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UNC 84 NCSU 64

Well, that was pretty much everything you could hope for.

First of all, let’s get the inconsistent nature of the offense out of the way up front. This game should have been over at halftime. The start was great and that was built largely on the play of Harrison Barnes. After that point the offense was stagnant, so much so that UNC played NC State basically even from the 12 minute mark of the first half until the same point in the second. UNC went up 20-8 and then the game was a 32-32 affair for the next 20 minutes. Over the next nine minutes it was 28-14 Tar Heels as the Wolfpack basically gave up and UNC executed extremely well on offense. The rough patch in the middle is the biggest concern. UNC had troubles with turnovers, poor shot selection and shots simply not falling. UNC falls in love with the jumpshot and does not make a concerted effort to get the ball inside first to give the half court offense some flow. Had UNC been playing a team with some sort of offensive ability or you know, a group of players willing to make an effort, the early lead would have dissipated. Unfortunately, I think this is something that is not going to go away though if this was truly Harrison Barnes breaking out then that could change. On the upside it appears to be an issue of execution  and proper decisions rather than just poor play. That can almost certainly be improved upon as the season progresses. The point guard play could stand to be better. At this point it is necessary to view Kendall Marshall and Larry Drew a combined unit since neither are really doing anything on the own to impact the offense. Along those lines it was not a good day in the turnover department. Marshall had four, Drew had one versus seven combined assists and six total points. The turnovers are the real concern but since Marshall has not been prone to them and Drew has been better of late in that department, let’s simply chalk this up as bad game.

The most encouraging part of the game on a team level was the intensity and effort brought by the Heels. Barnes set the tone early by going after offensive rebounds and loose balls. It carried over for most of the game. NC State’s general effort and approach to the game has been under question for a few games now. There was not much difference here and the contrast was stark, especially in the first half rebounding which was ridiculously skewed. Likewise, NCSU has struggled on offense so while I thought UNC played well on the defensive end it is a little tough to tell how much of that was UNC and how much of it was the Wolfpack sucking mightily. Of course none of that really matters, at least not to the players who will build confidence off this win and the dominance UNC showed to start and end this game.

On the individual side, who should we talk about first? The break-out performance of Harrison Barnes or the absolute freakish game played by John Henson? Let’s start with Barnes because this performance was probably the most anticipated of the season. It is well documented that Barnes has had his moments or stretches of play that let you know he was perfectly capable of doing what he did today. It has really always been a question of doing it consistently over the course of the whole game. That was the difference today. It was not just the first eight minutes of the game in which he played well and it was not just hitting shots. Barnes hustled after loose ball and rebounds which opened up scoring opportunities. However, it was the step back three to start the game which pretty much signaled what kind of day it was going to be. Barnes was relaxed and comfortable. It was clear in his demeanor and translated to his play. Barnes said the Miami game gave him confidence and why not? He hit a tough 15 footer and the game winner. It clearly dawned on him as it did everyone else that the key to playing better was to stop thinking so much and let the instincts take over. Hopefully it will continue. Hopefully we will be talking about this game six weeks from now as the game which flipped the switch.

As for Henson, putting up 16 points, 16 rebounds and seven blocks while altering no telling how many others is a ridiculous day of work. I am not sure how C.Michael is going to make a choice for BTB POG because one could argue Henson’s stat line and impact on the game exceeded that of Barnes. Henson was a force on both ends. He collected 1/3 of UNC’s rebounds. The shot blocking altered even the way the Wolfpack attacked the basket. Yes, NCSU made some reverse layups or scoop shots but those are more difficult shots all forced by Henson’s presence. Oh and Henson also had three assists which was as many as Marshall and one less than Drew.

Watching this team progress is interesting. You cannot tell in this moment whether what we saw today is a step heading in the right direction, the peak of the mountain or a total fluke. The passage of games lends meaning to this game by giving us more or none of the same. With that in mind it needs to be said that if both Barnes and Henson play like this or somewhere close to over the next ten ACC games, we are going to be very happy people.

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76 comments to UNC 84 NCSU 64

  • AZACCFan

    It was a very good day at the office. Having seen their other rivals, including Duke, play in person this year, it is clear that the balanced play through the productive parts of the game could allow UNC to beat all these other teams comfortably. Which is great news.

  • Big Chief

    How nice is it to get off to a hot start? I’ve been so tired of being 10 points down after the first 10 minutes of the game. It was so nice to see the team come out and get a lead early in the game. It would be nice to see that continue, or at least to not start off in a hole every game!

