Thursday, February 12, 2009

UNC-Duke: I Hate to Say 'I Told You So' ... But I Did

Last night, I wrote this about the UNC-Duke game:
They rank No. 3 and No. 4 (or No. 5 in the coaches poll) which means you have two elite teams with National Championships dancing in their heads. However, these two couldn't be any different. Duke can't guard Tyler Hansbrough or Ty Lawson. UNC can't guard Kyle Singler or Gerald Henderson. The Heels should dominate on the glass while Duke will hit more than its fair share of threes.

What games like this come down to is poise. Over time, the loser of this game tends to lose poise during a stretch in the game. Last year in Chapel Hill, Carolina lost poise when Duke was hitting everything they threw up. In Durham, Duke lost poise at the end of the game when the outcome was on the line. It happens when the bright lights are shining on 18 to 23 year olds.
Amazing that it did come out that way. Duke couldn't guard Tyler Hansbrough or Ty Lawson and Carolina couldn't guard Singler or Henderson. Lawson, Singler and Henderson were able to go where they want and get the shots they wanted. Well, for at least a half.

Singler and especially Henderson were on fire in the first half but non-factors in the second. Lawson was no where in the first half but dumped 21 points in the second half.

As for poise ... it was very evident. North Carolina went on a 43-19 run in the second half. During that run, Duke panicked. They took bad shots (Henderson's baseline fade away comes to mind), failed to run their offense and turned the ball over. They also allowed Lawson to keep getting to the rack. This will be my lasting memory of this game. The fact that UNC punched Duke in the mouth (29-18 opening run), Duke responded (32-12 run) and then the Heels dominated (46-21). Duke just couldn't respond; they couldn't punch back.

That's basketball ... or sports, really.

So congrats to the Heels and their amazing senior class. Danny Green and Tyler Hansbrough have both won in all four visits to Cameron Indoor Stadium (fellow senior Bobby Frasor didn't play in last year's game).

No comments: