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.