  • william

    UNC is a really tall team. I guess it is debatable about which team is the tallest in the nation but UNC is probably among the top five, particularly with Marshall and Bullock on the floor.

    I think our height is finally starting to pay dividends, in a way that it did not last year. Any team playing UNC that is having an off shooting night is probably in trouble.

    If you want to look for downsides to today, then perhaps Marshall and Bullock were not playing their best. It would be great to see all three freshmen firing on all cylinders at the same time, in stead of one freshman per game seeming to have a good performance.

    Maybe we will revert to early season form on Tuesday, but as of now, I am thinking that we have had two horrible games, versus Illinois and G.I.T., and well, the rest of the season is not too bad, especially compared to last year, or to really, anybody else in the ACC, including Duke.

    This team can’t shoot but it can play defense. If we can start to play consistently and play defense, then this team might start to remind me of the 1981 Tar Heels, who woke up kind of late and made the run that really propelled UNC into basketball history, culminating in the 63-62 game we all remember so well.

  • william

    Interesting article comparing programs like Pitt and Wisconsin to programs like UNC and Florida, who have actually won the title:


  • Oaklandtarheel

    Great game and MAN it feels good to actually be on the positive end of a game-opening run!

    Barnes and Henson were fantastic - when they play like they did tonight we are a tough team to beat. Also, give major credit to Justin Knox for another superb game off the bench. He fouls a lot, but his intensity, physicality and finishing are great. Finally, Dexter Strickland was all over the place. He shot needs a ton of work, but you gotta love the way he plays in transition.

    On the downside, our consistency is still a huge question mark. I asked my buddy Andy if we have any consistent players this year… and we could not come up with one, except perhaps Henson, but I don’t think “consistent” is the right word to describe him.

    In this game, for example, our forwards were excellent, but our guards (Strickland aside) were painfully mediocre. Marshall and Drew were not terribly impressive, and LMac and Bullock were almost non-factors.

    Thus, I continue to wonder about our almost hockey-level of substitutions. Our guards in particular rarely see more than 3 - 5 minutes consecutively. Does anyone else think this may be having an effect on the consistency of our guard play? Commentators often defend this subbing strategy saying that Williams likes to “throw all his players at you to wear you down by the end of the game.” Probably true, but (to oversimplify) are we sacrificing quality for quantity?

  • nativeheel

    If you are looking for perfection then you better look elsewhere. This work-in-progress will continue to have spotty play and miss shots 3″ from the rim and make us scratch our heads in wonder at some of their failures. BUT, they are also talented enough to beat ANY team on our schedule for the rest of this year. This was the most enjoyable and comfortable game that I have watched them play to date. The outcome was never in doubt and it was great to see Barnes display the game that we know he has in him. I love the play of John Henson. He is the fuel that drives the engine and his kid-like reaction to the game is a joy to see! Win or lose, we got a TEAM!!
    Go Heels!!

  • “UNC is a really tall team. I guess it is debatable about which team is the tallest in the nation but UNC is probably among the top five, particularly with Marshall and Bullock on the floor.”

    Correct. UNC is actually the third tallest team in the country, trialing only Illinois and Florida State:


  • 52bgJ

    @Oaklandtarheel: yes, I do think the sub pattern effects the flow, and not just the guards. My guess is Roy has to/wants to give his guys pt, and hopefully that pays dividends in March and beyond with “instant plug-in” play. Will it work? We’ll see, but it definitely hampers the flow right now. Some players can improve like that, but some really need the chance to get in the flow of the game. Very similar to one of Norm Sloan’s teams at NCSU which a friend of mine (Dirk Ewing) was a case-in-point. The Walker Twins played on that team and it eventually self-destructed imo because Sloan was playing too many. Dirk eventually transferred to Stetson and had a nice run, but I will always be convinced he coulda been a contenda in ACC play if Norm didn’t have him on a short leash.

  • 850inExile aka UNC RAJ

    I remember Henson had a block party against NC State last year too. With a guy like him down in the paint there is really no reason to send a guard down low to double team a big man while leaving the perimeter unguarded, but I digress…

    When the Good/Bad/Ugly report comes out can we please put ESPN on top of the Ugly list? UNC finally has a game where they come out of the locker room and immediately punch someone in the mouth, Harrison Barnes dominates the first 3 minutes of the game and I’m stuck hearing about on the radio because ESPN is doing a Big East love fest …

    I am wondering if, after the chants of “overrated” early in the game at Miami and all the smack talk by State Fans all year Harrison Barnes just fed on the Hate to get his game going? If so, lets hope he continues to tap into the power of the dark side. On the other hand, if having former teachers and his mom in the stands was the catalyst, then lets give them tickets to every game!

