Tar Heel Mania’s UNC vs. Virginia Preview

This Saturday is UNC’s ACC opener against the University of Virginia. To start the Tar Heels’ conference schedule, I have invited Eric from The Extrapolater, a Charlottesville resident and UVa fan, to help preview that game.

We now continue with my preview of this’ year’s battle royale for 4th place in the ACC Costal Division.

Offense:

  • T. J. Yates has the highest QB rating in the ACC through two games, and the 6th highest in the country. Think about that statistic for a second. At the beginning of season, Heels fans would have been happy just with a quarterback who didn’t throw twice as many interceptions as touchdowns. To have this kind of success at quarterback for an entire season, from a redshirt freshman on a team that finished 3-9 last season, would be nothing short of astounding. Can he keep it up against ACC competition?
  • Our running back situation still seems quite inconsistent. Johnny White has averaged more than 4 yards per carry, and he and Bobby Rome had some nice numbers receiving against East Carolina last week. But the team has averaged less than 90 yards per game on the ground, and eventually the Tar Heels will run into a team that can stop the passing game. We’ll need at least some consistency from the ground game.
  • I cannot name any of the Cavaliers defensive backs off the top of my head. All I know is that UNC’s wide receivers will be running them ragged all day. Brandon Tate, Hakeem Nicks and Brooks Foster make Yates’ job at QB much easier.

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Let’s hope we see a lot of this on Saturday.

Defense:

  • Patrick Pinkney began this season 3rd in the QB depth chart for East Carolina. After one quarterback got injured and another struggled in their opener against Virginia Tech, Pinkney was thrown into the fire. This inexperienced quarterback proceeded to destroy UNC’s defense, throwing for 406 yards, 3 touchdowns, and no interceptions. Jameel Sewell’s struggles have been well documented, and the Cavs have only scored 27 points in their first two games (24 of which were against Duke). But we have a very inexperienced team, and I have no idea how the defense will react. They may allow five points, they might allow 30; I just don’t know.
  • The few experienced players on defense have really stepped up. Durell Mapp leads the Heels in tackles, Kentwan Balmer leads a talented defensive line, and Trimane Goddard has returned from injury to play very well at safety. All three of these guys will need to step up on Saturday.
  • Words cannot describe how angry I will be if our secondary gets burned by Virginia tight end Tom Santi.

Special Teams:

  • Brandon Tate. End of story. The Cavs’ kick coverage might be in for a long day.

Last year, UNC’s John Bunting was fired after the Heels were blanked 23-0 in Charlottesville. Would a Heels domination in Chapel Hill spell the end for for Al Groh? We’ll see.

Extrapolater’s UNC vs. Virginia Preview

This Saturday is UNC’s ACC opener against the University of Virginia. To start the Tar Heels’ conference schedule, I have invited Eric from The Extrapolater, a Charlottesville resident and UVa fan, to help preview that game.

We’ll begin with Eric’s preview.

A man with a marvelous stadium, gorgeous campus, and beautiful coeds to use as bait should be able to reload, not rebuild. His program once boasted NFL-level talent like Matt Schaub, D’Brickashaw Ferguson, and Heath Miller, but now nobody seems to know who they are.

There is, of course, one exception. And that’s preseason first-team All-American Chris Long. He’s a beast on the defensive line, and generally plays a lot like dear old dad. Who’s that, you ask? None other than the Bradshaw-baiting legend Howie Long, who lives in the Charlottesville area. Long will no doubt be playing on Sundays next year himself, but the cupboard is pretty bare behind him.

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If you’re thinking it’s too early to say that, consider this. UVA lost to Wyoming 23-3 to open the 2007 season, and very nearly let Duke creep back and win in Cville last weekend, which would have been humiliating on so many levels. They’re rotating quarterbacks, with Jameel Sewell and Peter Lalich shuttling in and out of games. None of this inspires confidence.

What does inspire confidence? There are two players who can reasonably be expected to take some pressure off of an ineffective signal-caller, and they are both up to the challenge. Tight end Tom Santi is the team’s leading reciever, with a paltry 58 yards but two touchdowns. Tailback Cedric Peerman rumbled for 137 yards and a TD in last week’s game.

The rest is a crapshoot, of course. Special Teams have been execrable – fans quake when they see the kicking team take the field. In one instance, a high snap into the end zone actually handed Duke two free points.

So take heart, UNC fans. Your team might be struggling, but so is your opponent. May the least ineffective team win!

UNC vs Oregon State Live Blog: Game 2, 2007 College World Series Finals

Tonight UNC and Oregon State play game 2 of the College World Series Finals in Omaha. The beavers dominated game 1, pitching well and decimating the Tar Heels bullpen in an 11-4 victory. However, Wooten and Carignan weren’t used on Saturday, so they should be fresh. Luke Putkonen needs to come up big on the mound for Carolina tonight. The Heels bats need to wake up tonight as well, or else they will get swept.

7:13 pm: Luke Putkonen is off to a good start. It took him very few pitches to retire the side on a groundout and two flyouts to center. Three up, three down.

7:16 pm: Bottom of the first. Reid Fronk gets on base to lead off the inning, courtesy of a hit by pitch. We now reach the magic number of 50 hit batsmen in this year’s CWS.

7:18 pm: Josh Horton is moved up to 2nd in the order, and he hits a single to left-center field. Fronk advances to third, and Dustin Ackley is up next. Please, lord, let’s not leave men on base this time.

7:19 pm: Ackley’s grounder makes it past the third baseman, and Fronk scores easily. UNC has drawn first blood, leading 1-0.

7:21 pm: Tim Federowicz, by sheer luck, manages to execute the sacrifice bunt, advancing runners to second and third with only one out. Mike Stutes is not off to a great start.

7:24 pm: Tim Fedroff hits a grounder to first base, but Lennarton throws out Horton at home to prevent an extra run. Two outs, runners on the corners.

7:25 pm: Seth Williams harmlessly flies out to left field. UNC leads 1-0 at the end of the first inning, but they should have done a lot more.

7:29 pm: Top of the second. Mitch Canham gets on base, as the grounder to third is just out of Chad Flack’s reach.

7:30 pm: Nooooooo!!! Darwin Barney makes the Tar heels pay for not running up the score in the first inning, hitting a 2-run homer that just gets over the left field wall. Oregon State leads, 2-1.

7:34 pm: Putkonen is in trouble. After the home run, John Wallace gets a single, and Scott Santchi is walked. Andrew Carignan is already warming up.

7:37 pm: Putkonen finally gets an out, but there are runners on the corners with only one out.

7:40 pm: Lechelt strikes out, and Putkonen now has two away. However, a wild pitch advanced Santchi to second.

7:42 pm: Hopkins grounds the ball to third base, and Flack’s throw is low to first base. Ackley is forced off the bag, Hopkins is safe, and one run scores. 3-1, Oregon State. Ugh.

7:45 pm: Joey Wong is walked, and now the bases are loaded. That should be it for Putkonen. Andrew Carignan will come in. Once again, our starting pitching has betrayed us.

7:54 pm: Speaking of betraying…stupid WordPress is malfunctioning! Anyway, Carignan struck out Mike Lissman to end the inning and get out of the jam. Oregon State still takes a 3-1 lead.

Kyle Seager and Chad Flack both flied out, for two quick outs. Garret Gore is up next.

7:56 pm: Garret Gore strikes out to end the inning. Oregon State leads 3-1 after 2, and the Tar Heel bats are falling silent again.

8:00 pm: Top of the third. Mitch Canham leads off with a ground single past Horton.

8:01 pm: Darwin Barney grounds out to Ackley, but Canham advances to 2nd.

8:04 pm: Uh-oh. Carignan walks John Wallace. If Andrew Carignan is struggling on the mound for UNC, then we are completely f–ked.

8:05 pm: No sooner do I type that than Scott Santchi hits a bloop single that scores Canham from third. We are in serious trouble.

8:07 pm: Lennarton grounds out to the merciful inning ending double play. Oregon State extends their lead to 4-1 in the middle of the third.

8:11 pm: Bottom of the third. Fronk gets walked, and he’s gotten on base twice without having to even take a swing.

8:13 pm: Base hit by Horton. He hits a line drive into shallow left, and the Heels have runners on first and second with no outs, and Ackley at the plate.

8:19 pm: Ackley is walked to load the bases. No outs, and Federowicz is at the plate.

8:21 pm: Oregon State forces out Ackley at third from the Federowicz grounder, but Fronk scores easily, and the deficit is now 4-2.

8:23 pm: Dammit! Just as it looks like we’re coming back, Fedroff strikes out on three pitches. Two outs.

