This isn’t the most in-depth analysis you’re going to find anywhere on the state of North Carolina basketball, but it is an e-mail response to my Dad after he had asked if I had seen the UNC/Florida State game on Wednesday night.
Just a stream of consciousness, but a telling one, I think.
Anyway, here it is:
UNC is definitely not winning it all. Winning that game meant nothing; they still did all the things wrong that they always do when they lose games. Ty Lawson was great — offensively. He could care less on defense, and yet another guard who he was first charged with defending — this time it was Toney Douglas — went off for 32 points. And FSU was another team with a big frontcourt, which made Tyler Hansbrough look normal and showed how soft Deon Thompson is if he’s challenged even a little bit.
What I hate the most is that they get so panicked. They fall behind by five points and try to go ahead by five on the same possession. There’s no poise whatsoever, so they dribble around and jack up 3s. Danny Green and Wayne Ellington are great shooters, but they rely on that too much because they get away with it, and if one of them is off, look out. Without Green last night in the first half, UNC gets blown out of the building.
They are good offensively when they dribble penetrate, even if it’s only to the foul line extended. That was the difference in the two first halves. In the first 12 minutes, Lawson, Ellington and Green did nothing to penetrate the FSU defense, and they were shooting 26 percent and were down by nine as a result. The last 8 minutes of the half was entirely different — Lawson slicing the lane, and Green and Ellington able to contribute in running the offense — and they went on a huge run and led by 11 at half.
After that, though, they wilted under defensive pressure and looked completely lost. They played streetball.
I heard Roy on the way home last night, and he talked about their losses coming when they shot 28 and 26 percent in the second halves of those games. Well, yeah, but I don’t care. WHY did they shoot 26 percent? That’s the correctable problem. They weren’t just off, or something. They were DEFENDED into shooting 26 percent, and didn’t make adjustments to try to fix it.
I liked that Roy thought outside of the box and had Hansbrough defend Douglas at the end of the game on the final two possessions. That was really good and paid off. Great adjustment. The other 39 minutes — save the last 7 or 8 of the first half — were just a nightmare.
To be fair, without Marcus Ginyard and Tyler Zeller, this is a different UNC team than everybody — including Roy — figured it would be at the start of the season. That said, they should be better than they’ve been in the last two weeks. It looks like regression since the tip to the season, and that’s not good.
As for Wake and Duke, a couple of things. Wake is going to be darn scary come March. Jeff Teague is a monster wing player and that frontcourt is just going to get better over the next two months. If Dino Gaudio can coach them, look out. I imagine they’ll get over the last 5-minute jitters they had last night.
And Duke, well, you can beat them the same way teams have beaten them the last couple of years — by running and rebounding. When the Deacs were running and gunning, Duke looked the worst it has looked all year. Completely lost, and suckered into trying to run, too. Only in the last 5 minutes were they able to spread the floor and re-dictate tempo, and that’s when they made their run. And Gerald Henderson is their best player, far and away. If the Devils win it all, it will be because Henderson is the key player and the rest of the team plays off him, including Kyle Singler. He’s a better complemetary player. Henderson is a star with guts.
I know that’s probably a lot more than you wanted, but those were my thoughts from two pretty incredible games, but for very different reasons. As far as I’m concerned, UNC lost again last night.