Posted on: December 4, 2008 8:13 pm

UNC vs MSU postgame

Top-ranked North Carolina was impressive in what it hopes will be the first of three games at Ford Field.

Tyler Hansbrough scored the first basket of both halves and finished with 23 points and 11 rebounds, leading the Tar Heels to a 98-63 rout of Michigan State (No. 12 ESPN/USA Today, No. 13 AP) on Wednesday night.

The Tar Heels (8-0) took control with an 11-3 run late in the first half, led by 14 at halftime, then built a 30-plus cushion at the home of the Detroit Lions and the 2009 Final Four.

Barring injuries or an upset, the first unanimous preseason No. 1 team in The Associated Press poll seems destined for a return trip to the Motor City.

The Spartans (4-2) started the season ranked sixth, but lost a lot of luster with an 18-point loss to Maryland last week.

They scored in the final seconds, narrowly avoiding the most-lopsided defeat of Tom Izzo's career. Iowa beat Michigan State by 36 in 1996 during Izzo's first season.

Michigan State's Raymar Morgan and Chris Allen looked like they belonged on the same court with the Tar Heels, scoring 17 and 13 points respectively, but the rest of their teammates appeared overmatched.

The Tar Heels were simply too talented, quick, strong and deep.

They didn't play any of their starters 30 minutes, showing mercy in a game that could've been more of a rout.

Wayne Ellington scored 13 of his 15 points in the first half, when the game was still contested, and Ty Lawson had 13 points and six assists.

The NFL venue was configured for about 70,000 seats and perhaps one-third of them were filled with fans, creating a scene that was as lackluster as the game.

Pistons president of basketball operations Joe Dumars and one of his key players, former Tar Heel Rasheed Wallace, were among the faces in the crowd.

Hansbrough played for just the fourth time in eight games, but the national player of the year looked sharp in 27 minutes. The 6-foot-9 forward missed the Tar Heels' first two games with a stress reaction in his right shin, didn't play against Chaminade in the Maui Invitation and sat out Sunday's game against UNC-Asheville for precautionary reasons.

Those are the only games the senior has missed in his career.

Michigan State was without its top frontcourt player, Goran Suton, and will miss him for at least two more weeks because he's scheduled to have arthroscopic surgery on his sprained left knee Thursday. <!-- STORY AD BEGINS HERE -->


Category: NCAAB
Posted on: December 3, 2008 8:07 pm

UNC vs MSU pregame

No. 1/1 North Carolina (7-0) will travel to Ford Field in Detroit to take on No. 13/12 Michigan State (4-1) in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. Carolina is coming off of a 116-48 victory over UNC-Asheville and won the Maui Invitational, beating the three teams by an average of 29.7 points to set the record for the highest margin of victory in the history of the event. Michigan State lost in the opening round of the Old Spice Classic to Maryland but won its next two games, the most recent over Wichita State by a 65-57 score on Sunday. Carolina leads the all-time series between the two teams with a 7-3 record. This will be the third meeting between the two teams in the last five seasons; the two previous games were in the NCAA Tournament play. Carolina is 4-0 against the Spartans in the NCAA Tournament, beating the Spartans twice in the Final Four (1957 and 2005), once in the Sweet 16 (1998) and once in the second round (2007).

Carolina is 4-5 in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge and 4-1 in the Roy Williams era. The lone loss was a 68-64 loss at home to Illinois at the beginning of the 2005-06 season. Prior to Roy Williams' arrival, Carolina lost all four games by an average margin of 15 points. Since his arrival, Carolina has averaged a scoring margin of +6.0 points. Carolina has faced Ohio State twice in the last two seasons, defeating the Buckeyes in Chapel Hill 98-89 in the fall of 2006 and winning in Columbus last year, 66-55. Carolina has not faced Michigan State in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge since the 2000-01 season when it lost 77-64 on the road. It was Matt Doherty's first loss as a head coach. Carolina faced the Spartans one other team in the event, in its inaugural year in the 1999-00 season when the Spartans beat the Tar Heels 86-76 at the Smith Center. Michigan State is 5-3 in the event, best in the Big Ten.

