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Joe Ovies

Talking Points: Canes top Heels in thrilling ACC Championship

Posted March 17, 2013

1. My goodness, anyone need a cigarette after that? Quite a show from Miami and North Carolina.

The Hurricanes and Tar Heels provided enough excitement inside Greensboro Coliseum to make everyone forget about some of the slugfests from earlier in the week. These squads also made all the hand-wringing about the state of the ACC Tournament rather moot. Folks simply want to see high-level basketball played by NCAA Tournament worthy teams, and they delivered. 

2. Miami and North Carolina combined for 25 made 3-pointers, besting a finals record set between North Carolina and Wake Forest in 1995. They also tied an overall ACC Tournament record.

Shane Larkin was plain filthy with his four from beyond the arc for Miami. Trey McKinney-Jones was 6-of-9 on 3-pointers, while Rion Brown chipped in two more. 

P.J. Hairston knocked down six 3-pointers for North Carolina, while Reggie Bullock and Marcus Paige combined for six more. 

Hairston Hairston: I'm proud of how we played

In fact, Hairston was in such a zone for the Tar Heels that Roy Williams didn't take him out when he picked up his third and fourth fouls midway through the second half. Considering Williams' affinity for dice games, it made perfect sense to keep the hot hand out on the court.

3. Miami ultimately grabbed momentum away from North Carolina after forcing the Tar Heels into shot-clock violation with 2:40 left in the game. 

The Hurricanes pushed their lead out to 76-71 after Larkin knocked down a jumper on the following possession. The Canes then grabbed a long rebound following Bullock's missed 3-point attempt and McKinney-Jones buried one from outside the ring. The Heels then missed four field goals in the time remaining, including a missed 3-pointer from Hairston under pressure.

4. Despite the loss, North Carolina improved their seeding in the NCAA Tournament with their trip to the ACC Tournament final and will become a trendy "surprise" team for bracketologists.

"Guys, I got no problem with my team." said head coach Roy Williams. "I'm proud of what they've accomplished and how far they've come."

Roy Williams Williams: I'm proud of my team

Analyzing North Carolina's run following the lineup change ultimately becomes an exercise in what fans and pundits choose to highlight. The Heels certainly pass the eyeball test and didn't suffer any bad conference losses. Then again, they also didn't beat a squad better than them during this stretch.

Ultimately, the March cliche holds true – it's all about the matchups going forward. 

5. Miami is the first team from outside the state of North Carolina to win the ACC regular season outright and league tournament. Oddly appropriate considering this was the final year original conference teams will outnumber original Big East teams.

But it's not like the fabric of the ACC Tournament hasn't been evolving since the conference began expanding with Florida State. Florida State and Miami winning it back-to-back years simply crystalizes the change.

This could also be the last of Duke and North Carolina being Championship game staples. The additions of Syracuse, Pittsburgh and Louisville takes the difficulty level of up a notch.

16 Comments

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  • Gunnstigator Mar 18, 3:41 p.m.

    My thoughts this year are: 1) Marcus Paige is twice as good as he was at the begining of the... View More

    — Posted by vile garbage

    Totally agree about Paige and Hairston. Depending on who comes back (hopefully all, but I doubt McAdoo does), Carolina will be really, really good next year. The Heels are SORELY missing a post player. Or two.

    Did Roy make that comment about UNC fans yesterday? If so, that's disappointing. Roy can be thin skinned at times. Won't let that spoil the Tourney for me though. You must have had a BLAST at the game - it sounded very loud on TV. It was a great game to watch, I can't imagine how much fun you must have had watching it in person.

  • dbretz Mar 18, 3:21 p.m.

