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UNC 83 Boston College 60

Is it just me or was college basketball across the board a little funky today?

After a week of talking about bringing the intensity level up for ACC play the Heels did in spots but largely did just enough to make it a comfortable win rather than the absolute bloodbath people sort of expected heading into the game. The game was close for the first ten minutes before UNC reeled off one of those patented Tar Heel runs to open a up a double digit lead which resulted in a 40-27 halftime lead. In the second half a 10-2 run to open the second stanza made it a 21 point game at which point the Heels started talking on the cell phone and trying to eat their Taco Bell takeout while driving on the interstate. The foot came off the gas and Boston College closed to nine after a series of defensive lapses. The Heels responded and opened the game back up to the deficit it ultimately ended at.

The Tar Heel frontline played extremely well with the exception of the offensive rebounding. UNC’s OR% is normally around 40. In this game it was 32.8 and that is probably most responsible for the slight lower offensive efficiency of 111.6. Regardless, Harrison Barnes played the type of game you expect the preseason ACC POY to have. Barnes went 10-15 for 25 points, five rebounds, four steals and only one turnover.  The numbers don’t tell the whole story. Barnes is showing a lot of versatility in his scoring and looks very much like the player we all thought he would be. In the past four games which includes Texas, Barnes is averaging 22.2 ppg, shooting 60% from the floor and 6-10 from three. He is definitely starting to roll. Tyler Zeller, likewise had a nice day going 8-12 for 20 points. John Henson followed up with 14 points, eight rebounds and three blocks to round out the Big Three’s scoring day which comprised 59 of the team’s 83 points. The rest of the Tar Heels had a rough day to the tune of 8 for 30. Dexter Strickland had some shots rim out and James Michael McAdoo continues to find every part of the basketball goal but the inside part of the net. P.J. Hairston hit two threes but not much else and Reggie Bullock 1-7 and did not hit a three.

Defensively, UNC had some lapses, especially in the second half but 20 turnovers, two shot clock violations(which was really three but Henson grabbed an airball and the refs let it go) and a 79.2 defensive efficiency is a pretty decent day. BC shot 42% from the floor and did get some easy looks due in part to the aforementioned lapses. Roy Williams chalked that up to poor execution and focus on such things as how to handle a screen or properly rotations. In short it can and should be better because some of those 20 turnovers and stellar DE has something to do with BC being not very good at this stage.

While there were actual issues with UNC’s focus and intensity I also wonder to what extent BC trying to slow the game down made it seem more lax than it actually was. I also think UNC being forced into a slower, halfcourt game does make them less efficient offensively though much of that rests on players not named Barnes, Henson and Zeller. Overall, this kind of game is an annoyance for the fan who would rather see the team play at a high level every time out. It is still a win in convincing fashion even if it wasn’t in the fashion we expect.

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26 comments to UNC 83 Boston College 60

  • There are other ACC teams that underperformed today. FSU, Duke, and VT are examples. I felt good about this game against BC. We obviously had a few stretches to where we played like we didn’t respect the opponent, and rightfully so, it was BC. What I took out of the game was how awesome we can really be on defense. There were multiple possessions in which we took them deep into the shot clock, and BC wondering just who would be capable of getting a shot off, much less making one. We could score at will on the interior, and Barnes looked like he wanted to draw some MJ comparisons.

    Unlike most of you, this game increased my confidence that it was the premier team in the ACC. If you fail to think so, look at the struggles of the teams I just mentioned to start this post off. Yeah, I know we play to beat the top teams in the league, not to win the ACC crown alone, but come on, we had to win this, and we did in emphatic action.

  • gso_tarheel

    Maybe we have just played at home against too many cupcakes recently. Getting on the road in front of tough ACC crowds will light a fire. That is if Roy’s extended half-time speech didn’t already.

    Regardless, this team has shown that when players “lose themselves in the game” they may be the best team in the country.

  • Megaraptor

    Our ACC schedule is going to be weaker than our non-conference schedule this year, and that’s going to hurt us. Playing 12 cupcake games will allow our team to play like crap and still win, which is going to cause problems come tournament time.