Game Time: North Carolina at Michigan State, 9:15 PM

Last Time: Carolina beat Michigan State 81-67 in the second round of the 2007 NCAA Tournament in Winston-Salem. The victory marked Tyler Hansbrough's rather infamous shedding of his protective face mask. He wore it after having his nose broken against Duke and for the next four games, he struggled. But he took it off at the 12:33 mark and went on to score 19 to end the first half. He had 29 of his 33 points after the mask removal. He had nine rebounds to go along with the 33 points. Michigan State rallied to take a 57-54 lead with 8:48 to go. Carolina responded with a 14-4 run to take a seven-point lead with 4:03 to go. Michigan State would get as close as five points with 2:45 to go but Carolina closed the game with an 11-2 run and held the Spartans without a point in the final 1:28 and without a field goal in the final 2:45. Carolina out-rebounded the Spartans 40-29 and shot 48.1% compared to 37.3% by the Spartans.

Ty Lawson was almost as dominant as Hansbrough as the duo combined for 53 of Carolina's 81 points. Lawson had 20 on 6-of-10 shooting and added eight assists. Carolina only had 12 in the game and both teams combined for only 27. Hansbrough and Lawson combined to attempt 23 of Carolina's 34 free throws and made 18. Reyshawn Terry had 12 of his 14 points in the second half in front of his hometown crowd. Drew Neitzel had 26 of Michigan State's 67 points on 9-of-27 shooting (6-of-17 from the three-point line). Raymar Morgan had 19 points on 4-of-12 shooting (10-of-11 from the foul line). Goran Suton led the Spartans in rebounding with nine.

Radio Coverage: Tar Heel Sports Network coverage begins at 8:15 PM.

Injury Report: Tyler Hansbrough missed the UNC-Asheville game and is questionable. Tyler Zeller broke his wrist against Kentucky. He had surgery and will likely miss the rest of the season. Marcus Ginyard will be out until mid-December after undergoing surgery on October 8th to repair a stress fracture in his left foot. Michael Copeland tore his ACL in a pickup game in May and had surgery in June. He will be out until sometime midseason. Senior Goran Suton missed all three of Michigan State's games in the Old Spice Classic with a sprained left knee.


Rebounding: After allowing just 23 offensive rebounds in its first three games (7.7 per game) and 14 second-chance points (4.7), Carolina has allowed 14.3 offensive rebounds and 10.8 second-chance points in the last four games. Out of 57 second-chance points allowed this season, Carolina's last two opponents have scored 35. Carolina had not allowed more than 11 offensive rebounds all season until the Maui Invitational Championship against Notre Dame when the Irish had 17 offensive boards and scored 16 second-chance points. UNC-Asheville, a team that is lacking in height, pulled down 18 offensive rebounds and scored 14 second-chance points. Almost one-third of the Bulldogs' points were off of offensive rebounds (14 out of 48).

Carolina is averaging a +10.0 margin on the boards this season. But the success on the boards has been spotty at best; Carolina dominated a physical and talented Oregon front line 58-33 (+25), its biggest margin of the season. That was just one game after out-rebounded Chaminade just 36-32. Carolina's 52-39 edge over UNC-Asheville was its second-largest margin of the season (+13) but it gave up far too many offensive rebounds. Michigan State is a team that relies heavily on its rebounding. The Spartans have given up double-digit second-chance points just twice this season and has ten or more second-chance points in every game. They have out-rebounded opponents by just 6.2 rebounds per game but after out-rebounding its first two opponents in Orlando by a combined five rebounds and losing one of the games, Michigan State out-rebounded Wichita State by a season-high margin of 42-24, including a season-high 19 offensive rebounds.

"You've got to do a good job on the defensive end and you have to finish the defense - by that I mean you have to box out. You have to secure the ball. You have to rebound the basketball," Williams said. "Last year, we led the entire nation in rebound margin which I think is the true rebounding statistic that you should go by. Michigan State has led the nation in rebounding margin five of the last ten years. That's a big part of Tom Izzo's game plan. We realize we have to compete with them on the backboards. We have to finish our defensive possession by getting the basketball off the board and not letting them have more than one shot."

Expanding the definition of a good shot: Roy Williams has been known to yank a player out of a game for an ill-advised shot attempt. But when Danny Green kept launching three-pointer after three-pointer from further and further out against UNC-Asheville, some might have been wondering if the head coach would throw his jacket down. Instead, he left Green in the game and was actually pleased with all of his shots. One important reason for that is that all but one of the shots went in. That approach towards Green encompasses the approach he has taken with many talented - and experienced - members of this team. The shot still needs to be a good one in the sense of a player being open, but he trusts the instincts and abilities of his team.

