Tonight the Tar Heels play Michigan State in the final game of day 3 of the NCAA Tournament. The winner of this game goes to the regional finals in East Rutherford. If the Tar heels can stay focused, dominate the paint and play good perimeter defense, they’ll win. I just hope the Spartans wearing green on St. Patrick’s day doesn’t play a factor.
8:16 pm: 2-2. Marquise Gray scores first for the Spartans, but Terry hits a midrange jumper to tie.
So far this game is going at a fairly slow pace. That favors the Spartans.
8:18 pm: UNC already makes their first substitution, as Green comes in for Terry.
8:19 pm: 4-4. Lawson penetrates inside and makes a great pass to Hansbrough, who gets an easy layup.
8:20 pm: 6-4, UNC. Hansbrough gets another basket inside to give the Heels their first lead of the game coming into the first TV timeout.
8:24 pm: 9-7, UNC. Lawson hits a three, but Neitzel responds.
8:25 pm: 12-9, UNC. WAYNE’S WORLD! WAYNE’S WORLD! PARTY TIME! EXCELLENT! WHOOOOO!!!
8:26 pm: 14-9, UNC. Lawson Misses a shot, but gets his own rebound and hits the putback over three Spartans.
8:27 pm: 17-12, UNC. Hansbrough’s aggressiveness will now be tested, as Wright is out with two quick fouls.
Gray gets three to hard way to cut the lead to two.
8:28 pm: Wow. All the players in for the Heels are bench players (Frasor, Ginyard, Green, Stepheson and Thompson).
8:29 pm: 19-15, UNC. Hansbrough comes in without his mask, and he drains his first shot. He’s 3-for-3.
Neitzel hits a three pointer. I’m shocked that Michigan State has been able to keep up with our pace so far.
8:33 pm: 21-18, UNC. Now this is the Tyler Hansbrough we’ve come to know and love, the kind who can take over a game. He has 8 points in as many minutes.
Wright’s back in with 2 fouls.
8:34 pm: 23-20, UNC. Ginyard makes a great coast to coast play, stealing a pass on the defensive end and an easy layup.
8:35 pm: 26-20, UNC. Hansbrough is a man on a mission. He just got three the hard way, and now has 11 points in as many minutes.
8:37 pm: 26-23, UNC. Raymar Morgan hits another Spartan three to cut the lead in half. The Heels need to do a better job of defending the perimeter.
8:38 pm: Wright and Wes Miller made a great hustle play. Hansbrough made a bad long pass, which the Spartans intercepted. But Wright swiped the ball away, and he rolled it toward the right wing, and Miller dived in for the ball and got fouled. Jay Bilas responds with, um, something weird: “Get on the floor for it!”
8:41 pm: Wright is making some very smart plays, the latest a dunk off his own missed shot to make it 28-23, UNC. The Tar Heels definitely seem to be in this game mentally.
8:42 pm: 28-26, UNC. But our weakness still seems to be perimeter defense. Even Miller can;t stop Neitzel from hitting threes.
8:43 pm: RUN FOR YOUR LIVES!!! BRANDAN WRIGHT IS SHOOTING FREE THROOWWWWSS!!!! AHHHHH!!! 29-26, UNC.
8:44 pm: More Bilas weirdness: “Roy Williams can bring in fresh body after fresh body…they signal with a fist”
8:45 pm: 31-26, UNC. Lawson makes another great pass, and Thompson gets a layup.
8:46 pm: 34-26, UNC. Wow, UNC is running the transition really well. Lawson passes to Hansbrough, displaying nice touch by getting the inside basket and the foul while being twisted around. He has 14 points.
8:48 pm: 36-27, UNC. Quentin Thomas is in the game, but Hansbrough continues to be the offensive focal point. He has 16 points in 16 minutes.
For a Dookie, Bilas really seems to be blowing UNC’s horn (pun intended).
8:50 pm: 36-31, UNC. UNC has two straight turnovers that lead to two straight Spartan baskets.
8:51 pm: 36-31, UNC. How is that a foul?!? Terry wasn’t even standing up!
8:54 pm: 36-33, UNC. Drew Neitzel likes it in the back door! The Spartans are now in striking distance.
8:56 pm: UNC has seemed out of sync for the last few minutes. Ellington just missed a free throw, and the Heels have made quite a few mistakes since the 4:30 mark.
8:57 pm: 38-33, UNC. The Heels now have three Spartan forwards in foul trouble.
9:01 pm: TAR! HEELS! TAR! HEELS! TAR!…
9:02 pm: 41-33, UNC. The Heels force a turnover, and Hansbrough gets a nice basket in transition to end the half. UNC leads, 41-33 at hafltime. We seemed to be running the transition game well, and we seemed mentally in it for about 15-16 of the first 20 minutes. Hansbrough had 19 in the first half, and his wearing down the frontcourt and the very fast pace of the game os foing to take a toll on the Spartans on the second half. For UNC to win, however, they must shut down the chances that Michigan State gets in the perimeter. We aren’t putting pressure on Neitzel, and he’s made us pay. The Spartans will need to continue shooting well from the outside, and the need to slow the pace of the game down to a halt.
