Tag Archives: Kennedy Meeks

Quick Hitters – Wake Forest

Quick Hitters from Wednesday nights 93-87 road win against Wake Forest.

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Joel Berry’s breakaway “dunk” against Wake Forest as part of UNC’s 93-87 victory in Winston-Salem on Wednesday night. Photo credit: J.D. Lyon, Jr.
  1. For the second game in a row, the Tar Heels were able to get the opponent’s best player (John Collins in this instance) on the bench in foul trouble early in the first half. Collins then picked up his third foul eight seconds into the second half and never really got into the rhythm of the game.
  2. Also for the second game in a row, the Tar Heels stayed under their season average for turnovers. There were 11 total. Two specifically encouraging points: (1) No player had more than two turnovers. (2) Joel Berry, who has been uncharacteristically struggling with turnovers of late, only had one but had seven assists.
  3. Stop the presses, JOEL BERRY MISSED A FREE THROW! Not to fear though, he’s still shooting 91.8% for the season (45-49).
  4. There was a weird play late in the first half where Tony Bradley essentially head-butted the midsection of a Wake Forest player. Bradley walked off the court under his own power but seemed to be rather wobbly. He did not return in the second half, and will be evaluated back in Chapel Hill. His absence was noticeable on the court, particularly in a game where the other three front court players each had four fouls.
  5. Great find from Theo Pinson right before halftime on the pitch-ahead to a wide-open Kennedy Meeks.
  6. Pinson scores his first point of the season with 12:03 left in the second half on a free throw. The shots will start falling.
  7. Wake Forest trimmed a 19-point lead down to one with 9:43 left in the game. The Tar Heels pushed the lead back to as many as nine, but never got the margin back to double digits. It’s extremely difficult to win on the road in the ACC.
  8. All five starters scored in double figures.
  9. It felt like everyone on the court made some type of winning play down the stretch, whether it was knocking down free throws in a 1-and-1 situation, hitting clutch shots, or grabbing important rebounds.
  10. What a luxury to have Isaiah Hicks shooting so well from the free throw line that he doesn’t have to be subbed out in late game free throw situations.
  11. Have you looked at the ACC standings? 12 of the 15 teams have at least two conferences losses already.

 

 

Offensive Zone Possessions (@ Clemson)

Based on the way that Georgia Tech’s disruptive 1-3-1 zone slowed down North Carolina’s offensive attack last Saturday, Clemson, a team that typically stays in man-to-man on defense, sprinkled in several possessions of zone throughout the game. While Georgia Tech played an aggressive 1-3-1, Clemson played a 2-3 zone, more designed to coax a team into settling for 3-pointers and mid-range jump shots.

While the Tar Heels are currently shooting their highest 3-point percentage since 2012-13 and second highest since 2009-10, the interior game is still the bread and better so coaxing the team into shooting from outside is a good recipe for springing an upset. The Heels are shooting 36.4% from 3-point range this season. For reference, here are the shooting percentages of every team in the Roy Williams era:

  • 2016-17 – 36.4%
  • 2015-16 – 32.7%
  • 2014-15 – 35.8%
  • 2013-14 – 33.6%
  • 2012-13 – 37.3%
  • 2011-12 – 33.8%
  • 2010-11 – 32.8%
  • 2009-10 – 32.8%
  • 2008-09 – 38.7%
  • 2007-08 – 37.2%
  • 2006-07 – 35.8%
  • 2005-06 – 37.5%
  • 2004-05 – 40.3%
  • 2003-04 – 35.1%

So let’s took a look at this game against Clemson: the possessions in which the Tigers played zone, what happened in those possessions, and then we’ll make some observations about how UNC did in those possessions.