"I'll never forget 1981 - some of the shots that Al Wood took at the Final Four, they weren't the best shots but by golly when he let it go, it looked like it was going in and the net started moving," Williams said. "So I think you've got to go with some of that sometimes and not be so concerned that you put a little bit of fear or a little bit of doubt in a guy's mind. I do believe that the more confidence you give shooters, the better they're going to shoot it."

Carolina has never been as bad of a three-point shooting team as outsiders might suggest, but it has not generally been the first choice in a Carolina offense. It's still not necessarily the first shot but it has been a good shot for the Tar Heels this season so far. Part of the reason for that is that Carolina is moving the ball around enough before a shot goes up, waiting for a three-pointer to be a good shot rather than just an open shot. Guards are penetrating, drawing defenders and dishing to open teammates. The fundamentally sound juniors and seniors making up this team are getting their feet set and squaring their bodies before taking the shots. Even Tyler Hansbrough is getting in on the action in his limited playing time.

Carolina has hit double-digit three-pointers in three games this season. In all of last season, Carolina hit ten three-pointers in only one game. Carolina has also attempted 20 or more three-pointers four times this season after doing it just four times all of last season; one was in a loss to Maryland in which it hit 7-of-23 (30.4%). In the four games it has done that this season, Carolina has made 43.5% or higher in three of the four games. So is Carolina a better shooting team this season? Not necessarily, according to Williams. But Carolina is a team that is taking better shots this season. "We've been unselfish," Williams said. "For the most part, we've taken good shots. That's all I keep saying to the guys, `You know what's a good shot for you, so don't take a bad one. If a teammate is there and he's got a better shot, throw it to him.'"

Williams actually says that this team has yet to have the kind of shooting game that he thinks it is capable of having. That's quite a scary thought, considering Carolina is shooting 42.4% from beyond the arc and 51.9% from the floor. But when you consider the fact that Wayne Ellington has yet to really catch fire, Bobby Frasor went through a severe shooting slump, Tyler Zeller (who can shoot from any distance) is out, and Carolina's perennial leader in field-goal percentage leader Tyler Hansbrough has missed time, there's some truth to that. "We really haven't shot it that well yet," Williams said. "In the second half, Danny (Green) got rolling. Jack (Wooten) and J.B. (Tanner), everybody made one there at one stretch. But for a whole game, we really haven't come out and shot the ball like I really think that we can shoot it. So I'm looking forward to that day myself."


Category: NCAAB
Posted on: December 1, 2008 3:49 pm

UNC vs UNCA postgame

Ty Lawson scored 22 points to help No. 1 North Carolina beat North Carolina-Asheville 116-48 on Sunday despite playing without national player of the year Tyler Hansbrough.

Danny Green added 18 points for the Tar Heels (7-0), who had an easy time staying unbeaten heading into their matchup with fifth-ranked Michigan State this week in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. North Carolina shot 57 percent, led 53-19 at halftime and cracked the 100-point mark with about 5 minutes left.

Jason Ridenhour had eight points and six rebounds for the Bulldogs (3-3), who led 6-2 early before the Tar Heels kicked into gear and sprinted far out in front. UNC-Asheville shot 27 percent for the game, including 3-for-18 from 3-point range.

The Tar Heels didn't miss Hansbrough, who sat out as a precaution as he continues to recover from a preseason injury to his right shin. The senior was coming off a 34-point performance against Notre Dame in the championship of the Maui Invitational, but spent this game watching from the bench while wearing his pregame warmups.

Hansbrough has yet to play in a home game this year, sitting out the first two here against Pennsylvania and Kentucky.

His absence allowed the Tar Heels to show off their depth yet again, whether it was Lawson cracking the 20-point mark in the Smith Center for the first time in his career or Deon Thompson's latest solid performance up front with 17 points and nine rebounds.

Green certainly made things interesting, hitting his first six 3-point attempts of the second half to charge up a holiday weekend crowd. The last one of that burst came from several steps behind the arc for an 82-32 lead with 11 minutes left, and had the crowd playfully yelling "Shoot!" as he brought the ball across midcourt in transition on the ensuing possession.

