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Off the cuff: Kentucky made a lot of upforced errors but during the first half, Carolina's aggressive defense was causing the Wildcats' problems. That stretch was probably about as good as this team can play without Tyler Hansbrough in the lineup.

It looks as if Hansbrough will be back for the Maui Invitational next week. The enthusiasm for the win and the fact that Hansbrough is likely to return soon was dampened by the Zeller injury. Coach Williams said it was a hard foul but not a dirty foul. However, Thompson felt that with 1:26 to go, the defender should have just let Zeller get the dunk rather than contesting it, especially so hard.

While the Heels shot only 41 percent from the field, they did sink seven of 13 three-pointers to make up for the missed two-point field goals. And while the Heels were outrebounded 37-35, they got 16 offensive rebounds. If you win the offensive rebound battle, you usually win.

I like Dick Vitale, I really do, but my goodness, his mind flits from here to yonder in micro-seconds. I'd really prefer that the announcers talk about the teams playing and the action on the court.

That being said, it was interesting to read the letter on screen from Mike Krzyzewski to "Mike" Jordan after Jordan decided he didn't want to go to Duke. Coach K wrote: "Dear Mike: I am sorry to hear that you no longer have an interest in learning more about Duke University, however I do want you to know that my staff and I wish you the very best in your college career. You are a fine young man and you should make an immediate impact on whatever you choose. Take care, and best of luck. Sincerely, Mike Krzyzewski."

By the way, actress and Kentucky fan Ashley Judd didn't look as good as a Carolina girl two rows behind her.

Heels 77, Wildcats 58
Carolina jumps on Kentucky early; Zeller hurt

No. 1 North Carolina jumped on Kentucky early, getting out to a 15-2 lead, and cruised to a 77-58 victory at home. (11/18)

The two programs have more wins than any other in college basketball history. The Tar Heels still trail the Wildcats in all-time wins 1,966 to 1,951. But Carolina controlled this matchup, taking advantage of 28 Kentucky turnovers.

UNC's Deon Thompson hit double figures in scoring in just the first seven minutes of the game as he scored his 10th point on a dunk to make it 19-4 with 12:59 left in the first half.

A Ty Lawson to Wayne Ellington alley-oop dunk on a fastbreak put the Heels up 25-6 but the largest lead of the half came on a Will Graves three-pointer from the corner with 1:35 left to make it 41-21.

The Heels led 41-25 at the half and the lead hovered between 13 and 18 points throughout the second half. The lead hit 21 points once when Thompson sank a turn-around jumper to make it 52-31 with 13:30 to play.

The bad news for Carolina came with 1:26 to go when Tyler Zeller was fouled hard as he went in to try a dunk. Zeller fell awkwardly on his left hand and wrist. He immediately went to the hospital for x-rays and Coach Roy Williams said, "it doesn't look good."

The Heels are already without All-America Tyler Hansbrough, who should be back soon, and Marcus Ginyard, who is out until at least December.

Thompson led the way with 20 points (a career high) and nine rebounds while Ellington scored 16. Lawson tallied 11 points, dished out nine assists and had three steals.

Carolina shot only 41 percent from the field and 67 percent from the free throw line. The big difference was that Kentucky turned the ball over and the Heels shot the ball 70 times compared to only 45 for the Wildcats.

"All in all it was a good first 10-12 minutes," Williams said. "We meandered around after that."

Williams said he was pleased with the enthusiasm and intensity of the team defensively during that early spurt.

The Heels play next at UC-Santa Barbara on Friday night on their way to the Maui Invitational.

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