2007 ACC Championship Live Blog: UNC vs. NC State

Today North Carolina plays NC State for the ACC Tournament Championship in the final game of my attempt to live blog the entire ACC Tournament. A win for that Wolfpack would mean an NCAA berth, while a win for the Tar Heels would almost assure them of a #1 seed. We could discuss about NC State’s plan to slow down the game, how UNC needs to have the killer instinct, win the rebounding battle and not turn the ball over. We could talk about how NC State’s subs need to play out of their minds if Atsur and Costner can’t play to the level they’ve been playing this week, and how they they need to shoot above 60%.

But you and I both know that the deciding factors of the game won’t be the players, or even the coaching gameplans. It will come down to the intangibles. Accessories to be exact. If Hansbrough’s mask continues to compromise his play, Brandan Wright will need to have a great game inside, both offensively and defensively. And I heard that Sidney Lowe’s suit was dry cleaned. Don’t you know that dry cleaning robe the suit of its voodoo? Or does it? The answer to that question will determine whether they’ll keep it close.

I heard that Lawson felt something wrong with him today in warmups. The voodoo may still work yet. If NC State wins, that suit will become legendary.

1:06 pm: 3-2, NCSU. Hansbrough draws first blood, but Fells hits a three off a great pass from Atsur.

1:07 pm: 4-3, UNC. Wha? Can it be? It is! IT’S A MIRACLE! BRANDAN WRIGHT HITS BOTH OF HIS FREE THROWS!

Of course, dunks are much easier for him. 6-3, UNC.

1:09 pm: 6-6. Fells hits another three to tie the game.

1:10 pm: 8-6, UNC. WAYNE’S WORLD! WAYNE’S WORLD! PARTY TIME! EXCELLENT! WHOOOOOO!!!

So far the game is clearly going at UNC’s pace. Even if NC Stats keeps it close, they’ll need to bring the pace down to a halt, or else they’ll run out of gas.

1:11 pm: 9-8, NCSU. Brandon Costner hits a three as Brandan Wright fails to follow him to the perimeter. He’s every bit as talented as Wright.

The Wolfpack are now 3 for 4 from beyond the arc. My worst nightmare for this team, poor perimeter defense, may finally be realized today.

1:14 pm: TAR! HEELS TAR! HEELS! TAR! HEELS!…

1:15 pm: 10-9, UNC. Danny Green comes in for Terry, and he hits a jumper from the free throw line to give UNC the lead.

1:16 pm: 12-11, UNC. Costner hits a tough basket, but Lawson goes coast to coast for a layup seven seconds later.

1:17 pm: 16-12, NCSU. NC State is now 4-for-6 from 3-point range. McCauley then drives in for an easy basket.

I’m really concerned about the Tar Heels. They’ve abandoned the paint, taking low percentage outside shots.

1:18 pm: 18-12, NCSU. Costner gets the basket and the foul. But he misses the free throw.

1:19 pm: 18-15, NCSU. Terry hits a three, but I still think the Heels should keep attacking the middle. They can’t be effective if they’re chucking up shots from the perimeter without even looking inside. They need to pass more.

1:22 pm: 18-17, NCSU. Nearly midway into the first half. Ginyard’s free throws cut the lead to 1.

1:24 pm: 21-17, NCSU. The Wolfpack are much better able to slow down the game with Frasor at point guard. I know he’s been hurt, but he’s been really ineffective this season.

1:25 pm: 21-21. The Heels are able to get two quick baskets in transition, the latest off a turnover by Atsur. The trap defense UNc has been running since the last TV timeout seems to be affecting him.

1:27 pm: 23-21, UNC. UNC forces another turnover, and and get another easy layup to take the lead.

1:28 pm: 25-23, UNC. Costner gets a tough basket inside, but Thompson gets an easy layup less than five seconds later. If they’re able to play at this level for 30-40 minutes, there isn’t anyone who can beat them.

1:32 pm: 27-25, UNC. The Wolfpack defense still doesn’t have an answer for Brandan Wright.

1:35 pm: 30-27, UNC. Atsur hits another three to take the lead back, and MCauley hits an easy one inside to bring the lead to three, as UNC is again chucking shots from outside.

1:37 pm: 32-30, UNC. Ellington hits another three to tie, and Wright gets a dunk off another great feed inside by Lawson. Wright now has 12. Four minutes left in the first half.

1:38 pm: 32-32. McCauley ties the game again, as the UNC defense doesn’t seem to have an answer for him either.

UNC has 5 turnovers in this game, and most of them are unforced. I am really starting to get tired this team mentally fazing in and out of games. This team is capable of so much better than they’re playing.

1:42 pm: 34-32, UNC. Danny Green hits another shot in the lane, but NC State is still very much able to slow down the pace of the game when Frasor is at point guard.

1:43 pm: 40-32, UNC. I spoke too soon. Wes Miller hits two straight three in transition to extend the lead to 8. The Wolfpack must think it’s unfair that the guy to help the Heels breakaway is their 11th man.

1:46 pm: Brandan Wright scores easily again to cap UNC’s 15-4 run to end the first half. UNC leads, 42-34 at halftime. It looks like the Wolfpack are finally running on fumes at the end of the half, but UNC has kept them in the game in part because of their unforced errors. Still, the Heels are in very good position to win the game if they continue to attack the rim and keep a fast pace of the game. If they do that, eventually NC State will reach their breaking point. For NC State tp win, they’ll need to show a second wind, Atsur will need to be able to slow the game pace down to a screeching halt, and they will need to force UNC into mental mistakes.

Then again, maybe Sidney Lowe should have thought of that before getting his suit dry cleaned.

2:06 pm: 46-34, UNC. The second half begins. Lawson hits two free throws to bring the lead to double digits, and Ellington steals the ball and gets an easy layup in transition. The Wolfpack can’t afford to get far behind.

2:07 pm: 50-36, UNC. Lawson hits his first two shots of the game a long jumper and a great reverse layup. The UNC guards are playing really well to start the second half. NC State seems flat-footed so far.

2:11 pm: 50-38, UNC. Gavin Grant provides the Wolfpack their first field goal of the second half, three minutes in.

2;12 pm: 52-40, UNC. NC State forces a turnover, and McCauley gets a tough basket inside to bring the lead to 10, but Ellington drives inside for a floater almost immediately after. They can’t afford to let the Tar Heels continue at this fast pace.

2:16 pm: 54-40, UNC. Deon Thompson scores for the Tar Heels.

McCauley gets poked in the eye. If you;re keeping track, that’s three NC State players who are playing injured (Atsur, Costner).

UPDATE: Northwestern La. State University is trying to get back into the tourney. But Texas A&M, Corpus Christi, and their ridiculously bad color combination, are leading 11-5. NW St. isn;t the same without that guy with the crazy afro.

2:19 pm: 56-43, UNC. Costner hits a three, but with 13 minutes left the Pack are looking really tired. They’ll be zombies by the end of the game, win or lose.

2:22 pm: 56-47, UNC. Suddenly, the lead is back to single digits. and Roy does the worst possible thing for effective strategy against a tired team: he puts in the conservative Bobby Frasor at point guard. Right now the Heels need to run the Pack into the ground, and Bobby Frasor wonlt be able to do that. If Lawson was headed to the bench, I would out Quentin Thomas at point guard. Maybe Roy thought Q would make a few unforced errors to help bring NC State back, but I think leaving the Wolfpack completely out of gas is most important at this point.

2:27 pm: 58-48, UNC. Brandan Wright comes back off the bench, and he immediately ends the Heels’ drought to bring the lead back to 10.

2:29 pm: 64-52, UNC. NC State is getting by on offensive rebounds, but Hansbrough finally gets a basket inside and the foul to bring the lead to 12.

2:31 pm: 64-56, UNC. The Heels’ unforced errors continue to keep NC State in this game, as Costner takes advantage off of a Frasor turnover. Eight and a half minutes to go.

2:33 pm: 66-58, UNC. The Heels finally bring Lawson back into the game.