Green obliged but missed, ending a run that had even coach Roy Williams chuckling during a timeout a short time later.

Freshman Ed Davis started in Hansbrough's place and finished with 13 points and 10 rebounds, while Wayne Ellington also had 13 points as 12 players scored for the Tar Heels.

It ended up being the biggest margin of victory and highest scoring output for North Carolina under Williams, surpassing a 57-point win against Cleveland State in the 2005-06 season and a 115-point performance against George Mason in 2003-04. <!-- STORY AD BEGINS HERE -->


Category: NCAAB
Posted on: November 27, 2008 10:26 am

UNC vs ND postgame

 Tyler Hansbrough looked like his old self and North Carolina looked like the unanimous No. 1.

The reigning national player of the year who had played in only two games this season because of leg injuries, Hansbrough had 34 points to lead the top-ranked Tar Heels to a 102-87 victory over No. 8 Notre Dame on Wednesday night in the championship game of the EA Sports Maui Invitational.

The title was their third in the 25 years of the tournament, second only to Duke's four.

But what mattered more was that Hansbrough, who returned for his senior year, played at the level that made him the player of the year last season.

He was 13-of-19 from the field, hitting his shots down low, throwing down dunks and even making a 3-pointer. He grabbed five rebounds and blocked two shots, including one by Notre Dame's Luke Harangody, like Hansbrough a preseason All-America.

It wasn't all Hansbrough for the Tar Heels (6-0), however.

Point guard Ty Lawson had too much speed in the open court for the Fighting Irish (4-1) and he finished with 22 points and 11 assists. He was selected tournament MVP.

Deon Thompson had 19 points and 13 rebounds for the Tar Heels, who had a 44-36 rebound advantage and shot 55.7 percent from the field.

Harangody, who had to cover and be covered by Hansbrough despite being sick all day, had 13 points and seven rebounds. Kyle McAlarney picked up the slack, scoring a career-high 39 points on a wild shooting show that saw him finish 10-of-18 from behind the arc.

North Carolina shot 52.9 percent from the field in taking a 46-36 halftime lead, and the numbers were even better to start the second half. The Tar Heels built a 23-point cushion midway through the period. <!-- STORY AD BEGINS HERE -->
But the Fighting Irish got to 84-73 behind McAlarney's 3-point shooting. He hit another long one to make it 90-78 with 2:47 left only to have it answered by a three-point play from Hansbrough.

Hansbrough missed three weeks of practice and the first two games of the season as he recovered from a stress reaction in his right shin. He had 13 points in 25 minutes last week against UC Santa Barbara but he tweaked his left ankle at the end of that game and did not play in the Tar Heels' 115-70 first-round win over Chaminade.

He had 16 points in 19 minutes in the semifinal win over Oregon, and coach Roy Williams said the decision on whether he would play against Notre Dame wouldn't be made until he saw if Hansbrough had any pain during warmups.

North Carolina won the Maui Invitational in 1999 and 2004, and was the runner-up in 1989 and 1995. This was Notre Dame's second appearance, with the Fighting Irish finishing sixth in 1993.

This game could have had a real family feel but North Carolina freshman Tyler Zeller, the younger brother of Notre Dame's Luke Zeller, broke his arm against Kentucky and is out for the season, and Ben Hansbrough, the younger brother of Tyler Hansbrough, is sitting out this season at Notre Dame after transferring from Mississippi State.

Stats courtesy

Category: NCAAB
Posted on: November 26, 2008 11:52 am

UNC vs ND pregame

No. 1/1 North Carolina (5-0) will face No. 8 Notre Dame (4-0) in the championship game of the EA Sports Maui Invitational. Carolina is coming off of a 98-69 victory over Oregon in the semifinals. Notre Dame beat No. 7 Texas 81-80 in the other semifinal. Carolina is 12-2 in the Maui Invitational and has won the event twice, in the 1999-00 season and the 2004-05 season. Roy Williams is 10-1 in the Maui Invitational.

Carolina holds a 15-4 edge in the series with Notre Dame. The two teams have played twice when Carolina was ranked No. 1 and Notre Dame beat the Tar Heels are 1-1. Carolina beat Notre Dame at home when Notre Dame was No. 11 on January 26, 1986. Then on February 1, 1987, the No. 1 Tar Heels traveled to Notre Dame and lost 60-58. Another notable meeting happened in the 1985 NCAA Tournament when the second-seeded Tar Heels beat the 7th-seed Fighting Irish in South Bend on St. Patrick's Day. The two teams played four times between 1991 and 1994 and Carolina won three of four.