    The drought in the middle of this game was more alarming then the others we’ve had this season because it was caused more by turnovers and poor shot selection vs. poor shooting. Lets hope that gets corrected before we face teams, staring with BC this week, that play much better defense then State does.

    Nevertheless, it was great to see UNC really pound a conference opponent - especially one whose fans always have lots to say about UNC but were strangely quiet after the game yesterday

  • scl11

    Considering Carolina’s best shooters McDonald and Bullock gave them absolutely nothing on the offensive end (Bullock was solid on the boards and D), while Marshall was more careless with the basketball than we have become a custom to, and Carolina still put 84pts on the board and walked easily to a 20 pt victory, I’m a pretty happy fan.

    Yes, N.C. State is a mess of a basketball team right now, but there were some major positives:
    1) Carolina finally came out with intensity and did not let State gain any confidence
    2) Barnes stopped showing flashes and finally put a complete game together, with the most positive part being how active he was on the boards, and for the first time looked like he actually lost himself in the game.
    3) Henson continues to dominate the glass and post with his length, and was easily the MVP of this game. Plus he actually made 50% of his free throws.
    4) Zeller had moments of showing his November early December form.
    5) Knox continues to show he is one of the best finds ever for the UNC program.
    6) Drew continues to play well in his backup PG role.

    Just imagine if this team can put it all togther: Bullock & McDonald scoring off the bench, Zeller, Henson, & Knox dominating the glass & scoring in the post, Barnes putting a complete game together, while Drew & Marshall throw in a 10-1 Asst/TO game. This my not be perfect or what we’ve become use to in the early part of the Roy Williams era, but it sure as hell beats last year by a country mile…….

  • william

    Yes, C. Michael, but I think Pomeroy adjusts team height based upon playing time, doesn’t he? So if Marshall and Bullock’s minutes go up, I am wondering if that might push UNC even higher on his list of tallest teams.

    It is all quibbling over inches but Zeller and Henson, together with Barnes down low, may be close to the biggest front line UNC has had, maybe going back to Daugherty, Perkins and Doherty back in 1984, which was also a pretty big squad with the 6′ 6″ Jordan at guard along with Kenny Smith.

  • TheUNCFan

    Wow, I was expecting this to be a competitive game, but with Harrow out, a 10-point loss turned into a 20-point embarrassment for State. I think the most interesting thing would be to see what State practices are like - they had no discernible gameplan, and took awful shots. What on earth do they practice? Missing a freshman point guard shouldn’t cause the team to lay an egg on national TV in a rivalry game. Their Gonzalez is apparently in total oblivion, not even holding for the last shot at the end of the first half, and the coach couldn’t even get his attention as he drove to the basket.

    Easy wins like this (our walk-ons out-scored State regulars in the game-within-the-game, and took more charges than State and Wanda combined) mask a lot of problems, but I liked Barnes and Henson. And the walk-on who drew the charge in garbage time - that’s Carolina basketball! He ought to be player of the game.

  • BoyWilliams

    IMAGINE THIS FOR A MOMENT: Every Tarheel playing somewhere close to their best game so far — maybe 75% of their best. But all at the SAME TIME.

    …Marshall & Drew playing capable & somtimes dazzling point. LMac & Bullock hitting 40% on 3′s. Strick doing his best TyLaw impression 3 or 4 times. Barnes being the “teachers-in-the-audience” Barnes we all expected. Henson being a dunking, swatting beast with some sweet drives in the paint. And Z doing his best capable 7-footer impression with some 15-foot jumpers to boot.

    …and that’s a DAMN good team — a young, improving, darkhorse team that finally jells towards the end of the season; a team capable of going far into the NCAAT…imagine…yes, imagine…

  • LarryS

    “Commentators often defend this subbing strategy saying that Williams likes to “throw all his players at you to wear you down by the end of the game.” Probably true, but (to oversimplify) are we sacrificing quality for quantity?”

    I have always felt that the characterization of Roy’s frequent subbing to wear teams down was an oversimplication. Though I’m sure he values the benefits of that, I don’t believe it is the primary objective.

    The primary goal is to establish an up-tempo, attacking offense, and, by necessity, that usually requires substitutions at a more frequent pace. It also depends on quality depth, which UNC usually has, making it it easier pull off and, as more or less a secondary benefit, allowing them to wear down their opponents. At least that’s the way I see it.

    This year there is such a deep rotation, in terms of very similar minutes, because of the inconsistency between players. Everyone’s favorite one week can’t hit the broad side of a barn the next.