2:35 pm: Even if we win today, we may not get the #1 seed, because the Selection Committee is going to see that we clearly allowed inferior opponents stay within striking distance of winning a game because of our mistakes or because of simply not having our heads in the game. Therefore they’re going to give us a tough road to the championship, almost to say, “You think you’re the best? Then best the best…5 times.”

Believe it or not, I’m more afraid of an inferior opponent than a top opponent, simply because of our mental state. 68-60, UNC, 7 minutes left.

2:40 pm: 68-62, UNC, 6:30 left. Is it possible for someone to dunk off the backboard? Because I think Courtney Fells just did that.

2:41 pm: 68-65, UNC, 6:00 left. UNC shoots another low percentage outside shot, NC State rebounds, and Gavin Grant gets the tough jumper in the lane AND the foul. The lead has been cut to three.

2:42 pm: 70-67, UNC, 5:30 left. The only reason UNC is still leading is because Hansbrough is 9 of 9 from the free throw line. He travels, and now the Wolfpack have a chance to tie.

2:43 pm: 75-69, UNC, 4:25 left. Fells scores again to cut the lead to one, but suddenly and unexpectedly, Rayshwan Terry comes out of whatever slumber he’s been in for the first 35 minutes and hits two tough shots, the first a baseline jumper and the second a driving layup inside and the foul. It’s good to have you back, Rayshawn, but where the hell have you been?!?

2:46 pm: 75-72, UNC, 4:00 left. Gran t misses his second free throw, but UNC fails to box out, and McCauley gets an easy basket to cut the lead to 3.

Roy, that blazer doesn’t have any mojo. It’s only blue-ish.

2:51 pm: 78-75, UNC, 3:15 left. Terry hits a three, but Costner drives inside, gets the basket, and gives Hansbrough his fourth foul. I cannot point to any good reason why the Wolfpack still have this much energy.

2:53 pm: 1:56 left. Suddenly Wright is missing point blank shots. This must be Sidney’s voodoo.

2:55 pm: 1:28 left. A sign in the stands said: “Beating Carolina: So Easy, A Caveman Can Do It.” Unfortunately, I might not disagree. Assuming that caveman is an experienced, cunning and athletic point guard.

2:56 pm: 80-75, UNC, 1:10 left. Ellington hits his free throws, and Ginyard comes in for defense.

2:58 pm: 82-75, UNC, :50 left. One of the things UNC has done extremely well: they haven’t missed a free throw shot yet.

2:59 pm: 82-78, UNC, :42 left. Costner converts the old-fashioned three, but is it too little, too late?

3:02 pm: 84-78, UNC, :42 left. TAR! HEELS! TAR! HEELS! TAR! HEELS! TAR! HEELS! TAR!…

3:03 pm: 84-80, UNC, :31 left. McCauley hits a quick shot, and the Wolfpack are back within 4. UNC burns a timeout because they can;t inbound it.

3:04 pm: 85-80, UNC, :15 left. Lawson misses his first free throw, but makes the second. McCauley misses his hot, UNC rebound, Terry is fould and this game is bout over if he can make his free throws.

3:06 pm: Terry makes his free throws, NC State misses their shot, and Lawson finishes the game with a dunk. UNC wins the ACC Tournament, 89-80, over NC State! YES! YES! YEEEAAAHHHH!!! UNC WINS THE ACC CHAMPIONSHIP!!!

You have to give a lot of credit to the NC State Wolfpack. They played out of their minds today. I don’t know how they kept their energy level throughout the game. Brandon Costner is certainly the Tournament’s most outstanding player. UNC did not play their best game, but they did enough down the stretch to win. In particular, Rayshawn Terry came up big late in the game, being the focal point of their offense and shutting down Gavin Grant on defense. Tyler Hansbrough scored 15 points in spite of only two made field goals,  as he made all 11 of his free throws.

Again, I must emphasize the this Tar Heel team struggles when they don’t have the mental focus, but when they do, there may not be a better or deeper team in the country. The Tar Heels did just enough to win today, and now they can enjoy being the ACC champions.  Now we’ll see later today what kind of draw they’ll get in the tournament.

And so ends the ACC Tournament. I had a lot of fun covering the whole event, and I’m definitely going to do it again next year. Again, many thanks to the Extrapolater for his help. I leave you with a new phrase that Cliff Ellis has for a three point shot: “From the Bonusphere.” He’s my new favorite analyst.

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UNC vs. Boston College Live Blog, ACC Tournament 2007

Today, UNC plays Boston College in the first semifinal of the ACC Tournament and game #9 of my attempt to live blog the entire event (with help from the Extrapolater). For a quick preview of each team, see my ACC Tournament Preview. To see how UNC and BC got here, see Friday’s UNC-FSU Live Blog and BC-Miami Live Blog.

Simply looking at the score, I would have said that BC played a very subpar game against the Hurricanes. However, Miami and coach Frank Haith executed an excellent gameplan for this tournament that has taken Maryland and BC, two good team,s very much out of their comfort zone. But Tyrese Rice was able to save the Eagles with a career high 32 points, and Jared Dudley finally woke up to help late in the game. If Rice plays like he did yesterday, Ty Lawson is going to have his hands full, and if Sean Marshall and Dudley, ACC Player of the Year, can play to the level they’re capable of playing, they can definitely win this game.

North Carolina didn’t have their best showing on Friday, and Tyler Hansbrough was really ineffective with that mask on (which I thought was going to make him even more aggressive), which means Wright will have to do a better job of carrying the load in the frontcourt. I was pleasantly surprised, however, at how well the backcourt, especially Wayne Ellington, played against Florida State. He scored 18 points and made sound decisions when shooting, but I was most impressed at how well he played defense. If he can be a complete player like that consistently, our weakness (the backcourt) will become a strength for UNC if players like Hansbrough are neutralized in the paint.

One more quick note: at the beginning of yesterday’s action I prayed for God to deliver us from Billy Packer. At the end of the game, he said he was heading to the Midwest to cover the Big Ten. Prayer works, people. Harness its power.

jesus-swimming.jpg

1:38 pm: No change in the UNC starting lineup. BC has Tyler Roche in at power forward.

1:40 pm: 2-0, UNC. Brandan Wright hits the midrange jumper. He’s really starting to develop his range.

1:41 pm: 4-0, UNC. Hansbrough rebounds a uick BC shot, and Terry finishes on the other end.

1:42 pm: Hansbrough has played great defense in the first two minutes.

The crowd is decidedly louder today. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised; the stakes are higher.

1:43 pm: 4-3, UNC. Marshall hits a three for BC, but Hansbrough takes the charge on the next possession. regardless of how much he scores, he’s playing much better in this game.

1:45 pm: Now this is the Psycho T, the aggressive post player we’ve come to expect! Regardless of how much he scores, he’s playing much better in this game. He’s in every scrum today.

1:46 pm: Marshall commits his second foul trying to block a Lawson layup. Credit Ellington for that play. He outhustled everyone for the rebound and made the long pass to Lawson.

UNC is clearly controlling the tempo of this game. But BC is playing a good enough defense that they didn’t get in an early hole.

1:50 pm: 6-3, UNC. I can’t believe it. UNC has played for five minutes and we haven’t seen a single substitution.

Wright puts back a miss by Terry. 8-3, UNC.

Where has the aggressive Wayne Ellington been all season?

1:52 pm: 10-5, UNC. Ginyard and Thompson are the first substitutes for the Heels. Ginyard makes the tough reverse layup to bring the lead back to five.

Neither team has shot the ball very well in this game so far.

1:53 pm: Now UNC pretty much has their second team in. Hansbrough in the only starter in now.

1:54 pm: 12-5, UNC. Hansbrough makes a nice pass to Green, who finishes inside.

We are still anxiously awaiting the arrival of Jared Dudley to the ACC Tournament.

1:56 pm: 15-5, UNC. We’re 8 minutes in and already have a double digit lead, thanks to a great block by Green and Frasor hitting an open three.

1:57 pm: 17-7, UNC. Dudley finally scores to bring the lead back to 10.

The Tar Heels have done an excellent job of preventing easy opportunities for BC.