Game Time: North Carolina vs. Notre Dame 10:00 PM.

Last Time: Carolina beat Notre Dame 80-71 on February 23, 1994 in a game played at Notre Dame. Carolina was ranked No. 4 at the time. Eric Montross led the way with 23 points and 11 rebounds. Jerry Stackhouse had 17 points, three blocks and two steals. Donald Williams had 12 points and Jeff McInnis also had 12 on 2-of-5 shooting from the three-point line and led the team with four assists. Monty Williams led the Irish with 20 points on 8-of-22 shooting. Keith Kurowski had 17 points and Ryan Hoover added 13.

Radio Coverage: Tar Heel Sports Network coverage begins at 9:00 PM.

Injury Report: > Tyler Hansbrough's shin looks to be feeling better but he tweaked his ankle on his other leg against Santa Barbara and played 19 minutes against Oregon. "The decision of whether Tyler will play tomorrow night will be made tomorrow during warm-ups," Williams said. "It will be made by both of us. If he has any pain in his ankle we probably won't play him. If he doesn't and it feels good, we probably will play him." Tyler Zeller broke his wrist against Kentucky. He had surgery and will likely miss the rest of the season. Marcus Ginyard will be out until mid-December after undergoing surgery on October 8th to repair a stress fracture in his left foot. Michael Copeland tore his ACL in a pickup game in May and had surgery in June. He will be out until sometime midseason. <!-- STORY AD BEGINS HERE -->

Three-point defense: Carolina has played defense of all kinds very well this season so far and particularly against Oregon, holding the Ducks to 30.1% shooting for the game, a season-low by a Tar Heel opponent. The Ducks shot 31% from the three-point line, second-lowest behind Kentucky's 25 percent. Carolina has held its last three opponents to 6-of-34 shooting (17.6%) from beyond the arc in the first half; in Maui, that number improves to 3-of-25 (12.0%) in the first half. But in the second half of its last three games, it has allowed 18-of-37 shooting from beyond the arc (48.6%). In Maui, Carolina has allowed 14-of-27 shooting from three-point range in the second half.

Some of those three-pointers have come in `garbage' time, of course. But plenty have not and Williams has mentioned on more than one occasion that his team has had a tendency this season to start games well defensively and lose some of that edge. "I think we were good in the first half defensively. I don't think we maintained the concentration in the second half. We talked about it defensively, not giving them open looks and not go flying through the air," Williams said. "Last night and tonight in the first half we were good defensively, but they missed some shots too, but that's part of it. At times we did a nice job defensively."

Notre Dame's philosophy offensively was described by an ESPN analyst as essentially: "If you're open, shoot it." That means that the Irish shoot plenty of three-pointers - but they make plenty, too. The Irish of course have an inside presence with All-American Luke Harangody in the post but their perimeter offense is very important to what they do. Notre Dame began the season hitting 11-of-30 three-pointers in its first two games (36.7%). In Maui, the Irish have hit 21-of-50 from beyond the arc (42%). Against Texas, Notre Dame hit 11-of-24 three-pointers (45.8%).

If there's anything more dangerous than facing a three-point shooting team, it's facing a shot three-point shooting team. Carolina will face its toughest test to date and one of the more unique tests, to be sure, defensively. "They do have the threat offensively that is difficult to cover when they can score so well from the inside and shoot the ball from the perimeter so well," Williams said. "We've got to get back quickly and get the shooters picked up, sometimes pick them up in transition so we don't give them the open looks."

Free-throw shooting: It's something that seems so fundamental but it's also something that nearly cost Notre Dame its game against Texas. The Irish missed some free throws late, including two that could have sealed the game. The Irish ended up making 10-of-21 free throws (47.6%), the same percentage it shot from the field and slightly better than its three-point percentage (45.8%). Carolina also has had trouble hitting its free throws. Taking out Tyler Hansbrough's 12-of-14 performance against Oregon, the rest of the team hit 10-of-19 (52.6%).