8:25 pm: Seth Williams flies out to shallow left to end the inning. Once again, we squander an opportunity to make a big comeback. Oregon State leads, 4-2. This is really frustrating.

8:30 pm: Carignan is back to very efficient pitching, retiring the side easily and striking out Joey Wong to end the inning. UNC still trails 4-2 in the middle of the 4th.

8:34 pm: Kyle Seager hits a single up the middle to lead off the bottom of the 4th.

8:35 pm: Chad Flack’s slump continues, as he flies out to the 2nd baseman in shallow right. One away.

8:40 pm: Garrett Gore strikes out for the second out. Fortunately, UNC returns to the top of the order and Fronk.

8:42 pm: Fronk strikes out to end the inning, as the UNC offense continues to struggle. Oregon State leads 4-2 after 4.

8:48 pm: Carignan is not off to a very good start in the 5th inning. He’s hit the first batter and walked the second.

8:51 pm: Carolina turns the grounder by Barney into a 6-4-3 DP. Two outs, a runner on third. I think Carignan should finish the inning, and then the Hells will put Wooten on the mound in the 6th.

8:53 pm: Wallace gets a base hit to left, and Lissman scores easily to make it 5-2, Oregon State.

8:56 pm: Base hit by Santchi right at the pitcher, and Wallace advances to third.

8:58 pm: Carignan gets out of the jam, as Lennarton flies out to end the inning…”…And the milkshakes from Zestos have arrived. Mmmm-mmm.” You gotta laugh at announcers. Oregon State leads, 5-2.

9:02 pm: Horton flies out to lead off the bottom of the fifth.

9:03 pm: HOME RUN! Dustin Ackley Sends one depp over the right field wall. UNC cuts the lead to 2, trailing 5-3.

9:05 pm: Tim Federowicz is not having a good trip to Omaha. He’s 2-25 now in the College World Series.

9:07 pm: Fedroff has a two out base hit, and Seth Williams is up next. A home run would tie the game.

9:09 pm: Stutes walks Williams to put runners on first and second and two outs. The bullpen is warming up.

9:12 pm: Yet another opportunity wasted by the Heels, as Seager grounds out to Lennarton at first base to end the inning. 5-3, Oregon State after 5.

9:16 pm: Top of the sixth. Lechelt gets on base to lead off, but Hopkins’ sacrifice bunt pops up, and Ackley catches it for the out.

9:19 pm: Joey Wong gets on base, and that will be it for Andrew Carignan. Rob Wooten will come to the mound in his place.

9:21 pm: Lissman flies out to Horton. Two outs, two on.

9:24 pm: Wooten strikes out Mitch Canham to end the top of the 6th. UNC is still within two runs, trailing 5-3.

9:32 pm: After Garret Gore gets to secon base, Mike Stutes is pulled in favor of reliever Anton Maxwell. Reid Fronk is up to bat.

9:35 pm: The Tar Heels continue to struggle. Reid Fronk flies out to right field for the second out. The heels are now 3 for their last 32 iwith runners in scoring position.

9:36 pm: Horton is hit by a pitch, and with two outs and runners on the corners, Ackley is at the plate with the chance to get a run, tie or take the lead.

9:38 pm: Ackley hits a near perfect line drive to left field, but Lissman makes the catch to end the inning. Oregon State leads 5-3, as our offensive plight is now such a statistical anomaly that it is simply ridiculous. If you want to watch something else (and I don’t blame you), “Enter the Dragon”, the ultimate Kung Fu movie, is on Spike TV.

9:42 pm: After Darwin Barney strikes out, John Wallace hits a triple to right field.

9:43 pm: Gore can’t field the ground ball, and Wallace scores easily. Oregon State leads 6-3, and at this point I’m so mad that I am ready to wipe the town of Corvallis, Oregon off the map. I mean, it’s not like anyone’s going to miss it, right?

9:49 pm: Seth Williams makes an unbelievable catch to end the top of the 7th, but Oregon State leads 7-3, and things are not looking good for UNC. Even our fundamentals are falling apart.

9:53 pm: Grbavac is now pitching for the Beavers, and Mike Cavasinni is pinch hitting for the Tar Heels. He ground out for the first out of the bottom of the 7th inning.

9:55 pm: Tim Fedroff hits a chop single over the pitcher, and Seth Williams is next.

9:58 pm: Seth Williams smokes a line drive down the left field line. Fedroff heads home, but Oregon State’s relaying gets the ball in time to the catcher, and Fedroff is out at home.

10:01 pm: Seager strikes out to end the inning, and the Heels come up empty AGAIN! Oregon State leads, 7-3.

10:08 pm: Top pf the eighth. After one out, Robert Woodard comes in for Wooten.

10:13 pm: Woodard is able to get out of the inning without allowing any runs. The last out was a great running catch by Fedroff. However Oregon State still leads, 7-3.

10:20 pm: The bottom of the eighth ends more mercifully for the Tar Heels: three up, three down. At least we didn’t get our hopes up only to be crushed for the 17th time today. Oregon State leads, 7-3.

10:27 pm: Lennarton sends a Woodard pitch out of Rosenblatt Stadium, and with it any remote hope that UNC had of coming back. Oregon State leads, 9-3.

10:32 pm: You know I could blame this loss on our bad starting pitching. I could blame it on our bats falling silent. I could even blame on our failure at times to make even the most routine plays. But we need a better scapegoat. So I will blame the NCAA Selection Committee. Oregon State was a bubble team, having lost most of their players, and with a losing record in the Pac-10. If Georgia Tech is selected instead (and I was legitimately surprised that they were snubbed), we wouldn’t even be having this discussion.

In case you were wondering that was sarcasm. We lost because we just plain stunk.

10:36 pm: Bottom of the 9th. Horton lines out to Third, and Ackley grounds out to second. Kyle Shelton is now our last chance.

10:38pm: Fittingly, Shelton strikes out on a full count to end the game, and Oregon State is your National Champion, winning 9-3. 

It sucks. It just plain sucks. Words fail. We were very lucky to be here in the first place, pulling a lot of miracle comebacks when our pitching didn’t come through. When we reached the final, our luck simply ran out, when we ran into a very disciplined Oregon State team. Congratulations to the Beavers, but for what what you have done, you now draw my absolute ire. I mean it when I say this: If you ever play against Duke, I will root for you to get swept.

UNC vs. Oregon State Live Blog: 2007 College World Series Final Game 1

Tonight the finals of the College World Series begin with game 1, as the North Carolina Tar heels will seek to avenge last year’s loss to the Oregon State Beavers in the 2006 Finals. For a preview of the Series, see my preview on Digital Headbutt or Brian Foley’s College Baseball Blog.

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The size disparity of the pictures is on purpose. It represents their respective places in my heart.

 

7:10 pm: I hate it when we put on those alternate black uniforms.

7:15 pm: UNC is the road team, with Oregon State as the home team.

Reid Fronk hits a double on the very first pitch. That hit nearly became a home run, but bounced off the wall.

7:17 pm: Tim Fedroff hits the very next pitch deep into left field, but the OSU right fielder is there to make the catch. One out.

7:19 pm: Josh Horton strikes out swinging. Reyes has a good fastball.

7:22 pm: It wouldn’t be announcing on ESPN without some very awkward references. World Series rings on sale at MySpace? What the hell?

Federowicz strikes out to end the inning. Fronk is left on base, and the game is scoreless heading to the bottom of the first.

7:25 pm: Alex White is the starter tonight for the Heels. His stuff is good early; his fastball is in the low to mid-90s.

7:26 pm: Chris Hopkins hits a short grounder to third, but Chad Flack can’t get the throw to first in time. Runner on first, no outs.

7:28 pm: Right now, Alex White is worrying too much about Hopkins at first. He needs to worry about getting out the guy at the plate.

7:30 pm: Joey Wong gets a line drive base hit into right field. Runners on first and second, nobody out. White is off to a bad start, not just because of the base hits, but also because he’s throwing a lot of pitches early.

7:31 pm: Ohhh! What a catch by White! Lissman, Oregon State’s power hitter, tries to bunt but the ball flies in the air, and White races to makes the catch in foul territory.

7:33 pm: Mitch Canham grounds the ball right to White, who throws Hopkins out at third, and Flack throws to first for a great inning ending double play, the first DP for the Beavers in the CWS. We are scoreless after the first inning. Alex White may not be our best pitcher, but he has done a great job of fielding so far tonight.

7:37 pm: Second inning. Dustin Ackley hits a grounder down the middle for an easy base hit.

Dustin Ackley is an unbelievable player. Not only is he our best hitter (.403 batting average), but he is our best baserunner.

7:41 pm: Chad Flack lines out to left field. One out, Ackley still at first. Reyes is worrying a lot about Dustin.