1:58 pm: 19-9, UNC. Ginyard almost steals a pass to Marshall, but he misses and Marshall hits a wide open jumpshot.

On the next BC possession, Ginyard times it right and gets the easy layup.

This game is definitely going at UNC’s pace. BC will need to slow it down soon if they want to keep it within reach.

2:03 pm: 23-11, UNC. It takes nearly 12 minutes for BC to score 10 points. You really have to credit the defense, but BC’s shots really aren’t falling.

Brandan Wright finishes another fast break. He’s playing really well today.

2:06 pm: Aside from Sean Marshall, BC is 1 for 14 on field goals. Shamari Spears misses both of his free throws.

2:07 pm: 25-11, UNC. Terry hits a nice jumpshot, and Lawson follows suit on the next possession to bring the lead to 16. If the Tar Heels can play this well, no one can beat them.

2:09 pm: Crap. Now I’m thinking about my stock portfolio. Thanks, Charles Schwab.

2:10 pm: TAR! HEELS! TAR! HEELS! TAR!…

2:11 pm: 27-14, UNC. Marshall is now 4 for 4 from the field, but this is starting to get ridiculous. I’ve seen at least three shots go halfway in for the Eagles and rattle out. The BC basket must have some sort of magnetic repellent that only Marshall is immune to.

2:12 pm: 30-14, UNC. Hansbrough gets his first basket AND the foul. I’m now convinced that he’ll be fine by the time the NCAA Tournament comes around.

A very important stat: 21 of out 30 points are in the paint. That equals success.

2;14 pm: The Tar Heel faithful travel surprisingly well.

Defensive specialist Tyrelle Blair hits his first shot. 30-18, UNC.

2;15 pm: Wright gets into foul trouble.

I watch Carlos Mencia’s TV show, but that ad stopped being funny about the 15th time.

2:18 pm: It simply wouldn’t be a live sports broadcast with at least a few awkward jokes. Come on, Mike Gminski.

2:19 pm: 30-19, UNC. I just get really pumped when I see Hansbrough outfight some guy for a rebound. It’s even more awesome when that some guy is the ACC Player of the Year.

2:21 pm: 34-19, UNC. UNC getting rebounds is sparking their fast break, which in turn leads to easy shots, the last a midrange jumpshot by Lawson.

2:23 pm: I hope you’re wearing eye protection. Brandan Wright is shooting free throws.

2:23 pm: 36-20, UNC. Fortunately for Wright, dunking is a substantially higher percentage shot.

2:25 pm: 38-23, UNC. The Tar Heels suffer their first defensive lapse, as Tyrese Rice is left alone for the three. Before that they had shot 23% from the field.

2:28 pm: The games hit halftime. UNC leads BC, 38-23. In spite of Hansbrough’s continued offensive struggles, he has been a defensive menace in the first half, and the rest of the team has shot the ball well, in particular Brandan Wright. The Eagles, with the exception of Marshall, have been shooting horrendously, and even he’s in foul trouble. Give credit to the UNC defense, as they haven’t given BC any good looks. The Eagles will need to find a way to break down the defense in the second half to give themselves a chance in the second half. Either that, or UNC needs to have a meltdown. I don’t even want to think about it.

2:36 pm: An ad of a guy getting hit in the face with his own blocked shot, however, never gets old.

2:38 pm: Wow. Christian Laettner looks so much different now that I didn’t recognize him in time to boo my lungs out.

2:48 pm: Boston College has the ball to start the second half. Predictably, they miss the shot in takes them 30 seconds to shoo,t UNC rebounds, and Brandan Wright dunks on the other end five seconds later. 40-23, UNC.

2:49 pm: 40-25, UNC. Welcome to the ACC Tournament, Jared Dudley.

2:50 pm: 42-25, UNC. Tyler Hansbrough is finally getting some offense.

Jared Dudley hits Tyler square in the nose. That, LWS, is why he kept the mask on.

2:51 pm: 46-27, UNC. Even when BC scores, they don’t get back on defense, and Carolina continues to get easy baskets inside. 35 of their 46 points are in the paint.

2:53 pm: 48-32, UNC. Dudley is really starting to play well on the offensive end, but can the Eagles make some defensive stops? Deon Thompson thinks not. 50-32, UNC.

2:58 pm: 50-38, UNC. Boston College is starting to make a run, as they’re finally hitting their shots, and playing good defense. Mike Gminski points out the at the basket at which BC was shooting in the first half and UNC is now shooting, there are two cameras with a lot of black tape that can distract shooters. Thanks, Mike. If we lose, I can blame you.

3:00 pm: Marshall hits a three, and the 20 point lead is now down to 9. With more than 12 minutes left, this game is far from over.

3:01 pm: 55-41, UNC. The Tar Heels finally break the drought. First Terry hits a three, and then Brandan Wright gets another breakaway dunk from a rebound and fast break.

That’s what the Tar Heels still need, the ability to put an opponent away when they’re in control of the game.

3:04 pm: Did you know that in the ACC markets, the tourney games are presented by Racom/Lincoln Financial Sports? Did you also know that they’ve shown every ad at laest 30 times during the tournament? And you wonder why live-blogging this event is hard.

3:06 pm: 59-44, UNC. Wright continues to dominate the offensive post, and Hansbrough is still getting his defensive rebounds. Every time it looks like BC is coming back, UNC gets a fast break basket.

3:08 pm: WAYNE’S WORLD! WAYNE’S WORLD! PARTY TIME! EXCELLENT! WHOOOOO!!! (guitar riff) You can’t leave that guy open in the perimeter. 62-44, UNC.

3:09 pm: When Roy Williams screams on TV he sounds just like Jeff Foxworthy. You gotta love the ACC.

3:13 pm: For my complaints about the tournament coverage, I have to say Cliff Ellis does a good job of analyzing these teams. I’d hire him as a color commentator.

3:14 pm: 64-46, UNC. That was just classic Hansbrough. He outfights three guys for the ball, makes some space, and hits a tough shot inside for the Tar Heels. It’s good to have you back, Tyler.

3:16 pm: 64-48, UNC. This is what UNC can’t do late in a game. This is what will get them ousted from the tournament. They simply cannot let up until the game is definitively over. If you give a quality opponent an inch, they’ll take a mile.

3:21 pm: 67-48, UNC. Ellington hits a three off a great pass from Lawson, which reminds me of two things:

  1. Bobby Frasor is a liability for our style of play right now.
  2. Exactly what does Coach Roy have against Quentin Thomas? He’s clearly better than Frasor, yet Bobby gets all of the minutes when Lawson is on the bench.

3:23 pm: 67-54, UNC. Marshall and Dudley hit two straight threes. Again, UNC can’t let up in these situations.

3:26 pm: 69-54, UNC. The Tar Heels seemingly deliver the mortal blow, courtesy of a Wes Miller steal and another fast break layup by Ty Lawson.

3:28 pm: 69-56, UNC. Why is A-Ha’s “Take On Me” in every college band’s repertoire? It’s driving me crazy.

3:29 pm: 71-56, UNC. Brandan Wright definitely finishes off the Eagles with another fast break dunk. He has 20 in this game, seemingly all dunks.

Bring in the substitutes!

3:32 pm: UNC wins, 71-56. WHOOOOOOOOO!!! Cue the band! 

North Carolina played very well today. They played great defense to grab the big lead, and they ran their fast-paced transition game well enough to keep it. They’ll play the winner of NC State and Virginia Tech, which I’ll be covering at Digital Headbutt. I may end up rooting for the Hokies, because I’m really starting to get scared of Sidney Lowe’s voodoo red jacket.

2007 ACC Tournament: UNC vs. Florida State Live Blog

I’m still recovering from yesterday’s slate of four games. I was watching the double overtime game between Wake and Georgia Tech until about 1 am. Frankly I’m trying to enter a fully alert state, and now I have to get pumped to cover the first tournament game featuring my alma mater, in game five of my attempt to post a live blog of every game of the ACC Tournament. Actually, this is only my fourth live blog, as the Extrapolater so kindly lent his blogging services for the late game. He will be doing so again today, as the University of Virginia is his allegiance.

