UNC's first-half play made me wonder if the team will mature enough to get there sooner. But letting Michigan State get back into the game in the second half reminded me that this team still is young and must learn to put teams away.The Heels have to start making their free throws, particularly against the toughest teams.
A pretty satisfying 89-82 win even if the Heels gave me a scare at the end.
Roy Williams obviously wanted to use his depth to try to wear down Michigan State and push the tempo. How else do you explain Leslie McDonald playing five minutes after never getting off the bench in the win over Nevada?
Ginyard was outstanding if he did nothing on the offensive end with the way he harassed Kalin Lucas. If there's are thoughts that Lucas is an All-America candidate, they might go away if he had Marcus guarding him on a nightly basis.
But Marcus also played well on the offensive end, including an amazing spin move to the hoop in the first half.
I've said that Deon Thompson needs to become a go-to guy for UNC inside that Tyler Hansbrough was last year and, in the last couple of games in particular, he's shown that he has the ability to be that sort of player. In the first half, his +/- was +17. That turnover with about 1:30 left was irritating, though, and he did make a few unfortunate decisions down the stretch..
When you add the impressive moves Ed Davis displayed in this game (22 points, 6 rebounds), it has to make it even easier for Deon (14 points) with teams having to plan to deal with both of them.
There was a stretch of the first half when Henson showed aggressiveness and, with his wing span and ability, you could see him starting to show more confidence.
I'd still like to see UNC rebound better and cut down on the turnovers. I sure hope more opponents dare to play man-to-man against the Heels!
Overall, a pretty impressive game against a Spartans team I was worried would beat the Tar Heels.
And Luke Winn points out that:
The Spartans allowed 1.14 points per possession to the Tar Heels on Tuesday -- the exact same amount the '08-09 State team allowed to a far superior UNC club in the national title game in Detroit. The ultra- efficient foursome of Tyler Hansbrough, Ty Lawson, Danny Green and Wayne Ellington are all gone, but the Heels were still equally as effective.
Time will tell if that had more to do with the Heels' offense, the Spartans' defense or was simply a combination.