7:44 pm: More awkward references by announcing staff. Meat? YouTube? Makeup? What happened to the game, guys?

7:46 pm: Ackley is picked off at first base, and Seager flies out to end the inning. The Tar Heel offense continues to struggle early in games.

7:49 pm: Beaver Darwin Barney is up to bat. Heh heh, Darwin Barney. Alex White strikes him out.

7:51 pm: John Wallace strikes out swinging. Alex is throwing a really good fastball right now.

7:53 pm: White walks Scott Santchi. Runner on first, two outs.

Seriously, ESPN, now you’re talking about holistic therapy? Good lord.

7:54 pm: Scott Lennarton swings at Aex’s fastball and sends it into Iowa for a HOME RUN. Oregon state draws first blood, leading 2-0. Not again…

7:56 pm: The next batter grounds out to end the inning, but Oregon State leads 2-0 after 2. The story is starting to get really old for Carolina.

7:58 pm: …and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from that new win probability statistic. Amen.

7:59 pm: Seth Williams flies out to right field. One away to begin the third.

8:03 pm: Gore and Fronk are retired easily, and Oregon State still leads 2-0 heading into the bottom of the third. Reyes is really pitching well right now.

8:06 pm: Bottom of the third. Chris Hopkins flies out to right foul territory for the first out.

8:07 pm: Wong gets a great bunt to get to first and best the throw from Flack.

I’m going to be honest with you: watching college baseball is a lot more fun in person than it is on TV.

8:10 pm: Lissman hits a great line drive into right field, betwenn the first and second basemen. Wong easily reaches third.

8:11 pm: UNC gets really lucky. Canham hits a deep ball into center field, but Seth Williams makes the catch, and because Lissman was running at full speed all the way from first, Williams easily converts the double play at first to end the inning. However, Wong’s run home is officially tallied. 3-0, Oregon State.

I am under the distinct impression that the run does not count for a fly ball, inning-ending double play. Even if it’s legal, that call is bull.

8:16 pm: Fedroof gets a leadoff double. He had to really hurry to beat the throw at second. Horton is now at the plate.

8:17 pm: Horton hits a deep flyout to center, but Fedroff tags up and beats the throw to third.

8:18 pm: Fedrowicz flies outto center, and Fedroff cannot run home.

8:19 pm: Dustin Ackley caps off three straight flyouts to end the third inning. Oregon State leads, 3-0, as UNC is now .195 in the CWS with runners in scoring position.

8:22 pm: Fedroff catches the fly ball for the first out of the fourth inning.

According to Kyle Peterson, the play allowing Wong to score at the top of the 3rd inning is legal, because it was an “appeal play” instead of a force play. Okay, it’s in the rulebook. However, the call is still crap.

8:27 pm: If there’s one thing that the Heels have done well in the CWS, it’s their fielding. Oregon State had not hit into any double plays so far in Omaha. Tonight, UNC has already converted three. The fourth inning ends with UNC still trailing by three. But all the fielding in the world won;t matter if we can’t hit tonight.

8:31 pm: Flack grounds out to lead off the 5th inning, ans the Tar Heel bats continue to struggle.

8:34 pm: Seth Williams is jammed by the pitcher, but still manages to hit a blooper base hit just out of Wong’s reach. Two outs, man on first.

If I heard the stat correctly, Reyes has only had to throw 34 pitches to retire 14 batters. That is scary.

8:36 pm: Gore hits a line to the right field line, easily getting a double and putting Williams on third. Two outs, and Reid Fronk is up.

8:40 pm: Frink finally gives UNC the big hit they needed. He hits a deep ball into the left-center gap for a double. Williams and Gore score easily, and UNC has cut the deficit to 3-2. Fedroff is now up. I simply cannot tell you how many runs we got against South Carolina in this exact situation. Down late in the game, two outs, and UNC’s offense comes up big. Still, I never expect it when it happens.

8:44 pm: Fedroff flies out to end the top of the fifth, but Oregeon State’s lead is now 3-2 thanks to a big 2-run double by Fronk.

8:47 pm: I don;t care what the win probability stat says, were in a pretty good situation. Were at the exact midway point of the game, we’re only down one run, and our starting pitcher is still on the mound. We’ve come back from much worse.

8:48 pm: After Lennarton grounds out, Lonnie Lechelt hits a line drive double down the left field line. Oregon State now goes back to the top of the order.

8:49 pm: Hopkins hits a line drive that trickles into the outfield. Lechelt scores easily, and the Beavers now lead 4-2. The baseball gods must be punishing my previous statement.

8:51 pm: Wong hits a grounder, and UNC converts its fourth inning-ending double play. After 5 innings, Oregon State has a 4-2 lead. How much longer will Alex be able to pitch?

8:54 pm: Horton leads off in the sixth, and he juuuuuuuuust beats the throw to first by Lennarton. One on, nobody out.

8:57 pm: Federowicz nearly grounds out into a double play. Horton is out at second, but Tim beats the throw at first.

It’s still hard to get over the 3rd inning call that gave Wong the run to give Oregon State their 3 run lead. According to commenter Tom Anderson:

Page 99 paragraph 9 of the NCAA rules says that with two outs on an appealed play “no runners PRECEEDING [sic] or following the appealed out shall score.” If this is the correct section of the rule book, the run should not have counted.

Good work, Tom. I may need to do some more research, but this rule seconds what I and the ESPN announcers believe: that the umpires made the wrong call. However, I will say that they have otherwise done a good job tonight.

9:00 pm: Ackley strikes out. Two away, Federowicz at first, and Reyes is still pitching well.

9:02 pm: Flack lines out to third to end the inning. Oregon State leads in the middle of the 6th as UNC’s offense is till struggling.

9:05 pm: Bottom of the 6th. White is still pitching, but is he going to run out of gas?

9:06 pm: Ackley makes a great play to stop the grounder, and throws to White at first. One away.

9:07 pm: Mitch Canham has a really, really long rod. Fishing rod, that is.

9:08 pm: Alex White may have injured himself in the forceout at first. He got a blister on his middle throwing finger from his pitching, forcing him to get pulled from the game. Matt Danford is called in to pitch in relief. Overall, White did a pretty good job today, but Reyes has been extraordinary.

9:11 pm: “Barney is a dinosaur in our imaginaaaa-tionn…” Please, tell me that he’s a figment of my imagination. Another hit for the Beavers, who now have runners on the corners.

9:13 pm: John Wallace hits a deep ball to center field. Williams makes the catch, but Canham scores from first, Barney advances to second, and Oregon State now leads 5-2.

9:15 pm: Santchi gets a hit into left field, and Barney beats the throw from Reid Fronk. Oregon State now leads 6-2, and Danford has to come out. Things are looking really bad for the Heels now.

9:18 pm: In pitching for the Tar heels is someone named Rob Catapano, whom I have never heard of before. You know our pitching’s in trouble when we have to dig this deep into our bullpen, pulling out complete unknowns.

9:19 pm: Fortunately, Catapano gets the final out to end the 6th inning, but Oregon State continues to expand their lead, which is now 6-2. If not for the double by Fronk this would be an embarrassment.

9:23 pm: Top of the seventh. Kyle Seager grounds out directly to the second baseman.

9:24 pm: Seth Williams get an easy base hit to right field. In the stands, the UNC constituency still hopes for a comeback. “TAR! HEELS! TAR! HEELS! TAR! HEELS!…”

9:26 pm: Gore is walked, and with the top of UNC’s order looming, Reyes finally comes out of the game. He did an excellent job of pitching, but UNC has been able to come back once they begin batting against the opposing bullpen. Let’s hope it happens again tonight.

9:28 pm: Runners on first and second, one out. The new pitcher: Oregon State’s fourth starter, Joe Paterson. Uh-oh.

9:30 pm: Paterson uses a side-arm pitch, and it doesn’t seem to be working. He walks Fronk to load the bases for Tim Fedroff.

9:32 pm: Fedroff flies out to right field, but Williams scores from third. The score is now 6-3, OSU. Two outs, runners on first and second, Horton at the plate.

9:34 pm: Horton strikes out swinging to end the top of the 7th and leave two runners stranded. The Beavers still have a commanding 6-3 lead heading into the 7th inning stretch.

9:36 pm: If we want any chance of winning this game, UNC needs shutout innings from their bullpen. Again.

9:43 pm: Tyler Trice is in for Catapano, and things aren’t going well. He makes two bad throws to first, and the second one sails over Ackley, easily scoring two runs. Oregon State now leads 8-3, and the way that the beaver pitching staff is playing, I have to say that this game is pretty much over.

9:49 pm: Matt Cox now comes in to pitch.