  • “Our ACC schedule is going to be weaker than our non-conference schedule this year, and that’s going to hurt us. ”

    Not really. UNC has to play Duke, UVa and NCSU all twice. Only six of UNC’s 16 games come against teams ranked worse than 100th in KenPom. Two of those six games are vs MD and only two of the six are on the road. BC is the only team ranked worse than 200. Overall the ACC schedule will be tougher just not as tough as past ACC seasons.

  • I understand that there is no Ralph Sampson like 82 had. No back-to-back Duke like 93 had. No 8-20 like the 05 had. Not much to challenge upon circumstancial wise. Maybe the Henson/Zeller can draw upon the NIT year as a motivational approach. We won the game and won big. I know you all probably don’t think so, but when we meet Duke and Jamie Luckey and Roger Ayers are there officiating the game, that’s plenty of a test for me.

  • AZACCFan


    You are right that there was lots of positive play in this game. The big three were huge on offense. And the defense was very solid at times.

    However, as a team they can do better and there was less balance offensively than we have seen recently. Shots weren’t falling, but at least the key plays happened.

    And it is pretty important to get Barnes’s mother to more games from here on. Or whatever it is that has lit the touch paper on his play of late. No one is making excuses for him!

  • Im not naieve to the fact that we could have won by a much bigger margin. I really do think the whole “play down to their level” epidemic was fruitful in this game. With that being said, it has been a long time since I’ve watched UNC play an ACC team that literally struggled to get a shot off, any shot, much less a decent one. I know this team can play lock-down D when it needs to.

  • AZACCFan

    The schedule is not going to change at this point. The other national power teams are not playing opponents ranked in the top ten every week either.

    This season is unusual because there have been many areas of improvement already. They are starting games better. The defense has at times been suffocating. I personally liked that more fouls are being called on UNC. A few were foolish, but most were for hard defense. Which is fine.

    The shooting percentage tonight was a bit off, and offensive rebounding was not as good as it could have been.

    So there are plenty of things to work on.

    Barnes did look pretty good though didn’t he?

  • He played like he was heading to prison if he didn’t score 20 plus points while doing it in the flow of the game. Would love to see his “attack mode” more often. This team has just been fun to watch for me, can’t really explain it though. I guess there are just good fruits of every element of basketball on this team. We still don’t have that Shawn Kemp/Vince Carter/Kenyon Martin/Stackhouse kind of guy who can pump fake and drive to the goal and dunk on 4 people kind of guy, but we manage to drive in and finish in traffic with authority and still do it and get the foul.

  • mrn10sdave

    I’m not sure if it was caught on TV or talked about by the commentators, but Thorp was booed briefly by a smattering of fans (who quickly shut up when they realized they were in the minority) during a halftime segment honoring Baddour for his years of service.

  • AZACCFan


    Barnes is clearly starting to realize that he has College level super powers. But he has to ration them and keep the batteries charged. I liked his smiles during the game, especially when he was done banging around the basket. He is more of a skill player, but he has made lots of stronger moves to the basket of late.

    He didn’t look like a guy with the weight of the world on him and like you say, he was in the flow of the game.

    The thing was that he turned the flow on about half way through the first half.

  • faustus1500


    VC never dropped 40 on an ACC foe. )

    I think Hairston is the super athlete who can dunk on a crowd. However, his role this season is as an outside shooter.

  • AZACCFan

    Hairston and Bullock have both had spurts of magic. But they are freshmen (Bullock is just finishing his first season) and have things to learn.

    Unfortunately the bench was 4/18 from the field in this one. If they make another 5, then it is 35+ win.

    Hairston has a competitive attitude and lets the opponent know it physically. It has been interesting to see most of the other team’s players either giving him more space after plays or getting into it with him.

    Hairston would be more than happy to drop 40.

    I bet he does it at UNC.

  • Moustache

    Morons booing Thorp.

    Must be frequently concussed former “oppressed” football players.

