- First off, congratulations to Virginia for winning both the ACC regular season and tournament championship. What an accomplishment in the gauntlet that is the Atlantic Coast Conference.
- Beating a disciplined Virginia team is always a tall task; especially when you are playing your fourth game in four days. Just making the championship game was an impressive feat for Carolina and included revenge victories over both Miami and Duke. The victories this week have almost certainly locked up a two seed (hopefully in Charlotte!). Let’s get home, get some rest, and get ready to defend our National Championship.
- Joel Berry and Cameron Johnson, in particular need that rest. Berry was hampered by the ankle he tweaked against Miami and Johnson labored almost the whole night after being landed on also in the Miami game. Coach Williams mercifully pulled Johnson out of the game after he landed hard on the floor (with no foul called) late in the game. Here’s Johnson talking about his injuries:
- Perhaps this is a bias shaped by the baby-blue lens through which I see the game, but it feels as though Virginia consistently gets the benefit of the doubt on a lot of calls because of their reputation for playing tough defense without fouling. An example from tonight was this curious “moving screen” called on Brandon Robinson:
- Luke Maye has moved into tenth on the single season rebounding list for Carolina with 353. Depending on how far Carolina goes in the NCAA Tournament, he has a shot at joining Brice Johnson as the only Tar Heels to snag 400+ rebounds in a single season.
- Really encouraging to see both Berry and Maye get back on track with their outside shooting. Both players hit four three-pointers. Berry now has 89 for the season and, again, depending on how far Carolina goes in the NCAA Tournament, has a shot at joining Justin Jackson as the only Tar Heels to break 100 threes in a single season.
- Staying in the record book, Johnson’s 50th made free throw of the season allows him to qualify in career free throw percentage for Carolina. Johnson slides right into the top slot at 86.2 percent, just above Shammond Williams’ career percentage of 84.9.
- The Tar Heels had 30 points at halftime. Maye had 15 of those.
- Virginia has not allowed an opponent to score 70 this entire season. That is quite a feat.
- Due to Virginia’s slow pace of play, valuing the basketball is at a premium. Carolina turned the ball over 19 times in the first matchup. Tonight they cut that number down to nine. Unfortunately three of those nine were in the first five possessions of the game and set a negative tone.
- Seventh Woods is starting to show some glimpses that he is working back into game shape. Midway through the first half he had a nice tip-out to Kenny Williams for a three. He recorded an athletic block a few minutes later. Perhaps most importantly were his two assists and zero turnovers.
+5 with Woods on the court, and -9 with Woods on the bench; just like we all thought entering the game!
— Adrian Atkinson (@FreeportKid) March 11, 2018
- Garrison Brooks also continues to show progress and maturation. He followed up his impressive performance against Duke with 14 solid minutes tonight. His numbers weren’t as notable, but he hit several free throws and continues to play active defense. Let’s just agree not to talk about that bunny he missed.
- For the most part, Carolina did a good job trying to attack the rim instead of settling for outside shots. However, four games in four days will do a number on your legs so the normal level of explosiveness was absent.
- It’s defense that Virginia is known for, but I’m here to tell you that their offense is precise, methodical, and efficient. Kyle Guy is a special shooter. Could this be the year Tony Bennett’s team is finally able to make a deep March run?
Roy Williams’ post-game press conference:
Remember to check in for Quick Hitters after every North Carolina basketball game. The Tar Heels’ next game will be some time on Thursday, March 15 or Friday, March 16 in the First Round of the NCAA Tournament. The brackets will be revealed on Sunday, March 11 at 6:00ET on TBS.