Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Carolina Trounces Jackets 91-69

Well, let's try to take something positive out of this game:

1. Controlling the ball. Oh wait, we had 19 turnovers. And some just plain careless ones at that. How hard is it to HAND the ball to someone out at the halfcourt set? Obviously it is difficult.

2. Dishing the ball. Oh wait, we only had 8 assists. And we gave up more assists to UNC than any other opponent all year - 24 in all. Jarrett Jack dishes a grand total of 1 assist to go with 5 turnovers. Hhhmmm. I actually have a concern about Jack. The guy is clearly strong going to the hoop. He has clearly improved his ability to shoot the ball. He clearly can dish out the ball in the transition game. However, his ability to get an assist in the half-court set has not been impressive. Watching Raymond Felton dish the ball really opened my eyes to that fact. We are not getting the ball into the hands of the people who need it. Our offensive set tonight was - get it into Isma'il's hands - see if he can go one-on-one. Get it into Jack's hands - see if he can go one-on-one. Get it into Bynum's hands - see if he can go one-on-one. Get it into (insert player's name here) hands - see if he can go one-on-one.

3. Rebounding. Wait, we were outrebounded 52-32, and 20-8 on the offensive glass. In fact, we gave up more rebounds to UNC than in any other game of the season.

4. Shooting. Oops. We only shot 37% (18% from 3pt range; 3-17) and UNC scored more points against us than any other team this year.

5. Our patented defense. Surely there's something good here. UNC shoots 41%. Oh wait, that's below their league leading 52%. Hey, a positive!!! Oh wait a minute - they shot 41% from 3pt range. Remember my comment - watch how many open 3pt shots they get? Well, they got lots of them. Dribble penetration and kick-out, GT trying to double and triple down low. Whatever the reason, they got a lot of open looks. You know what, that's not new. What is new is how many easy layups they had. Lots.

6. Bench points - crushed here. The bench did nothing tonight. Of course the walking wounded were limited. I count a grand total of 11 points from the bench to compare with 36 for the Tarholes. Coach Hewitt said injuries were not the reason. He said guys just did not play to their capability.

The bottom-line is that North Carolina beat Georgia Tech at Georgia Tech's game. Defense is supposed to be our mantra - our drive - our ambition - our signature. If we are playing defense and rebounding then we will compete with anyone. Well, North Carolina played FAR superior defense tonight. UNC rebounded in a FAR superior way. Do not think for a second that UNC beat us with their offense. They clearly beat us with their defense. Heck they were only shooting about 37% at the half. The key - defense and rebounding. They taught us a lesson in playing defense.

The ACC seems to have developed a few tiers at this point. Before today I thought GT was in the top tier with Wake Forest and UNC. Clearly we are not in that tier AS OF TODAY. We are not winning on the road, we are banged up, we're not beating the top ranked teams, we're inconsistent on offense. We need Elder, J-Smith, Dickey all back and healthy. We need a more refined offensive half-court game and stop relying SOOO much on individual efforts.

Well, what else can you really say? We had our hats handed to us. But, it only counts as one game. We're now 2-1 in the ACC. We'll be ok. As I've said before, the season is a long-drawn out footrace developed by the Greeks over 200 years ago, as opposed to a quick short footrace designed for short bursts of speed that is over quickly. (Ok, I had to throw that in for humor after some people took offense at my repeated use of that old analogy).

However, we will be ok. I seem to remember a certain thrashing last season in Chapel Hill by a score of 103-88, and then I remember that same GT team ending up in the NCAA Finals. So hey, don't get too down. We got killed. Let it burn a little, but NCST is right around the corner. Instead of catching a team playing at the height of execution in all phases, we will be facing a struggling team that is also beat up that is currently in the midst of a 3-game losing streak. Of course, let's not forget this is a team we have not beaten in a long time (5 games I think). So get ready, let's rock-and-roll!!