Not About the BloodMarch 5, 2007 at 10:15 am | Posted in Basketball, Jackie Manuel | 4 Comments
I don’t agree with the general opinion that the Dook-North Carolina rivalry has lost any of its luster this season. Both North Carolina and Dook are very good basketball teams THIS season and I would not be surprised to see a third meeting next weekend. At any rate yesterday has brought back the rivalry for some and increased the hostility for others.
I’ll start with the actual game. I suspected that Carolina would come out a bit timid and nervous after all the pressure and negativity surrounding the team this week. That did not happen. From the beginning the Heels played with all the intensity you could want and built an early lead that they would not relinquish. On the defensive side of the ball the Heels paid a lot of attention to Jon Scheyer and he really struggled for most of the game. McBob was also particularly useless, scoring only 9 points in 36 minutes. On offense, North Carolina was committed to getting the ball inside. Terry, Hansbrough, and Wright took more than half of our field goal attempts and thusly we shot 50% for the game, getting assists on 18 of 31 field goals. It was a truly rad performance for Tyler. I’ve never seen him so committed on the boards and he was clearly responsible for the Heel’s slight advantage in rebounds. Nine players did get 10 minutes or more yesterday, but Roy played 4 players 29 minutes or more, and I don’t think there is any doubt that this is the kind of rotation we’ll see from here out.
Now for the bloody….I really don’t want to agree with Billy Packer. Really. I don’t. However I’m not convinced Gerald Henderson was trying to do anything but keep Tyler Hansbrough from dunking up 11 with a minute to go. Nobody can speak with absolute certainty except for Gerald and he might be a bit biased. It APPEARS, to me, that he was watching the ball and was trying to make a point. Not a dirty point, but rather a reasonable one. If the situation were reversed I would have almost no problem with Reyshawn Terry refusing to allow McBob a dunk in a similar situation. I thought the officials handled it pretty well. While I don’t think there was intent, I think players still have to take responsibility for the bodies. When you elbow someone that hard, you are out of control and so I don’t feel the ejection or one game suspension were unjustified. I do think some caution is worthwhile in condemning Henderson. The only thing I know that he’s done wrong before yesterday was his decision to commit to Dook. I don’t agree that Tyler should not have been in the game; however Dewey should have come in to shoot those free throws. Coach K embarrassed himself with his comments about Tyler being in the game…why was Gerald Henderson in the game?
It seems Tyler will be fine. I can’t believe he did not break his nose. The win capped an unbelievable weekend that sees North Carolina get the #1 seed in Tampa and split the regular season title with Virginia. So after a miserable week of unmet expectations we end up right where we wanted to be on March 5th. We swept Dook, are on pace for a #1 seed, and are (co) ACC champs. Luck played a role (both ways), but this team is one of the better Carolina teams we’ve ever had. The sweep of Coach K and company is something to be savored.