By my count, the Tar Heels had 80 possessions in this game, 36 in the first half, 34 in the second half, and 10 in overtime (including quick end-of-period possessions). For the game, Clemson played zone for all or part of six possessions. One of those six possessions included two separate sections of zone, so there were seven times when Carolina played offense against the Clemson defense. Here’s what happened in those six possessions (seven sequences):

  1. 17:56 (1st half) – Possession starts with Clemson in man-to-man. Clemson foul @ 17:49. Clemson in 2-3 zone from UNC base line inbounds. Result: Joel Berry three. Open. MADE.
  2. 13:11 (1st half) – Possession starts with Clemson in man-to-man. Clemson foul @ 13:03. Clemson in 2-3 zone from UNC base line inbounds. Result: Luke Maye 17-foot jumper. Open. MADE.
  3. 11:30 (1st half) – Full court pressure after made Clemson free throw. Once UNC is across half court, Clemson falls back into 2-3 zone. Result: Brandon Robinson three. Open. MISSED.
  4. 4:49 (1st half) – Possesion starts with Clemson in man-to-man. Clemson foul @ 4:31. Clemson in 2-3 zone from UNC base line inbounds. Result: Justin Jackson three. Contested. MISSED. UNC offensive rebound results in free throws for Tony Bradley (1-2).
  5. 18:58 (2nd half) – Possesion starts with Clemson in man-to-man. Clemson foul @ 18:50. Clemson in 2-3 zone from UNC base line inbounds. Result: Joel Berry three. Contested. MISSED. Kennedy Meeks offensive rebound. Ball out of bounds to UNC @ 18:35 (2nd half). Clemson in 2-3 zone from UNC base line inbounds. Result: Kenny Williams three. Open. MADE.
  6. 13:54 (2nd half) – Possession starts with Clemson in man-to-man. Clemson foul @ 13:40. Clemson in 2-3 zone from UNC base line inbounds. Result: Joel Berry three. Open. MADE.

So now let’s make some observations about the zone possessions / sequences:

  • Clemson certainly coaxed the shots they wanted out of the Tar Heels. The initial shot in six of the seven sequences was a three-pointer. The seventh might as well have been – a Luke Maye 17-foot jump shot just inside the three-point line.
  • The Tar Heels were 4-7 (57.1%) on those initial shots.
  • Five of the seven initial shots were either open or wide open due to good ball movement and probing the middle of the defense.
  • Of the six possessions, UNC scored on five of them (83.3%), thanks to offensive rebounds on two of the three misses.
  • Six of the seven sequences occurred from dead ball, rather than live, situations. In the lone outlier, Clemson began the possession with full-court pressure and sunk into the 2-3 zone once UNC got the ball across half-court.
  • Of the six dead ball zone sequences, five of them occurred after a Clemson foul. In the outlier, Clemson played zone after the ball went out of bounds off a Tiger.
  • Worth noting: Clemson didn’t play zone out of every dead ball situation.
  • Curiously, the possession that started at 13:54 of the second half was the last in which Clemson played zone for the game. The Tigers returned to their man-to-man defense for the rest of the second half and all of overtime.

All-in-all, UNC faired well in their zone possessions in terms of shot success. However, they failed to do what they do best – get the ball into the middle and score at the rim. So while Georgia Tech’s 1-3-1 zone was more disruptive when it came to taking the Tar Heels out of their offensive rhythm, Clemson’s 2-3 zone was effective at changing their shot selection.

It will be interesting to see whether other ACC teams follow this blueprint and sprinkle in zone principles to cause similar disruptions to Ken Pomeroy’s 11th-rated efficient offense. Even more curious – when faced with zone, will the Tar Heels continue to settle? Time will tell.

Quick Hitters – Georgia Tech

Quick Hitters from Saturday’s conference opening 75-63 road loss to Georgia Tech.

