Updates from December, 2009 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • shwineka 11:54 pm on December 2, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , Buffalo Billiards, , , , , Dean Smith Center, , , , , Larry Drew, , , , , , , , , , ,   

    Deja Vu: UNC Handles Michigan State 

    UNC 89, MSU 82

    Box Score

    It’s becoming a common thing. UNC plays Michigan State. UNC wins.

    The Heels have taken their last five meetings with the Spartans, and these aren’t just in the Big 10-ACC Challenge games. I recall an April day in 2005. A hot Spartan team was in the Final Four making some noise and ready to take down the No. 1-seeded Tar Heels. Or wait was that 2009?

    Anyway, for all the things that Tom Izzo does well, he can’t seem to figure out his Carolina conundrum. And honestly, who didn’t think Tuesday was going to be his night?

    A completely different UNC team showed up in the Smith Center than I’ve seen this year. The froshs and sophs played like upperclassmen right from the tip-off, with UNC jumping out to an early lead. It had to feel sickening for MSU fans, a horrible case of deja vu. Us DC-based Rafters bloggers sat with a decent contingent of UNC fans at Buffalo Billiards. A great idea emerged. Anyone not privileged enough to live in Chapel Hill, like our esteemed colleague Benn, should tweet us to meet up in the DC area for game viewings. We like to go out. If we go out anyway, we’ll make sure to say where we’re going.

    Hey, we might even put your picture on the internets.

    Before I get all hot and bothered thinking about tweet ups:

    Takeaways:

    • The recruiting class of 2008 came out of its shell. LD and Easy Ed both notched career highs in points (18 and 22 respectively). LD hit some clutch shots and had a 2-to-1 assist to turnover ratio in 27 minutes. Davis was his normal smooth self. You must watch this guy on Ustream sometime. Just follow him on twitter and he’ll notify when he’s getting on. If you want to know why we love him so much that will tell you everything.
    • If there’s only 5 seconds left in a half, who gets the rock? Answer: Dexter Strickland. Strickland hit his second buzzer beater of the year at the end of the first half, sinking a trey.
    • Will Graves is a starter, but he logs bench minutes. He’s getting about the same run time as Strickland, John Henson and Tyler Zeller. Gut tells me that once Roy is more comfortable with Henson or Strickland they’ll get the start. (And after last night I gotta be leaning towards Strickland)
    • Back to Dex. Strickland had zero turnovers while logging some significant minutes at point. And as Luke Winn reminds us, he is a converted shooting guard. Got to be happy with that.
    • Are the Wears twins? …………or clones? Travis – 2 pts, 3 rebs in 6 minutes; David – 2 pts, 2 rebs in 7 minutes

    Superlatives

    • Players of the Game: Larry Drew and Ed Davis –  see above
    • Lookin’ Fierce Award: Roy Williams
    • John Henson, if there was an award for throwing the ball between your legs to save it from going out, we’d give it to you. I don’t think even the Rafters has an award for that.
     
    • Zach Evans 12:46 pm on December 3, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      With all due respect to Henson, maybe the award should be the “Don’t Save the Ball Underneath the Other Basket” Award. As impressive as it looked, it did lead to an easy MSU basket.

      I guess I’m just never satisfied.

  • gonzologist 3:16 pm on December 1, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Art Garfunkle, defense, , , , Tarheelblue.com   

    Deon’s Subtle Dominance 

     

    Adam Lucas published an insightful profile of senior forward Deon Thompson on Tarheelblue.com over the weekend. The article discusses the myriad ways in which Deon has played second fiddle during his illustrious career: acting as one half of the Alex Stepheson/Deon Bash Brothers his freshman year, then having to Garfunkle his way for two years behind Psycho T. Deon even gets seconds here on The Rafters due to our extreme love of Ed Davis.

     

    Lucas points out some interesting facts about Deon’s defense, which I’m sure most of us hadn’t noticed:

    “Sunday, he helped harass Nevada standout Luke Babbitt into a 5-for-18 performance, including completely shutting him out from the 10:31 mark until 19 seconds remained–the key part of the game.”

    “It’s not a coincidence that with Thompson out midway through the second half, a six-point Tar Heel lead turned into a one-point deficit in less than 150 seconds.”

