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Off the cuff: I had kinda dismissed the notion that Tyler Hansbrough could become the ACC's all-time leading scorer. But if the Heels play a couple of ACC tournament games and at least a couple of NCAA tournament games, I think he can do it. He needs to average about 18 a game. Of course he has to stay healthy and play every game. He currently averages more than 22 points a game (but scoring averages traditionally go down during ACC play). It would be nice if he could accomplish the feat before the NCAA tourney.

Some people are downplaying the fact that Carolina might be back on the right track by beating "lowly" Virginia. After all, the Cavs were predicted last in the sportswriters' ACC preseason poll. Of course Boston College was predicted next to last and the Tar Heels lost to them. UVA is probably at least as good as BC. It was more the way Carolina played than who they were playing. The Heels are back on track and just in time with games coming against Miami and Clemson.

Both are strong this year. Some people snickered when I wrote in my preseason article that I thought Clemson would finish above Miami. Maybe they won't but that prediction is looking pretty good right now. The Tigers are 16-0 and one of only three NCAA Division 1 teams undefeated (and they have played some quality opponents). Meanwhile Miami is 13-3 and has already lost to Clemson 91-72.

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Heels 83, Cavaliers 61
UNC to the rest of the ACC - We're back

North Carolina's big two - Tyler Hansbrough and Ty Lawson - came under scrutiny after two losses to start the ACC season but they, and the rest of the Tar Heels, were back in form during an 83-61 blowout of Virginia in Charlottesville. (1/15)

An aggressive Hansbrough scored 28 points, 15 of them from the foul line, and hauled in 12 rebounds, five of them on the offensive board. Meanwhile, a more fluid Lawson scored 19, including three three-pointers, and dished out nine assists while not turning the ball over. Carolina as a team had nine assists in the loss to Wake Forest earlier in the week.

Danny Green, who scored seven of the team's first 10 points, ended with 13 points and four assists while Wayne Ellington also tallied 13 points and had five assists.

Using crisp passing and fast break transition baskets, the Tar Heels ran out to a quick 14-2 lead in the first five minutes of the game.

A pair of threes by Mustapha Farrakhan got Virginia back in the game at 14-10 but soon thereafter he must have felt like a million men marched on him.

Carolina got the lead back up to double digits on a fast break pass from Green to Ellington to make it 26-16. UNC got the lead up to 13 on a Hansbrough dunk off a nice pass from Ellington to make it 44-31 with 2:18 to go in the half.

The largest lead of the half came when Ed Davis hit a short bank shot to make it 48-33 with 45 seconds left in the half.

Ahead by 14, 50-36 at the half, the Tar Heels got the lead up to 21 at 59-38 in the first three minutes of the second half. Good ball movement led to a Lawson three to get the lead up to 62-38.

With 14 minutes left, Carolina took its biggest lead of the game at 67-40 on a driving fastbreak layup by Lawson. The TV highlight of the second half came with just over 12 minutes to play when Green slammed in a thunderous dunk follow.

Virginia shot just 30 percent for the game including only four of 25 from three-point range. Carolina's defense shut down freshman sensation Sylven Landesberg, who has averaged more than 18 points a game. Landesberg, who went just one of nine from the floor, was held to two points.

Carolina went to the hoop aggressively, got fouled and went 24 of 28 from the line. The Heels' strategy was to get the ball inside and shoot quickly or get it back outside.

Hansbrough said that after the Wake Forest loss, the team wanted to come out in this game and prove themselves.

Coach Roy Williams said his team was pretty doggone good. "It feels so much better," he said. "That was good basketball for us, especially in the first half."

Carolina moves to 15-2 overall and 1-2 in the conference while Virginia falls to 7-7 and 1-2 in league play.

The Tar Heels' next three opponents have a combined 43-6 record. Carolina hosts Miami Saturday at 9 p.m.


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