For a preview of each team, see the ACC Tournament Preview, and to see how FSU did yesterday, see the FSU-Clemson Live Blog.

Florida State is here not so much because they beat Clemson yesterday so much as Clemson gave the game away. While that bodes well on paper for the Seminoles’ tournament chances, the committee may not be as impressed. I think they should be in by virtue of Al Thornton alone, but they will need to play a great game, even if in a losing effort, in order to feel confident about a spot in the field.

With UCLA’s unexpected loss on Thursday, UNC could very well get a #1 seed with a deep run in the ACC tournament. Their trek to the finals can either be relatively easy or hell on earth. Both Florida State and Boston College are talented teams, but they don’t match up well against the Tar Heels, BC because their bench isn’t as deep and they thus like a slower game pace, and Florida State because…well, I really don’t know what to expect from Florida State at this point. Brandan Wright and Rayshawn Terry will likely be assigned to Thornton, both of which are somewhat of a mismatch against Thornton’s size, range and quickness. If they’re able to contain him, dominate the post, find a way to play Quentin Thomas for 10 minutes, and most of all have their collective head in the games, the Tar Heels should have too much difficulty today.

I am anxiously awaiting how Tyler Hansbrough will play with a mask on. I think he’ll go ballistic and get 30 points and 20 rebounds today.

12:07 pm: This is the ACC Tournament, right? So why are you showing the Yankees Spring Training complex?

12:08 pm: Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name; thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven; give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespassers, as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from Billy Packer; Amen.

12:10 pm: 3-0, UNC. WAYNE’S WORLD! WAYNE’S WORLD! PARTY TIME! EXCELLENT! WHOOOOOO!!! (riff)

12:11 pm: 5-2, UNC. Hansbrough gets his first basket of the game, He doesn’t seem to be fazed much by the mask. And what a horrendous mask it is. I was expecting something more like what Rip Hamilton wore in the NBA Finals.

12:12 pm: 7-2, UNC. If the Seminoles were smart, they would foul Brendan Wright and force him to get his points on the free throw line.

12:13 pm: 9-4, UNC. The Tar Heels are playing aggressively. They definitely seem to have the right mindset so far.

The Phantom of the Opera goes to the bench.

12:15 pm: 11-4, UNC. Every time Florida State forces a turnover, UNC has stolen it right back. I’ve been shocked at how well Ellington and Lawson have played so far. This is the first time I’ve seen Wayne play such great defense. Where was this all season?

12:21 pm: 11-6, UNC. Wow. Al Thornton just made Rayshawn Terry look really, really bad.

12:24 pm: 13-6, UNC. Terry hits a nice midrange jumpshot, but it looks like the offense is shying away from Hansbrough right now.

12:26 pm: 13-10, UNC. The Tar Heels are still playing sloppier than I’d like, especially with Frasor on the floor. Is there some sort of disciplinary measure against Quentin Thomas I don’t know about? Because he’s better than Frasor right now, but Bobby is playing a lot more minutes.

12:27 pm: 13-13. Jerel Allen ties the game with a three. I am starting to get concerned.

12:28 pm: 18-13, UNC. Just as I’m about to type that Lawson should come back into the game, Frasor hits a three and makes a great assist to Brandan Wright to give UNC a 5 point lead. The inconsistency is frustrating.

12:32 pm: UNC is winning the rebound battle, but losing the turnover battle.

TAR! HEELS! TAR! HEELS! TAR! HEELS!

12:33 pm: 21-13, UNC. Lawson hits a three, and FSU’s drought continues.

It was really frustrating that Lawson either will go shot crazy or won’t shoot at all. Against Virginia Tech he threw up 20 shots, only making 6. Against Duke he had a wide open shot for two seconds, and he stood still for an eternity, open, before deciding to pass it to the top of the key. AAAAAGHHH!!!

12:36 pm: 21-17, UNC. A good defensive series by FSU leads to a tough basket by Thornton, but it looks like either UNC’s offense is shying away from the paint or the Seminoles have deiced to lock the paint from any activity whatsoever. Either way, the Tar Heels still must attack the inside. That’s their modus operandi.

12:41 pm: 23-17, UNC. Wright gets a nice basket inside. Florida State is one of the teams we can beat in spite of our bad mindset, mainly because the Seminoles have a bad mindset.

YES! YES! Roy finally listened to me! Quentin Thomas is finally in the game!

12:44 pm: 24-17, UNC. Dis FSU just get the ball off of an official? Is that legal!

12:45 pm: BRANDAN WRIGHT IS SHOOTING FREE THROWS!!! MY EYYEEESSS!!! THEY BURRRRNNN!!!

12:46 pm: 27-17, UNC. Ellington hits another shot, this time a mid-range jumper. Hansbrough isn’t nearly as involved in the game as he should be.

Q picks up his 2nd foul. I thought his defense wasn’t too bad, but they’re going to bench him.

12:48 pm: 30-22, UNC. Danny Green hits a three, but Thornton immediately responds. Florida State needs mor out of him, but he has two fouls. Hansbrough still isn’t has active as I thought he’d be. Is it that UNC is skiddish about giving it to him, or is he still wary of injury?

12:52 pm: 30-24, UNC. After watching him after the second rebound miss, it’s clear to me that Hansbrough’s mask affects the way he plays. He’s certainly not as aggressive, and that’s what makes him effective.

12:55 pm: 30-26, UNC. Florida State has scored the last 7 points, and UNC hasn’t gotten any good looks inside. More importantly, the Heels aren’t making their free throws. Terry, Wright, and Hansbrough are 2-10 from the line.

12:57 pm: This is not good. now the Heels are just taking jumpshots out of desperation. Brandan Wright hasn’t taken over the paint in Psycho T’s absence.

1:00 pm: OOHHHHH!!!! OHHHH!!! What a final 30 seconds. First Thompson draws the offensive foul, then Ellington hits another 20-foot jumper, then Ty Lawson steal the inbound pass, shoots the ball up, and Thompson scores on the putback at the buzzer. UNC leads 36-26 at halftime. What’s even better is that Seminole coach Leonard Hamilton absolutely lost it, and got called for a technical foul. This means that we’ll get two free throws and the ball to start the Second half. Technically, this means that we will have scored between 6 and 9 points between the offensive foul and the next time Florida State gets the ball.

UNC seems to be in control of the game, but they could still do a better job of getting the frontcourt more involved in the offense, as well as cutting down on turnovers, and they have to make their free throws. With the Florida State backcourt in deep trouble (Rich and Swann each have 3 fouls), nothing short of the Al Thornton Show can give FSU a victory at this point.

1:16 pm: Nothing scares the s— out of me more than the thought of Billy Packer in High Definition.

1:18 pm: 40-26, UNC. Just as I said, the Heels make their free throws, the Heels finally attack the inside and give Hansbrough an easy basket, and they’ve scored 8 points before Florida State has a chance to have the ball.

1:19 pm: 44-26, UNC. North Carolina gets two more quick baskets inside, and in 135 seconds of game time Florida State goes from down 4 and with momentum to down 18 about to fall apart.

Now this is what we’ve come to expect from the Tar Heels: the ability to change the momentum so quickly, the opponent has no idea what just happened.

1:23 pm: How can the referees allow that? Echefu was clearly down, the play remained in the paint, and yet the refs did nothing to stop the play until Thornton tripped over his teammate. That is unacceptable. I may be rooting for UNC, but Echefu could have gotten trampled.

1:25 pm: 44-28, UNC. Florida State finally breaks the drought.

Ellington is playing much better defense in this game than he has all season.

1:26 pm: 48-28, UNC. Lawson is having no trouble driving inside and getting layups right now. Florida State is really beginning to let the seas part, especially now that all three of their backcourt players have 3 fouls. (Swann, Rich, Douglas)

1:33 pm: 48-31, UNC. Someone should tell the Tar Heels that taking free throw shooting lessons from Brandan Wright is a bad idea.

1:34 pm: 50-35, UNC. Hansbrough seems to be a lot more comfortable with the mask in the second half.

Jerel Allen hits another three. I think he’s their only player in double figures.