  1. Of everything you would want to see in the first conference game on the road against the presumptive worst team in the conference, this performance was the exact opposite of those things. I’m not sure just how bad the illness is that’s going around the team, but most players looked either a step slow or indifferent. The Heels looked sloppy and committed a season high 20 turnovers. In the ultra-competitive ACC, you cannot afford to lose games like this. Great teams find a way to pull out an ugly win, even on a day like today.
  2. With Georgia Tech’s football team playing their bowl game in Jacksonville, FL at the same time as this game, a lot of the Yellow Jacket faithful were absent from McCamish Pavilion. This allowed for a lot of Tar Heels to fill the seats. This was obvious with 6 minutes left in the game when you heard a “de-fense” chant when North Carolina was on defense. After a forced shot clock violation, a “Tar – Heels” chant broke out.
  3. Joel Berry shot five three-pointers before the first media timeout, making two of them. As a team, Carolina shot seven three-pointers in that same time span. A lot of this was coaxed from Georgia Tech’s zone defense. Despite a better three-point shooting percentage this year, this is not ideal shot selection. All told, Carolina shot 5-26 (19.2%) from deep for the game.
  4. Speaking of Georgia Tech’s zone, this game was a great primer for playing Syracuse. The zone rendered the Carolina offense ineffective. The guards seemed content to throw the ball around the perimeter and shoot the first somewhat-open three that was available.
  5. After the first couple possessions of the first half, Justin Jackson was absent offensively the rest of the half. He forced a couple shots to try and get going, but they were not within the rhythm of the offense. He did finish with 16 points, but it took him 17 shots to get there, including going 0-5 from three.
  6. 11 first half rebounds for Kennedy Meeks, three of which were offensive. He finished with 14.
  7. Nate Britt was the main bright spot and provided some veteran leadership in a game that was not going well. Big baseline jumper to tie the game early in the second half. Followed by a steal and assist to Luke Maye on a fast break. Britt, who had been in a shooting slump, was the catalyst in this game for the Heels. He finished with 13 points on 5-8 shooting (3-4 from three), three rebounds, two assists, two turnovers, and five steals.
  8. Joel Berry is clearly still not feeling well. He had eight points on 3-13 shooting (including 2-9 from deep) and committed six turnovers.
  9. I didn’t keep track of the number, but there were a lot of missed lay-ups in this game.

 

 

Quick Hitters – Monmouth

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Kenny Williams shoots a 3-pointer against Monmouth on December 28, 2016. Williams and the Tar Heels closed out the pre-conference slate with a 102-74 win over the Hawks. Photo Credit: Jeffrey A. Camarati

Quick Hitters from Wednesday night’s 102-74 home win against Monmouth.

  1. Congrats to Kennedy Meeks for becoming the 20th Tar Heel to break the 800 career rebound mark. He’s currently at 803 rebounds. Jason Capel is 19th on the list with 807 career rebounds.
  2. Though Monmouth is not a sexy opponent, this was Carolina’s fourth game against a team picked to win their conference in the preseason. These types of games against veteran mid-major squads are invaluable.
  3. Joel Berry took what appeared to be a knee to the thigh in the first ten minutes of the game. Thankfully, this was not a re-injury to his ankle. After briefly leaving the bench, he came back into the game. With the beginning of ACC play pending, and three games over the course of seven days (including the Monmouth game), this will hopefully not be a deep bruise that causes Berry to miss time. How important is Berry? In the two games he missed, UNC averaged 78.0 points, while they have averaged 90.6 points in the games he’s played (not including Monmouth).
  4. Justin Jackson is absolutely on fire from deep. He hit five threes in the first half and tacked on one more in the second. The great thing is that the shots are in the flow of the offense, he’s still looking to get teammates involved, and he didn’t need a ton of shots (nine) to get his six threes. For the season, the Heels three most prolific three-point shooters (Jackson, Berry, Kenny Williams) are all shooting 40% or more from deep.
  5. Tony Bradley has done a lot really well this year. One thing he hasn’t done as much of as you would expect is record blocks. Coming into this game he had eight on the season (0.6 BPG). He recorded three in the first half of this game. Obviously, Monmouth has shorter interior players than a lot of teams UNC will face, but this is still a good sign.
  6. Speaking of Tony Bradley, he sometimes seems skittish finishing around the rim. He has the athleticism to finish dominantly and needs to begin to do so.
  7. Isaiah Hicks sported a new hair-do in this game. It was suspect. However, he scored 15 points and, more importantly, grabbed nine rebounds. If Isaiah is going to continue rebounding like that, he can sport whatever hair style he wants to.
  8. Justin Robinson for Monmouth had a great first half – 16 points. The Heels shut him down in the second half, however, and he finished the game with those same 16 points.
  9. Poor end to the first half for the Heels. A 19-point lead was whittled down to nine. This was reminiscent of several games in recent years when the Heels failed to close out the first half – most notably, last year’s national championship game.
  10. Three technicals on Monmouth within the first three minutes of the second half, over the course of 55 seconds. Six free throws for Joel Berry? Yes please. Those six free points ballooned the lead to 20 points
  11. Speaking of Joel Berry, he finished the game with no field goals. His only points were the six free throws off the technicals. However, on a night when everyone else wanted to turn the ball over, Berry had five assists and no turnovers.
  12. Ugh, turnovers. There were 17 turnovers in this game, a season high. Gotta clean this up.
  13. There were wholesale substitutions on three separate occasions in the second half.

