Tag Archives: Alabama Crimson Tide

Quick Hitters – UNC vs. UCLA (CBS Sports Classic)

Quick Hitters from North Carolina’s 74-64 neutral site win over UCLA on Saturday afternoon in Las Vegas at the CBS Classic

Highlights:

  • A win! We’ll get to the hard-hitting analysis in a minute (yes, that’s tongue-in-cheek), but first let’s stop to celebrate the joy of winning. It wasn’t pretty. It won’t win the ESPY for “Best Game”. But it was a victory. And coming on the heels of a four game losing streak, the Tar Heels will take a win any way they can get it. Against both Gonzaga and UCLA, Carolina really competed hard. If this trend can be the new norm, these Tar Heels will win some ACC games.
  • Let’s start with a perhaps unpopular opinion: Having now seen Jeremiah Francis in action for a grand total of four collegiate games, (1) he pushes the ball better than Cole Anthony and (2) the offense appears more organized with Francis at the helm. This is no dig at Anthony, but rather an observance of the different skill set both players bring to the table.
  • In Anthony’s absence, the emergence of recently healthy freshmen Jeremiah Francis and Anthony Harris has been a boon for the Tar Heels. The two were vital to Carolina’s success today and are bringing a toughness quality to Carolina. More on both players…
  • Francis is showing glimpses of being able to confidently and consistently run the team from the point guard position. He was money from the free throw line today (9-for-10), including being selected to shoot the technical free throws. He made a freshman mistake with 1:45 left in the game. With Carolina ahead comfortably compared to the remaining time, Francis drove in for a lay-up rather than pulling the ball back out to re-set and run clock. In subsequent positions, Brandon Robinson demonstrated how to do this well, which Anthony Harris took a cue from and did as well on the very next possession. Those are errors you can live with because it’s a kid (who hasn’t played in two years, by the way) being aggressive.

https://twitter.com/twmarks_/status/1208483121022357505

  • Harris played just three minutes in the first half and had a memorable defensive stop right before halftime (UCLA had been driving at will and Harris walled off his mark twice on the same possession, leading to a turnover). However, he exploded in the second half, playing nearly three-quarters of the half, and was just the spark Carolina needed. Known more for his defensive acumen, Harris provided eight straight points for Carolina (a steal and lay-up, back-to-back threes) in one stretch.

https://twitter.com/FreeportKid/status/1208576714927988736

  • As the Tar Heels amassed a rather sizable lead, I thought to myself, “When was the last time the Tar Heels had a double-digit lead this season?” Great question. It was nearly a month ago, November 27 against Alabama.
  • Interesting minutes distribution. As predicted, KJ Smith got the start at point guard, but Jeremiah Francis got the starter’s minutes (28-10). Look for Francis to start for the first time when the Heels return to action at home against Yale.
  • The past two games have yielded “Gonzaga Bacot” (bad and foul-laden) and “Wofford Bacot” (also quite bad). “Oregon Bacot” is the player Coach Williams wants to see on a consistent basis. Thankfully today against UCLA, Armando was “Oregon Bacot”. After going 3-for-20 from the field in those previous two games, Armando Bacot went 5-for-7 against UCLA for 15 points and grabbed 12 rebounds.
  • After missing the second half of the Gonzaga game, Brandon Robinson returned to action today. Robinson, Bacot and Black are all still banged up in one way or another. Hopefully the large gap before the next game (Mon., Dec. 30) will allow some ailments to heal.
  • 5 different Tar Heels scored in double-figures – Bacot (15), Harris (14), Brooks, Robinson, Francis (all had 12). This balanced attack is an encouraging sign.

https://twitter.com/UNCMBBStats/status/1208526929529171969

  • Carolina has been absolutely terrible recently at the start of the “third quarter” (first 10 minutes of the second half). Today’s version included a 12-0 UCLA scoring run to cut Carolina’s 13-point halftime lead to just one.
  • In the most un-like-Roy-Williams thing ever, the Heels were down to just one timeout with 16:07 remaining in the second half. Coach took a timeout with 18:01 remaining to stem the UCLA run. Then Garrison Brooks had to take the penultimate timeout with 16:07 because he couldn’t inbound the basketball against UCLA’s full-court pressure. Carolina struggled with UCLA’s pressure throughout the second half (that’s putting it nicely) and will certainly need to spend practice time on breaking the press.
  • Brandon Robinson hit three important three pointers in the first half. However he didn’t make another basket the rest of the game.
  • I mentioned earlier that this was an ugly game. Some numbers to prove it: UCLA had 14 first half turnovers. For the game, the teams combined for a total of 39 turnovers. The second half was plagued by so many fouls. In total, 46 fouls were called in the game. The Tar Heels put the Bruins in the bonus with 15:37 left in the game.
  • Not much to show from either grad transfer today. Neither reached double-digits in playing time and Pierce and Keeling combined to score five points. These young men will find their place on this team. It’s just taking longer than anyone hoped or expected.
  • Some old friends were in the house for this one:

https://twitter.com/UNC_Basketball/status/1208499634861047808

Roy Williams postgame press conference:

Remember to check in for Quick Hitters after every North Carolina basketball game. Next up is a home game against Yale on Monday, December 30. Tip is at 7:00ET on ACC Network.

