Look, I’m a North Carolina alum. And I love Tar Heels’ basketball because of it — at least when I’m not covering a game.
And while there is a degree of guttiness that the Heels earned by beating Virginia Tech in the ACC Tournament quarterfinal without the services of ACC Player of the Year Ty Lawson, the Heels were down a big-time player but seemed to be up a few guys in stripes.
Just admit it, Tar Heel Nation. The Heels got a break today.
You have to give Tyler Hansbrough a lot of credit for demanding the ball and delivering in the closing minutes, leading all players with 28 points.
But his biggest play came when he, ahem, forced a jumpball with 5.6 seconds left — leading to Heels’ possession and two more foul shots from Psycho T — essentially sealing the win for UNC.
But that was a foul. And not only that, UNC got a lot of help throughout the game from the whistles. Yes, Tech was aggressive, but A.D. Vassallo and Jeff Allen were taken out of a lot of the game because of foul trouble. And the Heels only having three team fouls with a minute left in the second half was a huge, huge benefit.
Tech coach Seth Greenberg has reason to be upset. Maybe Tech wouldn’t have won the game with the correct call on what was a Hansbrough foul. But the Hokies deserved better.
For the entire game.
As for the Georgia Tech/Florida State game, don’t all Tech alumni and fans have to wonder aloud where this team has been all season? The Jackets could’ve very easily won this game, and maybe if Iman Shumpert had looked for Lewis Clinch one more time, the would have.
That said, this was a gutsy win for the Seminoles, who showed again in one game how good — and how bad — they can be. It looked early like FSU was going to blow Tech’s doors off, but FSU is similar to Duke in that, while it can defend with the best of them, it goes through crazy-long stretches where the Noles just simply can’t score.
Still, it’ll be a tough semifinal matchup for the Tar Heels, who I still believe bow out a little early. That said, it sure looked like that team was up for this weekend, even without Lawson, who I expected to come out to the bench on one of those motorized scooter electric wheelchair things, the way everybody’s been talking. I guess we’ll see.
Again, shows what I know. To refresh, here’s what I wrote on Wednesday:
No. 10 N.C. State Even though the Pack played Wake Forest fairly well a couple of times this year, I think the Deacs overwhelm them in the quarterfinals Friday. The NIT starts in a week. 9 percent
No. 2 Wake Forest Yes, the Duke draw is tough. But the rest isn’t. Maybe Maryland is a tough out, but who knows what you’re going to get from the Terps on any given day. Same with N.C. State.
The Deacs should get to the semifinals, and they have all the tools. They just seem sloppy sometimes. But in stretches, they can look like the best team in the league.
Because of the draw, and because I think UNC will be gone, they really might have only one tough game over the weekend — Duke. In my bracket a tired Clemson or a mistake-prone FSU would await them in the finals. 32 percent
No. 8 Maryland I know what’s on the line for the Terps — win a couple of league tourney games and they could be dancing.
But N.C. State seems under Sidney Lowe to work some magic in the ACC Tournament, and the Wolfpack are still steaming over Greivis Vasquez burying that open 3-pointer at the buzzer in Maryland’s win last week. Just a hunch here at this being the upset of Thursday.
So, if I’m picking the Terps to lose in the first round, they have zero shot, right? Whatever. My column, my rules. They know they need to win games. 9 percent
So my No. 2 pick and my No. 3 pick to win the tourney have been ousted before the weekend.
I’m an idiot.
But at least I’m not a Wake fan. They might be headed for rooftops soon. The Deacs just haven’t been sharp for a month.
Gerald Henderson — who else? — made the go-ahead shot for Duke with 32 seconds left against Boston College, and he had a big second half, but the Blue Devils’ Kyle Singler may have played his best college game of his career. Singler finished with a career-high 26 points to go with seven rebounds and six blocked shots.
It’s clear that Duke only has three scorers now (Jon Scheyer is the other), but it was enough again, as the Devils slipped past BC 66-65 in a hard-fought game.