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Thoughts from the Other Shade: UNC vs UI Impressions.

Well its always easier as a Dookie to watch a UNC game when I already know they have lost. I had a long day at work yesterday (yes its possible to have long days at work even when you live on Maui) but I watched the recorded game this afternoon and was typing some thoughts as the game went along. It’s not a recap per se - just some random musings about the continuing struggles of our rival. Ah Yes. Life is good.

  • Watching them run in the opening minutes Illinois is a very long team - Puerto Rico proved UNC stuggled against big bodies. Tisdale is a slower/taller version of Zeller as they exchange opening buckets.
  • Kept thinking in the opening 10 minutes of this snoozer that Illinois should be going inside - get UNC big guys in foul trouble. Then Illini shooters woke up - raining 3’s that seemed silly rushed shots for the first 10 minutes. Back to back triples in transition after silly foul on Knox gave them possession again. (painful turnover)
  • Zeller should touch the ball every time on offense. He is tantalizingly good - or is UNC’s half-court offense pretty lacking otherwise? 
  • Henson’s game is exciting. He is very slithery - shoots good % as long as he’s not at the free throw line. But he seems to have Tyler Hansborogh disease: if he gets the ball inside 10 feet “I am putting my head down to shoot to matter what”. His rushed shot at the end of half - perfect example.
  • UNC guard play is feast or famine - occasionally make some good drive and dish to big guys, but 1st half they made more bad decisions: dribbling into trouble resulting in turnovers or steals for UI. Also lacking a true ‘finisher’ on the perimeter.
  • End of half seems a good snapshot: UNC guards looked confused and unable to create. They get a 2nd chance but Henson isn’t aware of time left. UI comes down and their senior leader knew exactly what he was going to do before he drove: draws the D, makes a nice pass to the corner for a made 3.
  • Puerto Rico showed - the way to attack Zeller and Henson - go right into their bodies. Don’t let leaping ability come into play. Henson obviously have great timing to block shots, but neither is a banger. 
  • McCamey from Illinois is damn good. He has a man’s body and an game to match. Great passer and plays with amazing confidence. 
  • Zeller’s already porous defense even more tentative with 3 fouls. If this was the NBA I’d be shouting at my team to put him out to defend pick and roll every time. He looks like a Zoubekraken hedge foul just waiting to happen.
  • UNC looking bad on the dish to UI player in the corner who is unguarded. Instead of taking the open 3 he is able to drive all the way to the bucket with Z unable to pick up a 4th foul. Where is the talking on D?
  • UNC missing a lot of free throws as UI pulling away.
  • It’s kind of the talking point that everyone gets to with UNC thus far: but the leadership void is very apparent as the game is getting away from them. No one stepping up to call people out for defensive lapses or ill-advised shots.
  • Another tough shooting night for Barnes. Effort is there of course.
  • Told Bart after watching a good bit of the UNC games in Puerto Rico: “UNC is not a good passing team” His reply “You mean as in they don’t share?” “No as in they simply can’t’ effectively link A to B,” I said. “Boy, that’s not good.”  Yes Bart you are right.

  • I really do like Jimmy Dykes as a color guy. I think he is very often able to pull back and see the big picture. His assessment of the Heels being in a state of identity crisis seems accurate to me, but mostly as it applies to the back court. The big guys from UNC kind of know their roles and are the only reliable offensive options at the moment. Also because there  are only 3 of them, they can kind of count on the minutes they are going to get. But UNC’s back court is a mess. My read from body language especially is that no one is playing with much confidence. No one is in charge. I have no idea who the superlatives are in this interchangeable set of parts. I think Marshall is the best passer, but who is the best driver? Who should be talking charge of the half court offense as the PG? Who is the driver/finisher? Who knows what a good shot is? Who has the green light to shoot vs who should be going Jackie Manuel style and be-a-pass-the-ball-to-the-big-guys-who -can-actually-score kind of option?
  • Thank goodness for Evansville and LBSU on the Tar Heel schedule otherwise they might be under .500 with games agains Kentucky and Texas looming.