Twitter: tarheelhoopblog
Twitter: isaacschade
Email: tarheelhoopsblog@gmail.com

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Quick Hitters – UNC vs. Alabama (Battle 4 Atlantis)

Quick Hitters from North Carolina’s 76-67 win over Alabama in the quarterfinals of the Battle 4 Atlantis in the Bahamas on Wednesday afternoon.

Highlights:

 

  • What a relief to see Brandon Robinson back in action. Stats aside, the most important thing Robinson brings is senior leadership; evidenced by Robinson getting in the face of superstar freshman Cole Anthony late in the game when Anthony was upset.
  • But let’s also not forget what Robinson will contribute statistically to this team. He scored the first points of the game on a three from the left wing. Robinson played 26 minutes, scored a career high 12 points, shot 3-for-6 from deep, had six rebounds, two assists, and just one turnover.

  • Here’s Robinson talking about his return:
  • Having another reliable body in the backcourt also lowers the number of minutes necessary for other Tar Heels to play. This is particularly important in a three-games-in-three-days tournament. Cole Anthony, in particular, played a season-low 32 minutes.
  • With the victory, Coach Williams ties Adolph Rupp for fifth on the all-time list with 876 career victories. Congratulations to Coach!

  • Given the Tar Heels’ early-season offensive struggles, finding ways to steal extra possessions is imperative. One such way is rebounding. Wrap your mind around what Carolina had already accomplished coming into today’s game:
    • 25 RPG (1st in nation)
    • 25 D-RPG (1st in nation)
    • +19.5 Rebound margin (1st in nation)
    • 00 O-RPG (T-9th in nation)
  • Today’s results against a similarly strong rebounding Alabama team will only grow Carolina’s advantages in those categories: 60 total rebounds, 37 defensive rebounds, 23 offensive rebounds, and +29 rebounding margin. For context, while Carolina had 23 offensive rebounds, Alabama managed just 23 DEFENSIVE rebounds.
  • Each starter had at least six rebounds and every player who played at least one minute had two or more rebounds.

  • For the first time all season, Carolina allowed a team to shoot over 40% in a half. Alabama shot 43.8% in the second half (14-32). However, Carolina still hasn’t allowed an opponent to shoot 40% for the entire game.
  • This defensive effort is important, because the Tar Heels have failed to reach 80 points in any game this season. Bama was the first team to break the 65-point barrier against Carolina, scoring 67.
  • Free throw shooting continues to be a bugaboo. Carolina shot 61.9% (13-21) for the game. The team is shooting 62.1% (72-116) on the season.
  • Turnovers have been another Achilles heel. The team committed 20 today. Six from Cole Anthony. Five from Garrison Brooks. During one stretch of the first six minutes of the game, the Tar Heels had four straight turnovers.
  • As seems to always happen, a shooter went nuts against the Heels. Alabama’s John Petty, Jr. hit five threes in the first half, accounting for 15 of his teams’ 31 points in that 20 minutes. As a team, the Crimson Tide shot 5-for-10 from deep in the second half.
  • Four Tar Heels scored in double-figures. Garrison Brooks tied a career high with 20, 13 for Cole Anthony, while Brandon Robinson (career high) and Armando Bacot each had 12. Leaky Black was on the door step with nine points (and added nine rebounds).
  • Armando Bacot secured his third straight double-double. This time he had the aforementioned 12 points (all in the second half) and grabbed a career high 15 rebounds.

  • The “tip-out” is a staple of Carolina’s offense. The Heels had four successful tip-outs today, three of which came during free throw rebounding action.
  • The highlight of the game came on the baseline out-of-bounds (BLOB) play immediately following the second half under-4:00 media timeout. Leaky Black set a great pick to free Garrison Brooks for a vicious one-handed alley-oop jam off the Cole Anthony inbound pass.

  • Andrew Platek continues to do positive things. With 5:30 left in the first half, he outran and overmatched a Crimson Tide player for an offensive rebound. He found Garrison Brooks in the lane for the bucket.

Roy Williams postgame press conference:

Remember to check in for Quick Hitters after every North Carolina basketball game. Next up is the semifinal of the Battle 4 Atlantis against Michigan on Thanksgiving Day. The Tar Heels and Wolverines play for the third time in the past three years, having split the previous two. Tip is at 1:30ET on ESPN.

