#5 UNC vs. Wake: Annihilation Would Be an Understatement Part II, and A Peek Into Butch Davis’ Crystal Ball

As I said in my preview of Annihilation Part I, the Deacons have a very young team, and they must use their srop of young talent to keep their most important players (Kyle Visser, Ishmael Smith, and Michael Drum) fresh for 40 minutes if they want to leave the Dean Dome with their dignity intact. UNC beat Wake by 28 at Winston-Salem, and unless the Deacons are able to hit all of their shots, keep key players out of foul trouble, and impose their pace of the game, I don’t see this game being much different.

Make no mistake, UNC (21-3, 72 ACC) has big reasons to play well in this game, no the least of which is ACC position. Wake may be in an inferior opponent, but the Tar Heels need to win this game to keep pace with Boston College and Virginia (both 8-2 ACC). More importantly, the 1957 and 1982 National Championship teams are in the building. This team cannot let them down.

1:36 pm: Psycho T begins the scoring with 2 free throws. 2-0, UNC.

1:37 pm: Michael Jordan is in attendance in this game. The TV showed him, and Holy Crap! Whose idea was it to bring back the 70s plaid blazer?

1:39 pm: Both teams begin very sloppy before Lawson hits a deep three for the first FG of the game. 5-2, UNC. Before that both teams missed open layups.

1:40 pm: Visser hits a jumper for his first basket of the game, but Terry responds with an offensive rebound and a shot the just rolls in. 7-4, UNC.

1:41 pm: Wake is already in foul trouble, as Harvey Hale gets two quick fouls. Michael Drum (Wake) and UNC’s second team come in the game.

1:43 pm: The sloppiness continues as UNC is constantly committing turnovers, one of which leads to an easy Wake dunk. 7-6, UNC at the first TV timeout.

1:45 pm; Sylvia Hatchell is on ABC talking about the loss to Duke. The Duke women played an extremely good game on Thursday, especially on defense. I will give by belated full review later.

1:48 pm: OOOOHHHHHHH!!! Kyle Visser just got rejected from a wide open shot by Marcus Ginyard! YYEEEAAAAAHHHHH!!! That was awesome, seeing a 7-foot guy get stuffed by a 6-5 guy.

1:49 pm: Hansbrough makes a statement of his own, dunking with authority on the other end off a great pass by Lawson to make it 11-6, UNC.

1:50 pm: Neither team is playing especially well, giving away good opportunities.

Terry makes a great revers layup to make it 13-6, UNC.

1:52 pm: 15-8, UNC. Didn’t see those last two baskets. I was too distracted by MJ’s horrible suit. Sam Perkins, on the other hand, knows how to dress, with a pinstriped black blazer, a loose-collared withe shirt and dreadlocks. He’s looking sharp.

1:56 pm: 16-8, UNC. AAAAHHHHHHHH!!! MY EEEYYYYYYYYYYEESSSSS!!! BRANDAN WRIGHT IS SHOOTING FREE THROWS! THE PAIN! THE HORRIBLE HORRIBLE PAAIIIIIIINNN!!!

1:58 pm: 20-13, UNC. Wake finally hits a three, but Wright follows with a huge dunk. Good thing the Deacs didn;t foul him.

So far, this game is one giant turnover. Ironically, this favors the Heels.

2:00 pm: 20-16, UNC. Wes Miller and Quentin Thomas are in the game. Wake gets three points the hard way, but not before the refs changed their minds about five times.

2:02 pm: 21-20, Wake. UNC continues to turn the ball over, and a three and huge fast break dunk later, the Deacs have the lead on the road against the Heels.

Wait………………..

……………………….

……………………….

WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAT?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?! How the hell did this happen? I think I’m going to need a moment to comprehend this.

2:06 pm: 25-23, UNC. WAYNE’S WORLD! WAYNE’S WORLD! PARTY TIME! EXCELLENT! WHOOOOOOOO! The Heels are playing really well out of the TV timeout, passing the ball well, getting the ball inside (as Hansbrough gets another basket to amke it 27-23, UNC, and forcing Wake to take low-pecentage shots.

2:08 pm: 29-23, UNC. The Heels force another turnover, and Lawson is all alone on the other end.

2:10 pm: 32-25, UNC. Wake stops the bleeding, but Ellington gets three the hard way with the tough layup, as Michael Drum gets his third foul. Wake is now in deep foul trouble at that position.

2:11 pm: Hansbrough hits a nice baseline jumper to extend UNC’s lead to 9. He has been extending his shooting range this season quite nicely. I still want to see him drain a three though, like he did in in last year’s Duke game. That was one of my favorite moments of last season.

