UNC was rested. UNC was relaxed. Elon was really, really bad.
Although not as bad as you'd think. Ken Pomeroy puts them roughly equal to Appalachian State, and much better than previous and future opponents Nicholls St. and Monmouth. But Carolina came out focused, unlike their earlier December games and used a first-half 23-0 run to put the Phoenix away quickly. It was good for a record-tying 25th straight win in the Dean Dome, and there was very little to complain about. When pressed for something, Roy Wiliams criticized the shooting (47% from the field, 36% from three, and 68% from the line) but praised the defense. And of course Blue Steel nearly stumbled, entering the game with three minutes remaining and the team two points shy of 100. The guys off the bench could not find the basket, and ended up getting to biscuits on two non-consecutive free throws.
Tyler Zeller led all scorers with 19 points, along with nine offensive rebounds and 13 overall. John Henson had his sixth double-double of the year, and Harrison Barnes finished with 18 points and some monster dunks despite coming off a stomach bug.
Probably the best way to appreciate this game is to compare it with others around the ACC. N.C. State, coming off of a similar break, struggled with Campbell before pulling away late. Campbell is a better team than Elon, but still worse than almost everyone in the ACC. And Harvard fell into an early 17-3 hole before putting Boston College away for the fourth straight year. Remember, Harvard is ranked and BC is the Elon-quality team in this game. Luckily, Wake was able to squeak by Yale to salvage the ACC's pride against the Ivy League.
All in all a very good performance from the Heels. The continue the motif of bad teams with bird mascots with Monmouth and Boston College next week, and then we can get to the meat of the schedule.