Quick Hitters – Northern Iowa

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Justin Jackson (#44) takes a shot against Northern Iowa on December 21, 2016. Jackson finished with 12 points and the Tar Heels won 85-42. Photo Credit: Peyton Williams (@peyton_williams)

Quick Hitters from Wednesday night’s 85-42 home win against Northern Iowa

  1. Don’t be alarmed – for the second year in a row, Marcus Paige did not play against Northern Iowa.
  2. Northern Iowa is tough. We learned that last year both in their victory over UNC and their showing in the NCAA Tournament (despite the meltdown against Texas A&M). Despite losing a lot of talent, the Panthers have the Missouri Valley Conference Preseason Player of the Year, and once again played tough. There was just too much North Carolina in the second half after a close first 20 minutes.
  3. Despite a somewhat slow first half, there was no visible letdown from the emotion of Saturday’s Kentucky game. The Heels didn’t get in a hole early again. They also took care of business in the second half, making sure there was no opportunity for an upset.
  4. Northern Iowa was committed to getting back on defense and not attacking the offensive glass. Consequently it was difficult to get any transition game going, but the Heels still wound up with 11 transition points (to UNI’s zero). For the game, UNI had only three offensive rebounds. The final rebounding totals were 42 (UNC) – 24 (UNI)
  5. We’re starting to see Isaiah Hicks’ foul trouble rear its ugly head. He had two fouls in the first 12 minutes, limiting him to eight first half minutes. In the second half however, Hicks did a good job of staying straight up. Though he allowed a couple baskets, you’ll trade a couple points to keep Hicks on the floor.
  6. Jeremy Morgan, the aforementioned MVC Preseason Player of the Year, came into this game averaging 18 PPG. He had just scored 36 against North Dakota. Given what Malik Monk just did, this was a scary proposition. In this game, he had only six points, which came on two three-pointers in the last four minutes of the first half. That means he didn’t score for the first 15½ minutes of the game or the entire second half.
  7. UNI was also dedicated to doubling the post. This lead to many great possessions of Meeks and Hicks passing well out of the double team.
  8. Nate Britt’s shooting woes continue. Dating back to the Wisconsin game, Britt is shooting just 11 for his last 49 (22.4%).
  9. This was a close game for a long time and before you knew it, the lead had quietly ballooned to 18. The final margin was an astounding 43 points.
  10. Only five turnovers in the entire game for the Tar Heels. This is impressive in any game, but especially against a team that ranks fifth in Ken Pomeroy’s percentage of defensive possessions resulting in a turnover.
  11. Dunk of the season candidate from Isaiah Hicks in the second half. Thanks to the aforementioned post passing (and really the passing of the whole team), Kennedy Meeks, after being doubled found a cutting Hicks for a monstrous jam.

 

 

Quick Hitters – Kentucky

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Justin Jackson reacts to a go-ahead lay-up with under 1:00 left in the game, that gave the Tar Heels a 100-98 over Kentucky. Unfortunately, this was not the last big image from the game. Photo Credit: J.D. Lyon, Jr.

Quick Hitters from Saturday afternoon’s 103-100 neutral site loss to Kentucky in the CBS Sports Classic.