    Does more PT enhance their opportunities to work things out? Probably, but for an offense that is struggling I think you need to be able to perform when your number is called, even if it is in a less-than-ideal length of time on the court.

  • william

    I believe one State fan wryly observed that the charge taken by UNC in garbage time was one more than NC State had taken all year….

  • william

    Unfortunately, Bullock seems to be channeling Will Graves from last year, in that Bullock either seems to go off or disappear, depending on the game. Of course, Graves was a redshirt junior, while Bullock is only a freshman, but it would be great if we could count on a bit more consistency.

    I think Henson and Barnes were basically co-players of the game yesterday, with Henson so far being the top player for UNC over all this year. He even made four free throws yesterday, so maybe he can at least get back to what he was shooting from the free throw line last year, which was 44%.

    With the exception of Ben Wallace, Henson may be the worst free throw shooter that I have ever seen at an elite level of play.

  • OldSchool

    Nice win, but there is still lots of improvement to be made. Don’t worry about Bullock. He’s the real deal, as evidenced by his strong defense and rebounding despite poor shooting. He had 4 rebounds, 1 steal, and 1 assist in just 16 minutes, and he continues to improve his lateral movement on the defensive perimeter. Sometimes the shots just don’t fall, but the best players still contribute in other areas. That’s what Bullock does.

  • LarryS

    I can’t tell you how glad I was to see everyone smiling yesterday, particularly Harrison Barnes. If a game like that does nothing more than to loosen everyone up a little, and allow them to gravitate to their talents and abilities, while removing a little pressure, then it was a big success.

    As much as we would like for all our players to have great basketball instincts and a quick learning curve, reading what John Henson said (Adam Lucas piece), about how lost he was a lot of times last year, and how much better he understands the system and where to be this year, makes you have a faith that they are beginning to pick it up.

    John Henson has been my favorite player from the day he walked on campus- great attitude, quick smiler, gangly appearance that belies his terrific athleticism. And don’t let that fun-loving appearance mislead you, he’s a competitor.

    Maybe Henson did get off to a somewhat slow start (I keep reminding myself, and everyone else, that he was considered a two-year project), but before it’s over I think he’s going to make Ol’ Roy look like he knows what he’s doing.

    This is starting to get fun. Is it Tuesday yet?

  • OldSchool

    Justin Knox continues to impress off the bench. His 10 points (5-8 FG) and 6 rebounds in only 15 minutes helped take pressure off the other bigs inside. He did have 4 turnovers, but that’s not typical of his usual steady game. He’s flying under the radar on this team, but his contributions have been very significant. Credit Roy for getting him after the Wear brothers left in the middle of the night. Are they even playing these days?

  • TarHeelInMinny

    Gosh, so much fun to watch. A little worried that we didn’t put this team away in the first half as mentioned by THF, but great to see our two top recruits the past two years really dominate.

    With that said, pretty obvious that Lowe has lost this Wolfpack team. Way too much one-on-one play+no rebounding,+no effort+no execution=No Job for Sidney next year.

  • carolinablue74

    There is always room for improvement. I don’t remember who it was, probably Len Elmore, that pointed out something very pertinent as far as our offensive weakness goes, our PGs (both Drew and in this particular case Marshall) are not perceived as scoring threats because they don’t look for their shots. As a result in pick-n-roll situations, they are given plenty of room while cutting off their passing lanes and their intended recipients. I cannot imagine a team showing that kind of disrespect to either Felton or Lawson. While it is unfair for us to expect either Drew or Marshall to become another Felton or another Lawson, it would be refreshing, and also important for the team to see them develop as scoring threats, who can score more than just the occasional bucket. That would keep the opposing team’s defense honest.

  • OldSchool

    Strickland’s line: 8 pts, 8 rebs, 4 assists, 3 steals, in 26 minutes. And the best number…only 1 turnover. Nice job young man!

  • Andy In Omaha

    I thought Barnes was good, but Henson was awesome! It was nice to actually see someone DUNK a ball in traffic!
    Larry Drew should also be commended for his play of late as well; 4 assists to one turnover. I still think he’s playing MUCH better off the bench than he does starting. The only troubling thing for me is that he’s been piling on the fouls the past couple of games. He’s been playing much more assertively since coming off the bench and I’m giving him credit for showing a pulse now, but he needs to play a little smarter on the defensive side.
    NC State is a puzzling team. It seems like they have better players than normal, but obviously the Tomato just can’t put it all together for them. I have no doubt that if Sendeck had these players they would have a much better record.
    Outside of inconsistent offense, the biggest challenge for this team is building and maintaining confidence. I think they know they can play, but it will be interesting to see how they deal with adversity or setbacks. It seems like they’ve responded to the 20-point blowout a couple of weeks ago, but I’m interested to see how they handle the next bump in the road.