Normally reliable free-throw shooters like Wayne Ellington have struggled; he has made just 1-of-3 free throws against Penn. Ed Davis has shot better from the field (60%) than from the line (59.1%), albeit barely. Deon Thompson began the season shooting 3-of-4 from the foul line against Penn and has shot 2-of-11 since. Ty Lawson has made 19-of-28 free throws this season but after missing his last attempt against Kentucky, he has hit 8-of-16 (50%) after starting 11-of-11.

Last season, Carolina shot 75.7% from the free-throw line and four Tar Heels (all still here) shot 80% or better from the line. Carolina is shooting 66.7% this season so far and if that stood, it would be the worst performance from the foul line since the 2002-03 season. Some of it might be fatigue. Carolina didn't play its starters nearly as much but the bench is already thin. Carolina followed up a season-low seven turnovers against Chaminade with a season-high 18 turnovers against Oregon. Carolina also shot 13-of-18 from the foul line in the first half and just 9-of-15 in the second half, adding 12 second-half turnovers. Carolina also allowed Oregon to go to the free-throw line 21 times, the most by a Carolina opponent all season.

Of course, Carolina did not get to the line as much at all without Hansbrough. In the three games without him, it shot 44-of-68 from the line (64.7%), averaging 22.7 attempts. In the two games with him, the team has shot 44-of-64 (68.8%) and averages 32.0 attempts. Getting 22.0 points per game from the line compared to 14.7 without him is an improvement but if Carolina could make its free throws, it could really capitalize on chances to score.


Category: NCAAB
Posted on: November 26, 2008 8:04 am

UNC vs Oregon postgame

Tyler Hansbrough was back for a second game and No. 1 North Carolina will be playing for a third title on Maui.

The reigning player of the year, who missed three weeks of practice and three games with a leg injury, had 16 points to lead the Tar Heels to a 98-69 victory over Oregon on Tuesday night in the semifinals of the EA Sports Maui Invitational.

North Carolina (5-0) will play No. 8 Notre Dame on Wednesday night in the championship game. The Fighting Irish beat No. 6 Texas 81-80 in the semifinals in the season's first matchup of Top Ten teams.

Here comes the second and it isn't a sure thing Hansbrough will be on the court for it.

"The decision will be made during warmups by both of us," North Carolina coach Roy Williams said. "If he has pain in his ankle, he probably won't play. If he doesn't, he probably will play."

Hansbrough scored 13 points in 25 minutes last Friday in an 84-67 win over UC Santa Barbara after missing games for the first time in his college career because of a stress reaction in his right shin.

He tweaked his left ankle at the end of the game against the Gauchos and didn't play in the Tar Heels' 115-70 opening-round win over Chaminade. That wasn't a real surprise because Williams had indicated he wouldn't play the senior in all three games on Maui. Williams said after the Chaminade game that Hansbrough would have played if it "had been for the national championship."

"It's good to get back out there," Hansbrough said. "As far as conditioning, I'm out of shape but that will come by playing. My ankle? I felt it a little, but overall I was able to play a little bit."

Hansbrough said that because it's another Top Ten team on Wednesday won't matter.

"We'll be ready. I play every game like the way we play everybody," he said. "I'm hoping my ankle doesn't stiffen up and hopefully everything will be all right."Against Oregon, Hansbrough looked like the player known as "Psycho T," drawing plenty of contact down low on both offense and defense and diving on the floor for loose balls. He finished 12-for-14 from the free throw line, proof he wasn't avoiding contact in his 19 minutes.


"We are concerned all the time because he's so physical, he's on the floor all the time and running the floor and banging inside," Williams said, "but he's the most focused, conditioned, driven athlete I've ever been around and he can take more than most people can."

Hansbrough had 12 points and four rebounds in 16 minutes as the Tar Heels took a 51-22 halftime lead over the Ducks (3-2), a young team that looked good in a 92-69 first-round win over Alabama but just couldn't stay with the nation's unanimous No. 1 team.

Danny Green, who had a career-high 26 points in the first round, had a career-high five 3s and 21 points against Oregon. Freshman Ed Davis had 11 points and 13 rebounds for North Carolina, which led by as many 37 points in the second half.

Michael Dunigan, one of six freshmen who played for the Ducks, had 18 points.

"Carolina, obviously, is a great basketball team that causes a whole lot of problems," Oregon coach Ernie Kent said. "We played nervous at times and made a lot of mistakes to start the game, but they are as good as people think they are and are the No. 1 team for a reason."

