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Brackets! 2008: An Embarassment of Sorts

April 6, 2008

I wondered if UNC watched the Memphis – Kansas (already thinking ahead here . . . lol. I meant UCLA of course) game when Memphis’ tall, quick and aggressive guards put Collison and company on lockdown and then took another look at the Kansas backcourt and got scared. They certainly played that way in the first half. By the time the Heels regained their senses (or Kansas got tired) the Heels were behind by 30. 30 points in a final four game. It was the most ugly performance, tournament or regular season, I’ve seen in over 20 years of watching them play.

I knew that the Heels could fight back and possibly win. It was hardly a done deal, and the lads proved their mettle, at least. Danny Green, who despite being the leading scorer, looked terrible in the first half, led with confidence, and Ellington powered up and played so tough on offense at least.

Hansbrough. I’ve been saying this about him all year; he has to recognize the double team and find the open man. He simply has to. It is the weakest part of his game (his lack of leaping and shot blocking skillz notwithstanding). He gets down low and starts spinning and expects to get bailed out by a foul. When that doesn’t happen and his awkward shots don’t fall (as much as they often do) the Heels are in trouble. Tonight he was triple teamed, surely he had help somewhere. In his defense a bit, I don’t see many guys flashing open, perhaps they are just waiting on him to shoot and they know he wont pass.

Lawson. Where was he tonight? Was his ankle bothering him?

The terrible two, Thompson and Stepheson, were just as miserable as they have been when faced with more aggressive and athletic opponents. Stephenson looks great in the uniform but I’m wondering if offensive tackle wasn’t his calling. Oh wait, then he’d have to be a really physical presence.

Oh, back to the comeback that almost was. The half court press really had Kansas shook and Green and Ginyard and Ellington and even Lawson at times were brilliant in executing it. the problem came when Kansas managed to break it and found the open man. No weakside help on defense ALL NIGHT LONG. That killed the comeback, not so much the missed shots, the failure to help on defense.

Perhaps that lack of help was owed to the failure of the little engine that could, as Coach Williams said. Just not enough energy left perhaps. I don’t buy it.

It’s a sports cliche’, but it’s true; Kansas just wanted to win more.

Another thing I noticed was the apparent lack of team play and cohesion, especially in the first half. After the Heels fell behind, just by a few points, our guards started tossing up awful looking three pointers, taking really bad shots (something Kansas turned to an advantage by getting to the long rebound first and running fast breaks). It’s as if everyone wanted to win the game by themselves, as Hansbrough basically did in the previous game against Louisville. Was there, after Psycho-T started piling up the player of the year awards, some jealousy within the team? I didn’t see a lot of crisp passing (except for Green’s bullets to Stepheson and Thompson who have the hands of a goat).

Ah well, it was a good year and all of that but what a miserable end.

Next year? Hansbrough probably comes back. He still has some things he needs to work on before becoming a pro. Ellington, if he has not lost his mind, should return. Some good shooting guards will be available to the draft, I think his stock will rise with another solid year. Lawson, missed half the year, needs another year to prove himself to the NBA. Green is like Richard Gere in An Officer and a Gentleman, “I got no place else ta goooooooo!”

Incoming Freshmen will make UNC the pre-season #1. Tyler Zeller, 6-11 center is a better outside shooter and passer than Hansbrough who runs very well for a center and Ed Davis is a power forward who will probably cut into Deon Thompson’s playing time significantly. Once they learn defense UNC will be very hard to beat.

But they were hard to beat this year, so we thought. Yesterday, I was wondering how Hansbrough was going to be able to handle UCLA’s Kevin Love. So much for my brackets.

[EDIT: I’ve been reading a lot of use of the word “choke” in concert with this game. A choke is when you blow it at the end. Coming back from 30 points down in the final four isn’t a choke even if you lose]

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. April 6, 2008 12:28 am

    I have never seen UNC play at first half like that, in any era under any coach.

  2. April 6, 2008 12:41 am

    Love your blog…but I live, work & play in Lawrence.
    Roy’s boys pooped out tonight. So sorry!

  3. April 6, 2008 1:54 pm

    What in the world happened. I am ashamed right now to call myself a Carolina Fan. Which one of you players took a bribe or did all of you. It makes people wonder. Why don’t you give Tyler so more trophys, matter of fact give the whold damn team some since they played so well . The only person I feel sorry for is Roy Williams. That man doen not deserve what he got form the players last night. Sorry bunch of people. I wish Duke had been playing, At least they would have tried. That is more than I can say for Carolina. This is such a shame. Come out there and act like you don’t even know what a ball or court is. Your Fans deserve better. We buy all your items and brag on you all year and you let us down. Shame on all of you. Go stick your head in the sand or something, No one carew anymore!!!!

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