9:23 pm: Drew Neitzel looks like a small MC Serch.
9:24 pm: 41-38, UNC. Jay, I know you think Tyler Hansbrough is the toughest player in America, but that’s about the fifth time you said that! You’re going to jinx us! The Spartans just scored two straight baskets to start the second half.
9:25 pm: 43-38, UNC. Wright gets an easy basket in transition.
9:26 pm: Gray picks up his third foul.
Suton did a great job of defending Hansbrough on that play, not allowing him to gain position inside.
9:28 pm: The Spartans have decided to try and shut down Hansbrough, and it really seems to be disrupting our offense. More importantly, Michigan State has begun to impose their halfcourt game, which concerns me greatly. It also looks like the Heels may not have made a full mental return to the game yet.
9:30 pm: 43-42, UNC. How did the Spartans keep getting those offensive rebounds? UNC needs to do a better job of boxing out. And shot selection.
9:31 pm: 45-44, UNC. The Spartans gets their first lead of the half after Neitzel stole the ball from Ellington and Suton got the basket inside. Michigan State got away with a travel on that play. But Deon Thompson gets a putback almost immediately as UNC tries to reinsert a fast pace to the game.
9:32 pm: 46-45, MSU. Suton gets another basket inside, slipping away from a screen and behind his defender.
9:36 pm: 46-46. Lawson hits one of two free throws.
9:38 pm: 47-46, UNC. Hansbrough is fouled, and he hits one of two free throws to give UNC the lead back.
9:40 pm: 49-47, MSU. Raymar Morgan gets the basket off the inbound pass and the foul.
Michigan State has imposed the halfcourt game onto this game. UNC needs to speed the game up.
9:41 pm: 50-49, UNC. Hansbrough makes a great play inside, getting the turnaround basket and the foul. Walton now has 4, and Hansbrough has 23 points.
2nd official timeout of the half.
9:47 pm: 52-51, UNC. Lawson manages to break through between several defenders and go inside for an easy layup to take the lead.
9:48 pm: 54-54. Neitzel hits another three, but Hansbrough slams it in to tie. He has 25 points in the game.
less than 10 minutes to go.
9:51 pm: How does Gray get that rebound?
57-54, MSU. Neitzel hits another three. He’s killing us!
9:53 pm: 57-56, MSU. I can’t believe we haven’t forced any of the Spartans to foul out yet. Lawson hits two free throws.
9:55 pm: 59-58, MSU. Hansbrough shoots free throws to give the lead back to the Heels, but Neitzel strikes again.
Less than 8 minutes to go.
9:59 pm: At some point, the fact that we can’t hit our outside shots is going to bite us in the ass. Even if it’s not tonight, it will really cost us at some point.
10:00 pm: 60-59, UNC. Terry’s free throws give the lead back to UNC.
10:01 pm: 62-59, UNC. Wright gets a great rebound, after which my first thought is “where the hell has he been for the last 10 minutes?”. Lawson drive the ball up quickly, and he makes a great dish to Hansbrough, who finishes easily. He now has 27.
10:05 pm: 67-61, UNC. Lawson hits the huge three to put the Heels up six with less than five minutes left. he has 18 points and has played just as well as Psycho T, if not better, especially in the second half.
10:07 pm: Wright picks up an offensive foul, his fourth. Thompson comes in.
10:09 pm: 68-61, UNC, 3:50 left. Our final official timeout.
10:13 pm: Michigan State misses the front end of a 1+1. The Spartans can;t afford to make those kinds of mistakes this late in the game.
10:14 pm: 70-63, UNC, 2:50 left. Terry hits a midrange jumper.
10:15 pm: 73-65, UNC, 2:15 left. It seems that even though he struggles most of the game Terry seems to always make a big shot late in the game.
Neitzel is out of gas; he just airballed a shot attempt.
10:17 pm: 74-65, UNC, 1:34 left. Brandan Wright makes a huge rejection, Hansbrough takes the ball, and he’s fouled. It looks like the Spartans are finally out of gas.
10:20 pm: 75-67, UNC, 1:26 left. Neitzel has 26 points, but is it too little, too late?
10:21 pm: 77-67, UNC, 1:15 left. Suton dribbles the ball off of his foot, it goes out of bounds, and it’s Carolina ball. The Spartans are definitely empty. Izzo players don’t make those kinds of mistakes without serious fatigue.
10:23 pm: 81-67, UNC, :26 left. Terry delivers the exclamation point with a three as the shot clock ran down.
10:25 pm: Now there’s a stat: Michigan State only hit one field goal in the final 8 minutes.
10:27 pm: The game ends, as UNC wins, 81-67. Hansbrough had 33 points and 9 rebounds, and he and Lawson helped to dictate the pace of the game, as the Spartans tired out in spite of Neitzel’s 26. UNC moves on to the Sweet 16. My bracket is rooting for Texas, but my heart is rooting for USC. I really don’t want to see the matchup nightmare that is Kevin Durant.