  1. First off, you never like to lose, and especially not to Kentucky, but this looked like the team that was playing in Maui, not the team we’ve seen in the four games since – an encouraging sign. The trick now is becoming that team always. This game had the feeling of a game in March or April and will pay dividends for both teams throughout the season.
  2. I think Joel Berry is going to be all right. With a player coming back from a lower body injury, you always wonder what their first game back will be like. Berry’s return was reminiscent of Marcus Paige’s first game last season against Maryland in the ACC/Big Ten challenge. The key is not having the let down that Paige had after that. Berry’s line from Saturday: 23 points on 9-15 shooting, 3-5 on 3s, 2-2 FTs, 5 R, 7 A, 3 TO, 2 S in 34 minutes. Also, Berry fell to the court after getting his shot blocked less than two minutes into the game. While you hate to see him fall, it’s nice that he was able to get right back up.
  3. The pace of this game was incredibly fun to watch. Two deep and athletic teams who like to run. And yet they take care of the ball really well – both teams finished with single digit turnovers.
  4. Speaking of pace, both teams scored 50+ points in the first half. Kentucky had 56, which is the most given up in the Roy Williams era in the first half. In the end, both teams finished with over 100.
  5. Justin Jackson missed more free throw in this game (five) than he had the rest of the season combined (four). Coming into the game he was 25-29 (86.2%). On the other side of the coin, Tony Bradley, who was shooting 30-50 (60%), went 6-6 in this game to balance out Jackson’s misses.
  6. Speaking of Justin Jackson, he’s getting to the line so much because he is attacking and aggressive. This is a good sign. Jackson finished the game with a career-high 34 points.
  7. Great close to the first half. The Heels closed the lead to as little as four after being down 12, and finished the half down five.
  8. Understatement of the season: Malik Monk is good at basketball. A couple of great defensive possessions against him in the closing minutes of the first half were what helped Carolina close the gap.
  9. That said, you know who would’ve done a great job guarding Monk in this game? Theo Pinson. Not saying Pinson would have completely shut Monk down, because he was hitting everything in sight. However, his lankiness and athleticism certainly would’ve bothered Monk and lowered his point total. Thanks to my man Carter Gilchrist for pointing this out!
  10. Speaking of Pinson, the Heels only got two points from the 2-guard spot today, and you’ve got to think that Pinson would’ve contributed more.
  11. Luke Maye had some important contributions. He had to HUGE 3s down the stretch as the Heels were fighting back. He also had a big time tap out on a missed Justin Jackson free throw that gave the Heels a chance to go up two possessions with under one minute left. Unfortunately, Joel Berry missed a shot and we know what happened next. Maye finished with a career high 11 points.
  12. Foul trouble hurt the Heels in this game. Berry, Isaiah Hicks, and Kennedy Meeks each were playing with four fouls down the stretch. Meeks fouled out, but both Hicks and Berry played smart to stay on the court down the stretch and impact the game in big ways. (Berry did ultimately foul out, but it was on the last meaningful play of the game).

 

 

Quick Hitters – Tennessee

Quick Hitters from Sunday afternoon’s 73-71 home win against Tennessee:

  1. Let’s get this out of the way: this was not a pretty game, but it was a win. A game in which the Tar Heels were missing two starters, shot 2-17 from 3, and shot 13-24 from the free throw line.
  2. Since returning from Maui (Indiana, Radford, Davidson, Tennessee), the fire, intensity, and urgency that was present to that point of the season appears to be gone. Joel Berry being out for the last 2.5 games doesn’t help matters. It could get really ugly next Saturday against Kentucky if the team can’t recapture the fire they played with in Maui.
  3. After going down 30-15 with 7:35 left in the first half, there was a steal from Nate Britt, a steal by Kenny Williams, a forced 3-second violation and, less than two minutes later (5:40), the Heels are only down 9. All keyed by defense.
  4. After cutting the lead to 8 just before halftime (on Justin Jackson’s first two points), the Heels had the lead down to two within the first two minutes of the second half. Another run keyed by defense.
  5. Nate Britt (similar to most of his teammates) did not shoot the ball well, but he did have FIVE steals.
  6. Hicks and Meeks each had 3 fouls by 2:30 into the second half and were rather ineffective.. They have to dominate games for this team to accomplish the goals it wants to. Thankfully, Tony Bradley played really well.
  7. Too many mid-range, contested jumpers. In particular from Justin Jackson, who was struggling with his shot (3-for-15 FG, 0-for-6 3P). When the shots aren’t falling you have to get the ball to the rim.
  8. Elevator screen on two straight plays in the second half. The first time, Kenny Williams couldn’t quite get through so the usual look at a 3 wasn’t there. The second time, Tony Bradley slipped the screen for a wide-open dunk when his man anticipated the screen and overplayed it to the top side. This was a thing of beauty.
  9. Who hit the shot to tie the game at 50? None other than Stilman White. He’s filling a similar role to what Jackson Simmons did in recent years. The less-talented, but savvy veteran who comes in and gives a few solid minutes to help settle his team.
  10. Great end-of-game substitution by Coach Williams. He subbed out Kennedy Meeks for the longer Tony Bradley, who promptly rewarded his coach’s decision by blocking Tennessee’s last shot.

