And It All Starts Anew-UNC Basketball Has Arrived


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And it all starts anew.

Another season of famed Tar Heel hoops is upon us and last night will go down as a special memory, not because of anything spectacular that occurred, but because of the unique circumstances of the endeavor. Here are some thoughts about opening night.

The USS Carl Vinson is a magnificent vessel, but she definitely shone in even greater glory and cemented a unique little tidbit in our nation’s history at the very least, and something that will become a national treasure if turned into an annual event.  Michigan State played with more intensity, Carolina with much greater poise. Carolina knew coming in they were better. Michigan State got their best shot in and the Heels shrugged it off without flinching. Not the most aesthetic of contests, but what did you expect?

The pre-game pageantry of the event ran a little long and I think in the end it made it difficult for both teams, particularly the Heels to get into any sort of groove early. It was well and fine that President Obama addressed the crowd, but his little stump speech came off a too political for my taste. Save it for the campaign trail Barack. It was almost 7:30 before the game finally tipped and the contest had an even tougher time finding a rhythm thanks to the necessity for the ceremony that followed the first TV timeout for the change to evening colors. Now that was a great moment, but again it took the starch out of Carolina’s sails in particular. If this is done again next year, get all the pre game hoopla handled before the game officially hits the air, that way the change of colors can occur at or at least closer to halftime which I think will add more power to the ceremony.

Michigan States ability to dominate the offensive glass did come off as somewhat of a concern. Tom Izzo’s teams have always been physical and are tremendous at the fundamental aspects of the game. The problem is Carolina will play many other opponents who are just as physical but also more gifted and able to better take advantage of the extra chances. This is something that will have to be addressed. I think the issue is just being a little more physical and standing your ground.

John Henson is a beast and his ability to alter shots is getting better with every passing game. Tyler Zeller looks to have gained about 10 lbs of muscle but he needs to do a better job of using it on the glass, but he is more than happy to sacrifice his body. Unlike the evil empire which flop like Futbol players from Argentina Zeller looks only too happy to take a hit for the team.

Truly impossible to gauge the offense as a whole, but shooting 47% percent aggregate bodes well especially under the circumstances.. Free throw shooting is probably going to be a concern. 15-23 will lose you a lot of 3-5 point games.

Holding an opponent to under 31% shooting is effective in a gym, on an aircraft carrier or over at the local blacktop. Last night though Carolina did that and did not really have to break a sweat as Michigan State literally could not throw it in the ocean. I am waiting to see what the pressure packages look like this season.

I have a feeling doing this on the deck will be a onetime deal. Do not be surprised at all if next year, if the Navy even signs off on this again, the game is in the hanger. I hope this event survives, and maybe even garner a copycat or two. Anyone up for playing the Duke game in 2013 in Kenan Stadium???? Or even the Duke finale in Wallace Wade this season? Anyone know where to get a good transparent bubble about 50” high at its apex on short notice???

Speaking of the evil empire. They nearly took the pipe against little ole Belmont AGAIN. One of these days Duke will be Weber Stated. I relish that event. The match up next week with these same Spartans will be a much better gauge of how the competition stacks up.

Football off weeks suck, but this one could not have come at a better juncture. I have concerns however as to how much ‘want to’ is left in this staff and roster. Everyone knows the coaches are playing out the string and that the vast majority of them will not be back next year. This week against Virginia Tech everyone will put their best foot forward.  But if that is not enough, and I don’t think it will because I think Tech is better fundamentally, just how much will anyone care about the finale against the Yankee Daycare Center and/or whatever department store chain bowl game the Heels are given in the social promotion of the modern Bowl system.

UNC 67 Michigan State 55 FINAL

Box Score

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