1:36 pm: 52-40, UNC. Just as it looks like the Seminoles were creeping back into this game, Thornton goes out with foul trouble, Allen misses a layup, UNC goes on the fast break, and Terry makes a huge dunk that just took the air out of the FSU fans.

1:42 pm: 54-40, UNC. I had to step away from the computer for a few minutes. What did I miss?

Hmmmm…not much, apparently.

1:43 pm: 57-40, UNC. Who are you, and what have you done with the real Rayshawn Terry?

No sooner does Thornton come back in the game than he commits his fourth foul.

Q is back in the game WHOOO!!!

1:46 pm: 59-40, UNC. Q did it again! He did it again, another alley-oop to Brandan Wright. They make it look easy. But notice that he only does that with Wright and his long arms. With any other player, the ball sails out of bounds and Thomas doesn’t see the court for the rest of the tournament.

1:51 pm: 59-43, UNC. Only 22 of Florida State’s 59 points are in the paint. At this stage the Heels should usually have 35-40.

1:52 pm: Al Thornton just fouled out with 12 points. Show some respect.

I can think of few things less respectful to Al Thornton than making him watch Brandan Wright shoot free throws. I wouldn’t wish that even on a Duke fan.

1:55 pm: 63-48, UNC. I really didn’t expect Hansbrough to be affected so much by the mask. He has not made good decisions in this game at all.

You have to give credit of Florida State. They haven’t quit after Thornton fouled out.

1:56 pm: 66-49, UNC. WAYNE’S WORLD! WAYNE’S WORLD! PARTY TIME! EXCELLENT! WHOOOOOO!!! (riff) He’s our best player today. Although if one of our shooting guards is our best player, usually that means our frontcourt isn’t playing well.

1:57 pm: 66-52, UNC. Uche Echefu is a lot like Thornton. He’s not as fast, but his range is just as good.

1:57 pm: 68-54, UNC. Ironically, it’s our guards, Lawson, Ellington and Ginyard, who are finally putting this game away.

I feel bad for Florida State. I hope this game doesn’t cost them an invitation to the NCAA tournament, because with Thornton and the right mindset, they can do some damage.

2:08 pm: 70-56, UNC, 2:00 left. Hasnbrough fouls out. He’s had a really disappointing game. It’s possible that this may be due to conditioning, if Hansbrough missed practice time because of his injury. He certainly didn’t look like himself today.

2:11 pm: 72-56, UNC. Dewey Burke is in the game. This game is over.

Seriously, Billy? Special meal? Do your research! We get BISCUITS after UNC scores 100 points.

2:13 pm: The game is over. UNC wins, 73-58. I can’t say that I’m especially pleased with the result today. There were a lot of things that we did right. We played great defense, Ellington is becoming a complete player, and it appears that we can survive with a more balanced attack. Still, I am shocked at how ineffective Tyler Hansbrough was in this game. Either the injury or the mask has really affected his on-court attitude. But more importantly, we seemed to let a team hang around when we were perfectly capable of putting the game away quickly and easily. A better team will take advantage of that and take that kind of game away from us. Still, even with a bad mindset, we can still win the ACC tournament depending on our draw. But to make it to the final four, the Heels will need to show the killer instinct, the ability to press their foot on the throat of their opponent and not let up.

Now to see who our semifinal opponent will be. I’ll be at Digital Headbutt to live blog ACC Tournament Game #6, BC vs. Miami.

UNC vs. Duke Live Blog II: UNC Wins, 86-72

Today, UNC plays their final game of the season in the Dean Dome against the University of New Jersey at Durham. This is an extremely important game not only because of our opponent, or because it’s the last home game for Rayshawn Terry, Wes Miller, and Dewey Burke. The Heels are still vying for ACC and NCAA tournament position.

That was a sentence I would not have believed I would be typing at the beginning of the year. The ACC is a tough conference, but considering how well the Heels played last year and how good the incoming freshman are, everyone was fully expecting the Heels to run away with the conference title and a #1 seed in the Big Dance by this point. One of the problems is unrealistic expectations (last year was a freak of nature that we may never see again), but the main problem has been our gameplan, or specifically our deviation from it. Our bench players have seen significantly less time. We haven’t been aggressive on defense. Our inexperienced guards are not shooting well, but more importantly they’re shooting too much. Our strength is in the low post. But Hansbrough and Wright have not been reliable defenders either. The bench is their biggest asset, and they need to take more advantage of that. For example, Quentin Thomas is their best passer. He should play at least 10 minutes in this game, probably 15. That will leave 20-25 for Lawson, and 5 for Frasor. Perhaps the most important matchup will be Jon Scheyer versus Wayne Ellington and Marcus Ginyard. If the main objective is improving our defense, Ginyard should start and shut down Scheyer in the game. Ellington shoots too much, anyway.

But I am confident that UNC will win this game and clinch a share of the ACC championship. Don’t take it from me, take it from a corrupt, boring senator:

4:05 pm: Wow. The start of the game almost got pre-empted by the Missouri Vally Conference Championship. That’s how far the Mid-Majors have come.

4:07 pm: Burke and Miller start in the backcourt. WHOOOO!!!

Virginia Tech did its job by losing, now we need to do our job.

4:08 pm: 2-2. McRoberts and Wright each get an easy shot inside to begin the game.

4:09 pm: Duke has already attempted 6 shots. UNC is doing a bad job of defensive rebounding so far.

4:10 pm: 4-2, UNC. Wright goes inside and again scores easily. Dewey Burke comes out of the game.

4:11 pm: 8-2, UNC. Lawson makes a great dish to Terry for the basket, and then Hansbrough tips in a miss to give them 8 straight points. UNC is doing exactly what they should do, attacking the inside on every possession.

4:13 pm: 10-2, UNC. McRoberts tries to cheat by pushing a basket out from inside the net. UNC has all the momentum right now.

Ellington is in for Miller.

4:14 pm: 12-2, UNC. Green and Thompson are already in the game, and Green gives the Heels another easy basket.

4:15 pm: 14-8, UNC. What the Hell? Gerald Henderson was a non-factor all season, and suddenly he hits three straight shots? I of all people should know that UNC-Dook exists in separate bizarro universe, but even I cannot comprehend this. Thankfully, Hansbrough gets another basket and brings back a semblance of sanity. Speaking of insanity…

4:18 pm: Presenting the most bizarre advertisement ever made. For crying out loud, you’re a chemical company!

4:20 pm: 16-10, UNC. Wright scores again, but what the hell is up with Gerald Henderson? Since when did he stop stinking and do stuff like this?

4:21 pm: 18-10, UNC. Wright scores again, this time off a steal and pass by Ellington. There isn’t anyone on this Duke team with the skill set to defend him. Unless Lance Thomas can leap like a combination of a kangaroo and Tyrone Biggums.

4:26 pm: 23-14, UNC. Terry hits a huge three to put the Heels up nine. He’s playing unusually well; normally I would not have heard from him at all at this stage in the game.

4:28 pm: 25-17, UNC. Ginyard makes one off a drive in the lane, but Paulus hits Duke’s first three of the game.

Bobby Frasor is in the game. I’m still awaiting the arrival of Quentin Thomas.

4:29 pm: 27-19, UNC. Hansbrough gets another tip-in, but he gets into early foul trouble. He’s probably the one guy the Heels can ill afford to have on the bench for a long time.

4:31 pm: 27-22, UNC. How does UNC leave Paulus that open? How does Deon Thompson miss a layup? Most importantly, how has CBS managed to resist a Coach K closeup? They haven’t become, like, sane, have they? Nah, probably just an oversight.

4:34 pm: UNC has to do better at rebounding. Their shooting percentage is nearly double that of Duke, but they keep getting second chances.

4:35 pm: 29-22, UNC. Now that’s what I call defense! Thomas gets position inside, but Terry rejects him, and the Heels are able to get a basket in transition by Thompson.

4:36 pm: 32-22, UNC. WAYNE’S WORLD! WAYNE’S WORLD! PARTY TIME! EXCELLENT! WHOOOOOOOOO!!! (riff) Ellington gets three the hard way to bring the lead back to double digits.