    To followup with you guys. I never said they didn't play hard for 40 minutes. I would argue that in terms of effort, Roy should have less to complain about with this team than probably any he's coached at UNC. As I said, they don't lay eggs and they don't lose to lesser teams. I simply suggested that they are not good and talented enough to keep up 40 minutes of top performance against the top echelon teams. Lack of depth, by the way, contributes to that lack of talent across the board against the top teams. The point I'm trying to make is that UNC finds themselves in the same spot that most teams playing them in the past have been in. If UNC plays a spectacular 30 minutes or more (like they did in the ACC Championship Game against Miami), it still may not be enough to beat the truly great teams. Again, I base this solely on results.

  • Dookbballskidmarked Mar 18, 7:26 a.m.

    Based strictly on results, is there an easier team in the country to analyze than Carolina in... View More

    — Posted by dbretz

    It isn't that they don't have the talent to beat better teams, they don't have the depth. NC State has suffered from the same problem this season.

  • vile garbage Mar 18, 7:23 a.m.

    My thoughts this year are: 1) Marcus Paige is twice as good as he was at the begining of the year and will be a force to deal with next year. 2) P.J. is the type of player that really helps you win titles, his heart and toughness are unmatched on the team. 3) UNC is one decent big man inside from being a NCAA Championship contender if everyone returns. 4) Roy williams is a conceited coach. I've met the man on numerous occasions and he just has the "I'm better than you" attitude on lockdown. You have all these fans in Greensboro cheering for you, listening for you and cheering you for a job well done and you blast them with "95% of our UNC fans abandoned ship this year" jab.

  • TJPC Mar 17, 11:17 p.m.

    Based strictly on results, is there an easier team in the country to analyze than Carolina in... View More

    — Posted by dbretz

    Spot on!
    My sentiments exactly.
    When Strickland left the game for a well deserved rest
    around the... View More

    — Posted by bernardjaysr

    Not exactly true - I think they have played some really complete 40 minute games. They don't quit...period. It just took a while to get the lineup right this year. And Paige is a freshman point guard who has come a LONG way - expect great things from this young man (and this team) next year. How many teams in college basketball lose the type of talent UNC lost last year and still turn things around like this team did? No one...that's who....Go Heels!

  • bernardjaysr Mar 17, 10:49 p.m.

    Based strictly on results, is there an easier team in the country to analyze than Carolina in... View More

    — Posted by dbretz

    Spot on!
    My sentiments exactly.
    When Strickland left the game for a well deserved rest
    around the ten min mark in the first half, and
    Leslie subbing for him we immediately give up back
    to back 3's. Leslie is a HUGE liability on the
    defensive end. We just do not have horses this year to get it done. That's why Roy could say in the post game interview " I have no problem with how we played." Me either Coach. You go with the hand your dealt.

    go Heels!!!

  • ugottabkiddinme Mar 17, 9:44 p.m.

    Based strictly on results, is there an easier team in the country to analyze than Carolina in... View More

    — Posted by dbretz

    did you watch the tourny...the Heels played for 40 mins in every game...you have to expect the other team will make a run on you at some point....point is they only lost to dook and Maimi since the change AND had they hit their "dog gone" free throws in the 1st dook game they split with dook...maimi just is that good...i like how they say the Heels didn't beat anyone above them in the ACC...well that's not bad when there are only 2...i can live with that in a rebuilding year, can't you?

  • dbretz Mar 17, 8:30 p.m.

    Based strictly on results, is there an easier team in the country to analyze than Carolina in terms of identifying the ceiling and the floor? They don't lay eggs against lesser teams, and they don't quite have the across the board talent level to beat top teams. Really odd to watch a Carolina team and be saying to yourself, "They're playing great, but the won't be able to do it for a full 40 minutes." Because in the past, that's how you normally felt about teams trying to score upsets against UNC.

  • BattlingBishop 5 Mar 17, 6:47 p.m.

    Had the feel of a heavyweight fight. Two teams dropping bombs on one another, momentum going back & forth. Enjoyed watching the game. Good news for the Heels is that they get their nucleus back next season aside from DS.

  • Luv2Camp Mar 17, 6:46 p.m.

    Congrats to Miami. Last year, FSU won the championship. This year, Miami. Good work by the FL schools.

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