, including a three. Ugh.

7:19 pm: Q’s in the game at PG. Hansbrough hits 1 of 2. 11-10, UNC.

7:21 pm: Both defenses are playing very well. Frasor’s injury means he’s out, which also means Q will get to strut his stuff for a little while.

7:22 pm: This may be a nail-biter, but I fell a lot better about this game. At least we’re making the Tigers fight fo every basket. With our deep bench, it means we’ll have fresher legs in the second half. Which makes me think, maybe that’s why we got back in the Hokie game.

Bizarre ad alert: What is Bruce Campbell talking about?

7:25 pm: UNC has 6 turnovers already! This cannot continue. Q gets his first turnover, which makes 7. 14-13, Clemson.

7:26 pm: Deon Thompson gets a three point play. He’s a tremendous athlete.

7:28 pm: Terry hits a three. We’re really starting to click. 19-14, UNC.

7:29 pm: About Thompson: He made the transition from left tackle on football to come here, and lost 60 pounds in the process. That’s right, he’s a miniature Glen Davis, who is a miniature Shaq. They could be a Russian Doll of centers. 21-16, UNC as both teams have defensive breakdowns.

7:31 pm: Danny Green gets the inbound dunk. 23-18, UNC. The Heels are playing well, but the turnovers have got to stop.

7:34 pm: You have no idea how hard it is to accurately blog a basketball game. You’ve always got one eye on the TV and one on the keyboard, and you end up not seeing anything. That’s why I like blogging football better; at least there are log pauses to write and short downs to pay attention to.

Big news from BC: Center Sean Williams was dismissed from the team. People may dismiss the Eagles, but don’t underestimate this Eagles squad, as they still have a good nucleus and a good coach in Al Skinner; Jared Dudley will pick up the slack.

7:37 pm: Clemson has 7 field goals and 7 turnovers-ooh, make that 8 FGs. The Tigers hit a three to make it 24-22, UNC.

7:38 pm: I am so glad Tyler is being sent to the line instead of Brendan. 26-22, UNC.

7:39 pm: UNC is playing well, but what is Wes doing at the point? Brendan Wight hits another shot to make it 28-22, UNC.

7:40 pm: Wow. I didn’t expect that. Wes is running the offense pretty well, making all the right passes. 30-24, UNC.

7:42 pm: Booker misses both free throws, but UNC turns it over, but Clemson misses its opportunity and UNC gets the rebound, but their shot is blocked. I have never seen such a spectacular display of athletic ability and offensive incompetence at the same time.

7:44 pm: OK, I have to admit, at this point all ads are bizarre, but some of them are entertaining in their bizarre way. Those are the ones I highlight. The ones I’m looking at now are just bad.

7:46 pm: Green hits a three to make it 33-24, UNC. We’re finally draining it from long range. Just as I say say that, Mays hits a three to bring the lead back to 6, and Deon Thompson gets a pass at the other end of the court and drops it in and extend it to 8.

7:49 pm: Cliff Hammonds dunks over Danny Green, but the entire Clemson team shoots free throws like Brendan Wright.

7:50 pm: WAYNE’S WORLD! WAYNE’S WORLD! PARTY TIME! EXCELLENT!!! WHOOOOO!!! (guitar riff) Ellington hits a three and then Hansbrough gets a basket to make it 40-29, UNC.

7:51 pm: The ACC is so good, ESPN gives the conference its own day of the week.

7:52 pm: UNC is shooting 50% on FGs while holding Clemson to 35%. Terry hits a jumper, and then Wright gets a tip-in to make it 44-29, UNC.

7:54 pm: Hammonds gets a layup at the buzzer, but UNC still leads 44-31. As a fan, I have to feel good about a double-digit second half lead, but I’m still uneasy about this game.

8:10 pm: UNC 13 point advantage in bench points is the difference in the game.

8:11 pm: The two teams exchange quick field goals, and then Wright dunks on the Tigers. He hasn’t missed a FG shot yet. 48-33, UNC.

8:13 pm: Wayne Ellington attacks the inside and gets a basket in the paint. 50-33 UNC. Purnell has seen anough and needs to stop the bleeding.

