Sunday, February 15, 2009

North Carolina collapses on the finish line and beats Miami

This was a good-news/bad-news type of a game for North Carolina and adds more intrigue to what we should see from them in the NCAA tourney in March. The last three years they have under-achieved by at least one round in the tourney!

The good news is that they managed to win on the road with Lawson under the weather and Hansbrough taken out by the defense. The bad news is that they had the game won (14 point lead) but got short-circuited offensively and let Miami come back in the game. Most coaches would have called two time-outs during the meltdown, but Ole Roy called ZERO, in keeping with the Dean Smith tradition of letting the players figure it out on their own. Back to the good news, it looks like when Lawson has the flu, he can't miss a shot. Also good news, this is the second game in a row where Lawson had a major impact during the second half, last time by penetrating the defense, this time by shooting over the defense.

Frank Haith has a great game plan and even without Dwayne Collins he managed to get close, oh-so-close yet so-far-away from beating UNC. Jimmy Graham was a stat-sheet-stuffer, and Jack McClinton pulled out another 35er from the hat. But no one else had consistent impact on the game and the Canes fell short of a win. This bodes well for Miami if they use their performance in this game as a spring-board for the next few games, and not as a "OMG we lost, goodbye 2008-2009!".

And one more thing, UNC may have stars and future-stars, but the MVP of this team is Danny Green. During the meltdown, it was Green's block that broke the Miami rhythm. It's not just that Green stuffs the stat-sheet, it's that he has impact on the game, with critical shots, blocks, steals and things like that. If UNC wins the championship in April, it will probably be thanks to Danny Green!

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