Sunday, March 16, 2008

Woo, Woo!

ACC Tournament champions again!
Tyler had a typical monster game and Wayne Ellington is starting to really heat up as the Tarheels prepare to enter the NCAA Tournament this week.
Ellington led the way with 24 points, continuing his terrorizing of the Tigers. He scored his career high of 36 against them in their first meeting this season, including the last-second three-pointer that won the game, and followed that with 28 in the rematch in Chapel Hill. Tyler scored 18 and battled like a maniac all day against 2 of the few big men who have really bothered him this year, Clemson's Trevor Booker and James Mays.
The Heels also got nice contributions from Ty Lawson, who played his best game since returning from his injury, and from Danny Green, who just has a knack for hitting big shots at the most unexpected times. Of course, he will also occasionally force up a bad shot, but he always seems to redeem himself shortly when that happens.
The only blemishes on the game were an unacceptable 20 turnovers, though they were better in the 2nd half, and an abysmal 14 of 24 at the free throw line. Tyler was his usual self at the line, going 4 for 5. But the rest of the team was only 10 of 19 - Not Good! If they had hit even half of the free throws they missed in the last 3 minutes, Clemson would not have had a chance. As it was, the tigers kept the game exciting till the end. Down by 7 with under a minute to go, they nailed a trey and then forced a turnover, giving them a chance to cut the lead to 2. But Carolina's defense held and, despite the shaky foul shooting, the Tarheels claimed their second straight title and a league-record 17th overall.
The victory gives them the #1 seed in the East Regional of the NCAA tournament, and the #1 seed overall as well. This means their first game is against the winner of the weird "play-in" game that the NCAA added a few years ago. It also means they hardly have to leave their neighborhood for the early rounds. Rounds 1 and 2 (yes, I'm assuming they'll beat Mt. St. Mary's or Coppin St.)are in Raleigh, just a few miles down the road. And the Regional Semi's and Finals are right back in Charlotte, where they just cut down the nets today. A good omen indeed!

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