Hansbrough’s back in the game. Odd as it may sound, I’m not sure I like this decision. UNC was doing fine in his absence, why risk a third foul? We need him in the second half.

4:39 pm: Finally, A Coach K closeup after he takes a timeout. I knew CBS would return from their senses eventually.

4:41 pm: TAR! HEELS! TAR! HEELS! TAR! HEELS! TAR! HEELS! TAR!…

4:42 pm: 32-24, UNC. Paulus breaks the drought with an easy layup off a backdoor cut.

Still awaiting the arrival of Quentin Thomas.

4:43 pm: Hansbrough, a great steal, but what the hell kind of a shot was that?

4:47 pm: 34-24, UNC. OOOOHHHHHHH!!!! OOHHHHHH!!! What a pass by Lawson, and Hansbrough is in the paint, all alone. I don’t think I need to tell you what happened next.

4:48 pm: 34-25, UNC. I love you Wes, but what are you doing?!?!?

4:49 pm: How is that a foul on Brandan Wright? It was McClure who was reaching for his nutsack!

4:50 pm: 38-25, UNC. Great defense by the Tar Heels, and it leads to easy transition baskets, the latest by Lawson.

4:51 pm: 38-28, UNC. Just as I type that, Scheyer hits a three to reduce the lead to 10.

4:53 pm: The first half ends, with UNC leading 38-29. UNC played well in the first half, playing good defense and attacking the inside. Three things still concern me about the game so far.

  1. Duke won the rebounding battle in the first half; UNC cannot let Duke keep getting second chances.
  2. Dewey Burke has played more in the game than Quentin Thomas. This is inexcusable; Q passes better than anyone on our team, even if he can’t shoot a lick.
  3. UNC has only attempted 3 free throws so far. Hansbrough and Wright need to be more physical when they get the ball. More importantly, the guards need to get the ball to them when they are in better position to attack. Which brings us back to number two; that’s still one of Lawson’s weaknesses.

Back in the second half.

5:09 pm: 42-29, UNC. Hansbrough gets two straight baskets to start the second half, the first one of which was too easy.

5:10 pm: Correction: when I said Scheyer hit a three, he didn’t/ I turns out he’s has been held scoreless so far.

4:11 pm: 44-35, UNC. Who are you, and what have you done with the real Gerald Henderson?

Wright hits a basket again. He hasn’t missed yet.

Scheyer finally hits a three to bring the lead back to single digits.

5:16 pm: 46-37, UNC. It takes a minute and a half for Duke to score. It takes 6 seconds for Ty Lawson to drive in for a layup.

5:17 pm: 46-40, UNC. What the hell is happening? Suddenly UNC decided to make really bad decisions, and they’re letting the Dookies back in the game. That’s their problem; when they’re mentally focused, they can blow any team out of the sky. But if they’re not mentally focused, well…they lose to 5 players and Sidney Lowe’s red suit.

5:22 pm: 46-42, UNC. Hansbrough finally gets fouled, but he should have made that first shot.

5:23 pm: 50-44, UNC. Hansbrough makes a tough fadeaway jumper to extend the lead.

I am still awaiting the arrival of Quentin Thomas. Does he have an injury I don’t know about?

5:25 pm: 50-48, UNC. Once again, UNC is in danger of losing their lead, and it will be because they didn’t play as hard as the opponent. I am really starting to get sick of this.

5:26 pm: 53-48, UNC. Hansbrough gets the basket AND the foul on McRoberts. He now has 19 points and 12 rebounds.

5:27 pm: 53-50, UNC. Robot Henderson scores again. I’m mad at UNC’s sudden bad decision making, but I guess it wouldn’t be UNC-Duke if it wasn’t a nail biter, would it?

5:31 pm: 56-50, UNC. Ginyard hots a huge three at the top of the key, and Lawson almost steals the inbound pass.

McRoberts flops like an Italian soccer player.

5:32 pm: 58-50, UNC. Hansbrough scores again! This time it’s a hook shot. He now has 21 points.

5:34 pm: 58-50, UNC. If Dook loses, McRoberts should be held single-handedly responsible for their demise.

5:36 pm: 60-50, UNC. Ginyard makes some great moves for a layup to bring the lead back to double digits. It looks like the Dookies may be running out of gas.

5:39 pm: 62-50, UNC. Paulus is on the bench with 4 fouls.

5:41 pm: If Lawson is going to be our point guard, now is a good time to rest him for two to three minutes. Guess who gets my vote?

5:42 pm: 66-52, UNC. Scratch that. Lawson is responsible for two straight buckets, one an assist to Hansbrough. Robot Henderson’s basket is canceled out by a Wright rejection of McClure.

5:45 pm: 68-54, UNC. This Tar Heel team has to realize that they have to play with this kind of intensity for six games in a row if they want to win the national championship. They have yet to show me that they can maintain that mindset long enough to pull it off.

5:48 pm: 68-57, UNC. Carolina, don’t you dare let up now! Don’t leave their guards that open, no matter what the situation is.

5:50 pm: 70-59, UNC, 3:40 left. If all the Heels do is play defense and hit their free throws from this point on, they should hold on to win this game.

5:53 pm: 73-59, UNC, 3:10 left. Wright rebounds a Paulus miss, and Terry hits a jumper off the glass on the other end.

5:54 pm: 75-59, UNC, 2:31 left. It looks like UNC has pretty much sealed this game.

Seriously, could the Rams Club pay for Tyler Hansbrough’s laser eye surgery or something? This whole contact lens thing is getting really old, really fast.

5:56 pm: 75-64, UNC, 1:57, left. Oh no, don’t tell me Scheyer is suddenly going to get hot and mount a Dook comeback.

5:59 pm: Dook is running the full court trap against the Heels. This is how they erased a 10 point deficit in less than 60 seconds against Maryland in 2001. This is textbook Coach K. It almost got Hansbrough to turn the ball over in front of his own basket.

6:01 pm: 79-64, UNC, 1:21 left. Fittingly, Senior Rayshawn Terry puts this game away at the free throw line.

6:06 pm: 83-68, UNC, :46 left. Miller and Ginyard put the exclamation point on this game. WHOOOOO!!!

Terry and Miller are given their curtain call. I’m going to miss them, but Terry should have stepped up to be the team leader this year.

6:10 pm: 84-72, UNC, :17 left. Bye bye, Paulus! Bye bye, McRoberts!

6:12 pm: BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!! BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!! BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!! That was just a cheap shot by Robot Henderson! He simply took his frustrations out on Tyler Hansbrough’s face! He should be ejected. Tar Heel fans everywhere have a new favorite player to hate.

6:16 pm: YYYEEEEEEAAAAHHHH!!! Henderson is ejected. I looked at the replay, and now I realize that while too aggressive, and probably meant to make solid contact Hansbrough, he probably wasn’t going for the face. Still, the Dean Dome crowd lets him hear it.

6:18 pm: The gems officially ends: UNC wins, 86-72. Normally I would be very ecstatic about winning our final home game, beating Duke by double digits, and winning the ACC regular season crown, but that Henderson elbow (intentional or not) really put a damper on things. I don’t think I’ve seen Hansbrough so pissed off. Seriously, he was about to cry; a blow to the nose hurts like hell. (I should mention that Hansbrough had 26 points and 17 rebounds, one of his best games ever.) Still, congratulations to UNC for finally winning the ACC championship, and to Rayshawn Terry, Dewey Burke and Wes Miller in their final home game. And congratulations to Tar Heel fans across the world We now officially have a new excuse to despise our neighbors.

gerald-henderson.jpg

ACC Women’s Tournament Final: UNC vs. NC State Live Blog

Today the UNC Women play NC State in the Women’s ACC Championship. NC State has won 10 of its last 11 games since the return of Kay Yow from cancer treatment, including victories at home against UNC and yesterday against Duke, something the Heels couldn’t do. Ivory Latta is 9 points away from becoming UNC’s all-time leading scorer. For our sake, she better get that record, because we’d be in big trouble if she scored in single digits in this game, especially considering that that she shoots 15-20 times every game anyway. Both of these are evenly matched (with the exception of Latta), as both play a 7-player rotation.