North Carolina led 22-12 when it went on a 13-0 run that started with a 3-pointer by Green and ended with a 3 by Larry Drew II with 7:03 left in the half. The Ducks missed nine shots during the run, including five underneath the basket where Hansbrough led the Tar Heels' impressive defense that held Oregon to 8-of-38 shooting (21.1 percent) in the half.

"We took some bad shots, rushed shots, but they do that to you," Kent said.

Williams said it was a "great start for us, no doubt."

"I thought Tyler's aggressiveness to get to the free throw line and Danny's 3-point shooting were big to say the least early and we were fortunate they didn't shoot well early," Williams said. "The first half we were really doggone good and that was pretty much the story right there."

North Carolina won the Maui Invitational in 1999 and 2004 and finished second in 1989 and 1995. A third title would put them one behind Duke, which is 12-0 in the tournament.


Category: NCAAB
Posted on: November 25, 2008 3:24 pm

UNC vs. Oregon pregame

The Basics

North Carolina (4-0) will face Oregon (3-1) in the semifinal game of the EA Sports Maui Invitational. Carolina is coming off of an 115-70 victory over Chaminade. The Ducks beat Alabama 92-69 in the game following Carolina's victory. Carolina is 11-2 in the Maui Invitational and has won the event twice, in the 1999-00 season and the 2004-05 season. The winner of this game between the Tar Heels and the Ducks will face the winner of the Texas-Notre Dame game in the championship on Wednesday. Roy Williams is 9-1 in the Maui Invitational. Carolina is 3-0 against Oregon. The two teams first met on consecutive days in 1968 and then once more in 1976.

Game Time: North Carolina vs. Oregon, 9:30 PM.

Last Time: Carolina beat Oregon 86-60 on December 29, 1976 at Portland Memorial Coliseum. Mike O'Koren led the way with 16 points and six rebounds. Tommy LaGarde added 14 points and five rebounds while Walter Davis and Phil Ford each had 11 points. John Kuester had nine points, five assists and four steals.

Radio Coverage: Tar Heel Sports Network coverage begins at 8:30 PM.

Injury Report: Tyler Hansbrough's shin looks to be feeling better but he tweaked his ankle on his other leg against Santa Barbara and did not play against Chaminade. Williams and the Tar Heels will continue to take a cautious approach. Tyler Zeller broke his wrist against Kentucky. He had surgery and will likely miss the rest of the season. Marcus Ginyard will be out until mid-December after undergoing surgery on October 8th to repair a stress fracture in his left foot. Michael Copeland tore his ACL in a pickup game in May and had surgery in June. He will be out until sometime midseason. <!-- STORY AD BEGINS HERE -->
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Field-goal percentage defense: Chaminade was on fire in the second half (though most would have hardly noticed, considering what the Tar Heels were doing). The Silverswords actually had the best shooting half against Carolina all season, making 17-of-32 shots (53.1 percent). Ironically, that was one half after Carolina had its best defensive half of the year, holding Chaminade to 28.6% shooting in the first half and forcing 13 turnovers. Only Kentucky has had more turnovers in a half and the lowest percentage a Carolina opponent had shot this season was 37.5% by Kentucky in the first half. Ironically, the Wildcats shot 52.4% in the second half.

It was the Penn game that Carolina was the most consistent, holding the Quakers to 41.9% or less the whole game. In the last three games, Carolina's opponents have shot 50 percent or better in one half after shooting 40 percent or worse in the other half. Carolina allowed 42.6% shooting by its opponents last season and Williams has said that is too high. This season, it's almost identical: 42.7%. But if this team looks dramatically different defensively already even if the numbers don't bear that out yet, it's because last year's team forced 16.1 turnovers per game and this season's team has is averaging 22.3 opponent turnovers.

Carolina held Chaminade to 0.54 points per possession in the first half, a season-low by a team in the first half against the Tar Heels. In the second half, Carolina allowed the Silverswords to convert one point per possession, the highest it has allowed in any half this season. Still Carolina has held all four opponents to 71 points or fewer this season. Carolina did that just twice in its first four games last season with Tyler Hansbrough and Marcus Ginyard.

