Monday, February 1, 2010

was that cool or what?

"There’s a lot to like about what Tony Bennett has done in his brief time at Virginia, and given his record, a lot more to expect in the future. But while the suit-and-open-collar look is perfect for boarding an NBA charter, perhaps he might find a tie appropriate once in a while -- maybe for a national TV game against the defending national champions?"

- Luke DeCock, Charlotte Observer writer

The Dean Dome isn't a five-star restaurant, but despite the silly ignorance of the above local hack (nothing like a flip statement to prove you haven't scouted your opponent at all) the man has stumbled on a very apropos metaphor anyway. Bennett and co. made like Rodney Dangerfield's Al Czervik at the fancy Bushwood affair and totally failed to respect the hallowed tradition of the mighty Dean Smith Center and its resident powerhouse. The Hoos came in, mocked the judge, danced with his wife, insulted the cook, disrupted the music, and had the time of their lives doing it. By the time the clock made it down near the three-minute mark, the fans were so mortified and silent that you could hear Roy Williams' head trying not to explode, and the cheerleaders' plucky attempts at firing up their home team echoed off the empty seats in the upper deck.

Yes, UNC has eight losses, and yes, Roy Williams is frustrated beyond belief, but let's not underestimate this. It is huge. It probably means very little for the future, because this is still a developing and undertalented team, but it is huge. We don't win in Chapel Hill very often. Nobody does. UNC was clearly the bigger, more athletic team yesterday (more on that later) and we were in their house, and we never trailed and beat them by 15 and it wasn't even that close. Michigan State - that's "#5 Michigan State" to you - couldn't even beat them, let alone by 15.

So what did we do to earn this?

- First, it's all about the pack-line. Defensively that is 100% of the reason we won. A near-perfectly executed pack-line defense. Now you know how it's supposed to work. I'm not sure what the final points-in-the-paint stat was, but at one point it was 20-5 in favor of the good guys. UNC is huge. You can't swing a dead cat in their locker room without hitting two or three guys who are 6'10". That's why they were killing us on the boards. Nobody with that many big galoots - all we have is Assane Sene and he played seven minutes - should be getting beat that badly in the paint, but it's hard to score from the paint if you can't get the ball to the paint. UNC couldn't pass the ball in there or dribble it in there or get it in there at all except by heaving up a missed three-pointer and hoping for the offensive rebound.

- Second: SYLVEN. Holy God, 29 points. Seemed like everything we tried on offense happened to work, and better yet, the Heels had nothing for Sylven Landesberg. How weird is it when you're playing UNC and they don't have the best guy on the floor?

- Jontel Evans is starting to catch up to the speed of the college game. He's starting to see the higher degree of difficulty plays that are out there for the making. Earlier in the season he would bring the ball up, dump it off to the wing, and run around not getting the ball while the offense went on without him. Now he's seeing where his options are and figuring out when he can make a play himself. He doesn't always get it right (as evidenced by his four turnovers) or even necessarily know where the lines are (as evidenced by one of those turnovers caused by having his damn heel on the sideline arrrgghh) but you can see the light bulb brighten as the season goes on.

- You know that feeling of dread when certain opposing players - J.J. Redick being the extreme example - go up for the shot from threeland? Do you think our opponents are feeling that way yet about Sammy? If not, they should - .470 is nasty good and good for best in the ACC right now.

What a difference a year makes in North Carolina games. Last year it was UVA fans bitching about Dave Leitao wearing a Carolina blue tie for the Carolina game. This year it's UNC's fans (yeah, not just the beat writers) bitching about Tony Bennett not wearing one at all. Following up a football win in Chapel Hill with a basketball win in Chapel's like the ghost of Ronald Curry came back to UNC and decided to extend his curse to Carolina's home games, too.

Miscellaneous items o' fun:

- Matt Schaub is your Pro Bowl MVP after nearly getting snubbed out of the game entirely. That'll learn 'em.

- Scott Stadium is the best venue in the ACC.

- Recruiting board update: 2010 only. Last one before signing day. Now I owe you two recruit profiles: Lawe, and Mike Rocco. I don't know what the hell I'm going to write about yet another quarterback.

- UNC game video will be posted later tonight, so watch for that. EDIT - this is now done, and you can find it as usual by clicking through to the videos page.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Duke best academics? UNC best campus life? Does ESPN know anything?