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.
- Duke won the rebounding battle in the first half; UNC cannot let Duke keep getting second chances.
- 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.
- 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.