     

    That sort of defensive presence is a necessity, especially considering the high volume of turnovers the Tar Heels are consistently coughing up. While Davis and freshman John Henson come up with the most spectacular blocks, Deon continues to execute the less glorious maneuvers – like hedging on screens and closing out perimeter shots – that enstill an underlying defensive toughness. So far this season he has been the Tar Heels’ leading scorer, and is showing some new moves with the same fluidity his game has always exhibited. Here’s to hoping that Deon’s performance thusfar is the prelude of a well-deserved starring season.

     
  • shwineka 12:29 am on November 30, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Bill Lumbergh, , , , , Mike Gminski, , , , , , Wolfpack   

    Wrap-up: UNC survives Nevada 

    UNC 80, Nevada 73

    Box Score

    This game could be categorized as “character building.” Carolina came in with what we’ll call a turkey-day hangover, plodding through the first three quarters of the game. (The much smaller Nevada Wolfpack ended up only losing the rebounding battle by three, 45-42.) The defense was sluggish at best as Nevada shot 43 percent from the field in the first half. But when the game came down to the wire, with about five minutes left and Nevada down two, the Heels suddenly had a resurgence of confidence. And while the game would never get much more separation than five or six points, UNC seemed to carry itself with a bit more swagger and squashed Nevada’s upset bid.

    Oh yeah, and Roy Williams got his 600th career win as a head coach.

    Roy has the highest win percentage of any active coach and is already in the hall of fame. It was actually funny watching him receive an award for his 600th win on TV. After his recent shoulder surgery, you could tell he really just wanted to get the frick out of there and find an ice pack.

    Takeaways:

    • Tyler Zeller didn’t take a charge this game. What gives Big Z?
    • Four players played 30 or more minutes. It looks as if Roy is starting to tighten up the rotation. Look for a future post on the depth chart.
    • Larry Drew – 10 assists and one turnover. Um……hell yes.
    • Eight team turnovers: huge improvement. Keeping this in the single digits will take the team far. Though as is evidenced by LD’s stat line, the TOs aren’t coming from the point, but from errant passes by the post and wing players.

    Superlatives:

    • Player of the Game: Ed Davis – (16 pts, 15 rebs, 2 asts, 3 blocks, 1 stl) Ed really showed how he can dominate the glass. He has a nose for where the ball is going to bounce and the hops to get there first. Ed also gets block of the game for his two blocks in about 30 seconds near the end of the second half.
    • OK, I can finally say it, “Kid can play!” Award – Larry Drew II
    • Stat Stuffer (aka Danny Green Award): We might have to rename this the Marcus Ginyard Award – 10 pts, 6 rebs, 4 asts, 1 blk, 4 stls
    • Bill Lumbergh Look-Alike: Former Dukie Mike Gminski – see below

    The resemblance is striking.

     

    (game photos by Robert Willet of the N & O)

     
  • shwineka 5:06 pm on November 24, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , Gardner-Webb, Grayson Flittner, , , , , Runnin' Bulldogs, Shane Battier, , , , , , ,   

    Wrap-Up: UNC Routs Gardner Webb 93-72 

    (Photo by Robert Willett of the N&O)

    UNC 93, Gardner-Webb 72

    Box Score

    The story of this game is short and sweet.

    Gardner Webb was just outsized and out-athlete-ed. Yes, it’s a word. Anyways UNC’s perimeter defense was again shaky, it’s just GW didn’t have the guards Syracuse did. That didn’t stop Runnin’ Bulldogs guard Grayson Flittner from tying the record for most 3-pointers in a game in the Dean Dome (9). The kid could not miss. He finished with 32 points.

    Takeaways from the game:

    • It seems like Tyler Zeller has taken a charge every single game. It will be shorting him a few games worth, but starting now we’ll try to keep track of how many games he does this. So beginning yesterday, he’s 1 for 1.
    • Dexter Strickland has shown flashes of greatness. His development will determine a lot in regards to how far Carolina goes this year. If he steps up big, look out.
    • When both the Wear twins are on the floor at the same time, UNC plays smart. You can tell these kids have played together their entire lives. Did anyone else catch how the only resemblance of a comeback in the Syracuse game came mostly at the hands of the Wears? Wish they were a bit more athletic, but you can’t have everything, they’ll get there.

