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ACC Roundup

Big night for the Pack, a crushing loss for the Heels

When you're struggling, the foul line can be the loneliest place in the world
When you're struggling, the foul line can be the loneliest place in the world
Grant Halverson

For everyone who was convinced that UNC had turned a corner after the Kentucky game: ha.

Not quite yet, anyway.

Despite the boost of getting Leslie McDonald out of NCAA purgatory (the senior played 22 minutes off the bench and provided immediate help to the Lone Gunman, Marcus Paige - Paige hit five threes and McDonald hit four. In the long run, that changes things for UNC, Wednesday night's disappointment aside).

Still, there were problems and one catastrophic breakdown.

UNC had 47 free throws and hit just 24 and 51% is not going to cut it beyond junior high.

There is a clear goat from the foul line, and that goat is James Michael McAdoo. Take away his 15 attempts and 10 misses and UNC would have hit 75% from the line.

Even then, UNC was down just one 84-83 with :08 left, when Longhorn DeMarcus Holland missed a free throw and the Tar Heels committed the basketball equivalent of a Deadly Sin: no one boxed out the shooter.

Holland dashed down the lane, got his rebound and put Texas up 86-83.

Holland, by the way, is 6-2.

Carolina called a timeout and Marcus Paige got off a decent three point shot that rimmed out.

After the game, Roy Williams was pretty angry. He contemplated a midnight practice, calmed down long enough to check the rules - at this point, no one at UNC is going to be stupid about the rules - and called it for 5:00 a.m.

At one point in his press conference, he said that if his guys didn't want to rebound, they might as well play soccer: "Tell Anson  I’m not trying to rag on his sport, but God, almighty."

Texas outrebounded UNC 51-42 and grabbed 20 offensive boards to 15.

What surprised us in this game was that Texas ran with UNC and basically outran the Heels. UT coach Rick Barnes has never been much of a fast break coach, preferring a more in your face approach.

The Hickory native and former Clemson coach had no affection for UNC when he was in the ACC and we're guessing that this win is especially sweet.

Before the season, between early NBA departures and transfers, a lot of people thought Barnes was finished. Now, at 10-1, Texas is again looking formidable.

Another guy who is probably pretty happy about now is State's Mark Gottfried.

His team has traveled a very long ways since losing at home to NCCU.

Given his team's youth and lack of playing time together, we thought playing at Tennessee would be a very tough game for State.

Well we missed that one.

State went into halftime with a 17-point lead. A lead wasn't impossible, but 17 points? On the road? With Jordan Vandenberg in foul trouble?

Frankly, we figured Tennessee would intimidate State's younger players, sock them in the mouth and take the game home.

State held the Vols to just 29.4% from the floor and check this: just 3-24 from three point range.

T.J. Warren had 21, Anthony Barber scored 12 and Desmond Lee 10.

The Pack has now won six straight since losing to Central. ECU is up next, a game State should win, followed by a trip to Mizzou. That game will give a true sense of State's progress, but from here there's no question: this team is far, far better than the State which was upset by NCCU in November.