By now you’ve probably read all the game stories that told you what you already knew about the Duke game Saturday, if you call that a game. We prefer any of the following: demoralization, domination, shellacking, destruction and ol’ fashioned whooping. You don’t need us to break down exactly what happened, because you remember the onslaught of put-back dunks and offensive rebounding and Duke’s horrendous shooting on its home floor.
More importantly, what does the win mean?
Well, first off, it probably had a lot to do with the Heels allllllmost netting four players on the All-ACC first team. The entire Heels frontcourt trio of Barnes, Zeller and Henson made the first team, with Barnes just edging Kendall Marshall for the final spot. Marshall finished 20 points higher in the voting than the next person on the second team, Terrell Stoglin.
It also had an effect on NCAA tournament seeding. As of this writing, many analysts are predicting a No. 1 seed for the Heels, and if they win the ACC tournament this weekend, that’s probably a sure thing.
It also puts some more pressure on UNC heading into the postseason. In our opinion, Carolina had been flying a bit under the radar — as much as a Top 10 team with four losses can fly under the radar anyway. The blowout loss to Florida State and then 1-point loss to Duke had moved most national writers’ focus to teams like Kentucky or others making surges like Michigan State and Kansas. Because the preseason expectations for Carolina had been so high, it seemed like the Heels were an afterthought, the next Baylor of the year, after dropping only four games — all to ranked opponents by the way. (There’s your Sam’s-butchered-sentence-of-the-week.) Meanwhile, UNC “quietly” won every game after that Duke loss, resulting in an ACC regular-season championship.
I’m sure most of the team will welcome the extra scrutiny, however, seeing as it’s the result of that brownie-stealing affair in Cameron last Saturday.
- Kendall Marshall. Marshall’s hit 20 points twice in the last four games, and while we’d love for him to continue that torrent, he’s already sent the right message. Teams used to be able to game-plan and give Marshall time and space for his own shot. It won’t be nearly as easy for opposing coaches going forward. Now they know he can score if given the chance and will have to guard him normally. Hopefully that will open things up for a few patented Butter dimes.
- Tyler Zeller is a rock. In case we hadn’t noted before. (We have.) Zeller has been a model of consistency in ACC play. The difference — that resulted in him winning ACC Player of the Year – is that whereas he used to be dependable for double digit points and seven or eight rebounds, he’s upped his production to almost 20 and 10 levels.
- We still have other players too, ya know. There’s those other guys that made first-team All ACC. Henson picked up ACC Defensive Player of the Year for the second consecutive season. (In link above). That Bullock guy can play, and James Michael McAdoo has picked up his play of late. He’s also been on repeat on SportsCenter:
Player of the Game: Kendall Marshall (20 pts, 10 asts, 4 rebs, 1 stl) Marshall was the best player on the floor.
Stat Stuffer: Reggie Bullock (12 pts, 6 rebs, 1 ast, 1 stl) We should just give it to Marshall, but Bullock had a great all-around game and spent a lot of time guarding Austin Rivers. He deserves it. Also, Stat Stuffer regulars John Henson and Tyler Zeller combined for only one block between them.