Like the Tar Heels, the Ducks are a team that took a few games to find their rhythm offensively. After hitting 47-of-130 shots in its first two games (36.2%) and 16-of-45 (35.6%) from beyond the arc, averaging 72.5 points per game. In the last two games, Oregon has shot 58-of-111 (52.3%) from the floor and 20-of-44 (45.5%) from beyond the arc, averaging 88.0 points per game. Oregon is the type of team that gives Carolina fits from time to time; it relies on the three-pointer but has versatile players at most positions, including down low, that are trickier for any post other than Tyler Hansbrough to guard.

Rebounding: If there was one thing Carolina didn't do well against Chaminade, it was rebound. Against an undermanned squad that lacked a lot of height, Carolina held a slim 36-32 rebounding edge. In its first three games, Carolina allowed its opponents to pull down a total of 23 offensive rebounds. Chaminade managed to get almost half of that total, pulling down 11 offensive rebounds (the most Carolina has allowed this season). The rebounding was dead even in the second half at 14 apiece although Chaminade held a 6-5 edge on the offensive boards. Chaminade scored 11 second-chance points. Carolina's first three opponents combined for 14 second-chance points.

Without Hansbrough, Carolina has struggled to rebound consistently (in the UCSB game, it out-rebounded the Gauchos by 12, its biggest margin this season). Carolina teams under Williams have been some of the best in the country and right now the rebounding on this team is mediocre. Oregon has out-rebounded opponents by an average of +3.8 per game, including a +3.5 advantage on the offensive glass. The Ducks out-rebounded Alabama 35-33, even though the Crimson Tide had a 13-11 edge on the offensive boards.


Category: NCAAF
Posted on: November 25, 2008 3:22 pm

UNC vs. CHAM postgame

Senior Danny Green scored a career-high 26 points and No. 1 North Carolina, again playing without Tyler Hansbrough, beat Chaminade 115-70 on Monday night in the opening round of the EA Sports Maui Invitational.

Hansbrough missed three weeks of practice and the first two games of the season with a stress reaction in his right shin, and the reigning player of the year wasn't expected to play all three games in the three-day tournament. He played 25 minutes and had 13 points Friday against UC Santa Barbara, but didn't see any time against the Division II host school.

The Tar Heels (4-0) will play the winner of the Oregon-Alabama game in the semifinals on Tuesday.

Not having Hansbrough, Marcus Ginyard, who is expected back next month after foot surgery, and freshman Tyler Zeller, who is out for the season after breaking his wrist against Kentucky last week, didn't make a difference against the Silverswords (0-1), who dressed just seven players and suffered their second-worst loss in the 25 years of the tournament.

The Tar Heels closed the first half with a 7-1 run to take a 48-25 lead. They opened the second half with a 7-0 spurt - all the points coming off Chaminade turnovers - for their first 30-point lead.

The Silverswords just couldn't stay with the Tar Heels and the lead reached 85-44 with 9:15 to go on a dunk by Ed Davis.

Ty Lawson had 19 points on 7-of-9 shooting and six assists for North Carolina. Wayne Ellington added 14 points and Deon Thompson had 13.

Shane Hanson had 15 points to lead five Silverswords in double figures. <!-- STORY AD BEGINS HERE -->
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<!-- STORY AD ENDS HERE -->North Carolina shot 52.5 percent in the first half (21-of-40), while holding the Silverswords to 28.6 percent (8-of-28). The Tar Heels scored 21 points off Chaminade's 13 first-half turnovers.

Green, who scored 20 points twice as a junior, had the sellout crowd of 2,500 at the Lahaina Civic Center screaming with some impressive dunks in the second half, including a one-hander on a lob pass from Lawson.

Chaminade's last meeting with a top-ranked team from the Atlantic Coast Conference resulted in what is considered the greatest upset in college basketball history. Then a member of the NAIA, the Silverswords beat Virginia and Ralph Sampson 77-72 on Dec. 23, 1982.

With no returning starters and only two reserves available, the thought of another upset was gone quickly as Chaminade started 3-of-15 from the field in falling behind 25-9 over the opening 10 1/2 minutes.

The Silverswords fell to 5-66 in the tournament with their last win coming over Princeton in last year's seventh-place game. Kansas beat Chaminade 102-54 in the seventh-place game in 2005.

North Carolina is in the Maui Invitational for the fifth time. The Tar Heels won the tournament in 1999 and 2004 and finished second in 1989 and 1995


Category: NCAAB
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