  • william

    Another thing that might bode well for UNC this year is that we are the youngest team in the ACC in contention. There are a group of teams like Wake, State, Miami and UNC that are significantly younger than some of the other squads, so all things being equal, we might expect more improvement from UNC than say BC, Clemson or FSU.

    On the downside, UNC still doesn’t have many top 50 wins, so in some senses, the season really begins on Tuesday, where the team can actually show something even more impressive than barely winning at Miami. We are essentially flat in three point shooting, making them a tiny, tiny bit more than last year, and we have yet to find “the guy” whom we can rely on to make open three’s.

    One of the things that can make bonding with a team gratifying is seeing progress. Seeing so little progress last year and seeing so little potential in guys like the Wears and Graves, made last year frustrating.

    I think we all agree that we are seeing progress now, but let’s not get carried away quite yet, because our offensive ratings are not good.

    I think McDonald may be returning to the mean, and aside from him, we basically have no one with an OR over 1.1. Henson and Barnes are both sub 1, although maybe yesterday’s performances will be the start of their lifting their ratings above 1.

    By way of comparison, the 2009 team had four starters with offensive ratings of over 1.2, with Lawson notching over 1.34 for best OR in the nation. All seven of the top seven in the rotation in 2005 had offensive ratings of over 1.1. Now granted, those were teams for the ages, but the 2007 team had all five starters with an OR of over 1.1, with Green also over that level.

    2006 is probably the closest team to this one in terms of offensive struggles, but that team still had Hansbrough who could be counted on, not to mention the fact that Wes Miller had a season where he had an OR of 1.32, which was spectacular, unexpected and never approached by him again the following year.

    So, I think it is key that Barnes open up things for Henson and Zeller inside, as well as UNC finding someone who can reliably hit open three’s. If we keep seeing things trending that way, we might be looking at a 3 seed or 4 seed.

  • drdave

    These next 4 games are going to tell every Tar Heel fan alot about where we are headed, and if we have turned the corner. The BC game is HUGE for me. I wish I could be more convinced that we will be ok in that game, but the jury is still out for me. Let’s hope these talented guys have begun to put it all together consistently.

  • LarryS

    The frontcourt height advantage, and scoring skill, is too big of an asset not to be making it the dominant part of their game. And I do see signs of doing a bit better job of not only the post players establishing better position, and reacting with the ball quicker, but the ball handlers getting it into them. I think they’re becoming a bit more adept at these clogging D’s.

    It’s interesting, looking back on the Jan. preview and how most felt a 15-5 record, with 5 conference wins through the end of the month would be a good start. Well it is. But I’m not sure that many more questions have been answered, or if the way the month panned out was what anyone might have imagined.

    I agree, the next mini-series (@BC, FSU, @Duke, and @Clemson) is the real deal. If you aren’t apprehensive, or just flat out nervous, you probably aren’t breathing.

  • 40yrheel

    nice to be able to relax with 4 minutes left in a game. there’s no doubt state has talent, but they played like crap and sid low is slowly burying himself.
    the jury is still out for me also. the next 4 game stretch will make or break our acc season.

  • lviveiros

    ITA Next 4 games HUGE I will be there for the BC game ..BC always gets up for UNC always I have seen in live when they play here in Boston..

  • chaucer1350

    The line goes up, the line goes down, but, big picture, the trend line for this team is up this season.

    You can see Barnes’ learning curve accelerating game to game. He’s a really cerebral kid. He’s starting to trust his instincts after a whole lot of processing. I love where he’s headed.

    Henson seems to have found himself as well. If the two of them really start to assert their games, everything falls in place around them. They are the keys.

  • LarryS

    Duke down 21 to St. Johns at the half. (Duke 1/13 from long range)

    If this holds up, the Big-East-superiority folks are going to go nuts.

  • william

    Duke always seems to struggle with the Johnnies. Their site is East Rutherham, New Jersey.

  • LarryS

    You’re not in Cameron anymore, Dorothy.

  • drdave


    Duke is MUCH worse than last year without Irving. They are totally predicated on the 3 point shot, have no inside presence worth anything, we will beat them in Chapel Hill, and they will not repeat. That’s how good Kyrie Irving is- you go from a team that probably would have gone undefeated with him, to a team that probably will be out in the regional final.