9:53 pm: Cox walks Canham to load the bases. This is not good.

9:55 pm: The Heels walk in a run, and OSU extends the lead to 9-3. In a word, our performance in this game has been sickening.

9:59 pm: Cox is pulled for yet another pitcher. Oregon State scores again on a sacrifice fly to make it 10-3, Oregon State.

If you’re looking for an excuse, blame Alex White’s blister. if he didn;t have to be pulled so early, this might still be a one run game. Our bullpen has failed us…miserably.

10:01 pm: UNC gets another inning-ending double play, but not before everything possible went wrong for the Tar Heels. Oregon State now has a 7 run lead.

10:05 pm: Top of the eighth. Benji Johnson comes in to pinch hit for Federowicz, and it pays off. Johnson hits a home run, cutting the lead to 10-4. Still, I wouldn’t get any hopes up just yet.

10:06 pm: After Ackley grounds out, Chad Flack gets an easy base hit. Kyle Shelton comes in for Kyle Seager.

10:08 pm: Shleton gets another base hit for the Tar Heels, and we now have runners on first and second with one out.

Oregon State has two pitchers warming up in the bullpen, ready to crush any comeback attempt.

10:10 pm: Just when it looks like UNC might come back, Seth Williams grounds into the inning ending double play from third base. Oregon State leads 10-4, and it looks like UNC is officially done in this game.

10:24 pm: Our bullpen is finding all new kinds of ways to suck. With the bases loaded, Oregon State scores on a HBP. After 8 innings, Oregon State leads 11-4.

10:30 pm: You know you’re in trouble when your hopes rest on Bryan Steed.

10:32 pm: Amazingly, Steed beats the throw to first, but Horton strikes out to end the game. Oregon State wins 11-4, and are now within one game of repeating. Let’s hope that Luke Putkonen has a big day tomorrow, and that our bats will finally wake up.

2007 College World Series Live Blog: UNC vs. Mississippi State

Tonight The North Carolina Tar Heels begin their run in the 2007 College World Series, against the resurgent powerhouse Mississippi State. I will provide a proper preview of the Tar Heels in the CWS tomorrow; if you absolutely must have a preview right now, to to College Baseball Blog.

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7:15 pm: Top of the first. Robert Woodard allowed a single against the leadoff hitter, but retired the side after that.

7:19 pm: Bottom of the first. UNC’s batting lineup: Fronk, Fedroff, Ackley, Federowicz, Horton, Flack, Williams, Johnson, Gore.

7:20 pm: Justin Pigott strikes out Reid Fronk to begin the inning.

7:21 pm: Tim Fedroff grounds out to second. Apparently, he’s a Yankees fan. Booo… it’s a good thing you’re playing for the Tar Heels.

7:22 pm: Dustin Ackley is safe at first off the error by the shortstop, but Tim Federowicz flies out to center to end the inning. The game is scoreless after one.

7:26 pm: The second inning has begun. The Bulldogs first baseman leads off with a single up the middle.

Woodard is a good pitcher, but I’m concerned for our starting pitchers this year. They have been shaky for the entire post season, and many times our ourr bullpen has had to bail out the team before the offense makes a comeback. We need the starters to perform well if we want to win the College World Series.

7:27 pm: Fedroff completely misses the catch, losing the baseball in the sun. Runners on second and third.

7:29 pm: Sneed hits another double that goes in the right-center gap, scoring the two guys on base easily. 2-0, Mississippi State early in the second.

7:32 pm: The Bulldogs continue to hit off of Woodard into deep right field. Fedroff catches it, but Sneed scores after tagging up at third. 3-0, Mississippi State, and only 1 out.

7:34 pm: After 2 outs, another line drive to right field, and another easy run by Mississippi State, and the Bulldogs, lead 4-0.

That will be it for Woodard, as Adam Warren will come out of the bullpen in his place. Woodard leaves after 7 hits and 4 earned runs on only 39 pitches.

7:40 pm: Warren gets out of the inning, but not before Mississippi State puts a huge dent in UNC’s plans. Boy, where have we seen this before?

7:44 pm: After Josh Horton leads off with a base hit, Flack grounds into a double play, and Williams grounds out to end the inning, essentially before it started. Pigott retires the side in 4 pitches. He is dominating, which is not a good sign for the Tar Heels.

7:51 pm: Warren gets the Heels out of the inning without hemorrhaging more runs. The Bulldogs still lead, 4-0 in the middle of the third.

Adam Warren has been our fourth option at starting pitcher. Even though he has a perfect 10-0 regular season record, he has not been used in the postseason until now.

7:58 pm: After Benji Johnson strikes out, Garrett Gore hits a double into right field, UNC’s first extra base hit of the game. The Heels now go back to the top of the order.

8:01 pm: Pigott walks Fronk to put runners on first and second with one out. Fedroff is up next.

8:03 pm: Fedroff flies out to right field, and Fronk is picked off at first by the catcher to end the inning. The Bulldogs lead 4-0 after 3. UNC cannot afford to make mistakes at this point in the game.

8:11 pm: Adam Warren retires the first two batters. Missisippi State hits a two out left field double, but Warren is able to strike out catcher Edward Easly and end the top of the fourth. The Bulldogs still have a 4-0 lead.

8:15 pm: Pigott walks Ackley to lead off the inning.

8:18 pm: Federowicz hits a a deep fly ball, but the center fielder, Jeffrey Rae, is there for the catch. One down.

8:20 pm: Horton hits a grounder between first and second base for another base hit. Horton is 2-2.

Wait a minute. Someon has the time to setup a website calling for the head of a college baseball manager? Now I’ve seen everything.

8:22 pm: Flack hits another single for the Tar Heels. Ackley comes in to score from second to finally put UNC on the board. 4-1, Mississippi State.

8:27 pm: After Seth Williams flies out, Benji Johnson hits a grounder that gets past the shortstop. Horton comes in to score from second. 4-2 Mississippi State. Could UNC make another big comeback?

8:29 pm: Garrett Gore ground out to end the inning, but the Heels cut the lead in half. It’s 4-2, inf favor of the Bulldogs after four innings.

8:34 pm: According to Barry Larkin, the sign that you’ve made it big as a town is when you have a Bass Pro Shops. Hmm… under that definition, Auburn, New York has made it big as a city.

Also, Dick’s Sporting Goods, a sponsor of the CWS, is not going to be happy about Larkins plugging their competitor.

8:36 pm: UNC turns the double play tpo end the inning. We’re at the game’s midway point, and UNC still trails 4-2.

8:41 pm: With one out, Fedroff gets an easy right field single…

8:43 pm: …but Ackley line drives right to the third baseman, who turns in an easy double play to end the fifth inning. The Bulldogs still lead 4-2 after five innings.

8:48 pm: Adam Warren’s line so far: 3.2 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 4 K, 1 BB.

8:54 pm: Warren gets out of the inning, still without allowing a run. 4-2, Bulldogs.

8:58 pm: After one out, Horton and Flack each get base hits. Seth Williams is up next.

9:00 pm: Seth hits a bullet at the third baseman, who mishandles the ball. Horton is able to score from second, cutting the deficit to 4-3.

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

…You know what? That sounded definitively less formidable at a baseball game.

9:03 pm: Benji Johnson misses getting a home run by thismuch, but he hits it off the wall and Flack comes in to score. Seth Williams is stopped at third, and the game is now tied at 4. UNC has come all the way back, and Pigott is gong to get pulled from the pitching mound.

WHOOOOOOOO!!!

It’s worth noting that the Heels ravaged the South Carolina bullpen, but it may be a different story against the Bulldogs. Runners on 2nd and 3rd, 1 out.

9:08 pm: The pitcher walks Gore to load the bases for Reid Fronk, possibly to force an inning-ending double play.

9:10 pm: Reid Fronk is hit by pitch, and Seth Williams scores from third. UNC leads, 5-4. A bizarre way to get out first lead of the game, but we’ll take it.

9:11 pm: Fedroff Flies out to deep left field, but Benji Johnson is able to tag up and score from third. It’s now 6-4 in favor of the Heels. What a turnaround.

9:12 pm: Dustin Ackley hits a line drive over the outstretched arms of the shortstop, bring Gore and Fronk in to score. With the 2 RBI single, Ackley ties the record for the most hits by a Tar Heel in a season, set by Chad Flack last season. UNC leads, 8-4.

9:14 pm: Federowicz, who led off the inning, gets a base hit that sends Ackley to third, and the Bulldogs must now dig deeper into their bullpen.

9:16 pm: Roy Williams is looking stylish is his “Carolina blue loose Under Armour semi-mock-turtleneck T-shirt”. There are so many oxymorons in that one piece of clothing, it’s scary, and yet he manages to look good in it.

