At one point right after the Virginia game on Tuesday, I was discussing with the guy next to me the run of great finishes UNC games have had of late. "Yeah, it's been fun," I said, "but I could really use a good 30 point win."
I waited a beat. "When do we play State again?"
In turns out I got my wish a couple of days ahead of schedule. The Tar Heels jumped out to an early lead, extended it as the game wore on, and got the starters a nice spot of vacation on the bench for the closing minutes of a blowout. Even Billy Packer was uncharacteristically doling out praise.
What impressed me was the fluidity with which Carolina played. There was incredible interior passes, a series of blocks made possible by excellent help defense, and a general sense of comfortableness about the team that hasn't been seen in recent games. Even their turnovers seemed to be good ideas that just seemed out of reach - the pass where the angle just wasn't there, the good cut one second too late - then mere poor play. Of course, that could just be the difference between a bad pass when you're up fifteen and the same pass when you're down five.
Stepheson's box score sure was nice, wasn't it? 11 points, nine rebounds and what seems like and endless number of blocks. That's a heartening bit of improvement as we close in on the posteason.