  • william

    Not to get cocky, because we may miss all our shots and free throws, but how is Duke going to handle us down low?

  • plibt

    as atrocious as Henson’s freethrows are, he is at least swishing the ones he makes now
    the same cannot be said for Dex

  • william

    So is Irving definitely out? Is he in shape just in case he can come back?

  • lviveiros

    Go St John’s…..

  • william

    If Duke can make up 21 points on the road with under 12 minutes, then it is time for me to switch allegiance….

  • BoyWilliams

    ^ …me too! GO BLUE DEVILS!!!

  • BoyWilliams

    ^ (wretch)

  • william

    Now it is 21 points to make up in under 8 minutes…..

  • william

    5 Most satisfying Duke losses:

    1. Versus Purdue, NCAA title game, 1994
    2. Versus UConn, NCAA Semi-final game 2004
    3. Versus UConn, NCAA title game 1999
    4. Versus Kentucky, NCAA Regional Final, 1998
    5. Versus UNC, 2005 ACC Finale; tie
    Versus Indiana, 2002 NCAA tourney

  • BuonRotto

    You can see the refs telling the Duke players to take their hands off St. John’s players’ hips. The refs are calling all the reaches, bumps and hand checks that Duke usually gets away with.

    Duke has had a fair number of 3s contested, but have missed open ones too. They are flat-out cold.

  • Heel To The End

    i dont root for dook under any circumstances.

    i’m sure the NCAA numbers guys are figuring out how to minimize dook’s RPI damage as we speak.

  • BuonRotto

    aaaaaaand Duke finds it’s 3 stroke with 2:30 left in the game. Too little too late.

  • LarryS

    “i’m sure the NCAA numbers guys are figuring out how to minimize dook’s RPI damage as we speak.”

    And figuring out how to put them in the easiest bracket as a #1 seed.


    Two players for Duke with 52 of its 78 points.

    No one else with more than 7 pts.

    Man, if the Heels can figure out a way to guard Duke’s 3′s, which has cooled off to 33% in ACC play, they can do this.

    First things first, however.
    -Beat BC
    -Beat FSU

  • OldSchool

    If the Heels play their collective best, they SHOULD beat Duke. Barnes will be the best player on the court (with Nolan Smith a close second). Zeller, Knox, and Henson should match up well with the Plumlees. The rest is a crap shoot. I think Strickland’s toughness will be key, and Bullock will come up big.

  • Heel To The End

    i saw one dook play. the only i’ve seen this year live. about 3 minutes left, and Singler goes 1 on 5 from 30 ft away instead of kicking to the open man. he missed. maybe thats why dook somehow usually succeeds with minimal assist numbers. 9 assists on 26 made FGs.

    K has either instructed the Plumlees to never shoot, or they are sandbagging those boys til tournament time.
    there is NO way they are only good enough for 5 shot attempts. cmon, now.
    Smith is a great player, but more shot attempts than both Plumlees, Kelly, Thornton, Hairston and Curry COMBINED??
    how is that fun for players OR fans?

  • Heel To The End

    Jim O’Brien fired.
    now maybe Tyler Hansbrough can be shown some more love.

  • rathskellar68

    Did I die and go to Heaven? Dook gets toasted on national TV 24 hours after — for the first time since Hansbrough — we crunch an archrival.

    Maybe I got teleported to two years ago. I’ll take it.

    I’m no pollyanna, and it’s always dangerous to get too high after a win like the one we had. But some new evidence has come into view, making several observations realistic.

    1. Henson has the capacity to be not merely an athletic freak (which was always there), but a star basketball player.

    2. Barnes has the capacity to be as good as advertised. This could not have been said with confidence until yesterday.

    3. When Strickland learns to finish, he’ll make us remember Tywon Lawson. A little improvement to go with his speed and audacity will bring many a smile to our faces.

    4. Bullock will take time to bring along, but the guy’s build is like Graves without the fat, and weve seen occasional flashes of real talent.

    5. Zeller still needs a lot of work, but I no longer want to make him forfeit the revered name “Tyler.” I think he’s still showing the effects of having to sit out almost his entire freshman year with a broken wrist caused by a dirty foul.

    6. Marshall didn’t have a great game, but we’ve seen enough to know he’ll be big-time. When he develops a shot, we are in business.

    7. Drew will never be anything like a star, but deserves tremendous credit for adapting with maturity and determination to his backup role.

    You no longer need to be a homer or a rah-rah type to say this: With what we now have seen, and with the talent coming in next year, I believe that a year from now, we will seriously be in the hunt for the national championship.