9:18 pm: Horton flies out to right, and the inning mercifully comes to an end, but the Heels now have a 4 run lead heading into the 7th, with Adam Warren still pitching well.

9:21 pm: Correction: Warren has finished his day, and has been replaced in favor of Rob Wooten. He has pitched extremely well this postseason.

9:23 pm: Just when it looked like UNC’s lead was going to be safe, Wooten allows a deep home run from Edward Easley to cut the lead to 8-5, and the Bulldogs put another guy on base.

9:25 pm: UNC is able to get out of the inning and into the 7th inning stretch, still leading 8-5. The Heels’ now red-hot offense will get another chance to get more runs.

9:28 pm: Flack beats the throw from third to get the base hit and lead off the inning.

9:31 pm: Ricky Bowen has spent WAY too much time worrying about Flack at first base. He needs to worry about the batter.

9:33 pm: Williams walks, putting runners on first and second with nobody out.

9:35 pm: A wild pitch sends the runners to second and third, still with no one out. The Bulldogs are in serious trouble.

9:37 pm: Benji Johnson strikes out. For the Bulldogs, that’s about the best thing that could have happened in the at-bat.

9:38 pm: On the next pitch, Gore grounds to third, where Sneed manages to keep Flack at third and throw out Gore at first.

On the very next pitch, Reid Fronk grounds out to first, and Mississippi manages to escape the jam, still trailing the Heels 8-5. Crap. We could have finished them off, and we let them off the hook. Let’s see if coming up empty in the 7th comes back to haunt us.

9:42 pm: Sneed grounds out to Flack at third. We’re five outs away. Wooten is still on the mound, and Andrew Carignan is warming up.

9:43 pm: Jet Butler also grounds out, and UNC is now 4 outs away from their first win in the 2007 CWS.

9:44 pm: Wooten retires the side easily in the top of the 8th inning, and Carignan will close in the 9th. This game seems pretty much in hand at this point, but another run or two never hurts.

9:48 pm: Fedroff gets a base hit to lead off.

9:50 pm: Mississippi State skipper Ron Polk looks like a combination of Lou Pinniella and Bobby Bowden. Trust me, that is not a good thing.

9:54 pm: After striking out 2 batters, Horton flies out to end the 8th inning. UNC still leads 8-5, and now have a chance to close out the game in the 9th.

9:59 pm: Carignan easily disposes of the first two batters. Ed Easley, who hit the home run off of Wooten, is now the Bulldogs’ last hope.

10:01 pm: Easley strikes out! And Carolina manages the 8-5 win over Mississippi State. The Heels once again are bailed out by their bullpen after a bad performance by the starter, and the offense rallies late to get the win. North Carolina will now face Rice in Game 4 of Bracket A of the College World Series. The winner will have the upper hand in getting to the Championship Series.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

UNC vs. Tennessee: Wow, I Just Had the Worst April Fools Joke Played on Me

Yesterday someone tried to pull the WORST April Fools joke on me. Last night I was watching last night’s women’s final four game between UNC and Tennessee, and I saw UNC gain a 12 point lead with about 8 minutes to go, and then Camille Little and Latoya Pringle fouled out on questionable calls. Then the Heels couldn’t buy a basket late, committed 29 turnovers for the game, and the Vols stormed back to win by 6. I can’t believe I almost fell for that joke! The game and the comeback was so believable until the Little foul, and the late turnovers. People are getting really good at this April Fools thing.

Wait…that really happened? Oh, crap.

Some thoughts from yesterday…

  • I said at some point in my liveblog that if Larkins couldn’t score, we were going to lose. With 8 minutes left, Larkins scored UNC’s last field goal of the game. I don’t remember her taking a good shot after that, scoring only 4 points for the game. Tennessee did a very good job of keeping her in check offensively, even though she had her normal monster day rebounding.
  • Rashanda McCants played the game of her life last night. 13 points, 50% FG shooting, 9 rebounds, 5 steals, a block and an assist. She seemed fairly ineffective during the regular season, seemingly not giving complete effort. I certainly can’t say that about last night. She will be very exciting to watch next year if she can have more games like that.
  • Both teams played exceptional defense last night. McCants, Latoya Pringle, Shannon Bobbitt and Nicky Anosike in particular played some of the best individual defense I’ve seen in quite some time, in men’s or women’s basketball. The Tennessee-Rutgers game should be a defensive clinic by both teams.
  • I don’t care how good you are. If you turn the ball over 29 times in a game, you can’t win. Although, Tennessee had 21 turnovers in their own right, bringing the game total to 50. Again, phenomenal defense by both teams.
  • Next year’s lineup, as I project it (assuming no freshmen): Larkins, Pringle, Jessica Breland, McCants, and Alex Miller in the starting lineup, with Iman McFarland and Heather Claytor getting substantial minutes off the bench. UNC will continue to emphasize the paint.
  • I will sorely miss seeing Ivory Latta and Camille Little in Carolina Blue. I will be rooting for them both in the WNBA. In particular, Latta is about to take that league by storm. You go girl!

ivory_latta2.jpgcamille_little2.jpg

UNC Women vs. Purdue Live Blog: NCAA Regional Final

The men may have been eliminated, but the Ladies still have championship aspirations. Tonight the Lady Tar Heels play Purdue for the right to play in the Women’s Final Four in Cleveland. UNC could use some good passing and outside shooting from Ivory Latta, but the real engine of our game is in the middle, with Erlana Larkins, Latoya Pringle, and Camille Little. Purdue is lead by Katie Gearlds and Lindsay Wisdom-Hylton, who average over 33 combined points per game. The only #2 seed to survive the first weekend (go figure), don’t underestimate the Boilermakers, who are 18-3 in 21 road and neutral games.

So, let’s get it on, ladies! No, not like that. You have a sick, sick mind!

9:07 pm: How could I forget: this is a rematch of last year’s regional semifinal, a 70-68 UNC win.

2-0, Purdue. UNC doesn’t send anyone back on defense, and the pay for it with an easy basket by Lawless. Great passing by Purdue.

9:09 pm: 2-2. Latta misses the layup, but Larkins is there for the outback.

9:10 pm: 5-2, Purdue. UNC nearly forces a steal, but the overpursuit of the ball leaves Gearlds open for three.

The game has had a sloppy start. Both teams have committed unforced errors.

9:11 pm: 7-7. The pace of the game is picking up quickly. Latta hits a three, than Purdue gets a quick basket inside, and Rashanda McCants hits a floater, all in about 30-40 seconds.

9:13 pm: 9-7, UNC. As we hit the first official timeout, Latoya Pringle hits a basket inside for the Heels’ first lead.

9:15 pm: 11-7, UNC. Larkins gets the offensive rebound, the putback and the foul. She misses the free throw, but that’s exactly what UNC needs out of Erlana: the ability to get offensive rebounds and score on putbacks.

9:18 pm: 11-11. I know coach Hatchell doesn’t care about turnovers, but I do. Seeing them turn the ball over so much is really frustrating. But who am I to complain? We’re 33-3 this year.

Jessica Breland and Alex Miller are in the game for UNC.

9:20 pm: 15-11, UNC. Larkins continues to dominate the post.

9:21 pm: 15-14, UNC. Purdue hits another three before the official timeout.

9:25 pm: The Tar Heels look completely out of sync when Miller is playing point in place of Latta. They already have 6 turnovers for the game, and nearly committed a seventh.

9:26 pm: Then again, what was Ivory doing shooting that long three? Our bread and butter is in the post! Even with Latta, she’s best when she drives inside. Maybe she hasn’t been as confident to do so since her injury last year.

9:29 pm: 18-17, Purdue. That’s what I’m talking about. Rashanda McCants drives inside for a layup, but Jody Howell hits a three to give the lead back to the Boilermakers.

9:30 pm: 20-17, Purdue. Hatchell calls a timeout to stop Purdue’s momentum. UNC has not been able to run their gameplan at all in the last 5 minutes.

9:35 pm: 22-17. Purdue. Wait…did I hear that right? Purdue’s point guard is Karl Malone? Wow, they’ve really bent the rules tonight.

The Boilermakers defense has done an excellent job of disrupting UNC’s gameplan. Still, there’s no excuse for Little not having touched the ball yet.

9:36 pm: 22-19, Purdue. Pringle scores inside again.

9:39 pm: 22-21, Purdue. UNC forces another turnover, and Latta finally gets an easy basket inside.

9:40 pm: 23-22, UNC. With 4:22 left in the first half, Camille Little gets her first touch since the opening tip, and she scores easily. Nice passing by the Tar Heels, who take back the lead.

Official timeout.

