From the tip-off to the first TV timeout was some of the more impressive UNC basketball I've seen in awhile. The rest of the game also left an impression, but not of the same variety.
On the bright side, I doubt there will be a game this year where the Tar Heels are blown out. To even put up the lead Gonzaga has, which reached 16 at the nadir, requires incredibly good play and a load of effort, and said effort can't be kkept up for long stretches. Not against a team this deep and talented, which is why the last ten minutes was a series of poor Bulldog shots and excessive fouling - it's an impossible pace to keep up.
Of course, the Heels won't win that many games where Hansbrough disappears as thoroughly as he did last night. Couple that with the return of the perimeter shooting problem from last year - the amount of rushed three-pointers was painful to watch - and no Gonzaga collapse would be complete enough to give Carolina the game. There were plenty of young mistakes (although Reyshawn Terry's out of bounds drive under two minutes can't be blamed on youth) and an experienced opponent adjusted and took advantage of them. The better team on the court won.
UNC gets their border clash with Tennessee on Friday all the same, as Butler continued its Cinderella run. The Heels should be able to bounce back, unless they overdose on turkey, against a young Vols team. Here's hoping.