1:08 pm: 3-0, UNC. The Tar Heels win the tip, and Latta immediately drains a three.

1:09 pm: 3-2, UNC. Whittington scores the first basket for the Pack, a midrange jumper.

That’s something I forgot to mention: Whittington, one of NC State’s best players, did not start against the Heels when we lost at Reynolds Coliseum. Having her is a big advantage for the Pack.

2:27 pm: 40-35, UNC. NC State has certainly lost the momentum, but this game is far from over. Khadija Washington hit only her second shot of the game. What’s worse is that those shots were 28 1/2 minutes from each other.

2:29 pm: 40-37, UNC. The heels need to show me the killer instinct right now. They’re having real trouble putting the Pack away.

1:10 pm: 4-3, NCSU. After the initial three, NC State is playing very good defense, and that’s leading to opportunities on the other end.

1:12 pm: 6-5, NCSU. Larkins gets her first basket, but the Pack are able to respond immediately with another midrange jumpshot.

1:17 pm: 9-5, NCSU. Ashley Key hits her second FG of the game, this time a three.

The Wolfpack women are well represented in the stands today.

1:19 pm: 11-7, NCSU. Jessica Breland is in the game; the Heels will need a good game out of her. But the Pack immediately hit another shot before Larkins ends the UNC scoring drought.

1:20 pm: 13-7, NCSU. The Tar Heels have five turnovers in seven minutes, and really seem to be mentally out of the game so far.

1:22 pm: Ivory Latta has been shockingly quiet so far in this game. She just committed an offensive foul, her second. I think that was a bad call. She took a misstep and tripped, and Ashley Key came in front of her so Latta could not avoid contact. She’s on the bench now.

1:25 pm: 15-7, NCSU. Goring, NC State’s center, makes a shot that was way too easy for UNC to give up.

1:28 pm: 20-9, NCSU. Camille Little finally scores for the Heels, but NC State continues to get easy shots while UNC can’t buy good shots.

I watch the Heels playing right know and the phrase “Persistent Vegetative State” comes to mind.

1:23 pm: 20-14, NCSU. Latta is forced back into the game and makes an immediate impact, hitting another three and getiing an easy layup. She’s 1 point away from the record.

1:31 pm: 20-16, NCSU. She did it! Ivory Latta is UNC’s all-time leading scorer, with 2,202 career points! She has scored the 7 unanswered points by herself since getting coming off the bench.

1:35 pm: 22-18, NCSU. What the Hell?…Chick-Fil-A has an inflated “Blimp” with a “cow” floating around the “arena”. Now that’s “strange”.

1:39 pm: 24-18, NCSU. Uh-oh. Latta just picked up her third foul. The Heels simply cannot afford to have her out for extended periods of time.

1:41 pm: 25-20, NCSU. Yes! I can finally figured out how to tell Rashanda McCants apart from her brother. She, unlike Rashad, actually plays defense. Rashad, on the other hand, actually plays offense. Keep that in mind the next time you’re confused.

1:45 pm: Am I the only person who saw Erlana Larkins behind the 3-point line at the top of the key and thought, “Shoot it!” because 1) she was wide open and 2) Even if she missed it would be the funniest shot ever?

1:47 pm: 25-22, NCSU. McCants scores again! Wow. Now I’m confused again.

1:48 pm: 25-24, NCSU. UNC has played absolutely shutdown defense, and Larkins gets an easy layup in transition. She’s a lot faster than she looks. UNC has outscored the Pack 15-5 since the three point play.

1:50 pm: NC State ends their scoring drought at the buzzer to take a 27-24 halftime lead. The first half has been dictated by long spurts of great defense by both teams, but NC State has the lead because they are winning the rebounding battle against the Tar Heels, and they have put Latta in foul trouble. For the Heels to win, Latta need to stay out of trouble in the second half, and the frontcourt of Larkins, Little, Pringle, and Breland must be more physical and dominate the post.

2:08 pm: 27-25, NCSU. Here’s a scary stat: that was just UNC first two free throws of the entire game. The frontcourt has to play more physical in the low post.

2:09 pm: 28-27, UNC. YESSS!!! Latta hits another three, and the Heels take the lead.

2:11 pm: Larkins still isn’t playing like the dominating offensive rebounder I know her to be. I have yet to see her get an offensive rebound.

2:13 pm: 30-27, UNC. Wow…Larkins is really fast for a big girl, isn’t she? She moves like a guard.

The Pack have yet to score in 4 minutes in the second half.

2:17 pm:34-29, UNC. Larkins scores on two straight possessions, but Ashley Key finally puts NC State on the board in the second half. Erlana has 13 now.

2:19 pm: 36-30, UNC. The Big Deuce (that’s my new nickname for Larkins) has taken over this game. She cannot be stopped.

2:20 pm: 38-30, UNC. It’s a little belated, but I have to ask: Can anyone recall the last time a McCants sibling wasn’t in foul trouble?

We are on a 29-10 run since being down 20-9 in the first half.

2:24 pm: 40-33, UNC. Ashley Key has NC State only two field goals in the first 9 minutes of the second half.

2:27 pm: 40-37, UNC. UNC needs to show me the killer instinct. They’re having serious trouble putting the Pack away.

2:32 pm: 44-41, UNC. NC State finally ties the game, but Latta hits a three on the very next possession. So far UNC has done what I’ve said they should do. Latta has stayed out of trouble, the Heels have continued to play good defense, and Larkins has taken over the offensive paint.

2:35 pm: As much as I want to hate the Wolfpack (as they commit their 17th turnover), I have to show my respect for Khadija Whittington. She’s a true warrior out on the court.

2:38 pm: 48-43, UNC. Oh crap. I leave the room for a minute, and i miss three baskets.

2:39 pm: 51-43, UNC. Rashanda McCants drains a three to extend the lead to 8. Now I’m really, really confused. WHO ARE YOU, RASHANDA?!?! MAKE UP YOUR MIND! OR TAKE OFF THAT WIG, RASHAD! OR SOMETHING! ANYTHING! BEFORE I PERFORM SURGERY ON MY OWN BRAIN!

2:44 pm: 53-47, UNC, 4:13 left. NC State hits a three, but Latoya Pringe is trying to make her own mark in the paint. Which reminds me, I haven’t heard much from Larkins in the last 8 minutes or so.

2:49 pm: 55-49, UNC, 2:45 left. The Heels commit a costly turnover. They cannot afford to do that in this stage of the game.

2:51 pm: 55-49, UNC, 1:52 left. It’s probably not Kosher to make fun of Coach Yow, but I would pay to see Sidney Lowe in that turetleneck. It looks really funny.

2:51 pm: 55-52, UNC, 1:32 left. God immediately smites me for that joke as the Pack hit a three and Larkins misses the 1+1 free throw. NC State now has a chance to tie.

2:54 pm: 57-52, UNC, :36 left. What a play by Latta! She lets the shot clock run down, she drive down the lane, busts a move, and gets open for the shot inside. She then gets the defensive rebound and is fouled to pretty much seal it.

2:56 pm: 59-52, UNC. To the fan in the stands: I appreciate your enthusiasm and wearing Carolina Blue, but it doesn’t make much sense to go to a women’s game in a Tyler Hansbrough jersey.

2:58 pm: 59-54, UNC. Mr. Wuf exists in a computer-generated dream world, blissfully oblivious to the truth: NC State is about to lose and there is nothing that smile on his face can do about it.

3:00 pm: It’s official: THE NORTH CAROLINA LADY TAR HEELS HAVE WON THE ACC CHAMPIONSHIP! The final score: 59-54. Congratulations to the Tar Heels for winning, and many thanks from Tar Heel Mania for a great season. On to the UNC-Duke game.

UNC vs. Dook: Listen to John Kerry

Pay attention in school, kids. GO HEELS!