  • makeitWayne22

    Wow k sure did change up his style when dook was down. Man If only Roy would do that. What I saw was the same dook team I’ve seen since my youth. Jack a bunch of 3s, throw cheap shot elbows, and 2 guys take all the shots. Another note seth curry is terrible, he’s bro name is the only reason he’s on that team.

  • william

    I am biased, because we went to the same Junior High, but I don’t think Seth Curry is terrible. He is a great free throw shooter and an excellent outside shooter, and don’t forget that the Currys seem to develop late. No one saw his brother reaching this level of success five years ago.

    I am checking Curry’s stats and he has an OR of 115 and hits close to 90 percent from the line.

    I think UNC would love to have Seth Curry.

  • gregrustin

    it is no secret that the duke title last year solidified the “Blind Squirrel” theory. i sincerely hope dookies enjoyed the gift cause i have no more for ya. now back to reality!!

  • LarryS

    Yeah, I don’t think terrible is a fair assessment at all for Curry.

    He has more threes than Harrison Barnes, in fewer minutes, while shooting 40% from long range. (He has cooled off in ACC play, but so has his team) And he was 5 of 7 from beyond the arc against Boston College in Cameron.

    I’d be very happy if one of our players could go 5 of 7 in 3-pointers against BC in the Smith Center. Heck, I’d be happy if someone could go 3 of 7 next Tuesday in Chestnut Hill.

    I don’t know about his ball handling, or defensive skills, but I imagine he’ll turn out to be a pretty good outside shooter. There’s something about the Curry’s and 3-point shooting.

    He was also unranked coming out of high school, so he has apparently gotten better.

  • makeitWayne22

    Did u see him get blown by consistently all game. He can’t keep a saint johns guard in front of him. And no I would never want a player that falls down when they shots 3s on the heels

  • 4daHeel of it

    Don’t get me wrong I dislike Duke a lot but this is a terrible loss for the ACC! Now that Duke’s wins over KSU, MSU mean nothing the “Tools” like Jeff Goodman are goingto have a field day bashing the ACC. Geez

    Why is it no matter how talented Duke is inside they still exclusively rely on outside shots?

  • plibt

    wait, duke is talented inside this year?

  • makeitWayne22

    So basically all Ive heard about curry is he can make some threes. Can’t play d, no handle, no assists but can make some shots on his home court.

    Step curry is so far ahead of him it’s not even close at the same age. And on dook Dawkins is better than curry.

  • DookSux

    Nice comment by K after the game

    “we lost because of our youth”

    no you lost because your bigs suck

  • william

    It is not as though UNC has been devoid of avid practitioners of matador defense. UNC needs shooters who can hit three’s, even if they do fall down afterwards, unfortunately. Maybe that wasn’t true prior to last year but we don’t have anyone who can dependably shoot the three, and I don’t count McDonald yet, in spite of his progress.

    Didn’t the knock on Ellington used to be his defense? I mean, I love our new defensive toughness and all, but I still prefer competent defenders who are great on offensive, to lousy offensive players who are great on defense, but I do understand the notion of certain opponents just being annoying. For me, however, Singler is annoying enough for all of Duke’s team. I really despise watching him play.

  • makeitWayne22

    The next time u watch curry, replace his name with jones. And ask your self is this kid really that good of a player.

  • makeitWayne22

    And Wayne as a soph would kill curry.

  • drdave

    William, have you been a UNC fan for two minutes? How can you forget the 1998 game. This game was by far the most satisfying Duke loss: At the Dean Dome, where we beat the ever loving snot out of Duke where they were ranked one and we were ranked two. I was at this game and the crowd was going bat s***t the whole game.


  • lviveiros

    Hey rath..ITA not wishing this year away because with every game you see improvement and more jelling by the entire team.. however next year like you said watch out with the talent especially shooting talent coming in ..I have no doubt we will be in the hunt for the championship…

  • LarryS

    ^^^ I can’t argue with the comparisons of Curry to Ellington, or the fact that some of the St.Johns’ players got by him (those guys looked pretty quick to me), or the fact that he may never be a lot more than a 3-pt. specialist.

    But to call him terrible (I’m assuming you’ve watched him play in many more than 1 game), in fairly extreme contrast to what seems to be a decent year he’s having, is kinda’ bogus.

    Expressions like he’s terrible (rather than he had a terrible game, for example), or he sucks, or he couldn’t make my high school team are thrown around way too frequently these days to have much value, if they have any at all.

