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UNC 79 UVa 69

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Wow was that ugly.

Most of my thoughts were in the live blog. Basically UNC missed numerous easy baskets and Virginia had their offense working early in the game to stake nine point lead. UNC rallied to lead by two at halftime and following a quick burst to start the second half UNC shut Virginia down forcing them into scoring droughts of three and five minutes at seperate points in the second half. In this game it was the defense which forced 17 turnovers on 12 steals that kept UNC rolling despite the fact the offense was only hitting 38% of their shots, some of them easy layups.

The other aspect of this game, which should be taken as a huge encouragement, is that in the face of a struggling starting lineup, Roy Williams turned to Green, Ginyard, Thompson and Thomas who put in a defensive effort and sufficient contributions on offense. In fact if you look at the box score, the lines for these four players are not that impressive but watching the game, you understand how their contributions fit into the game and gave the Heels the offense and defense they needed amid a horrible shooting night for Wayne Ellington and Reyshawn Terry was well as having Ty Lawson generally struggle with the flow of the game.

The lesson here is that UNC has many interchangeable players and while the best bet is to always go with Wright, Hansbrough et.al, what we saw tonight was how the contributions of the bench can bolster the team when those starters are coming up short.