UNC-Md: The Good & Bad

GREENSBORO – The youngest team in major college basketball just got one game older, as North Carolina, which has started five different freshmen this season, defeated Maryland, which has started five seniors at a time, 84-72, in the quarterfinals of the ACC tournament at the Greensboro Coliseum

The seventh-seeded Tar Heels sent the second-seeded Terrapins packing early and suddenly Carolina finds itself on the verge of getting back in the NCAA tournament selection committee "war room" and with a win over rival Duke, will advance to the tournament finals and have a shot at earning the league's automatic bid to the Big Dance.

Here is a look at the good and the bad of UNC's 17th win in 31 games.

GOOD

Melvin Scott – Scott had a career-high 19 points in 35 minutes of action. He nailed UNC's two biggest shots: down 40-33 with Maryland on an 8-0 run closing out the first half Scott drilled a 3 with 38 seconds left in the half and the Heels trailed just 40-36 at the intermission; Behind 48-43 and the Terps on a 7-0 run looking like they were on the verge of a possible game-clinching run Scott sank a trey that began a 10-2 UNC run that led to Carolina taking the lead for good at 53-50 with on a 3 by Raymond Felton. Despite UNC turning the ball over 23 times, Scott had none.

Raymond Felton – Felton was once again the consummate warrior, willing his team to victory. He scored 20 points and had 10 assists, but perhaps most impressively is how he handled UNC's offense in the last five minutes. His wizardry had to evoke images of Phil Ford to many UNC fans. Felton turned the ball over eight times, but coach Mat Doherty will certainly take that if the rest of his game is there.

Jawad Williams – Williams put on a show that doesn't befit his laid back, almost shy personality. He was dropping 3s and ramming home impressive jams to the tune of 25 points, and showed some fire in the process. He only had three rebounds but one reason UNC outboarded the Terps is because of his consistent boxing out.

Rashad McCants – McCants should be commended for playing within himself, taking just nine shots and not forcing any but one attempt. He finished with 12 points and a surprising 11 rebounds. His defense was solid and his floor game was competent.

David Noel – Noel's floor game – save for four turnovers – was exceptional. He tallied just eight points, but also had eight rebounds and five assists. He also blocked two shots and had three swipes. In 37 minutes Noel shot just four times, an example of his patience and understanding of what his role is, even if it changes from time to time. His defense was excellent in the second half.

2nd half Defense – Carolina's defense in the second half was sensational. The Tar Heels forced Maryland into 12 turnovers, in which they turned them into 19 points. UNC didn't let Maryland run its stuff and frustrated the Terps to the point where they looked lifeless. Noel said the Heels worked on stopping the Terps all week and each time a player messed up he had to run. He said by the end of the week they knew Maryland's offense like the backs of their hands. Sure looked like it!

Rebounding – Carolina outrebounded Maryland 40-30. Again, Carolina outrebounded Maryland 40-30. One more time, Carolina outrebounded Maryland 40-30. Had the Heels been within seven rebounds of the Terps that would have been considered a success, but to outboard them, and do so by 10? That's truly amazing.

"Delay" game – Carolina's delay game in the last six minutes didn't appear on the surface the right thing to do. After all, images of Miami came to a few minds no doubt. But the Heels handled it exceptionally well. Felton and Williams looked like they have been together for years executing this formation.

Gifts = points – The Tar Heels forced Maryland into 17 turnovers for the game, 12 in the second half. They scored 27 points off of those giveaways for the game, an astounding 19 in the second half. The Heels have rarely looked more active and athletic all year, and consider they did this with Manuel and Sean May out with injuries.

Shot selection – The Tar Heels have improved their shot selection in the last few games, even including to an extent the loss at Wake Forest. Many good looks came out of the offense – yes folks, they ran a lot of set stuff tonight – and many were the result of increased patience, and as Scott said, maturity.

3-point shooting - UNC was 11-23 (47.8 percent) from beyond the arc. Scott was 5-7, Felton 3-9, Williams 2-5, and McCants 1-1. UNC's improved ball movement and actual movement without the ball led to more open looks than they usually get.

Terps' put-backs - Maryland had 12 offensive rebounds but finished with just six second-chance points. Carolina limited Duke to similar numbers last Sunday.

Matt Doherty - Amid speculation over his job security and reports about relationship issues within the UNC basketball family Doherty has been able to knock off both Duke and now Maryland, clearly the most difficult of the two tasks when taking into consideration matchups. UNC's defensive strategy worked very well and the "delay" game worked beautifully. Credit the coaching staff for getting the team ready.

BAD

Turnovers – The Tar Heels committed 23 turnovers, 12 in the first half and 11 in the second. Maryland scored 26 points off of turnovers – 17 in the first half nine in the second. They gave the ball away five times in the first five minutes of the game and didn't look sharp with the ball.

First 5 mins – UNC had five turnovers and only had two field goal attempts around the cylinder in the game's first five minutes. They ran offensive sets early, but didn't really look ready to play. They appeared a step slow on both ends of the floor in getting down 9-2. In fact, it looked like Maryland was going to waste no time in blowing them out.

Jackie Manuel's injury - Manuel's injury may not have hurt the Heels much on Friday, but it will on Saturday if he can't play against Duke. Manuel played one of his best floor games in last Sunday's win over the Blue Devils, and his quickness and rebounding ability from the two-spot would be crucial.

Terps dishes – Despite Carolina being well prepared for Maryland's offense and doing a very fine job, the Terrapins still registered 20 assists on the night, with Steve Blake getting 10. Maryland reserves added eight assists to the Terps arsenal.

Press offense – The Heels struggled for a stretch with its press offense late on the game as Maryland was trying to come back. But Doherty said the players wanted to switch sets and from there on it worked out well. However, Doherty might want to recognize that first next time.

UP NEXT

The Tar Heels next face Duke in the semifinals on Saturday at 4 p.m. The game will be televised regionally by Raycom and nationally by ESPN.


Senior writer Andrew Jones is in his seventh year with Inside Carolina. He also covers the ACC for the Wilmington Star-News/Morning Star and can be reached via e-mail at: AndrewJones@AM630.net.


Inside Carolina Top Stories