 

 

Quick Hitters – Radford

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Tony Bradley goes up for a lay-up against Radford on December 4, 2016. Photo Credit: Jeffrey A. Camarati

Quick Hitters from Sunday afternoon’s 95-50 home win against Radford.

  1. Kenny Williams scored 14 of the first 18 points, including 4-4 from three-point range. He had reached his career high in points five minutes into the game. Williams finished the game with 19 points, leading the way for the Heels.
  2. Too many offensive rebounds in the first half for Radford. In fact, Isaiah Hicks found a seat on the bench after a couple missed block-outs.
  3. After a hot start, there was a lull between the under-8:00 and under-4:00 media timeout of the first half. A couple missed bunnies inside, an early shot clock three from Joel Berry, a turnover by Berry before crossing half court.
  4. After beginning the scoring, Kenny Williams beat the halftime buzzer to put the Heels over 50 for the first half.
  5. With 17:36 left in the game, Joel Berry stepped on the foot of a Radford defender while driving and went down in a heap. Thankfully this was a game where Berry didn’t need to come back in. Coach Williams said the team will take precautionary X-rays to confirm a sprain, but that he is encouraged by the current assessment.
  6. I wrote this before Joel Berry’s injury: Seventh Woods is extremely athletic, but often looks lost when he gives Joel Berry a breather. Hopefully this stretch of games leading up to ACC play will give him a chance to settle in more.
  7. This is a completely different team with Joel Berry out. Hopefully it’s not a long-term injury. However, if there was a good time for Berry to be out, it’s this stretch of games before ACC play.
  8. At this point in his development as a point guard, Seventh Woods is calling his own number too much.
  9. After shooting well on free throws for the first seven games, this is the second game in a row where the Tar Heels struggled from the line. The team was a combined 18-29 (62.1%) against Radford. The main culprits were Kennedy Meeks and Tony Bradley, who shot a combined 5-13 (38.5%). Taking away those two players, the rest of the team was 13-16 (81.3%)
  10. It seemed like Meeks, Isaiah Hicks, and Bradley each had rather pedestrian days, yet they wound up with a combined 35 points and 23 rebounds, with all three players scoring in double-digits.

Quick Hitters – Indiana (ACC/Big Ten Challenge)

Quick Hitters from Wednesday night’s 76-67 loss to Indiana in the ACC / Big Ten Challenge

  1. This was Roy Williams’ 1,000 game coaching in college. He’s won 799 of them. Remarkable. I’m glad he’s the coach of the North Carolina Tar Heels.
  2. Listen, I want to win every game and go 40-0, but that’s unrealistic. If you told me going into the game that Joel Berry would shoot 3-for-12 and Isaiah Hicks would shoot 2-4, I would imagine the margin of victory would have been greater than nine. This is a good learning lesson in a hostile environment that will pay huge dividends on Thursday, February 9 in Durham, North Carolina.
  3. There are many things that we could point to as the reason for the loss. One of these is fast-break points, a Carolina staple. The Heels scored exactly two fast-break points in the entire game. Not a recipe for victory.
  4. Another culprit was the free-throw line. In the first half, the Heels collectively missed the front end of three 1-and-1’s. Collectively the team shot 5-for-11 on free throws in the first half and 13-22 for the game. I’m not saying they have to hit every one of those, but the team missed nine free throws and lost the game by nine points (and don’t forget the missed 1-and-1’s).
  5. This was the third true road game of the season and sixth (out of eight total games) away from home. This was certainly the toughest road environment to play in so far. It’s extremely hard to win on the road when you get down early and let the crowd stay in the game. With that said, Carolina missed eleven of their first thirteen field goals and had a huge hole to climb out of.
  6. A positive sign was the methodical fight displayed. No, the Heels did not win the game, but after being down 17 points in the first half, the lead was cut to as few as four points with 4:29 to go. I use “methodical” because there was no huge run or spurt; the team just settled down in the second half and worked themselves back into the game. Credit Indiana for making big shot after big shot every time the Heels cut into the lead.
  7. The tide really started to turn when Kennedy Meeks scored inside with 3:51 left in the first half and then again less than a minute later. This momentum carried over into the second half as Meeks continued to get position inside.
  8. After being down by double digit rebounds early, the teams ended up tied with 37 rebounds apiece.
  9. The Joel Berry didn’t have a great shooting night (3-for-13), he did have eight assists and only two turnovers. Justin Jackson was the leading scorer with 21 points.
  10. Though UNC didn’t win the game, the ACC won the ACC / Big Ten Challenge for the first time since 2008.

