Coming Down From Cloud Nine?

March 11, 2008 at 8:55 am | Posted in Jackie Manuel, Lates Links | 1 Comment
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We get started this morning with a bit of glass half-empty stuff. Tar Heel Fan has found a few articles attacking Hansbrough for being over-hyped and he is not happy about it.

In the end, both columnists miss out on the big picture found in Hansbrough’s statistics. Sitting here today at the conclusion of only his 3rd regular season, Hansbrough has over 2000 points and close to 900 rebounds. In an era of early entrants to the draft it is rare to see a player in only three seasons post these kinds of numbers. Production like this means Hansbrough’s work ethic and game effort must be at a fairly high level. The truth of the matter is no one posts the stats Hansbrough has without playing the game in a “special” way. And if Hansbrough returns for his senior season he will likely end it as the all time leading scorer and rebounder in North Carolina history. I don’t care who you are or the color of your skin but anyone who can eclipse those two marks at the second winningest team in all of college basketball deserves any attention he gets.

THF is right about the stats being the best argument. Personally, I also tire of the toughness stuff sometimes. You can say he has the most desire of any player you’ve ever seen, but that’s like saying ‘He has the best eyes I’ve ever seen’ or that ‘Nobody has ever dunked with his mouth open better’. Those statements are just not based on any facts. Reasonable people can disagree about these things and even more reasonable people can refuse to call some one the toughest or the hardest working. What bugs me about the tough tag is that it denies Tyler’s awesome ability. He is a f*cking bad ass on the low post and his best case for player of the year comes from the six games in which we were missing our most efficient offensive player. He showed us that he was capable of Beasley type numbers and gave us a real shot of winning the ACC and getting the number one seed in Charlotte. Beasley is a formidable contender too, as is Kevin Love, and I think you can make an argument for all three. That North Carolina is the best team or the fact that Psycho is a junior should not play a role, although it probably will. As for Race….well….we can’t know what factor that plays. Beasley supporters shouldn’t be throwing it out there unless they cans show massive statistical differences to back the case up and Hansbrough supporters probably shouldn’t be dismissing the possibility of race being a factor either. Anyways, the bottom line (of this paragraph anyways) is that Psycho is JMP’s POY! Retire the number already!

Basketball Prospectus has the final tempo free stats of the season. Gasaway notes that:

North Carolina ended the conference season the way the way it entered it, acclaimed as the best team in the ACC. They did it by winning at Duke on a night when a still-decelerated Ty Lawson couldn’t push the pace and when Tyler Hansbrough shot no free throws. If Lawson isn’t pushing the pace and Hansbrough isn’t shooting freebies, what in the world do you have with this team? Whatever it takes, I guess. On this night, it was defense. The Heels won’t be confused with Louisville or Kansas on D anytime soon, but over the course of a 16-game schedule UNC did indeed make conference opponents miss their shots. They also took care of the defensive glass. Don’t count them out just because they’re ranked number one in the polls.

My other favorite basketball blog has not posted much this season. Yoni joined some campaign and so we’ve missed his blogging this year. He did have a reaction to Saturday’s game:

North Carolina will not win the 2008 NCAA Tournament.

Roy Williams’ experienced Tar Heels were my preseason pick for the national title. But during the second half of last night’s game at Duke, the Tar Heels didn’t demonstrate the heart of a champion.

Yes, North Carolina won. At Cameron Indoor. For the ACC regular season title. After shutting the Blue Devils down for the final five minutes plus.

But Mike Krzyzewski’s club wanted it more. A lot more. For most if not all of the second half, the Blue Devils outhustled the Tar Heels.

Now we know why Tyler Hansbrough is known as “Psycho T.” It is because his inspired play, last night included, stands in stark contrast to “lethargic UNC.”

Hansbrough is the exception to North Carolina’s heartless rule over college basketball. A reign of terror I now predict will come to an end during March Madness — when grit, determination and toughness count for more than pure talent and experience.

First Pomeroy, then Wahl, now Cohen. Damn those smart guys writing us off! I have to say that my first reaction to the post was: What game were you watching?!!!!!? Then, I started to think about the middle part of that game, especially early on in the second half. Dook was able to do most of what it wanted against us and who knows what would have happened had the rat not destroyed their momentum. Still, questioning our defense is one thing and questioning our effort is another. Maybe our defense isn’t as good as it was last season, but the effort was there for most of that game. Grit and Determination are just immeasurables, like toughness, in that you can’t really prove who has those traits. I’m sure Roy will be using this as motivation, though.

Psycho is unanimous All-ACC! I was emotional too, Mike. Adam Lucas has a mailbag with no questions in it. Worldwide apology. A journal of politics and the arts! Snip Madness? How does it feel, Patriot fan? Dook sucks.

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  1. Word on the street is that Sporting News is going to announce Hansbrough as their POY. I think Roy had it right last night on his call in show: Tyler Hansbrough embodies everything great about the college game. It’s not just about stats for me. Hansbrough is always trying to get better. He love the college game. he loves being young. The minute you go pro, that all ends. Coaches and fans everywhere wish that every player on their team were as wide-eyed (heh) and eager to be a part of the whole experience as Tyler is.


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