Off the cuff: Normally, you'd think a Carolina team would easily handle UNC-G at home. But the way this season has gone, Tar Heel fans would do well to not over expect.
After all, the Heels have played well against good teams and fair to poor against so-so or poor teams.
But the Tar Heels didn't disappoint and whipped UNC-G. They went on a 25-1 run in the first half and a 19-6 run in the second half to keep it from being too interesting.
Going into the game, Coach Roy Williams said he didn't talk about scoring or winning or anything like that. "I talked about having more concentration and more intensity and I thought we did that," he said.
And what you expect from a game like this is to improve. "We did improve," Williams said. "We got better and that's our goal right now."
What a win for Carolina. Not only was it on the road, it was against the No. 1 team in the country, without PJ Hairston, and coming off a demoralizing loss.
The Tar Heels, all of whom seem to have been in Coach Roy Williams' doghouse since the UAB effort or lack thereof, played harder against Michigan State and even looked to be the superior team.
They may not have had the superior talent but they had the superior team. (Coach Williams is now 6-0 against Tom Izzo's Michigan State teams.) Five guys scored in double figures and none of them was James Michael McAdoo.
You could tell that McAdoo was putting forth a better effort but his shooting, both from the field and the free throw line, remains a concern.
But nevermind on this night. When North Carolina blew a 14-point lead in the first half, fans must have thought the Spartans would take over in the second half.
But Carolina hung tough, never giving up the lead and seemed to be the better conditioned team.
The Tar Heels played hard and tough and that might have to be the team's calling card this year because it's not looking like the Heels will be getting Hairston back.
Some unconfirmed reports have Hairston being disqualified for the season by the NCAA with an announcement coming very soon.
So, while the Tar Heels can be confounding, we can at least see how the team could survive and thrive as the young guys continue to mature.
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Carolina drubs Wes Miller's UNC-G club
UNC-Greensboro, coached by former Tar Heel player Wes Miller, held tough with North Carolina for the first 10 minutes but over the next 10 minutes the Tar Heels turned a four-point game into a 44-14 halftime lead on the way to an 81-50 win at home. (12/7)
UNC-G didn't score over the last five minutes of the first half while Carolina scored 20 points, including 10 from Marcus Paige.
The Heels forced 21 turnovers and for the second game in a row placed five men in double figures. One of those in double figures this time was James Michael McAdoo who has been struggling. McAdoo still struggled at the free throw line but scored 13 points.
"It's the first time in five games he's been in double figures," UNC coach Roy Williams said. "I just don't want James Michael to pressure himself. I told him, 'just be a basketball player and do the best you can do.'"
McAdoo looked like the McAdoo of old, especially during a short stretch in the second half. He scored inside, then scored outside with a high arching jumper and seconds later threw one up and over to Brice Johnson for a bucket.
Johnson came off the bench to lead the Tar Heels in scoring with 14 points. Paige and Kennedy Meeks' 12 points and Nate Britt's 11 points rounded out the Carolina players in double figures.
While North Carolina outclassed UNC-G, Coach Williams says that the Spartans' Miller is going to be "a big-time coach."
The Tar Heels, now 6-2, plays Kentucky next Saturday.
Confounding Heels whup No. 1 MSU
A hard-to-figure North Carolina team went into Lansing, Michigan and whipped up on No. 1 Michigan State by a commanding 79-65 score. (12/4)
Coming off a lackluster loss to UAB, UNC coach Roy Williams said he was afraid they might get beat by a thousand points. But the Tar Heels started strong, withstood a Spartan rally and played hard down the stretch to win going away.
Carolina, which has looked weak and a step behind in two bad losses, was far and away the tougher team in this one, outhustling, outrebounding and ultimately outscoring the nation's No. 1 team on their home floor. The Spartans had won 22 straight at home against non-conference teams and 35 straight against unranked teams.
The up-and-down confounding Tar Heels will undoubtedly be back in the top 25 this week.
"We were really good," Coach Williams said. "We were active, especially on the boards, and disciplined." The Tar Heels outrebounded the Spartans 49-38.
He said he's been angry since the UAB loss but this time his team wanted it more than the other team.
The Heels jumped out to a 6-0 lead and worked the lead up to 20-6 nine minutes in after Brice Johnson scored six straight off the bench.
The Spartans, who missed six of its first seven shots, finally got their footing and chipped away at the lead, ultimately going on a 13-2 lead to end the half and tie it at 32.
The score was tied at 38 early in the second half when JP Tokoto blocked a shot on one end and Nate Britt through cross court to Marcus Paige for a driving layup. He also drew a foul and hit the foul shot to put UNC up 41-38.
It stayed close for another 10 minutes but the Spartans never took the lead or even tied it again.
With the Heels up 53-51 midway through the second half, all the players on the court looked gassed except for UNC's Tokoto who scored six straight to put the Heels in control at 59-51 before MSU took a timeout with 7:55 to go.
UNC upped the margin to 13 at 65-52 after a Marcus Paige three and a Kennedy Meeks muscle shot inside with fewer than six minutes left.
The crowd started leaving early as the Spartans couldn't get it closer than nine the rest of the way.
Meeks led five Heels in balanced scoring with 15 points. Johnson tallied 14. Marcus Paige and Nate Britt chipped in 13 while Tokoto finished with 12 points and a team-leading 10 rebounds.
The Tar Heels, now 5-2, hosts UNC-Greensboro Saturday at 7 p.m.
© 2013 CB3media Cary, NC
Heel Prints reviewed each UNC game
As a student sports editor years ago, prior to the season, Clifton Barnes predicted a national championship for the Tar Heels and indeed they won. In fact he wrote his lede paragraph for the national championship game almost a year early. He regrets that he didn't keep a journal after each game. He kept a journal after each game of the 2007-2008 season and you can reach them here. At the request of readers, he has kept up his journal of each game ever since. He also has written about UNC baseball and wrote an analysis after each 2008 UNC football game.
Editor's Note: HeelPrints chronicled the UNC basketball, baseball and football seasons for 2008 and 2009. Since the vast majority of comments I get about the site relate to basketball and since this isn't a paying job for me, I decided to limit my coverage and analysis to basketball. Baseball and football will remain archived and if I have comments or opinions I want to make on those or any other sports at UNC, I will make them here on the front page and then archive them in the corresponding sports section. Thanks for all the positive comments I have received about the site. Should I get sponsorship in the future, I will reconsider adding baseball and football again. Ironically, my favorite sports to watch in person are baseball and football. But my first connections to UNC came from watching Dean Smith's basketball teams on TV or listening to them on the radio in the days before all the games were televised. It should come as no surprise that people pay more attention to the basketball coverage. Thanks for your interest in this site.