Sunday, January 4, 2009

It Had To Happen

Well, it was bound to happen.
I have said for weeks that all these people bringing up the U-word (undefeated) should shut their fat traps. There is no way in today's world that a team will go undefeated in college basketball.
I just wish the Heels' first loss had not come at home in their ACC opener.
Now we start out behind the proverbial 8-ball. Duke and Wake Forest are both playing great basketball in their own respective rights, and both were already looking like potential roadblocks on our path to an ACC crown. Now we've gone and spotted them a game to start the season out.
I don't think they really needed that helping hand.
Boston College is a great team themselves. They are probably deserving of a Top 25 ranking despite their 2 losses, and will probably recieve that accolade with this win. Tyrese Rice himself should earn a team a Top 25 spot even if he had no help from his teammates at all. After torching the Heels for a simply SICK 46 points last year, he scored a mere game-high 25 in this year's contest. On this night however, unlike last year, when Carolina prevailed in the end, he got plenty of help.
Enough to add up to an 85 - 78 win for the Eagles, and an 0 - 1 start to league play for the Tarheels..
Rakim Sanders scored 22 points from the other guard spot. The X-factor, though, was Reggie Jackson. Jackson came off the bench to play 26 minutes and add 17 points, which exactly equaled the production of the entire, vaunted Carolina reserves. For a team that supposedly goes 12 deep, this is not a statistic you expect to see. One BC bench player matching our whole bench. Not good.
Also not good was Ty Lawson's 4 turnovers set against only 4 assists. He has averaged 5 assists to every one turnover so far this season, that average helped by a ridiculous 5-game stretch when he had 38 assists to only 3 TO's. In the last 5 games, that ratio has "slipped" to 4 to 1. Tonight's 1 to 1 ratio will not get the job done in ACC play.
On the positive side, the Beast, Tyler Hansbrough, had his usual 20 point night, 21 to be exact. And Wayne Ellington seems to have finally found his mark. After being a virtual no-show the previous 8 or 10 games, he has scored well in the last two, including a nice 16 point outing against BC tonight. He hit 5 of 9 2-point attempts, but only 2 of 7 from behind the arc. Danny Green was just 2 of 6 from 3-point land himself. We sure could have used a couple more of those treys.
We also could have used about 8 of the 12 damn free throws we missed. Only 15 of 27 free throws were made, with Deon Thompson making just 1 out of 6. Even Tyler missed 3 tonight. That had better improve before next week's big showdown with Wake Forest.
Also in need of improvement is that bench play. Will Graves, our boy from Greensboro, did contribute 7 points and 7 rebounds, but that was about it. Lawson may have had 4 turnovers, but Larry Drew, his back-up, added 3 more of his own and he only played 9 minutes. Bobby Frasor didn't help much, either, with just 1 lone 3-pointer and 1 assist.
For the first time this year, Roy has some serious points to address in practice this week. The real test of this season is how well the guys respond to this setback, and if they actually use it as a learning tool.
So, the Heels get a midweek game against College of Charleston before coming here to Winston-Salem to face Wake Forest. It will be Wake's ACC opener and, as hard as it is to believe, almost a must-win for Carolina. A loss would make us 2 behind the Demon Deacons in the loss column to start the season. Wake is too good to give them that kind of head start. Not to mention the fact that Duke is already 1 full game up and should be 2-0 by the time we play Wake, as they play Florida State next Saturday. The only consolation is the fact that, as tonight's game proves, anybody is susceptible to a loss at any time in the ACC.
Here's hoping that the other contenders get their share of those surprises, and that it happens soon, so I can relax a little.


Suldog said...

Well, as a BC fan, I'm happy, but I understand that "undefeated" thing. As a Patriots fan... no, the less said about that, the better.

SoSock said...

Ah, yes. I guess a lot of my fellow Red Sox fans would naturally be more likely to be happy about a win by a Boston team over an NC team.
And I couldn't agree more about the Pats, to go undefeated until the last game of the season, and have that one loss overshadow the incredible accomplishment.... wait, - let's just not even bring that up.

Displaced Heel said...

You hit it, Sock. I, however, was one of those using the "U" word this year. I really thought we could, but I forgot how far the pendulum can swing. How can a team play as well as the Heels can, and then play as poorly as we did against BC and/or against KS (last year)?

I am just glad that I did NOT have to attend Roy's practice on Monday!

Displaced Heel