9:43 pm: CORRECTION: Purdue’s point guard is named FahKara Malone, not Karl Malone.

9:45 pm: 29-22, UNC. The Tar Heels are storming now. After scoring the last 6 points, Pringle makes her first free throw and misses the second, but Larkins gets the rebound and passes to Latta, who hits the open three. UNC forces a turnover on the next possession, and Larkins scores on a putback.

9:47 pm: 33-24, UNC. 25 of UNC’s 33 points are in the paint.

Latta get another layup, but she falls hard on her leg, the one Maryland injured last year. She hasn’t been quite 100% since. I can’t forgive the Terps for that; we would have beaten them with a healthy Latta. She has to go to the locker room.

9:50 pm: North Carolina leads, 35-28 at halftime. UNC finished the half on a 18-6 run. With the exception of that run, Purdue was playing excellent defense, forcing turnovers and taking good shots, but the Heels are dominating the paint. They must continue to attack if they want to beat the Boilermakers. Of course, having Latta back in the second half will be important.

10:07 pm: 37-30, UNC. Damn. Erlana Larkins is fast for a big girl.

10:08 pm: 39-33, UNC. Latta hits a nice midrange jumper in transition, but Purdue responds with a three.

10:09 pm: 41-33, UNC. There it is again! Larkins just blew by everybody, driving in the lane and getting the easy layup. The Purdue forwards can’t keep up with her.

10:10 pm: 41-37, UNC. Gearlds hits two free throws, cutting the lead to four.

10:11 pm: 43-40, UNC. Larkins continues to score inside, but three is greater than two, and Gearlds is stroking it from the bonusphere right now.

10:12 pm: 45-40, UNC. A basket inside by–who else?–Erlana Larkins, bringing the lead back to five.

10:14 pm: Apparently Gail Goestenkors, the Duke head coach, is being interviewed to replace the retiring 900-win coach of Texas, Jody Conradt. I hope it happens. Texas will get a great coach, and Duke will suffer. YEE-AHH!!!

10:16 pm: 47-41, UNC. You have to believe that some of the Purdue players are in foul trouble by now, right?

10:17 pm: 49-41, UNC. Wow. Rashanda McCants is actually playing well tonight. She hit a very nice midrange jumper, and she now has 11.

10:19 pm: 51-43, UNC. Larkins continues to dominate the low post, getting every shot very close to the basket.

10:20 pm: 52-45, UNC. If There’s one thing that’s going to bring Purdue back in this game, it’s going to be the turnovers they are forcing.

10:22 pm: 54-45, UNC. I knew it! Wisdom-Hylton is on the bench with four fouls.

10:23 pm: What is Larkins doing shooting a long jumper? That is not her territory!

Official timeout. 11:27 left in the game.

10:26 pm: TAR! HEELS! TAR! HEELS! TAR! HEELS!

10:27 pm: 56-48, UNC. Gearlds hits another three for Purdue, but the Boilermakers still have no answer for Larkins inside. She has 20.

10:29 pm: 56-52, UNC. Purdue has been clawing back, cutting the lead to four.

10:30 pm: 62-52, UNC. Within 45 seconds, McCants hits another jumper to bring her total to 15, Camille Little steals and gets a breakaway, and Latta gets the floater and the foul inside to bring the lead to double digits.

Timeout.

10:34 pm: 64-55, UNC. Only ESPN would cut to the studio as someone hits a shot.

10:35 pm: 64-60, UNC. Katie Gearlds is on fire, and thanks to turnovers they cut the lead back to four. She has 22, but she’s also passing the ball well.

10:37 pm: The lady Tar heels are making the same mistake as the men on Sunday against Georgetown, Their game revolves around the post, yet they’re throwing up jumpers. Even worse, Purdue is getting all of the rebounds, which allows them to control the tempo.

By the way: I’m not writing an article on what went wrong against the Hoyas in this space.

Yet.

10:40 pm: 67-60, UNC. The ESPN play-by-play announcer Mark Jones, on Erlana Larkins: “They’re gonna ride her!”

10:41 pm: 69-60, UNC. Purdue double teams Larkins, but she passes the ball to an open Latoya Pringle. A stat worth being concerned about, however: Erlana has only 1 rebound in the second half.

10:43 pm: 71-60, UNC, 4:28 left. More great passing by Larkins, this time an assist to Little. She’s one if the nation’s most complete players.

10:44 pm: 71-62, UNC, 3:39 left. Last official timeout.

10:47 pm: Purdue is running the full court press. This could go extremely well or extremely bad for the Boilermakers. Let’s hope for the latter.

10:50 pm: 72-62, UNC. 2:45 left. Latta drive inside and forces Wisdom-Hylton to foul out.

10:52 pm: 72-64, UNC, 2:31 left. Oh, man. Seeing that fat guy body painted and with the letters “TA” (I’m guessing Lat-ta) on his lovehandles was just wrong. Nyaaaaaaagh.

10:57 pm: 76-70, UNC, 1:30 left. Latta is hitting her free throws, but Purdue is till scoring on every possession late.

10:59 pm: 78-70, UNC, 1:06 left. The Heels finally get a defensive stop, Larkins gets the rebound, and this game appears sealed.

11:01 pm: 79-70, UNC, :33 left. Now THAT’S what I call a block! Latoya Pringle should be on the football team, she absolutely decleated that Purdue player! I hope Butch Davis is watching.

11:04 pm: North Carolina wins, 84-72, and the Tar Heels return to the Final Four! Considering that Duke and Maryland are already out of the way, I like our chances to win the National Championship. Tennessee, Rutgers, and LSU are certainly no pushovers, but they don’t scare me as much as our ACC foes. Once again, Mark Jones ruins the moment by making an awkward reference to Ludacris and his friendship with Latta: “and the Tar Heels are shaking their moneymaker all the way to the Final Four!” Dude, that’s just wrong.

UNC vs. Georgetown Live Blog: NCAA Tournament Elite 8

5:12 pm: Coming right off of Florida’s win over Oregon, coverage starts with the tipoff. Johnathan Wallace gets an easy layup off the backdoor cut, but Hansbrough draws a foul on Roy Hibbert early. 2-2.

5:13 pm: 4-4. WAYNE’S WORLD! WAYNE’S WORLD! PARTY TIME! EXCELLENT! WHOOOO!!! (riff)

5:14 pm: 6-6. Hansbrough gets his first basket of the game, but Georgetown gets another easy layup inside.

5:15 pm: 11-8, UNC. Hansbrough and Hibbert each score again inside, and then Brandan Wright gets three the hard way.

Wow. He actually got nothing but net on a free throw. Cherish that sight, you may not see it again.

5:16 pm: 11-11. Summers hits a three for the Hoyas.

UNC is making a lot of substitutions early. I can tell because 1) Deon Thompson and Alex Stepheson are on the court, and 2) I’ve already heard that incessant buzzer about 25 times. God, my ears are going to explode.

5;18 pm: 13-11, UNC. Hansbrough scores from the free throw line. He has 8 points in four minutes.

Our first official timeout comes after 24 points have already been scored, This game is certainly going at UNC’s pace, which is going to run the Hoyas ragged. I’d like to see some better interior defense by the Heels, though.

5:21 pm: 15-11, UNC. “Jeff Green did not travel.” More Billy Packer goodness.

5:23 pm: 16-15, G’Town. Wow. Roy Hibbert is having his way inside offensively. That really concerns me.

Wright is out with 2 fouls.

5:24 pm: 22-15, G’Town. Wallace hits two straight threes.

UNC is taking really bad shots, and the Hoyas are getting all the rebounds. This 11-0, run reminds me a lot of when Virginia Tech pulled away in Blacksburg.

5:25 pm: 22-18, G’Town. Wes Miller stops the run.

5:26 pm: 22-20, G’Town. Just though you would like to know. The current lineup on the floor: Thompson, Stepheson, Danny Green, Wes Miller, and Lawson. Now there’s a bench for ya.

5:27 pm: 24-22, UNC. JT3 is called for a technical foul, and Green hits his free throws.

UNC takes back the lead as Lawson makes a great pass to Thompson, who gets the two handed dunk.

5:28 pm: 26-22, UNC. Who would think that Thompson and Stepheson would give Hibbert just as hard a time perhaps even harder than Wright and Hansbrough? Thompson scores again, and Stepheson is playing very good defense on Hibbert. UNC is now on an 11 point run of their own.

5:31 pm: It’s an absolutely perfect day, 78 degrees and sunny in NC. Too bad this game is being played in New Jersey. They are not worthy!

5:32 pm: 26-24, UNC. Hibbert gets an easy shot inside, but he picks up his second foul midway through the first half.

