Wayne Carries Heels, Lates Links returns

January 7, 2008 at 10:08 am | Posted in Jackie Manuel, Lates Links | 3 Comments

That was fun. Sometimes you just have to put all the short comings and high expectations to the side and enjoy a hard fought win in a tough place. A last second three pointer to win the game makes that fairly easy. Wayne Ellington put up 36 and we needed almost all of them. Adam Lucas mentions the Georgetown game in his look back at last night. Even though I’m not a huge believer in all of the ‘that game changed us’ stuff, memories did enter my mind when Wayne took the three pointer near the end of regulation. I thought our offense was pretty fantastic all night. We had a lot of turnovers, but Clemson under Ollie P has been very strong on the defensive side and we managed to score 90 points despite getting only 7 shots from Tyler and only 11 points off the bench. The most exciting thing for me was how the team responded with being down in the last four minutes. The layup parade stopped, the execution was extremely solid, and the team was unbelievably calm considering that we haven’t played a really close game in over a month. If you believe at all in intangibles like toughness…well….last night was a fine exhibition of it.

Now for the cynicism you expect from the Posse. We are not a good defensive team. Maybe we’ll get better, and perhaps I’m just wrong here, but Clemson got all most of all of their points on layups. Rivers and company were waltzing to the basket and the help was never coming. Maybe the Tigers are that good but if we were not playing so well last night on the other end, we lose by 10. We were out-rebounded and we had only 1 blocked shot. 19 layups, 1 block? Furthermore we are missing Brandan and Reyshawn more than I thought we would. Over the holidays Basketball Prospectus posted  conference season primers. John Gasaway writes:

Top-ranked North Carolina is 14-0 and boasts one of the best per-possession scoring margins in the nation. Then again, with the schedule the Tar Heels have played, their numbers should look that good. Not that Carolina intentionally scheduled soft; it was widely expected that Louisville would be ranked in the top five for most of the year and that they’d collide with the Heels in Vegas. It was also expected that Kentucky would be respectable. Neither of the above proved to be correct.

Yet, even with the gaudy numbers, my colleague Ken Pomeroy has pointed out that the Heels really miss Brandan Wright. Roy Williams isn’t getting the efficiency on offense from the power-forward position that he did last year. What’s really weird about Carolina this year, though, is that as a team it’s actually taking care of the ball, committing a turnover on less than 19 percent of possessions. This represents something of a departure for a team that has most often won by going fast and hitting its twos. Of course, this may not represent a new philosophy as much as the fact that there’s simply no time for turnovers: the Heels still go fast and many of their possessions result in Tyler Hansbrough being fouled early in the clock. Indeed, Hansbrough has achieved a ridiculous level of offensive efficiency by acting as a human hack-magnet and hitting 80 percent of his free throws.

Deon has played better in the last two weeks, but he and Tyler are not boxing out and getting the missed shots or coming over to help after the opposing guard flies right by Lawson or Ellington. That has to change unless we plan on shooting 50%+ in six straight games in March.

Running out of time this morning (I’ve not worked or blogged in weeks!) but Carolina did have a great recruiting week. Perhaps I ‘ll have more time laters for Arsenal being top, Parcells turning the marine mammals around, and other links. Until then, Cheers and Happy 2008.

(Don’t watch the ‘title’ game tonight!)


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  1. Not sure we miss Brandan’s rebounding as much as we miss Reyshawn’s board work. We definitely miss Brandan’s help defense though. Thompson and Tyler are not great defenders. Esp help defenders.

  2. The return of Stepheson should help us in the Tuff Guy department. Deon is suffering from Sophomore Sean May Syndrome.

  3. In fact, they say that if you were to use a small rope to tie a baby elephant to a post, you will be able to use that same rope throughout the elephants life. That is to say that it never occurs to the grown elephant that it is infinitely stronger than it was as a baby and able to break that rope with ease. Deon needs to realize that he’s big and strong. He needs to be dominating opposition, not standing around and waiting for plays to come to him.

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