Quick Hitters from Carolina’s 101-86 victory over Indiana in the Sweet 16:
Oh hello there, Marcus Paige, good to see the real you. Paige was 4-4 from 3. BEFORE THE FIRST MEDIA TIMEOUT. Unreal. Marcus finished 6-9 from 3, granted two of those misses were near the end of the game on a possession when the Heels were jacking up shots. Along the way to scoring 21 points tonight, Marcus passed Michael Jordan for 12th on the UNC career scoring list. Brice Johnson has moved up to 19th, so this team has 2 players (heck, roommates) who are top 20 in UNC history in career scoring.
This game marks the first time the Heels have scored 100 after the first week of the NCAA Tournament.
Probably the biggest storyline all week was Indiana’s ability to shoot a high volume and percentage on 3 pointers. They did shoot 41.9% (13-31) for the game, but that was neutralized by Carolina’s 55% (11-20). To be honest, Carolina’s percentage would have been even better were it not for end of game possessions in which Carolina was playing run-the-shot-clock-down-and-shoot-a-3-at-the-buzzer offense.
The Tar Heels had 3 turnovers in their final 5 possessions of the 1st half and 7 total for the half. At least 5 of those turnovers were traveling calls. The Heels cleaned this up and only had 2 turnovers in the entire second half.
The story of the first couple minutes of the 1st half was Marcus Pagie’s shooting. The story in that same time frame of the 2nd half was Indiana’s fouling. UNC reached the bonus with 16:35 left and eventually the double bonus with 12:52 to go.
With 15:20 left in the game, Kennedy Meeks stepped around to poke away an entry pass seemingly leading to a run-out. Yogi Ferrell came up the loose ball before Nate Britt could get to it. At this point there were five players beneath the free throw line – 4 Hoosiers and a Brice Johnson. Ferrell had what looked to be a gimmie layup, but Johnson came flying in from the opposite wing to block the shot (we’ll just skip the part where Troy Williams finished the possession with a 3).
Though it probably wouldn’t have helped Indiana overcome so great a deficit, it’s worth noting that Robert Johnson didn’t play at all tonight for the Hoosiers.
You might have already realized this, but with the ACC sweep of Friday night (Virginia, Notre Dame, and Syracuse in addition to Carolina), the conference has secured half the spots in the Elite Eight and is also guaranteed 2 teams in the Final Four and 1 team in the National Championship game. Also, with the way things are laid out, it’s highly possible that the Heels will have to replicate the semifinal (Notre Dame) and final (Virginia) of the ACC Tournament in order to reach the National Championship game.
Brice Johnson recorded his 22nd double-double this season. That ties him for the most ever in a season by a Tar Heel with the great Billy Cunningham. Incidentally.
Speaking of Brice and records: he now has over 1,000 rebounds for his career (1,006) which only 7 other Tar Heels have done. He also has 387 rebounds this season. Tyler Hansbrough holds the record for the most in one season with 399. There’s a very good chance Brice Johnson could become the first player in program history with 400 rebounds in a season.
Tip of the cap to Yogi Ferrell. What a career. An incredible basketball player and leader; a seemingly even better young man.
As expected, the Tar Heels survived the 1st weekend in Raleigh. While tested, neither game ever seemed to be in doubt. Indiana presents a new challenge. They can match Carolina’s depth. They also feature strength in some typical areas of weakness for this Tar Heel squad – strong 3-point shooting and offensive rebounding. Here is a primer for what most people are considering the marquee matchup of the Sweet 16.
Sweet Sixteen: Indiana
1st in Big Ten
Points: Yogi Ferrell – 17.0
Assists: Yogi Ferrell – 5.5
FG%: Thomas Bryant – 68.6
Rebounds: Troy Williams – 5.9
Steals: Troy Williams – 1.2
Blocks: Thomas Bryant – 0.9
Minutes: Yogi Ferrell – 34.7
Probable Indiana Starters
Points per game
Adj. Offensive Efficiency (Rank)
Adj. Defensive Efficiency (Rank)
Offensive Reb Rate
Defensive Reb Rate
Much like Carolina, the Hoosiers have a lot of depth on their roster. That depth has taken a hit though. Starter James Blackmon, Jr. was lost for the season before conference play. Typical starter Robert Johnson has been limited recently by a high ankle sprain and missed most of the Kentucky game last weekend. Juwan Morgan has been limited by recurring shoulder problems. Johnson and Morgan’s effectiveness will certainly be a factor this evening.
X-Factor – Thomas Bryant. If he stays on the court, it allows Indiana to have a balanced inside/outside attack. The Heels will need to go at him early and often, as he is prone to fouling, and force him to the bench.
Main Key to the Game – Limit Indiana’s open looks from 3. The Hoosiers will score from outside, but the Heels must channel their ACC Tournament defense and get a hand up on shooters. The key will be staying in front of Ferrell or other penetrating guards so that the other 4 defenders don’t have to help off shooters.