2:17 pm: 38-27, UNC. UNC has been to line alot more than Wake has in this game, which could end up being the difference in this game if Wake keeps it close enough. Lawson gets another nice layup in transition to make it 40-27.

2:19 pm: Terry hits a three to make it 43-29, UNC, and Ginyard hits another shot to extend the lead further. Since relenquishing their lead, UNC has outscored Wake 25-8 in the last six and a half minutes. Where was this against NC State?

2:23 pm: UNC absolutely storms into the locker room, outscoring Wake 31-11 to end the half with a 51-32 lead. If I were Skip Prosser, I would send one of the assistant coaches to get barbecue sandwiches at the concession stands, because they need a pick-me up right now.

2:43 pm: The second half begins. Let’s see how Wake changes their gameplan.

Immediately, Terry hits an open three to make it 54-32, UNC.

I saw the halftime ceremony of the 1957 and 1982 Championship teams. It was an awesome moment, but the radio and TV coverage botched most of it (by either not showing it or talking over it), and MJ could have used a different suit. Still, it was insanely awesome to see those teams together again, which for me was the first time, as I was not born when they won those championships.

2:46 pm: 57-35, UNC. Ellington gets three the hard way after Wake’s L.D. Williams makes another huge dunk. He can really showboat. Which reminds me, whatever happened to Ismail Muhammad? He was a huge dunker at Georgia Tech, and a great athlete who helped the Jackets get to the 2004 National Championship game. Yet after the 2005 season I never heard from him again. I must know what happened to him.

2:50 pm: 61-35, UNC. OOOHHHHHHHHH!!! UNC is really dominating this game now. Ellington gives an alley-oop to Wright. The Heels are scoring at will.

2:54 pm: 66-41, UNC. Upset watch: West Virginia leads #2 UCLA 60-55 late in the second half.

2:57 pm: 71-43, UNC. After another easy basket on the inside, Terry hits another tough shot in the paint, this time converting a three-point play.

3:00 pm: For me, it’s never too early to find out how our football recruits will fare in the coming year. I couldn’t wait for the spring game (as Bobby Frasor hits a three to make it 77-47 and Terry follows with one of his own), so I used EA Sports NCAA Football. I artificially created Marvin Austin, Tydreke Powell, Greg Little, Dwight Jones, Rashad Mason, Mike Paulus, Kevin Bryant, Ryan Houston, Da’Norris Searcy, and Quan Sturdivant (Wright dunks off a Frasor pass, 82-47), estimated their attributes based on their vitals (height, weight, 40 time), their ratings by Scout.com and ESPN, and put them to the test in an exhibition game (five minute quarters) versus a mid-major. (The opponent is from the WAC, they had a winning record in 2007, went to a bowl game and was NOT Boise State.) I will divulge the results later in the game.

3:06 pm: Wes Miller hits a wide open three, and UNC extends their lead to 38.

UPSET ALERT: West Virginia defeats UCLA, 70-65.

3:10 pm: 87-50, UNC. Seriously, Brandan Wright should just watch Tyler Hansbrough shoot free throws. He hasn’t missed in the last game and a half.

3:13 pm: Hansbrough makes another tough shot in the paint to make it 89-52, UNC. What else is new? Kyle Visser fouls out early.

3:15 pm: 93-57, UNC. Deon Thompson, Alex Stepheson, and Q are now in the game.

We Want Bis-Cuits! (clap-clap-clapclapclap) We Want Bis-Cuits! (clap-clap-clapclapclap)
 
3:19 pm: At halftime of Tar Heel Mania’s official Recriut Exhibition Game 2007, UNC leads 17-0. Mike Paulus has 13 rushing yars and is 8 of 18 passing for 131 yards and a touchdown pass to Greg Little, who has 2 reception for 43 yards. Dwight Jones leads all receivers with 53 yards. Ryan Houston has rushed the ball four times for 30 yards, including a 23 yard run near the end of the half, and 22 yards receiving. The defense has dominates the line of scrimmage, allowing only 4 yards of offense on 10 offensive plays, including a sack on the opening drive by Marvin Austin.
 
3:28 pm: 100-63, UNC. WE GOT BIS-CUITS! WHOOOOOOO!!!! Wes Miller delivers the artery-clogging three that clinches it. Dewey Burke and Surry Wood are now in the game, and I saw Roy smile for the first time in a while. The only thing that can make this better is Q hitting a halfcourt shot.
 