    Superlatives:

    • The “If you call me Shane Battier, I’ll kick your ass” Award: Tyler Zeller
    • Best Block: Once again to John Henson for his block-into-leap-frog-between-the-legs-bounce-pass-to-save-it-from-going-out play. It’s at the 1:23 mark of the video, though you can’t see the best part, which is the out-of-bounds save. That’s two wins in this category for Mr. Henson.
    • Stat Stuffer (aka the Danny Green Award): Marcus Ginyard – 8 pts, 5 rebs, 6 asts, 3 stls
    • Most Minutes without a Turnover Award (sadly a very important one): Tyler Zeller, 15 min played

     

     
    • lulu 1:29 pm on November 27, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      will be looking forward to the “superlatives” “OVER-THE-TOP-CATEGORIES-THAT- SHOULD -NOT BE-MISSED.”

  • shwineka 12:30 pm on November 21, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , , , ,   

    Coaches Vs. Cancer Wrap-Up: ‘Cuse Hands Heels First Loss of Season 

    (photo by Jack McIssac – Getty)

    After a nail-biter against Ohio State, one could almost see it coming. The way UNC sloppily handled its double-digit lead Thursday didn’t bode well for the contest on Friday against a Syracuse team that is seemingly firing on all cylinders. The Heels lost 87-71.

    Carolina’s turnovers are starting to become a broken record, 19 this time, and ball security seems to be their biggest weakness. Syracuse scored more than 20 points off those turnovers, but it wasn’t until the second half that the game got out of hand. UNC’s defense kept them in the game in the first half, creating some turnovers of its own and  helping the Heels to a three-point halftime lead.

    In the second half, two different teams showed up than had played in the first. UNC, whose offense hadn’t been very effective all night, suddenly forgot how to play D as well. Syracuse became an unstoppable force, hitting 10 of it’s first 14 shots in the half and going on a 22-1 run that effectively won the game. UNC made a late charge to bring it within eight, but it was a short-lived rally.

    Sometimes you hear coaches say that it’d be good for their team to get a loss, so what good will come of this?

    How about just the sting of a blowout loss? The Heels haven’t had a loss like this since the 2008 Final Four loss to Kansas, which ended 84-66. Last year’s team lost four games by a total of 16 points combined. This year’s team equaled that in one game. Pride can be a great motivator.

    The parts are all there — and I’m sure Roy hadn’t spent too much time on playing against a zone like Syracuse’s — so this loss may sting now, but it will be something to build on. And with the Heels non-conference schedule, they better get building.

     
  • shwineka 12:13 am on November 16, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: AP, Brandon Mcpherson, Brandon Wood, , , , , , , , , , , ,   

    Going Through the Motions: UNC beats Valparaiso by 11 

    UNC_88__Valparaiso_77___11.15.09_tJU58jGL_0002.embedded.prod_affiliate.156

    (Photo by Robert Willett, The News & Observer)

    Box Score

    A young team certainly goes through a growing process over the course of a season. The focus and discipline that are characteristics of a championship contender are not as instilled in a group that’s getting to know each other just as much as they’re getting to know a coach’s system.

    This was never more evident than in Carolina’s win over Valparaiso on Sunday.

    The brilliant defensive play that marked the Heels’ last contest was nowhere to be seen. The impressive – even demoralizing – blocks and thunderous dunks that have been so prevalent were also missed. To be frank, the Heels didn’t show up for work.

    From the AP story:

    “I could feel it coming a little bit,” fifth-year senior Marcus Ginyard said. “In warmups, we didn’t seem like we had that pep in our step. Nobody was really talking. We just didn’t have that intensity and it showed tonight.”

    The sheer size talent differential was enough to keep UNC ahead for the game, and honestly that will carry them in some of these shaky non-conference games when they play small-time schools like Valparaiso.

    The trouble is UNC is playing five ranked opponents in a month, starting Thursday against Ohio State. The other trouble is that Valpo’s Brandon Wood lit up the Dean Dome for 30 points, including six 3-pointers, and Brandon Mcpherson had 20 points behind 4-6 shooting beyond the arc. The Carolina frontcourt might be imposing, but the backcourt will need to step up defensively so that a hot-shooting guard isn’t the downfall of the team on a given night. Especially given that Evan Turner is a monster.