I just saw Stepheson do a fantastic job of disrupting Georgetown’s backdoor cuts. He’s playing very good defense today.

5:35 pm: 27-24, UNC. Dude, you’ve got to make those free throws! I’m actually concerned about the Heels if the game comes down to free throws.

5:36 pm: 30-26, UNC. Patrick Ewing gets the basket and foul, but he misses the free throw. Terry hits a three on the ensuing possession.

5:38 pm: 33-26, UNC. What strep throat? Terry hits his second straight shot from the bonusphere.

5:39 pm: 35-26, UNC. Georgetown hasn’t been able to do anything offensively in Hibbert’s absence.

Official timeout.

5:43 pm: Hibbert is back in, trying to give the Hoyas momentum.

5:44 pm: 35-28, UNC. Hibbert immediately gets a dunk.

UNC committed a shot clock violation. Believe it or not, that’s their first turnover of the game.

5:45 pm: 37-28, UNC. Ellington does an excellent job of running the transition, and Wright finishes emphatically.

5:46 pm: 40-30, UNC. Wright gets three the hard way again! UNC is doing a good job of running the transition.

5:47 pm: 42-35, UNC. Wright is catching on fire for the Tar Heels but but the Hoyas are a completely different team on offense today when Hibbert is in the game. Either the entire team plays better or the Heels are making mistakes trying to account for Hibbert.

Official timeout.

5:51 pm: 44-35, UNC. Hibbert may not have 3 fouls yet, but Jessie Sapp does.

Whoa. Wright hasn’t missed a free throw yet.

5:52 pm: 44-37, UNC. Summers hits a shot inside.

5:53 pm: 44-39, UNC. How is that not a foul on Hibbert? He got a piece of Terry on that block!

5:54 pm: 46-39, UNC. Terry hits a nice layup across the lane.

5:56 pm: 48-42, UNC. I haven’t heard much from Jeff Green today, but he has 9 points. I didn’t even notice until he hits that basket and the foul.

5:58 pm: 49-44, UNC. Wallace hits a pullup jumper with 10 seconds left in the first half. Stepheson goes to the line as Patrick Ewing picks up his third foul.

6:00 pm: Stepheson hits one of two, and UNC leads 50-44 at halftime. The Heels played well so far in this game, dictating the pace, getting good minutes out of their bench, shooting the ball well, and getting the Georgetown frontcourt in foul trouble. However, to win they will need to clamp down on defense and make a point to draw fouls from Hibbert. They also need bigger contributions out of their guards, Wayne Ellington and Ty Lawson.

6:21 pm: 52-44, UNC. The second half begins, and Hansbrough gets a putback to bring the lead to 8. He has 14.

6:22 pm: 54-46, UNC. There it is! There it is! Hibbert’s third, only one minute into the second half. Hansbrough hits two free throws.

6:24 pm: 56-48, UNC. Wayne, you’ve got to hit that shot!

A great pass by Georgetown leads to an easy shot inside.

Hansbrough scores inside again. He’s up to 18.

6:25 pm: 56-51, UNC. Wallace hits another three to cut the lead to 5.

6:26 pm: How does UNC not get the defensive rebound after three chances? Fortunately, Georgetown throws the ball away.

6:27 pm: 59-51, UNC. WAYNE’S WORLD! WAYNE’S WORLD! PARTY TIME! EXCELLENT! WHOOOOO!!! (riff)

6:28 pm: 59-53, UNC. Official timeout.

6:31 pm: 61-56, UNC. UNC needs to clamp down on defense. They’re allowing the Hoyas to shoot 62% from the field.

Sapp’s three reduces the lead to three, but Hansbrough hits a shot inside on the next possession.

6:32 pm: UNC has only missed 3 out of 24 free throws, and two have been by Alex Stepheson.

6:34 pm: 65-56, UNC. You know Georgetown needs Hibbert in the game when Deon Thompson has taken over the post. He has 12 points.

6:37 pm: 67-58, UNC. Terry hits a tough fadeaway jumper.

6:38 pm: 69-62, UNC. UNC shortly gains a double digit lead before Georgetown gets two straight easy baskets by Jeff Green and Patrick Ewing.

11:32 left.

6:43 pm: 71-65, UNC. Jeff Green is playing very well right now.

I don’t get it. We should be up big in this game; we’ve played extremely well, and we’ve done so many things right.

6:44 pm: 73-65, UNC. Deon Thompson continues to score for the Heels. The Hoyas must find it frustrating to play against three post players who can score and four who can make a big impact.

6:47 pm: We’re getting nearly double the rebounds of Georgetown and pretty much dominating the post in this game, but I still think we need to see a better game out of our guards.

7:51 left in the game.

6:52 pm: 75-65, UNC. Ginyard hits his free throws to get a double digit lead for the Heels.

6:53 pm: How is that not UNC’s ball? Lawson got it fair and square!

6:54 pm: Danny, why are you chucking up those quick, ill advised shots?

There’s been about a five minute span has not scored at all. During that same span we have only scored 4 points. We squandered a perfect opportunity to put this game away. Very poor shot selection on our part.

6:56 pm: 75-70, UNC. Suddenly the lead has been cut to five, with shots by Summers and Hibbert.

6:57 pm: 75-72, UNC. NOOOOOOO!!!! Why are we taking such bad shots? The bad shots mean we can’t get good rebounds, which gives all the momentum to Georgetown.

I got so frustrated with that run I almost started throwing stuff across the room.

7:03 pm: 77-72, UNC. Whoa. Just…whoa. Brandan Wright’s two free throws were straight, true, nothing but net.

7:05 pm: 77-76, UNC. NO! NOOOOOOOO!!! Ewing’s putback was WAY too easy.

I have to give credit to Georgetown. Their switch to zone pressure defense has really affected the Tar heels, who have been chucking up a lot of bad shots in the last 6 minutes.

7:07 pm: 79-78, UNC. A huge defensive lapse leads to an easy basket by Sapp.

7:08 pm: 81-78, UNC, 1:40 left. Hansbrough finally hits a tough shot inside. Thats the Tar Heels’ first basket in over eight minutes.

7:09 pm: 1:04 left. Good defense by Wright, a great rebound by Hansbrough, and UNC gets a much needed defensive stop.

7:11 pm: :44 left. How is that a foul on Hansbrough? He was attacked by two guys! That’s bull!

7:12 pm: 81-81, :24 left. NOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!! Johnathan Wallace hits a three, and the game is tied!

Right now, Georgetown is playing to win, while UNC is playing not to lose. That’s been their big mistake in the second half.

7:15 pm: :02 left. Ellington shoots an off balance three at the last second, but it bounces off the rim, and Georgetown rebounds, and will have the ball with 2 seconds left.

7:16 pm: Johnathan Wallace can;t get a shot off, and we’re going to overtime. 81-81, end of regulation.

7:18 pm: 81-81, 4:35 left OT. UNC isn’t rebounding well at all.

7:19 pm: 83-81, G’town, 4:03 left OT. Wallace gets a layup, and Georgetown in the lead.

7:20 pm: 85-81, G’town, 3:30 left OT.

7:22 pm: 87-81, G’town, 2:00 left OT. I think I’m going to need therapy.

The game ends, and Georgetown wins, 96-84 in overtime. Everything that could have gone wrong, did in the final seven minutes and overtime. From 9:55 left in regulation until 10 seconds left in overtime, UNC shot 1-22 from the field, including 0-13 from three. That was one of the big problem: way too many three point attempts. I had expected our bench to wear down the Hoyas, but we were the team hta looked worn down in the end. Georgetown played extremely well, and they are definitely national championship caliber. But we had them, a 10 point lead with seven minutes left. It’s disappointing to see such a monumental collapse.

I’m felling really bad about this game, and at this point I may get beat by a penny in my bracket pool. Simply insane. Again, much credit is due to the Hoyas, but UNC should not have lost this game.

UNC vs. USC Live Blog: 2007 NCAA Tournament Sweet 16

Tonight UNC plays Southern Cal in game 2 of the East Regional semifinals. For a preview of UNC, see What UNC must do to win the National Championship. North Carolina will be looking to play a very fast game, dominate the pain,t and tire out the comparably thin Trojan lineup. USC, coming off a win against Texas, will be relying on Taj Gibson and Abdoulaye N’Diaye to defend the paint, but their undersized lineup will need to rely on good perimeter shooting and clamping down on UNC’s guards. Ironically, that’s exactly how teams have beaten us this year.

10:07 pm: Ginyard is starting in place of Terry, who will see limited action due to strep throat.

10:08 pm: 2-1, USC. The Trojans score first, a turnaround jumper inside.

Ladies and Gentlemen, Jim Nantz and Billy Packer!