Quick Hitters – Wisconsin (Maui Invitational Championship Game)

Quick Hitters from Wednesday night’s 71-56 win over Wisconsin in the Maui Invitational championship.

  1. One sign of a championship caliber team? The ability to win playing various styles. From the up-tempo game against Oklahoma State on Tuesday to the grinding Wisconsin game on Wednesday night, the Tar Heels showed the ability to either enforce their will and win, or beat you at your own game. In this championship game, it’s fair to say that North Carolina out-Wisconsined Wisconsin.
  2. I don’t want to jinx anything, but, including this year, Roy Williams has won three Maui Invitational tournaments. The first two times were the 2004-05 and 2008-09 seasons. Anyone remember anything of significance that happened in those two years?
  3. Amount of game time the Tar Heels trailed in Maui: exactly zero seconds.
  4. Congratulations to Justin Jackson for becoming the 74th Tar Heel to score 1000 career points. He joins Kennedy Meeks as the second player to achieve that level this year. Look for Isaiah Hicks and Joel Berry to become numbers 75 and 76 later this season.
  5. The first eight points of the game for Carolina went to the big men (Kennedy Meeks, Isaiah Hicks, Tony Bradley). This trio is should have the edge inside in nearly every game they play this year.
  6. Wisconsin didn’t score until 12:39 left in the first half. Most of this was due to Carolina forcing them into jump shots. I’ll keep saying it: defense is keying this team. It starts with Joel Berry as the leader setting the example, and everyone else feeds off that.
  7. Tony Bradley’s streak of double digit scoring to start his career ended tonight. He had just six points.
  8. On the season, the trio of Nigel Hayes, Ethan Happ, and Bronson Koenig has averaged a combined 40.4 points a game. They were scoreless until Happ got a bucket with 5:45 left in first half. The trio totaled only seven points at halftime.
  9. Just as Wisconsin pulled to within three points at 17-14, Joel Berry went on his own little five-point run with a deeeeeeep (is that enough “e’s”?) three and a mid-range jumper to push the lead back to eight before Wisconsin called a timeout. He extended his run to seven with the next Carolina bucket as well.
  10. Sure was nice to play a game (especially after the Oklahoma State game) where there was hard-nosed, no-fouling defense. There were 52 combined free throws shot against Oklahoma State, and 22 combined against Wisconsin.
  11. Kennedy Meeks had a double-double in the first half (10 points/12 rebounds). He finished with 15 points and 16 rebounds (a career high)
  12. In the first half there zero fast break points for either team and only three offensive rebounds; all to Carolina.
  13. For the tournament, the Heels shot 80% from the free throw line (60-75). Both Joel Berry and Justin Jackson were perfect from the charity stripe in the three games.
  14. It seems like the level of games keep ramping up. Next Wednesday, Carolina heads to Bloomington to play Indiana in the Big Ten / ACC Challenge. This will be third true road game in the first eight games; a wise scheduling move for a veteran squad. Although Indiana lost last night, they are also considered one of the top five teams in the nation. And they will be looking to avenge last year’s NCAA Tournament loss. Should be a great environment!