8:17 pm: UNC gets two quick baskets between which K.C. Rivers gets his first points. 54-35, UNC. Ginyard and Green are back in the game.

8:18 pm: Out with Ty (3 fouls), in with Q. Let’s see how he plays.

8:20 pm: Q is playing well (2 good passes and a steal), but UNC is not capitalizing. The score remains 54-35, UNC.

8:23 pm: Clemson finally penetrates and Mays gets a basket. Booker gets a block on defense and gives hos Tigers the ball back.

8:25 pm: I;m pretty sure Q got 3 steals in 2 minutes. He’s doing a great job of running the team on the court. He’s a far cry from the Q who singlehandedly lost his first game in uniform vs. Santa Clara. Brendan dunks and the foul but misses from the stripe…what else is new? 56-37, UNC.

8:28 pm: Just as I say it, Q is making me look bad. UNC is still playing well, as our inside guys are doing their job. 60-41, UNC. Even as a textbook Red Sox fan, I doubt that Clemson can come back from this one.

8:33 pm: If you’re confused, a textbook Red Sox fan is paranoid and always expects the worst case scenario..like wehn my TV went black in the middle of the game just now. 62-44, UNC.

8:36 pm: What a bummer…the ESPN commentators have been shooting down my Quentin Thomas bandwagon all night. Not that he doesn’t deserve it tonight. He played well for a short stretch, but has since struggled in the second half.

8:39 pm: UNC goes up 20 off of A Hansbrough touch shot and horrendous 3-point shooting by the Tigers (3-16). 64-44, UNC.

ESPN says that the loss of Sean Willams means BC can’t win the ACC…but that’s what they said about Oklahoma football after QB Rhett Bomar was dismissed and Adrian Peterson got hurt. But they went on to win the Big 12 in 2006. Shows you how much doomsday pundits know.

8:44 pm: Brendan Wright couldn’t fix his free throw shooting, so what did he do? He put a voodoo hex on Clemson shooting from the stripe.

8:45 pm: Clemson is finally driving it inside. It was what worked in the first half, why didn’t they use it in the second half? 66-48, UNC.

8:46 pm: UNC has been missing its last few shots, and I’m beginning to get worried if UNC is letting up.

Oliver Purnell looks like Eddie Murphy lost a bet and a heavyweight fight in the same week. That’s his facial expression right now.

8:47 pm: Bizarre ad alert: SportsCenter Anchor Cam.

8:49 pm: Hansbrough gets another basket, gets a steal, and draws a foul. UNC has played so much better in this game than on Saturday, but I truly expected Clemson to play better at home tonight. 68-48, UNC.

8:53 pm: Dude! Don’t say that bad stuff about Quentin Thomas. Did you know that Q has a 3.5/1 assist-to-turnover ratio, 2nd in the ACC among PG’s? (#1 is NC State’s Engin Atsur)

By the way, UNC is up 73-48 with 2 minutes left.

8:57 pm: UNC is doing in the lead exactly what Va. Tech didn’t, they are running out the clock late in the game.

Clemson is shooting 5-19 from the line. They are shooting worse free throws than Brendan Wright in Cameron Indoor stadium being seduced by Helen Thomas.

9:00 pm: The game goes FINAL: UNC 77, Clemson 55. UNC dominated this game because they showed the intensity they didn’t show against the Hokies. This is an excellent rebound game and a stepping stone to reclaiming dominance in the ACC this season.

By the way, Q finished with 4 assists, 3 rebounds and 3 turnovers in 10 minutes…while Ty Lawson had 7 TOs, 4 fouls and 3 assists in 22 minutes! HA HA! So Q WAS the best point guard in this game! Hah? Hah?

UNC 82, UConn 76: UNC Wins as Huskies Get Too Greedy

UNC won a nail biter on Monday at Carmichael Auditorium against the UConn Huskies, 82-76. I attended the game out of my “journalistic obligations”, and in addition to losing my voice, I made some observations:

  • UConn’s defense is opportunistic–perhaps a little too opportunistic.Uconn’s agressive play is the reason they were able to be competitive in this game, as they recorded 14 steals. At the same time, it was Ketia Swanier trying to get one steal too many that left Ivory Latta wide open for the game winning three-pointer. But I don’t blame Swanier for going after that ball. You live by the sword, and you die by the sword. Forcing turnovers is what’s going to carry the Huskies deep into March.
  • Don’t let the game winning shot fool you, UNC won this game in spite of Ivory Latta. Prior to that big shot, Latta had 9 points on 3-12 shooting, 8 of UNC’s 26 turnovers and only one assist in 37 minutes. She didn’t seem to take control of the game in the second half, as the Heels allowed the Huskies to come back from 14 points down. Actually now that I think, she may not have made much of a difference even if she was playing her A game. And do you know why?