3:35 pm: Mercifully, the game ends for Wake Forest, as UNC wins 104-67. Complete and utter domination is the only way I can possibly describe this game.
 
3:45 pm: In the first (virtual) exhibition game for UNC’s 2007 recruits, the Tar Heels won 31-10 over their WAC opponent. Ryan Houston was the player of the game, carrying the ball 9 times for 95 yards and both of UNC’s third quarter touchdowns, to go with his 22 yards receiving. Mike Paulus completed 10 of his 22 passes for 157 yards and a touchdown, and also ran for a touchdown. Paulus was never sacked in the game thanks in part to Kevin Bryant’s four pancake blocks. The three freshman receivers (Little, Jones, and Mason) finished with 6 receptions 116 yards, and 1 TD. The defense allowed a touchdown late in the fourth quarter, but by then the game had been decided. The defense allowed 187 yards and recorded 2 interceptions and three sacks, two of which were by Marvin Austin. Overall, the new freshman class played excellent in this game, and played a major role is leading the team to a decisive victory. This was a mid-major, however, and it is unlikely that they would fare as well versus a conference opponent such as Virginia Tech. Still, if this is any indication of how these players will perform in real life (and with my experience in EA Sports NCAA Football, I vastly overestimate my team’s ability) the 2007 season should be a welcome relief from last year’s nightmare.

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UNC Signing Day Live Blog

As if this week wasn’t big enough in North Carolina (the two UNC-Dook games), today is football signing day, Butch Davis’s first. Believe it or not Bunting was able to bring good recruiting classes. If only he could coach himself out of paper bag. You can go to Tar Heel Blue to watch Signing Day Live, but you have to pay five bucks. My blog is free.

8:26 am: Current List of Major signings: QB Mike Paulus, RB/OLB Da’Norris Searcy, MLB Quan Sturdivant, RB Ryan Houston, and Zack Pianalto (who, ironically, is from Mitch Mustain’s hometown of Springdale, Arkansas). Take that, SEC!

8:30 am: Carolina Signing Day Live just interviewed Offensive Line Coach Sam Pittman. One of the most awkward interviews ever. They asked if he could play guitar. He said he could play Skynyrd. First of all, no you cn’t. Second, we don’t want to hear about your guitar skills (unless they are truly awesome). We want to know how your blocking schemes are going to get the Heels their first 1,000 yard rusher since Mack Brown bolted for Texas.

8:35 am: UNC just signed Devon Ramsey, from Lawrenceville, N.J. Apparently he played three positions in high school: RB, DT and CB. That’s what we need, a running back who isn’t afraid of contact.

8:40 am: We are going to have three QBs vying for position in 2007 (Joe Dailey, Cam Sexton and Mike Paulus). And they are all going to suck.

8:55 am: Coach Davis is being interviewed right now. So far, he just been making the usual talking points, as well as intermittently giving backhanded complements to John Bunting, which is known in my house as “smilef—ing”.

8:59 am: Carolina just signed Tydreke Powell, a DT from Ahoskie, NC, and on of the top 10 DTs in the country. He was a teammate of Aleric Mullins, another highly touted DT who signed with UNC last year.

9:02 am: UNC just signed Cam Holland, an OL from Pittsburgh. Butch Davis just talked about his aggressive style of blocking. He’s said that about 300 other lineman, knowing his line of work.

9:07 am: Whenever I load a new page, the connection with Tar Heel Blue keeps breaking up. I think I’m missing a lot of the juicy bits. And to think I paid five bucks for this. I think I’ve been smilef—ed by Tar Heel Blue.
9:10 am: Good lord. The two commentators for UNC assigned to Signing Day have perhaps the Dorkiest outfits ever. I know the basketball shorts have argyle accents, but that doesn’t mean your sweater!

UNC’s last recruit of the morning was Matt Merletti, from Cleveland, OH. The biggest recruit we’re pursuing, and the #1 ranked DT in the nation, is still on the board-Marvin Austin from DC. If he signs, you’ll see it here second, but you’ll see it here for free first!

9:36 pm: Perhaps the key to landing Marvin Austin will be in landing LB Romale Tucker. He’s a teammate of Austin in DC, and is considering three of the same schools (Illinois, Maryland, and UNC). If Tucker signs with coach Davis, then the big fella might follow suit. I know that is an insane piece of logic, but this is an insane blog. Therefore the argument holds water.

9:55 am: Recruiting all of the players is an accomplishment, but getting them to get their asses off the bench and play well as a team is a challenge in itself, as shown by this team building exercise.

