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.