  • This game was won and lost in the paint. Fans of the trifecta probably had to close their eyes for this game. This game was not fought in the perimeter by Latta vs. Swanier, but by Erlana Larkins vs. Tina Charles, Latoya Pringle vs. Brittany Hunter, and Camille Little vs. Kalana Greene. Hunter was UConn’s enforcer, getting her nose in every play on the inside, and ultimately getting 10 points and leading her team with 9 rebounds. Greene led all scorers with 23 points, all inside the 3-point line. Larkins and Charles both got into foul trouble, but Larkins ended up winning this battle, recording 15 points and 16 rebounds. That last stat is important because after Latta hit the three, Larkins made sure that UConn was given no second second chances. And Latoya Pringle was the driving force of the offense, scoring 18 points on 7 of 10 shooting. I would make a joke about her performance pertaining to a certain snack that sounds like her surname, but their catch phrase “Once You Pop, the Fun Don’t Stop” is long winded and wouldn’t be funny in this context. So I’m going to pretend that her middle name is “Lucky Charms” and say that her performance on Monday was magically delicious.
  • UNC won because of Carmichael Auditorium. The place was insane Monday night. The crowd was very loud (louder than the Dean Dome), especially at the late stage of the game. The roar after Latta hit the game winning three was almost seismic. What may have been an even bigger factor was that the stadium was very, very hot. The kind of heat and humidity that you find in a North Carolina summer, one that really drags you down. Perhaps it played some in keeping the Huskies out of their element, their air-conditioned confines in Storrs. Apparently 1,200 seats were vacant on Monday, but you wouldn’t know that from watching the game. Still, this is one of the three most important home games of the year, we’re facing a perennial powerhouse, we’re undefeated, and it’s Ivory Latta’s last big nonconference game at home. How are there vacant seats? It simply boggles the mind.
  • Random Thought: Rashanda McCants looks freakishly like her brother, Rashad. Seriously, look at the two photos! (Keep in mind that they have a 3 year age difference.) She looks as though Rashad was dressed as a girl! Alas, if she played well enough she might be accused of being Rashad in costume, a la Juwanna Mann.


rashad_mccants.jpgUNC plays ACC opponents Georgia Tech and NC State at home before a huge game against the Terps in College Park on Sunday, January 28th. You can guarantee I’ll be covering that game. Tonight I will live blog UNC Men vs. Clemson, so stay tuned.

Final Analysis on UNC vs. Va. Tech

I never thought that I could watch my beloved tar heels lose a game they should have won and and feel OK about it, but that’s exactly how I felt after our 94-88 loss to Virginia Tech. Maybe it’s because like most sports fans, I have the attention span of a jellyfish, constantly in search of instant gratification. It was very encouraging to reduce a 20-point lead to 3 in three and a half minutes, seeing that they can recover from such a huge deficit so quickly.

Having said that, there were a lot of things that I didn’t like about this game. UNC didn’t do a lot of the little things that ultimately could have won the game for them.

Reasons UNC Lost:

  • Free Throw Shooting. I am calling you out, Brendan Wright. You were 1 for 8 shooting from the charity stripe against the Hokies. That’s 12.5% shooting! Twelve point frickin’ five percent!!! Do you realize that if you made only half of your free throws, the Ty Lawson three point play with 16 seconds left would have tied the game and possibly sent it into overtime? And 5-for-8 could have won it! Not even Shaq could shoot free throws that badly, you must have been taught by an invertebrate. The rest of the team shot OK, but if Brendan Wrong should stop all the drills he’s doing and practice free throws. This has to stop.
  • Bad Backcourt Play. I have said recently that Quentin Thomas should get more playing time at PG, but did not play well in his 7 minutes on Saturday; the bright spot is that he didn’t turn the ball over. Unfortunately, the rest of the backcourt was schooled by Virginia Tech’s fast, experienced guards. The Hokies’ top four guards (Dowdell, Jordan, Munson and Vasallo) accounted for 67 of their 94 points, while UNC’s top four guards (Lawson, Ellington, Ginyard, Miller) had 39 points and played really bad defense. And speaking of which…
  • Defense.Until our big run, this may have been our worst display of defense yet. Our backcourt seemed flat-footed as the guards whizzed by them, and the entire team let the Hokie guards drive into the lane like it was an airport runway.
  • Coaching. As much as I love Roy, you have to put at least some of the blame on him. I was watching the last bit of the game as we were making the big comeback and I began to wonder why the coach didn’t switch to this gameplan sooner. As the the tem was floundering in the first half and early in the second half, Roy made no coaching adjustments from his previous games. It was very frustrating to watch. Conversely, Seth Greenberg and his staff always seemed to be adapting perfectly to most situations.
  • Virginia Tech. I must give credit where credit is due. Virginia Tech proved to everyone that they are a very good team. The guardplay was extraordinary, perhaps the best in the ACC. The gameplan was executed to perfection, crediting both the coaching staff as well as the players. Cassel Coliseum is a surprisingly hard place to play. I did not expect this result at all, Maybe that’s exactly why it happened. I wouldn’t want to have to play this team in March.

How UNC Got Back in The Game:

  • The Trifecta. Before the big run, UNC was shooting 4-17 from long range. During the run they shot 4-7. Maybe We took better shots, maybe the VT defense sat back, but hitting threes at the right moment helped to put a big dent in the lead.
  • Time Management. This is a marriage of a good coaching and excellent execution. Neither Roy nor the coaches panicked, and they played for exact situation they were in, playing press, forcing turnovers, playing aggressively to get opportunities on both of the ball. Although Roy deserves credit for the comeback, there seems to be a bigger catalyst of the comeback
  • UNC Winged It. To some extent, the Tar Heel seemed to stop worrying about their gameplan and just play loose. This was perhaps the one thing that Steh Greenberg’s Hokie staff didn’t expect; it certainly caught the the Va. Tech players off guard. What was scary about the comeback is that the players seemed to flip a switch in their minds and played at a level where they seemingly could not be stopped. This is awesome because it means we can flip that switch and beat anybody. What frustrates me is that it took this kind of situation to make the players flip that mental switch. However, I would now be very, very scared if I were Clemson. There’s one more person I need to thank, though.
  • A.D. Vasallo. None of this would have been possible if Vasallo hadn’t chucked up two quick shots with less than four minutes left instead of running time off the clock.

Overall, this was a very fun game to watch…for the last five minutes. Other than that it was a total nightmare. Here’s hoping that Brendan Wright hits his free throws, the backcourt starts playing well, and UNC flips the ON switch against the Tigers on Wednesday.

Strange Things are Afoot: Virginia Tech 94, UNC 88

Today UNC plays their first ACC outside of the friendly confines of the Dean Dome. They open the ACC road schedule against the Virginia Tech Hokies (12-4, 2-0 ACC). They have been an enigmatic team. While having beaten Duke at perhaps the toughest place to play in the nation, they also have a few bad road losses (Western Michigan, Marshall). The Hokies are led by a very experienced lineup, including three seniors and a junior in the starting five. Like the Tar Heels, the Hokies are deep, as nine players have played at least 12.7 minutes per game. The team is also deceptively tall. Even though four guards are listed in the starting lineup, not a single is shorter than 6’3″, and three 6’9″ forwards get regular PT. Their experienced guardplay and depth means that VT will not be intimidated by UNC.

Attention UNC: Watch out for this guy.


3:45 pm: UNC starts emphatically as Terry takes the tipoff and slams it in. Lawson almost gets another basket off the steal but a travel is called.

3:46 pm: It looks like UNC is simultaneously playing man and zone; I’m guessing a loose man defense. I don’t think I like it.

3:47 pm: Hansbrough gets two quick buckets (including a three point play) and helps give UNC an 9-6 lead.

