Home Page banner.cb3cartoon.

Off the cuff: After hearing Coach Williams throw out a "damn," a "crap" and a "Jesus Christ" in the post-game news conference, it became obvious (if it weren't already) that this is not your father's Tar Heels (or Dean Smith's for that matter).

This game, on ESPNU, was presented in part by 16 broadcast students at UNC. In general, the production was outstanding and actually better than the over-produced FSN games.

Student announcer Walter Storholt was very, very good. The two things that bothered me were his use of the term "air ball" - if you've read my stuff before you know that Duke cheer is a pet peeve of mine - and the fact that he overused the words "Dean Dome." A professional journalist really should call it the Smith Center except on rare occasions when the informally fits and, no, it doesn't always fit. That being said, I thought he was better than both Mike Gleason, who is normally good but I think he was thrown off by the three-person announcing team, and color analyst Fran Fraschilla, who was awful.

Fraschilla went on and on discussing issues better suited for a talk show while action was going on. Several times there were points scored and it was never announced who scored because Fraschilla was running his mouth about which players and teams are the best in the country. Of course Gleason was egging him on by asking questions unrelated to the game. UNC-A had a chance to cut the deficit to eight, and while play is going on, Gleason asked him if Kenny George had a chance to play at the next level.

Fraschilla called Hansbrough "Hansburrow" the entire night. He also called the UNC-A coach "Bee-den-back" when it's pronounced "Bee-den-bah."

Again, the UNC students' camerawork and production (except for an ill-conceived split screen which shrunk the game action twice for a minute) was excellent. As for the floor announcers - what can I say nice - Katie Miller is attractive and Adam Rhew is enthusiastic. A piece of constructive criticism for Miller, don't over-rehearse and if you do, don't look like you've over-rehearsed. A piece of constructive criticism for Rhew, don't blink so much.

Now that the ACC season has begun, you don't blink either for it will be over before you know it.

Heels 93, Bulldogs 81
It turned out to be a "tall" order to win this one

Coach Roy Williams gave a lot of credit to UNC-Asheville but he was very dissatisfied with his Tar Heels' defense in a 93-81 victory at home. (1/9)

The No. 1 Tar Heels went to 16-0 in their last non-conference game of the regular season. The next 15 regular season games will be against ACC foes beginning Saturday at home against N.C. State.

Carolina had trouble with 7-foot-7 Kenny George, who blocked four shots and altered many others. George, who was a non-factor when the two teams played last year, was able to disrupt the Tar Heels' offense, which passed the ball outside several times instead of dealing with George's huge frame.

"He changed a bunch of our shots," Coach Williams said. "It was hard to take a normal shot and to take it to the basket."

Still, it looked as if the Tar Heels would easily surpass 100 points before a late rash of turnovers and an inability to stop the Bulldogs' penetration to the hoop.

The Tar Heels never trailed, however, opening up their first double-digit lead at 20-10 on a Wayne Elliington fast-break bucket with 13:25 left in the first half.

Despite a couple of threes by Danny Green, Asheville went on a 15-8 run to cut the lead to three at 28-25 on a Bryan Smithson three.

But the Tar Heels went on a 9-2 run to up the advantage to 10 at 37-27 following a nifty fake and drive to the hoop for a layup by Ty Lawson with less than six minutes to go in the half. It never got closer than five the rest of the half (and the game for that matter) as Carolina upped the margin to 13 at the half at 53-40.

Three minutes into the second half the Heels ran it to 61-45 following a Lawson three pointer. But the highlight of the run probably was a drive to the hoop and dunk by Tyler Hansbrough over George. The point differential stayed about the same until the last six or seven minutes when Carolina turned the ball over several times and K.J. Garland drained a three to cut the lead to 10 at 84-74 with 5:30 to play.

The Bulldogs had several opportunities to get the deficit to single digits but could not score. Lawson drives to the hoop and a few free throws by Tyler Hansbrough gave the Heels a 19-point cushion at 93-74 with two minutes to play. But Carolina was outscored 7-0 the rest of the way as UNC-A actually won the second half by a point.

Smithson led all scorers with 25 points while teammate Garland added 16 for UNC-Asheville, which fell to 11-4. George scored 14 points and pulled down 11 rebounds. Hansbrough wound up with 23 points and Ellington tallied 19. But Lawson may have been the player of the game as he scored 17 points, dished out seven assists and had no turnovers, while singlehandedly changing the pace of the game to the upstyle that the Tar Heels like.

But the defense again proved to be a sore spot for the Heels despite a 45-34 rebounding advantage. The Bulldogs shot 53 percent for the game compared to 43 percent for the Heels. "We've gotta get a heck of a lot better at guarding the basketball," Coach Williams said. "With 15 straight ACC games coming up, we've got to raise our level of play."

Carolina managed to get through the first half with only one turnover before losing the ball eight times in the second half.

Only six Tar Heels played more than 11 minutes as depth continues to be an issue. Alex Stepheson, who has missed a couple of games dealing with his father's health issues, was not effective as he fouled out after playing just eight minutes and scoring a basket. Deon Thompson meanwhile was just three of 14 from the field but he did pull down nine rebounds. On the other hand, super sub Danny Green scored 14 points, had seven assists, six rebounds and three steals.

Check out the game box score and a game photo gallery.
Take a look at other game articles.
Read my Tar Heels' season preview on WRAL.com by clicking here.

© 2007 CB3media Cary, NC