Wrap-ups: BC and State
(Pic from N&O)
UNC 48, Boston College 46 – Box Score
UNC 75, N.C. State 63 – Box Score
Apologies, fair readers for my laziness this week in getting you the esteemed Tar Heel analysis you crave. In the interest of efficiency I’m going to combine the BC and State wrap-ups with some generalizations that have come to me over the past two games. Both games were similar in that they were closer than most of us would have preferred, but I’m not ready to say they were necessarily failures on the part of Carolina.
While shooting woes continue to plague the entire team for what has seemed like the entire season (except maybe against Hofstra and BC version 1.0), we seem to have forgotten that the Heels are now a Top 20 team (No. 19), and the “we’re playing Carolina so give them our best shot” factor is back in full force. BC version 2.0 was a game in which the Eagles were playing for their NCAA tourney lives, and State, well, they always try pitifully to beat the Heels in the rivalry game, but don’t tell Harrison Barnes it’s a rivalry.
The point is, the lowest amount of points scored in the Dean Dome didn’t derail this team, and neither did a feisty nearby rival on the road. It might not be pretty, but UNC knows how to win.
- Let’s just forget that BC game.
- State was obviously fired up for a shot at Carolina on its home floor. Even C.J. Leslie decided to take time away from his poetry to play some ball have a team-high 13 points for State. They were a tough out, but we found out – yet again – that this year’s Tar Heels are resilient as hell. Do you think they would have won that game last year?
- Barnes is a man child. He’s also an action figure.
- John Henson wasn’t especially active on the offensive end against State, but how can you complain about 15 boards and 6 blocks? We’ll say it for the 100th time, but his presence is key to almost everything UNC does with the ball and without the ball. A great athlete with great timing. What a weapon.
Superlatives (sort of)
So maybe I was a little light on the analysis this week, but at least I have some nice links for you above. Basically, I just wanted to get to this point.
Harrison Barnes is who we thought he was before the season started.
He might have started slow, but Barnes is visibly becoming a leader of this team. While I would not have awarded a player of the game to anyone in the BC game, Barnes gets it hands down for his momentum-killing dunks and trey in the final minutes of the second half against N.C. State. The run felt similar to the one he had in the first half against Kentucky earlier this year. Barnes is finally getting it and at the right times. He doesn’t disappear anymore and wants to be the man in crunch time. His instincts will be valuable in the tournament this year, and Carolina is going to be a tough “out” in a few short weeks when it heads to the dance again. With Henson’s defensive presence, Barnes’ knack for heroics,Marshall’s cerebral passing, Zeller’s consistent production and all the other fine pieces in place in Chapel Hill, it’s going to be a fun March.