  • lviveiros

    A dukie loss is SWEET…………………..A dukie loss is second to UNC winning a national championship LOL

  • william

    I think I was mostly going for Duke losses that we had nothing to do with, although I did add in the 2005 UNC victory because without that great comeback at the end, perhaps the Roy Williams era never gets rolling. I also thought we were clearly better than Duke in 1998 and I still didn’t see Duke as a juggernaut until after 1999 and particularly after 2001, and then knowing that they were certain to win the title again in 2004, was very difficult to take.

  • Heel in Purple

    Seth Curry was recruited by Liberty for a reason. He was a rangefinder back in high school. Took him 25 shots to get 24 pts in a game I watched. Hes awful on defense, and can’t play a lick of point or handle the ball.

    He’ll probably get better, but as of this year, he isn’t anything but a closer from the free throw line and a real streaky shooter. Not every family can be loaded.

    By far the most satisfying win was the first of Hansbrough’s victories in Cameron. And Villanova doing work on them in 09. I also enjoyed a replay of the 1990 title game vs the professional team in Vegas.

  • william

    I haven’t seen Seth play all that much, although I tried to watch him some at Liberty where they played an entertaining style, but I do remember some homerism on here where guys were claiming that Ty Lawson was hands down better than his older brother, a couple of years ago. Lawson and Steph Curry both had monster seasons in 2009, but it is hard for me to stomach the claim that Lawson is clearly better as an abstract matter. Until the Wears slunk out of town, there were still tons of people on this site defending their game.

    I think we are all secure enough as UNC fans, with our pantheon of greats, to be able to acknowledge that other teams, even Duke, have players that could help UNC. Now, whether we like said players’ looks or styles is something different. I absolutely despised the Wears’ game, which is something even beyond their meager production. They played unaesthetic basketball, and in my book, when you do that, you better be really, really good.

  • LarryS

    I really haven’t seen Curry play much either, and stats can be deceiving, but all I’m saying, despite his apparently limited game, is that he just doesn’t seem all that bad.

    If he were playing for UNC, and comparing his per/40 rates and other stats to everyone on our team, these would be his team rankings:

    Points per 40: #6
    Assists per 40: #3
    TO’s per 40: #8
    Steals per 40: #1
    FT %: #1
    3 pt %: Tied for #1
    3 pointers made: Tied for #1
    Offensive Rating: #1

    Do I think, objectively, he’s having a decent year? Yes
    Would I want him over any UNC player? No

  • drdave

    The Wears were the poster children for the idea that being a big time school, every recruit that gathers more than one sentence of write up by hs hoops writers must be great. I’d take one Justin Knox over two Wears. Knox has been awesome in his role. He’s much more physical than either of them, and gives us exactly what we need on the post. By the way, Henson was the only guy who deserved the pub from that class, and he is just starting to reach his potential in his sophomore campaign. Mcdonald is a distant second.

  • william

    Would I want him over any UNC player?

    Well, that is tricky. I probably wouldn’t trade my alley cat for a prize winning Bengal breed because I am used to my alley cat after all these years. Obviously, the guys who came to UNC are people we have bonded with. But do I think Seth Curry has a lot more upside than a couple of our guys getting significant minutes at guard? Yes, I do.

    Curry has had some bad games and I may have missed them, but Bullock has had some clunkers, too. That is just by way of example. I wouldn’t “trade” Bullock for Curry.

    For some reason, a Clemson page has evaluated Duke’s efficiency and Curry tied with Miles Plumlee as Duke’s 7th most efficient player, which would be sixth now that Irving is out.


  • william

    I agree about Knox. One Knox is worth way more than two Wears, and that is a knox on the Wears.

  • LarryS

    ^^I guess that doesn’t surprise me that he ranks that low on Duke, efficiency-wise.(Though Im not sure how clemson scout has weighted their rankings)

    There are 5 Duke players with higher Offensive Ratings than Curry, and though he is also their leader in steal rate, he doesn’t get many RB’s. So, overall, I can see where he might be #6 or #7.

  • william

    Offensive rating also tends to trend upward with better teams. Hansbrough and Lawson were able to be more selective in their shots than Curry was at Davidson.

  • chapelhillfan

    To whomever posted it, Dook did not lose in the 1994 national title game to Purdue (?)…that was Arkansas.

    Can’t add to the great analysis above about Carolina.

    I don’t care if Dook was playing Satan’s Select 5, I’ve pulling against Dook. Simple as that. Conference loyalty be damned.

    Didn’t anyone else expect, like I did, that Dook woulld get real chippy in the second half as they were getting beatdown and a;lmost start a fight? Haven’t we all come to expect that level of sportsmanship out of Coach K and his minions?

    This Dook team is way overrated.