3:48 pm: UNC is allowing the Hokies to drive the lane to easily; this can’t happen too long if UNC expects to win comfortably.

Terry is playing well today so far.

3:49 pm: 14-9, UNC. The two teams excange threes, and Deon Thompson takes advantage of some early playing time.

3:51 pm: 17-9, UNC. Lawson hits a three in transition to extend the lead force a timeout. Terry is playing really well so far on both sides of the ball.

3:55 pm: CLEMSON WATCH: Clemson is down 84-75 against Maryland with three and a half minutes to go.

3:56 pm: 17-11 UNC. Frasor, Ginyard, and Stepheson are in the game. So far the fist team has played much better. UNC needs to seal up the defensive lane.

3:58 pm: 19-13. Stephenson gets his first basket in transition.

UNC is playing extremely well on the offensive boards.

3:59 pm: Virginia Tech’s stadium is surprisingly loud. Not Cameron loud, but not Wade Stadium quiet either.

4:01 pm: 21-20, UNC. Suddenly the Heels are cold on the paint and playing bad defense.

4:02 pm: 23-21, VT. The Hokies hit a three to take the lead. Terry forces a bad shot. What the f— happened to the UNC team in the first five minutes of the game? We need Lawson or Q at point; Frasor is not working right now.

4:05 pm: ABC is advertising its new series “In Case of Emergency” starring Jane Seymour and David Arquette. Say it with me: network TV sucks. I haven’t watched a network TV series in 3 years.

4:07 pm: 25-21, VT. Another bad start for the Tar Heels. I don’t want to panic; this team has recovered from deficits before. But you have got to stop playing with my emotions, Roy! Besides, this one’s on the road, there’s no home crowd to lean on.

4:09 pm: 26-21, VT. Brendan Wright has got to fix his free throw shooting. Seriously, his Field Goal percentage is better than his Free Throw percentage by about 10 points.

4:11 pm: 30-25, VT. Q’s in the game, but we’re still allowing penetration. Hansbrough and Wright end the scoring drought.

CLEMSON WATCH: The Tigers lose to Maryland, meaning there are no more unbeatens.

4:16 pm: 34-27, VT. UNC is really struggling defensively. This game has thus far been played in the paint.

4:17 pm: 40-32, VT. Just as I say that, Wes hits a three and the Hokies hit two threes. They are determined to render my analysis idiotic.

4:18 pm: 40-34, VT. Free throw shooting aside, Hansbrough and Wright are the only reason we’re still in this game. We can’t allow Virginia Tech to run their offense at will. What’s worse is that they seems to beating us our own game, running the transition.

4:22 pm: 40-36, VT. Brendan Wright is having a much better game than he did against Virginia; I’ve even been surprised by his defensive presence. It’s just too bad our guards are sucking so badly right now.

I have been quite shocked by the lack of bizarre ads so far.

4:24 pm: 43-36 VT. Steve Lavin just called Bobby Frasor Brendan Fraser. THat’s OK, we probably need someone to save us from undead mummies. Namely, our backcourt.

4:27 pm: 47-36, VT. Hansbrough has been surprisingly quiet in the last 10 minutes or so. VT’s backcourt is having a great day.

4:30 pm: The game hits halftime: VT 47, UNC 37. Roy walked off the court with his head down. I haven’t seen him this pissed in a while.

I am officially convinced that we are losing because 1) I didn’t write a preview and 2) every time Coach K loses he prays for UNC to lose as well. Nothing against the Hokies: i think they are a great team. I’m just saying that there are other forces at play.

I’m seriously sick of eBay’s It commercials. Meg Whitman seriously needs a new ad agency.

4:38 pm: Today’s basketball broadcast on ABC is presented by KFC. Don’t you find that funny in an ironic and very politically incorrect way?

4:47 pm: The second half is about to start. Our guards have been outscored 35-7 in the first half; this half to be changed if we want to make a comeback.

4:49 pm: 49-37, VT. Frasor and Terry are now injured. This is bad because our bench has been insanely cold, with the exception of Thompson.

4:50 pm: 49-40, VT. Wayne Ellington finally gets a three-the old fashioned way.

Believe it or not, I’m not very mad about this game. ON the one hand, I always hate to see the Heels struggling. On the other hand, this team really needed a wake up game to remind them that no game is a cakewalk.