Twitter: tarheelhoopblog
Twitter: isaacschade
Email: tarheelhoopsblog@gmail.com

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Quick Hitters – UNC vs. Elon

Quick Hitters from North Carolina’s 75-61 home win over Elon on Wednesday night in the Smith Center.

Condensed Game:

Shorter Highlights:

  • Elon led this game 32-33 at halftime. Carolina opened up the second half with an 8-0 run which extended to a 16-2 run, and eventually 21-5 for a 53-38 lead. At that point it appeared the Tar Heels would run away with the game; building as big as a 16-point lead with 5:50 remaining. But Elon stripped the lead to seven in the waning minutes, before Carolina pushed back to the final 14-point cushion. This type of “cruise control” down the stretch is not an option for the 2019-20 iteration of the Tar Heels.
  • The schedule is about to get much more difficult. Next up is Alabama. Then Iowa State or Michigan. Then Gonzaga (#8), Southern Miss, Seton Hall (#13) or Oregon (#11). Then Ohio State (#10). Then at Virginia (#7). After a (hopeful) breather at home against Wofford is at Gonzaga (#8) and UCLA. Yikes. That means four of the next seven games could be against top 10 teams.
  • The Tar Heels had some obscene numbers in the frontcourt categories. Carolina outrebounded Elon by 31 (THIRTY-ONE!). The tally was 56-25. Additionally, Carolina held a 46-14 advantage on points in the paint.
  • With Cole Anthony struggling to score tonight (which was bound to happen eventually), another player had to step up offensively. What a perfect time for Armando Bacot’s breakout game. The freshman big man finished with a career high in points (22) and rebounds (14). He now has back-to-back double-doubles. The Tar Heels will need this consistency in the aforementioned upcoming stretch against higher-level competition.
  • It seemed like Elon was going to set the world on fire after hitting their first five shots (four of which were three-pointers), the Phoenix went just 5-for-22 the rest of the half; including not making a field goal from 9:42-2:03.
  • Elon’s shooting woes caused them to be the latest victim against Carolina’s defense. Get this: no opponent has shot 40% or better on field goals in a single half so far this season. Here are the numbers to prove it:
    • Notre Dame (11-34 | 32.2% and 13-34 | 38.2%)
    • UNC-Wilmington (12-34 | 35.3% and 13-38 | 34.2%)
    • Gardner-Webb (10-27 | 37.0% and 11-30 | 36.7%)
    • Elon (10-27 | 37.0% and 10-36 | 27.8%)
  • An anomaly to the early season: Carolina has not yet hit the 80-point mark in a game (76, 78, 77, 75). Conversely, none of Carolina’s opponents have scored more than 65 (65, 62, 61, 61).

  • Free throw shooting still needs work. Tonight Carolina was 14-for-23, 60.9%
  • Bacot teamed with his frontcourt counterpart Garrison Brooks to score nearly half (36) of Carolina’s 75 points. No other Tar Heels scored in double-figures.
  • Cole Anthony came ever-so-close to recording just the third triple-double in Carolina history. He finished with nine points, 10 rebounds, and eight assists. For the record, Jason Capel and Brendan Haywood were the others to do it, and both happened within 13 days of each other in the 2000-01 season.

  • The Cole Anthony “rebound-and-run” is a great fast break and should pay dividends all season long. A couple examples from tonight’s game were a pitch ahead to a streaking Andrew Platek for a lay-up and a dish to Christian Keeling for a three.
  • The team is still learning to play defense together, but they are quite obviously buying-in on the defensive end. Some first half examples: Platek rebound in traffic with 13:00 remaining, block and save by Anthony at 10:30 left, keeping the dribbler in front and blocking his shot by Keeling at 5:30, nice footwork by Bacot after getting switched onto a guard with 4:39 left, and Cole Anthony drew an incredible charge on a one-on-one fast break with 4:21 before halftime. Here is the charge:

  • Kenny Smith, Jr. entered the game with 1:30 remaining and Carolina holding a nine-point lead. An interesting move from Coach Williams to get the point guard some “game pressure” action. Certainly a forward-looking move.
  • Still no Brandon Robinson. Coach Williams mentioned in his radio show this week that he would love to get Robinson some game action before the Bahamas trip, but it wasn’t meant to be. The depleted Tar Heels’ line-up could certainly use his presence for the three-games-in-three-days slate during Thanksgiving week.

Roy Williams postgame press conference:

Remember to check in for Quick Hitters after every North Carolina basketball game. Next up is the Battle 4 Atlantis, in the Bahamas. First game is against Alabama on Wednesday at 2:30ET on either ESPN or ESPN 2.

Twitter: tarheelhoopblog
Twitter: isaacschade
Email: tarheelhoopsblog@gmail.com

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