    The good news is that the team knew they laid a stinker tonight, and Roy does, too.

    “I said before the season started that some days we’re going to be pretty good and some days we’re going to be pretty ugly. And today was one of those days, I thought we were pretty ugly,” Roy said after the game.

    So by Thursday, everything will be fixed!

    Superlatives

    1. Most Missed Lobs – The whole team
    2. The This-won’t-be-my-career-high-for-long Award – Ed Davis, 16 pts (career high), 6 rebs, 2 blks, 6-6 FG
    3. Best Production in Limited Minutes – Justin Watts, 2 pts, 2 rebs, 4 assts, ZERO TURNOVERS, 10 min played
     
    • hiphopobserver 12:23 am on November 16, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      Favorite stat of the night: Justin Watts, 4 assists, 0 turnovers

  • shwineka 1:02 am on November 12, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , , , NCCU, Nick Chasten, , , , ,   

    Block Party: UNC Defeats N.C. Central 

    UNC 89, NC Central 42

    Box Score

    For the first few minutes, it seemed Carolina would have its hands full trying to stop the hot-shooting N.C. Central Eagles. With 12:28 left to play in the first half, NCCU trailed UNC 19-17. Then the Tar Heels remembered that they had six players taller than 6’8″.

    And the block party commenced.

    N.C. Central would score three points in the rest of the first half and Carolina had nine team blocks after tallying eight in the season opener. This time the swatting was handled by Ed Davis, Tyler Zeller, Deon Thompson and — emphatically — John Henson.

    The entire team’s defense was vastly improved, as evidenced by the Eagles’ final score (which only surpassed 40 on a scrub-time 3-pointer). But it was Henson’s thunderous block late in the second half that was the nail in the coffin for Central. After a steal, Central forward Nick Chasten dribbled the length of the court to what he thought would be an easy lay-up. Henson raced back and came from the weak side to send Chasten’s shot to what seemed like the tenth row. It’s safe to say, Chasten’s mother was probably crying. UNC’s lead would reach 51.

    The defense improved, but the offense still sputtered. Not that 89 points is shabby production, but that the method of reaching it was again sloppy, with the Heels coughing up 18 turnovers. I’ll take 18 over 26 (See FIU game), but come time for ACC play that will need to be less than 10.

    Still, a great performance from a young, unproven team.

    Superlatives

    1. Best Missed Dunk. Ever. – John Henson for his missed reverse alley-oop
    2. Most Demoralizing Block – Mr. Henson again
    3. Don’t wanna jinx it, but dude can play! – LD II
    4. The David Noel Award – Marcus Ginyard 7-10, 17 pts., 2 Reb, 3 Asst, 2 Stl and best goatee on team
     
  • shwineka 10:53 am on November 11, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , ,   

    Ginyard Dunk Sequence 

    So when Marcus Ginyard took the steal from Will Graves and made his way to the basket in the season opener vs. FIU, I was expecting an efficient, predictable layup. The type of play that I think is the gold standard of Ginyard’s playing style.

    Wrong.

    The dunk that ensued was unexpected. It was a show of flash, and also confidence, considering there was a defender in the area. And when it boils down to it, it was just a good f’ing dunk.  We gave Ginyard’s dunk co-top-play honors. Here is a sweet little sequence of pictures by the News & Observer’s Robert Willet.

    First_Look__UNC_s_season_opener_11.09.09_w6oRrDpG_0035.embedded.prod_affiliate.156 First_Look__UNC_s_season_opener_11.09.09_w6oRrDpG_0036.embedded.prod_affiliate.156First_Look__UNC_s_season_opener_11.09.09_w6oRrDpG_0037.embedded.prod_affiliate.156

     
    • Zach Evans 6:44 pm on November 11, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      I haven’t seen the dunk in a separate video clip, but it is in the DTH video recap, around the 2:35 mark of the video.

      A very impressive dunk, indeed.

  • gonzologist 2:08 pm on November 10, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: bringin' 88 back, , , , , , , Quentin Thomas, ,   

    Luke Winn on Opening Night 

    I enjoy reading Sports Illustrated’s Luke Winn. He’s a good writer and seems pretty unbiased in his opinions, which is why I hate to read in his opening night observations that he’s taking Ohio State to roll the Tar Heels in MSG next Thursday. He has some heavy praise for OSU’s 6’7” guard Evan Turner; we’ll see how he fares getting inside against our bigs next week.

    can't see the basket for the trees

    Three of Winn’s other points focused on the Tar Heels’ apparant weaknesses. He cites the lack of a consistent outside threat and the obvious problem with turnovers. The three point shooting was definitely suspect last night, but Marcus and LD both impressed with improved shots. Hopefully Will Graves can live up to his reputation as a dangerous distance shooter. Of LD’s performance as the floor leader, Winn had this to say:

    “While Larry Drew II didn’t put up a triple-double in his debut as North Carolina’s point guard, he acquitted himself quite well with seven points and six assists against just two turnovers. I don’t think many Carolina fans knew what to expect — they just knew their sophomore starter wasn’t going be as good as Ty Lawson (an impossibility), and they hoped Drew wouldn’t be the second coming of Quentin Thomas. Drew showed the Lawson-eque ability to push the ball at a high speed while staying under control on the primary and secondary break, and appeared quicker than I remember him being in brief stints as a reserve last season. He seems to understand that his primary duty is to feed Thompson and Ed Davis, and not force shots; as long as Drew keeps doing that, he’ll be a serviceable point.”

    I agree that LD put in a solid performance last night, looking faster than I remember him being. Though I hate to see the words “acquitted” and “serviceable,” and the evocation of the rhymin’ Quentin Thomas may seem like a low blow, Winn’s summation simply reflects the harsh expectations for LD having to bear the torch passed by the incomparable Ty Lawson. He did have some nifty dishes inside, and will only get better running the break. While Dexter Strickland struggled with 5 turnovers, Justin Watts put in some quality supporting minutes at the point and had one satisfying dunk. The backcourt story will continue to be the most intriguing moving forward in the next few weeks.

     
  • shwineka 11:02 am on November 10, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , turnovers, , , ,   

    Takeaways from UNC Season Opener vs. FIU 

    UNC 88, FIU 72

    EdDavis2

    Box Score
    Video

    While last night’s game was not absurdly impressive, Carolina looked good considering how much practice they’ve had. On that note, though, it appears that the team is still very rusty. They did not finish well around the rim. I recall one sequence when Ed Davis and Deon Thompson combined to get two offensive rebounds and miss two layups.  UNC’s sheer size advantage was the story of the game. The team shot a ridiculous 55.7 percent from the field — lots of dunks. The three-pointers, however, were noticeably lacking. For a more balanced team, the Heels are going to need someone to step up their shooting

    Could that person be Marcus Ginyard? Ginyard showed some stroke last night, going 2-4 from beyond the arc. He also hit a long two, in which I believe he thought he was taking a three. Roy Williams might be expecting Ginyard to perform a little better from downtown, too, starting him at shooting guard and Will Graves at small forward. One thing is certain, if Marcus becomes a reliable threat from three, UNC would instantly be more dangerous and more difficult to beat.

    As expected, Ed Davis was stellar.

    But, as was evident in the Belmont Abbey scrimmage, the turnovers are the biggest concern. Had the Heels not turned the ball over 26 times (eighth most in school history and tied for most under Roy ever) this game would have been an even bigger blowout. The good news? Larry Drew II only had two of those 26. The bad news? His backup, Dexter Strickland, had five.

    Superlatives:

    1. Most Improved Shot: Marcus Ginyard
    2. Play of the Game: Tie between Justin Watts’ alley oop to John Henson and Will Graves’ steal into Ginyard dunk (both on video above)
    3. The Danny Green Award: Ed Davis – 13 pts., 11 rebs., 4 blocks, 2 Asts
    4. The Tyler Hansbrough Award: Deon Thompson – 20 pts., 10 rebs. (6 offensive)
     
c
Compose new post
j
Next post/Next comment
k
Previous post/Previous comment
r
Reply
e
Edit
o
Show/Hide comments
t
Go to top
l
Go to login
h
Show/Hide help
shift + esc
Cancel