11:00 am: There has been a lull in coverage over the last hour or so, but here is a list of the major recruits who have committed so far:

  • QB Mike Paulus, Syracuse, NY (****)
  • RB Ryan Houston, Matthews, NC (****)
  • RB Zack Pianalto, Springdale, AR (****): SEC got nuthin’ on us!
  • WR Dwight Jones (****)
  • WR Rashad Mason (****)
  • DT Tydreke Powell (****)
  • LB Da’Norris Searcy (****)
  • LB Quan Sturdivant (****)
  • FB Devon Ramsey (***)
  • OG Mike Dykes (***)
  • DE Linwan Euwell (***)
  • LB Albert Craddock (***)

DT Marvin Austin is still on the board, as are major prospects DE Kourtnei Brown, QB Billy Bob Orsagh, and OT Kevin Bryant.

11:24 am: Just looked at the film of RB Ryan Houston. He had over 2,000 rushing yards and 32 touchdowns in his Senior year. He is both very fast and very strong. My big concern is whether or not he will be able to hit points of attack decisively, at least early in his career.

11:42 am: The Heels signed Offensive Tackle Carl Gaskins from Melbourne, Fl. Another recruit we stole from SEC territory.

12:18 pm: The Tar Heels sign WR prospect Greg Little (****) from Hillside in Durham, NC.

greg_little.jpg

12:23 pm: Signing Day Live is showing film of Wide Receiver Dwight Jones. With his size (6-5, 210) and speed, he looks a little like Terrel Owens on the field. Hope he doesn’t remind us of T.O. off the field. Rashad Mason is just as big, and he can really jump. This is a huge asset for a an inaccurate QB (see Dailey, Sexton).

12:40 pm: UPDATE: Charlotte prospect DE Kourtnei Brown has committed to Clemson, and Fort Lauderdale DE Antoine Carter committed to Auburn. BOOOOOOOOOOO!!!

12:43 pm: We haven’t had consistent success since Mack Brown’s last year. Coach Torbush’s teams had good defense but terrible offense. During the early Bunting years (2002-2004) we had a very good offense (led by UNC best QB ever, Darian Durant) and a porous defense. only during 2001 did we put both together enough to play well, and in 2006 we were among the worst on both sides of the ball. Butch Davis is going to have his hands full.

12:47 pm: YES! YES YEEEEEEEEEEEAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHH! WE GOT MARVIN AUSTIN! WE GOT MARVIN AUSTIN! The best defensive lineman in the country is coming to Chapel Hill! WHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!! Cue the band!

12:56 pm: I still can’t believe that we landed the #1 defensive lineman in the country. What’s more amazing is that he turned down the likes of Florida State, LSU, USC, and Tennessee. Sorry, Loser With Socks, but he’s ours. More on Marvin Austin a little later.

marvin_austin.jpg
1:05 pm: Adam Lucas is one of Tar Heel Blue columnists, and he is one of the guys covering signing day. He looks extremely uncomfortable in fromt of the camera. He seriously has the body language of someone who wishes that he didn’t have a neck.

1:12 pm: UNC signed 375 pound offensive lineman Kevin Bryant. Adam Lucas said that UNC justified recruiting him because of his dancing ability. What has this world come to when we determine which offensive lineman we recruit based on which one gets served?

The Butch Davis Press conference is at 4:00. The live blog of Signing Day will resume then.

3:55 pm: According to Scout.com, UNC’s recruiting class is ranked #15, 3rd in the ACC and ahead of the likes of Ohio State, Georgia, West Virginia and Oklahoma. How is it possible for our recruiting class to be ahead of Ohio State?!? It must be that Butch Davis will also wear a sweater vest on the sidelines. That has to be it.

Here is the “final” list of recruits committed to UNC.

4:20 pm: Unfortunately, the local networks aren’t showing the press conference anywhere on TV. Don’t worry, you’re not missing much. Most coaches act like politicians in these press conferences.

Needless to say I am very excited about football season. I want to see what our defensinve line will be like, anchored by Marvin Austin, Tydreke Powell and Aleric Mullins. I want to see how good the passing game is going to be with Greg Little, Dwight Jones and Hakeem Nicks, no matter who is throwing the ball. I am REALLY looking forward to football season. Maybe now the Heels football team will stop sucking.

But now there are more important matters, namely the UNC-Dook Men’s and Women’s basketball doubleheader. Look forward to the live blog tonight; on Thursday I will be attending the game, and I don’t have a press pass (yet), so I will provide a review after the game. But man, football season can’t come soon enough.