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UNC 69, Miami 62: Getting it Together, Finally

Before I put down a few notes about this game let me preface them by saying that I wasn’t able to find a feed of this game online, thus resorting to a combo of ESPN Gamecast, Woody Durham’s radio broadcast and comments by others on Twitter to get me through the game. So anything I write probably has to be taken with several large grains of salt (basically, treat it like any post on here) since it’s more based on what I heard and saw in the box score than what I could actually see. That having been said, let’s carry on.

The game itself didn’t seem terribly notable, with a sparse crowd watching a somewhat under-appreciated senior class take on a fellow cellar-dwelling team in the ACC, but the significance was more in UNC becoming just the second program in college basketball history to reach 2,000 wins, the only one to do so in 100 years. It also assures that this year’s team won’t finish below .500 for the regular season, which is a small condolence to the wreckage this ACC season provided.

And as odd as it seems to get excited about a two-game winning streak, the game did seem to have a few signs that this team is finally starting to gel a bit more. The turnovers were still present, and based on what I heard from Woody on the broadcast Roy is still lowering his head on the bench in frustration rather than accepting his team for what it is and trying to encourage them, which is unfortunate. By now I feel like fans and analysts alike have resigned themselves to the idea that this will not be a good offensive team this year, but they can score in spurts and do have a few different guys who can get hot. Will Graves shot well early, getting enough looks that Bomani Jones uttered the best line of the night: “Graves is putting it up for UNC like it’s redshirt junior night.” To his credit, Graves did hit several big threes in the second half to quell Miami runs and finished with 16. John Henson provided another solid performance after having been moved to the 4 spot with 12 rebounds and 4 blocks that provided some ooohs and aaahs from the crowd. Hard to argue that he’s the most electrifying player on this team right now. Deon Thompson and Marcus Ginyard closed out their home careers in nice fashion, scoring 14 and 12, respectively. Ginyard especially seemed to have some renewed vigor, pulling down 12 boards and dishing out 5 assists for probably his best all-around game of the season.

The attention now turns toward the away game at Duke this weekend, and, following that, the ACC tournament. UNC has certainly shown progress in the last two games but it was against a team on the downward slide in Wake and one that’s already hit the bottom in Miami. Now Carolina has to show what they’ve learned against a top-5 team that’s fighting for a number one seed in the NCAA tourney. Here’s hoping the Heels have learned plenty from these last two games, because they’re about to be tested in a major way this coming weekend.