4:53 pm: 51-40, VT. Dowdell injures his ankle on the offensive end. This might help the Heels get back in it.

Q is back in the game. We’re too dependent on the inside right now.

4:56 pm: 53-40 VT. The defense continues to let the Hokies run right through it.

5:04 pm: 57-40, VT. This game is like that scene in “A Clockwork Orange”. I really, REALLY don’t want to watch, but my journalistic obligations force me to. Such obligations at as a steel head brace, keeping me watching even thought it’s gotten really ugly.

5:07 pm: The NCAA wants to distance itself from gambling as much as possible. So why is there an ad on the side of the court for the Virginia Lottery?

By the way, VT now leads 66-44. We have been outscored 19-7 in the second half, and 57-27 since we hit our highest lead.

5:11 pm: NFL PLAYOFF WATCH: Indy 6, Baltimore 0, divisional round.

5:12 pm: I was expecting this game to be a tough game, but Holy S—! What the f— happened to the UNC team I’ve come to know and love? Oh, that’s right, they only play like that in Chapel Hill.

5:17 pm: Hansbrough scores his first points of the game. It’s now 72-51, VT. Again, UNC is being beaten at its own transition game

5:21 pm: You know things are getting really bad when the announcers are discussing a completely different that has nothing to do with the game.

5:30 pm: 77-58, VT. I just took a look at Roy’s face. He’s aged 2 years in 2 hours. Just now in the second half he’s been developing jowls.

5:35 pm: 80-61, VT. I have to give credit where credit is due: Virgins Tech’s defense has not allowed North Carolina a single easy shot all day.

Danny Green throws up our third air ball tonight. Uhhhhhhg-leee.

5:38 pm: Finally! A bizarre ad: Bouncy floors.

The grossest sounding word that has nothing to do with grossness: Prognostication.

5:40 pm: 83-64, VT. Nothing against the guy, but you know UNC is in trouble when their best performing bench player is Wes Miller.

5:49 pm: 85-77, VT. UNC is mounting a comeback. It might be too little, too late, but you never know.

The reason they’re coming back is because they have completely let go of inner tension and just played.

5:53 pm: 87-80, VT. UNC is making Hokie fans sweat with 1 minute left as Hansbrough dunks to put it within 7, but Ginyard fouls out.

5:54 pm: 89-83, VT. After Vasallo hits two free throws, Ellington finally hits a three to cut the lead to six. This is unbelievable. Where was this team for 30 minutes?

5:55 pm: 89-85, VT. UNC steals the ball, and Ty Lawson gets a layup. Where has HE been for 30 minutes?

5:57 pm: 91-88, VT. OH THANK YOU JESUS! Psycho T gets the rebound, Lawson get the layup AND the foul! the lead is now 3. Keep in mind the lead was 20 only four and a half minutes ago.

5:58 pm: 92-88, VT. Well, I should have seen this coming a mile away. When the Heels need a three the most they pass the ball to Danny Green, a defensive specialist, he clanks it, the Hokies get the rebounds with five seconds left. It’s pretty much over at this point. But right now, I have to give the Heels a standing ovation for such a valiant comeback. ON the other hand, I have to ask them, why weren’t they playing like this before? My opinion is a some point everyone decided, “screw the gameplan, let’s just play.” I think it loosened them up, not adhering to a system, and VT was not prepared for it. Still, I wish that they had decided on it a little sooner, when the game was more within reach. Still it would have been awesome if UNC had completed the comeback, even if they ended up losing. It would have been an instant classic.

6:00 pm: FINAL SCORE: Virginia Tech 94, North Carolina 88.