10:09 pm: 6-1, USC. Wow. USC is attackin ght einside, and they’re winning. Spreading the ball out forces our forwards outside, which gives USC better opportunities.

10:10 pm: 6-3, USC. Lawson drives inside and gets a layup, the Heels’ first basket of the game.

10:12 pm: 10-5, USC. Hansbrough gets lucky as his 18 foot jumper rims in, but the Trojans get a three on the next possession.

Southern Cal has been quite comfortable playing a transition game.

10:16 pm: 12-5, USC. The Tar Heels seem to be lapsing defensively. Nick Young completely fools the defense.

More importantly, the UNC faithful are very tepid in East Rutherford tonight.

10:17 pm: 12-7, USC. WAYNE’S WORLD! WAYNE’S WORLD! PARTY TIME! EXCELLENT! WHOOOOOO!!! (riff)

10:18 pm: 15-7, USC. Gibson gets the basket on Hansbrough AND the foul. Ugh. Where the hell is Brandan Wright?

10:20 pm: Okay, something is definitely wrong with the Tar Heels right now. They aren’t battling for balls, they just let the Trojans get the long rebound. They need to contest every ball.

10:21 pm: 18-7, USC. This is very,very frustrating. USC hits another three, and they take a double digit lead.

The Trojans have done a good job of keep the ball away for Hansbrough and Wright.

10:22 pm: 18-12, USC. Deon Thompson scores off a putback, and on the next possession hits an open three from a kickout pass inside.

10:24 pm: As we go to an official timeout (less that 11 minutes left), Tyler Hansbrough is already in foul trouble.

10:27 pm: 20-14, USC. Wright finally gets on the board with a nice hook shot.

10:28 pm: 22-14, USC. How can such an undersized team have their way against one of the best frontcourts in the country? This doesn’t make sense.

10:29 pm: 22-18, USC. At least things seem to be clicking for the Heels offensively. Wright gets an easy putback off the transition.

10:30 pm: What is Hansbrough doing on the court with two fouls and this much time left?

10:31 pm: 22-20, USC. Wayne Ellington gets an offensive rebound and hits the baseline jumper to bring the game within two.

10:32 pm: 24-20, USC. Official timeout, 7:54 left in the first half.

10;35 pm: So it isn’t my imagination. USC HAS severely outrebounded the Heels, 16-8.

10:36 pm: 24-22, USC. Wright gets another easy basket inside, but Lawson picks up his second foul. Quentin Thomas comes in.

10:37 pm: 26-24, USC. Brandan Wright has taken over the paint for the Tar Heels.

10:38 pm: 26-26. WAYNE’S WORLD! WAYNE’S WORLD! PARTY TIME! EXCELLENT WHOOOO!!!

The Heels have actually done a better job with some bench players in the game.

10:38 pm: 32-28, USC. Gabe Pruitt makes an unbelievable three point play. He steals a pass in midair, drives insides, gets the basket and the foul.

10:40 pm: 34-33, USC. Terry hits two straight shots, the last a three. I think that’s only our second three of the game. That’s a big concern, and yet it’s not.

10:44 pm: 38-33, USC. The Trojans, and Gibson in particular, continue to get easy shots inside. I’m concerned because Roy isn’t exactly a master of mid-game adjustments.

10:45 pm: USC continues to dominate the boards. It looks like the Tar Heels aren;t even trying to box out.

Wow. Tyler Hansbrough has brass ones. He’s taken two charges even though he has two fouls.

10:47 pm: 39-33, USC. Right now, the Heels have inexplicably stooped looking inside and started chucking up outside shots. The Heels seem to still be in a collective mental haze. USC is outhustling them 80% of the time in this game.

10:50 pm: 42-33, USC. Young gets the basket and the foul to put the Trojans up 9.

Bobby Frasor is playing really bad tonight. He can’t get anything done versus the speedy backcourt of Southern Cal.

10:53 pm: Ellington’s buzzer beater rims out, but USC leads 42-33 at halftime. The Trojans have been able to use their small but fast lineup to their advantage, giving the UNC defense fits with guards consistently getting easy shots inside. They’ve outfought UNC for every ball, adn the Heels have shown a lack of mental focus, their biggest weakness from this season. To get back in the game, Lawson will need to stay out of foul trouble, the Heels will need to attack the inside, getting more contributions from Wright and Hansbrough, and they need to contest every Trojan shot, shutting the lane away from USC’s guards. I thought Wright vs. Young would heavily favor Wright, but Nick Young has had a field day of his own on offense. The Heels may need to go with a smaller lineup for short periods of time, with maybe Terry playing Young on defense.

11:15 pm: 44-33, USC. Oh crap. If we lose this game, I will forever hate Nick Young.

In case you’re wondering, the second half has begun.

11;16 pm: 46-33, USC. Damn it, Tyler, you can;t let your man get behind you lie that! he’s going to have a field day.

11:17 pm: 49-33, USC. The Trojans have scored the last 15 points. I am shocked at how badly the Heels have played thus far.

11:18 pm: 49-35, USC. Ellington finally stops the bleeding.

When is Roy going to make a coaching adjustment? Our gameplan doesn’t seem to be any different in the second half.

11:24 pm: 49-37, USC. Wow. Jason Ray, the man in the Rameses costume, was hit by a car today and is in critical condition. Here’s to hoping his full recovery. The game isn’t the same without you, Rameses.

11:25 pm: 51-39, USC. Danny Green throws it away underneath his basket AGAIN, and Pruett scores for the Trjoans AGAIN! This game is starting to get really frustrating. What’s it going to take to snap the Heels out of this?

11;27 pm: 53-45, USC. Terry hits a tough Jumper to bring the lead back to 10. Lawson steals the inbound pass and gets the layup to cut the lead to 8.

11: 28 pm: 57-45, USC. The Trojans hit two straight easy shots, but Gisbon goes to the bench with his fourth foul. He’s their only inside player; I hope that the Heels can finally take advantage of this clear mismatch.

11:29 pm: 57-49, USC. Brandan Wright takes advantage of Gibson’s absence with two straight baskets inside.

Official timeout. 11:10 left in the game. UNC is creeping back into it.

11:36 pm: 59-54, USC. Ginyard goes up for the unbelievable putback and the foul. The Heels are now within five.

11;37 pm: We had a perfect fast break opportunity. How did Wright not finish that?

11:39 pm: 59-56, USC. Wright nearly dunks in the opposing basket trying to catch a rebound, but he gets the nice baseline basket to cut the lead to three. I didn’t expect Hansbrough to struggle this much in the game, but Wright has certainly picked up the slack with 23 points and 9 rebounds. USC has been reeling in Taj Gibson’s absence.

11:42 pm: Gibson is back in with over 8 minutes left. UNC needs to attack them.

11:43 pm: 59-58, USC. Ginyard gets two offensive rebounds, including the putback to bring the Heels within one. The Trojans were too concerned with double teaming Wright, and Ginyard slipped by.

7:11 left in the game.

11:47 pm: 62-59, UNC. The Heels have taken the lead! YYYEEEEAAAAHHH!!!

It looks like our deep bench has finally gotten to the Trojans. They seem tired.

11:48 pm: 64-59, UNC. Brandan Wright cannot be stopped…

…except at the free throw line. 65-59.

11:49 pm: Playing the same type of game against an opponent until they run out of gas is a good strategy for winning. But damn! Watching these kinds of game are going to take 5 years off my life.

11:51 pm: 67-62, UNC. The Trojans finally break n 18-0 run by the Tar Heels. UNC is capable of those kinds of runs all the time, and while I wish they’d play like that earlier, how you finish a game is what matters.

11:53 pm: 69-62, UNC. 3:29 left. USC seems to be completely out of gas.

I can;t believe that we’ve made this comeback without Hansbrough being any factor whatsoever.

11:58 pm: 70-64, UNC, 2:45 left. USC is trying to run the full court trap. Damn it, we did not come all the way back to squander this game with a few turnovers.

12:02 am: Taj Gibson fouls out, but them Tim Floyd gets a technical foul. With 48.5 seconds and UNC getting two free throws and possession, that essentially ends the game. A huge lapse of judgement by Floyd.

12:06 am: The game ends, and UNC wins, 74-64! WHOOOOOOO!!!

This game scared the s— out of me, but after USC ran out of gas in the second half, UNC (in particular Wright and Ginyard) took over, outscoring the Trojans 25-5 to end the game. That is the level that the Heels are capable of playing, but where was that for the first 28 minutes? I have to admit, USC was a much tougher opponent than I had expected.

We play Georgetown next. I actually think we match up better against the Hoyas.

UNC vs. Michigan State Live Blog: 2007 NCAA Tournament 2nd Round

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.