ACC Women’s Tournament: UNC vs. Maryland Live Blog

Today the Lady Tar Heels face the Maryland Terrapins in the ACC Women’s Tournament semifinals. In their first matchup, UNC dominated for the first 28 minutes, but Maryland stormed back, and the Heels needed all of their effort to hold on in from of the largest crowd ever to see a women’s ACC regular season game. Because of Duke’s dominance in the ACC regular season, this game has considerably less hype, but a #1 seed is one the line for each team, and such a seed would be out of reach for the loser, and would probably mean playing most of the tournament far away from home. Consider also that they both want another shot at the Dookies, and this game is going to be very, very intense. At least today I don;t have to worry about Mike Jones! Who? Mike Jones!

4:02 pm: Scratch that last statement. NC State just beat Dook in the first semifinal, 70-65. Since the return of Kay Yow, few teams have played better than the Wolfpack.

4:36 pm: 2-0, UNC. Camille Little gets the game’s first basket off the offensive rebound of a Latta miss. I hope that’s not an omen, Latta missing her first shot.

4:38 pm: 4-2, UNC. I swear to God, Rashanda McCants looks like Rashad in drag. Kristi Toliver scores Maryland’s first basket.

4:40 pm: 7-4, UNC. Latta buries the three this time. Shay Doron responds, but the Terps have committed 4 turnovers in as many minutes.

4:42 pm: 7-6, UNC. Coleman drives across and gets a nice layup to reduce the Heels lead to 1. Conversely, UNC has committed their third offensive foul.

4:47 pm: 9-6, UNC. McCants gets a nice basket off an offensive rebound, but she needs to be careful; she’s in foul trouble already. Jessica Breland comes in and scores to make it 11-6, UNC.

4:49 pm: 13-12, UNC. Maryland again brings it to within one. Larkins gets her first basket, but Jade Perry has scored the last four points for Maryland.

4:51 pm: 15-12, UNC. Breland scores an easy jumpshot off the inbound pass.

4:52 pm: 17-15, UNC. Today, UNC coach Sylvia Hatchell looks like some sort of Tar Heel Zebra in that suit. Someone please tell her that the elephants can still see her in the African Savanna.

4:57 pm: 19-17, UNC. Maryland ties the game for the first time, but Larkins immediately outhustles Langhorne to the opposite basket and gets an easy layup.

5:00 pm: 23-17, UNC. Larkins is absolutely dominating the offensive paint right now. She has 8 points and 6 rebounds in 11 minutes.

5:03 pm: 23-19, UNC. There is no situation in which putting Latta man-to-man on Langhorne could possibly end well.

5:08 pm: This has really been a sloppy game so far. Neither team can get any rhythm.

5:12 pm: 26-20, UNC. Ivory Latta ends my nightmare by hitting a three. I was really starting to get worried; both teams were getting good opportunities, but they did not take advantage of them.

5:14 pm: 28-24, UNC. Larkins gets another easy layup, but McCants gets her third foul.

5:15 pm: 30-24, UNC. Jessica Breland hits another midrange shot. She’s 3-3 today.

5:18 pm: 32-25, UNC. Now this is what I;ve come to expect from Ivory Latta. She steals a pass, outruns everyone down the court and gets an easy layup.

5:20 pm: 32-30, UNC. Crystal Langhorne gets a tough basket inside, and then Shay Doron gets three the hard way off an offensive rebound.

5:21 pm: 34-30, UNC. Jessica Breland is going to be a great player next year playing starting forward alongside Larkins and Pringle.

5:22 pm: 37-30, UNC. Little drains a three to extend the lead to 7 with a minute left in the first half.

5:24 pm: A nice offensive set, but Ivory, what the Hell kind of shot is that?!? you’re all alone, you don’t need a floater.

5:25 pm: The first half ends, UNC leading 37-30. UNC played excellent defense, and their offense got hot at the end of the half. If they’re able to keep the pressure on Maryland and win the rebounding battle, they should pull out a win in this game. Maryland needs to get more production out of Langhorne and Doron to make a comeback.

5:44 pm: 42-32, UNC. Larkins helps the Heels get their first double-digit lead of the game to start the second half.

5:45 pm: 42-39, UNC. The Tar Heels proceed to immediately let Maryland cut the lead to three in less than 90 seconds.

5:50 pm: 44-39, UNC. Ivory Latta drive down the baseline and gets a nice layup. We need to see more of that out of her and not as many errant threes.

5:53 pm: 44-43, UNC. Maryland has started getting the ball to Langhorne in the second half, and She has played very well in the last few minutes against Larkins.

I noticed that Breland was hurt at halftime. I don;t know if or when she will return, but I can’t help but wonder if UNC frontcourt will be worn down in her absence.

5:55 pm: Langhorne is out with 3 fouls.

5:56 pm: Latta hits a big three to bring the momentum back in UNC’s direction.

5:58 pm: UPSET WATCH: Michigan 61, Ohio St, 59, 2:21 left.

5:59 pm: 47-45, UNC. Coleman hits an easy jumpshot in transition, but Harper picks up her 4th foul.

6:03 pm: 52-45, UNC. Camille Little hits another three out of the TV timeout. Langhorne picks up her fourth foul. Maryland’s frontcourt is in real trouble right now.

6:04 pm: 54-48, UNC. Jessica Breland is back in the game. This fares badly for the Terps, who have just committed their 19th turnover.

6:06 pm: 54-50, UNC. Shay Doron makes an unbelievable play, drives down the baseline, gets the reverse layup and the foul. Shockingly, she misses her free throw.

6:12 pm: 58-53, UNC. How does UNC leave a 3-point shooter that wide open? That’s the double-edged sword of halfcourt traps, I guess.

6:13 pm: 61-53, UNC. What? Jessica Breland just hit a three! She now has 13 points, and I did not expect a performance like this from her at all.

6:15 pm: 62-55, UNC. Langhorne and Harper, each with four fouls, come in for Maryland.

6:16 pm: 64-55, UNC. Latta gets an easy layup after faking out two players to extend the UNC lead to 9.

6:18 pm: 66-57, UNC. Toliver finally gets a basket in the second half, but Latoya Pringle answers.

6:19 pm: 66-60, UNC. Kristi Toliver, who had previously been a non-factor, hits her second straight shot, this time a three. Why she wasn’t doing this before, or why she’s only doing it now, I’m still trying to wrap my head around.

6:23 pm: 66-62, UNC, 3:46 left. Maryalnd scores from the free throw line, steal the inbound pass, and suddenly have all the momentum.

6:24 pm: 66-65, UNC, 3:35 left. Doron receives a kickout pass, drains the three, and the deficit is cut to one.

6:26 pm: 67-65, UNC, 2:51 left. UNC commits another turnover (the 43rd total turnover of the game), but Maryland travels, unable to take advantage of the opportunity to tie or take the lead.

6:29 pm: 67-65, UNC, 2:12 left. A huge scrum (during which Maryland should have been called for a foul on Larkins) ends in a bloody nose for Doron, but UNC turns the ball over again.

6:31 pm: 67-67, 1:56 left. Toliver steps on the line, but Maryland clearly has the momentum.

6:32 pm: 71-67, UNC, 1:00 left. UNC gets two huge baskets, the first by Larkins in the paint, and the second an easy layup by Latta off a great rebound and pass by Alex Miller.

6:34 pm: 71-67, UNC, :51 left. Doron is back in the game, but Maryland is forced to take their final timeout.

6:35 pm: 73-67, UNC, :32 left. Shay Doron is left open for a three, but Latoya Pringle comes out of nowhere to block the shot. Latta hits two free throws to extend the lead to 6.

6:38 pm: 75-69, UNC, :15 left. Barring a complete meltdown at the free throw line and Maryland making it rain threes, this game is over.

6:41 pm: The game ends: UNC wins, 78-72. This game is big for the Tar Heels, because it not only means that they go to the ACC championship game against NC State, but Duke’s loss makes it that much easier for them to win the ACC and sew up a #1 seed in the tournament. Then again, We were a #1 seed last year and Maryland was a #2 seed, and look what happened. So I guess that doesn’t mean much. But this win is still very good for the Heels’ confidence knowing after their last three losses that they still are very capable of winning the national championship