Q and Psycho T beats Jekyll and Hyde: UNC 79, Virginia 69

I was at the Dean Dome screaming my lungs out (again) to “fufill my journalistic obligations” and cover the UNC-Virginia game. Here are my observations from the muy entertaining matchup:

Reasons UNC Won:

  • Getting to the free throw line–a lot–can overcome a poor shooting day. And the Cavs were more than happy to oblige, committing 27 personal fouls (although 5-7 of them were garbage fouls) and sent the Tar Heels to the line 41 times (of which UNC made “only” 26). By comparison, Virginia only went to the line 11 times in the game. Take this advantage away and the Heels likely lose this game, as they shot 37.8% from the field.
  • UNC played excellent defense in the second half. In the first half, the turnover battle was pretty even: UNC had 7 seven turnover while UVa had 6. In the second half our defense improved substantially, as UNC forced 11 turnovers in the second half while committing only 3. Of Virginia’s 17 turnovers, 12 were a result of steals by the UNC defense. In the 12 minute second half stretch that ultimately won the game, the Heels outscored the Cavs 25-9. It’s worth repeating: UNC allowed 9 points in twelve minutes. This means one of two things: either our defense is no longer a weakness or Hyde came to play in the second half. Virginia is a very good team, so I’m prepared to guess the former.
  • UNC’s second team outplayed UVa’s first team. Believe it or not, the team of five that played the best in this game was not the starting lineup of Hansbrough, Wright, Terry, Ellington and Lawson, but a second team of Hansbrough, Deon Thompson, Danny Green, Marcus Ginyard and Quentin Thomas/Bobby Frasor. The second team seemed to be a more defensive minded lineup, and UNC began to pull away when this lineup (or one similar to it) was on the court. And speaking of backups…
  • I was right about Quentin Thomas, wasn’t I? Hah? Hah? In the second half with 12 and a half minutes to go and UNC up 53-52, Roy puts Q in the game. In perhaps the game’s most critical juncture, Q has 2 points, two assists (including a third play in which he made a great pass to Danny Green who the passed it to Hansbrough, who dunked AND the foul) and three rebounds in six minutes, at which point UNC had a double digit lead from which UVa could not come back. Q was put in the game in crunch time, and he absolutely delivered.


Causes for Concern:

  • UVa’s backcourt was superior. With the exception of Q and Ginyard, UNC’s backcourt was seriously outplayed by the trio of Mamadi Diane, JR Reynolds and Sean Singletary, in spite that they were outnumbered nearly 3 to 1. The three combined for 43 of UVa’s 69 points, over 60%. UNC’s 8 backcourt players (Ellington, Lawson, Terry, Frasor, Miller, Green, Thomas, Ginyard) combined for 37 points (about 45% of scoring), 14 of which were free throws. The backcourt starters, Terry, Ellington and Lawson, made only 4 combined field goals the entire game. UNC is very fortunate to be a deep team, but if the Heels want to meet their championship aspirations, the starting backcourt must step up, or be replaced by the aforementioned Green, Ginyard and Thomas. Give the Cavs credit where credit is due; along with the Heels, they may have the best backcourt in the ACC.
  • Don’t let the 16 points and 9 rebounds fool you; Brendan Wright had a bad game. Wright was only 5-16 FG shooting from the field, including several easy shots he didn’t make. Shaq’s free throw shooting is better than Brendan’s was on Wednesday. He dind’t pass the ball to the outside when he should have, instead fighting the defense himself. Most alarmingly, he seemed to be overpowered by the inferior frontcourt of Jason Cain and Laurynas Mikalauskas; it looked like he wasn’t strong enough for them. He needs to fix his game, and fast.
  • Another slow start. UNC again began the game a little sluggish, and midway through the first half they had to overcome a 9 point deficit. They cannot continue to put themselves in early holes and expect to win.

Other Notes:

  • Q is already a fan favorite; it may be only a matter of time before before the Tar Heel faithful wear “Quentin Thomas Has A Posse” T-Shirts like they did for another fan favorite, former defensive specialist Jackie Manuel.
  • If you ever go to the Dean Dome and want a barbecue sandwich (and honestly, who doesn’t?) go to the Amis Baptist Church Concession Stand near section 120. They have the good sandwiches; lots of roughly chopped meat, no sauce, nicely smoked meat, just a good sandwich. Those guys do it right.
  • The Blues Brothers are back! And by that I mean those guys who dress up in Blues Brothers outfits and dance in the middle of the court in the second half while the band plays the theme song. They were on hiatus for a moth or so (mainly because these are new guys and needed more practice). It’s these kinds of useless, ridiculous rituals that make UNC fans care about the games even more. Kinda like Ramses crowdsurfing. C’mon, get the dunk Elwood!