    Seriously, people.

    Booing the chancellor identifies you as someone with a firm grasp on both his job and the mission of a university.

    If any of those rubes were actual alums, they need to be taken behind the woodshed by Bill Friday.

    That’s much more infuriating than anything on the court today.

  • LarryS

    I’m not inclined point out everything they could have done better in each of these games - those are all pretty obvious - so I just basically try to look at broader areas that are either in need of improvement or pretty solid.

    FT shooting today, while a baby step and in need of much more progress, was good to see. Then there’s defensive rebounding. Here’s where the Heels have really come on strong the last few games, and significantly improved upon the slight lag they had from last year, climbing up to just under 72% . Now that’s improvement!

    I know Roy didn’t seem to be that happy with only an 11 rebound margin against BC today (no doubt he was mostly focusing on ORB’s), but they did have the 3rd best DRB’g % of the year in this game, and hopefully they can keep up the good work against what will undoubtedly be more physical teams ahead.

    Finally, I know everyone is very happy with what the bench has brought, and will very likely continue to bring, in terms of outside shooting - also a definite improvement - but I think today’s game, while uneven at times, should remind us of what really makes this team tick……Barnes and the bigs, along with a quarterback who can find them.

  • AZACCFan


    There were plenty of positives in this game.

    Ups and downs are part of this sport on any level.

    Big + is Big Game having a big game and obviously enjoying the fruits of lots of practice time. Like a golfer reworking his swing and taking it out for a spin. And winning with it.

    So that stuff is really fun to watch. Every time.

  • AZACCFan

    One more thing.

    Zeller did not get tied up or turned over once in this game that I saw. He caught the ball close to the basket repeatedly and was not playing against small opposition.

    Pretty big deal for me.

  • LarryS

    Not to hijack the thread but I just had to throw this in.

    San Antonio’s Danny “Freakin” Green (Daniel, as he’s now called) had 24 pts., 7 RB’s, 2 assists, 2 steals, and 2 blocks on 9/13 shooting (3/4 on 3 pointers & 3/3 FT’s) in a win over Lawson’s Nuggets last night. You think he might have been inspired?

  • Heel To The End

    ^thats fantastic. i was starting to think he wouldnt get an

    in other threadjack news, Devon Ramsay got another year of eligibility to play football.

  • makeitWayne22

    Best game ive seen Barnes play all year. It much easier to score when you’re active on defense and the glass. He looked like a legit NBA player yesterday.

    Dont forget Ty’s 20 pt 10 assist night against Danny’s Spurs as well. Danny lead the spurs in points and played over 30 minutes.

  • LarryS

    ^^Good news. Ramsay was also highlighted a in a NY Times editorial a couple of days ago about the NCAA’s ‘Justice’ system.


    ^Yeah, I didn’t mean to leave Lawson out (good game), but those types of games are nothing new for him…..this was a pretty big deal for Green.

  • CarMichael

    I had the impression that Harrison turned on the powah about 12 minutes in because he sensed his teammates were starting to slop around.

    UNC finished with a team A/TO of 1.7, so the offense wasn’t as messy as it seemed.

  • nick

    beating the crap out of bad teams is a skill, I think; it may be related to hard-to-quantify things like “discipline” and “concentration.” in any case, we don’t have this skill.

    Wisconsin is the counterexample. beating a bunch of terrible teams 70-30 has them #2 in Pomeroy’s system (before today’s stinkout against Michigan). but does anybody here think the Badgers are any better than a Sweet 16 teams at most?

  • Heels Perspective

    While there were certainly periods of poor play, I find it a little amazing that people are throwing in the towel after a 23 point win. BC probably played the game of their season so far.

    I saw some really positive things like Butta being aggressive driving to the hoop, Henson’s jumper, Zeller passing the rock back outside, PJ’s 2 jumpers and making BC committ at least 2 shot clock violations. Barnes is amping up his game in case no one noticed.

    We forget that many of Dean’s teams had similar let downs and the fact that Roy can pull examples of mistakes from a 23 point win is good.

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