Friday, February 8, 2008

UNC takes a Dookie on home court

Well, it's been a couple days now. The loss still hurts, but all things considered, I guess I'm ready to move on. First things first - I'm not going to bitch about North Carolina guard Ty Lawson not playing. If I went to Dook, and my most important player weren't playing, and we lost, I'd be crying a river about the only reason why we lost is because said player wasn't in the lineup. Tar Heels are better than that, so let's take a look at what sent UNC to the loss column.

Foremost, Dook was lights out. Easily their best performance of the year. They outscored UNC by 30 from the 3-point line, isolating North Carolina's largest defensive weakness. That was the difference, plain and simple. You give me another game when the Blue Devils have shot 30 3's and hit 45 percent of them and I won't call it a fluke.

A quick glance at the numbers might suggest that senior Quentin Thomas played well in the absence of the injured Lawson. Thomas scored 10 points to go with seven assists. But if you think that's a respectable line, you clearly weren't watching the game. Thomas cost the Tar Heels, big time. His six turnovers were five more than Lawson had in the previous three games! And Lawson had 20 assists during that span. The game was a continuum of potential game-changing posessions and it never seemed that UNC could convert when it needed to, largely because Thomas has an incomprehensible need to leave his feet before finding someone to pass the ball to. That said, we all knew we were in trouble with QT. Personally, I love him anyway. He's just not cut out to lead one of the best teams in the nation, much less against Dook.

Another problem, and maybe I'm whining a little here, was Deon Thompson's foul trouble. Overall, I have to say that the game was very well officiated. I think each team caught its share of breaks and there was no one call that really stood out as being awful. But I do feel that some of the touch fouls whistled against Thompson were unnecessary and cost the Tar Heels in the long run. Thompson looked great, as he has several times recently. But his 12 points came in just 18 minutes and two or three of the fouls called against hime were 40 feet from the basket. I feel that in a game of this magnitude, you have to let the teams play.

Considering everything that happened, I feel confident that the Tar Heels can rectify their loss come March 8. Presumably Lawson will be up and running again by then and Dook simply has no answer whatsoever for him. Paulus couldn't guard Ty Lawson if the court were a 4x4 square, let alone on the break. And we all know that Paulus will never go 6-for-8 from 3 again in his life.

Merry Christmas New Jersey!

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