It's a almost midnight on the east coast. UNC is playing basketball and I am trying to stay awake for the game. Hit it!
11:45 PM: Ten minutes to tip on ESPNU which I am able to watch at the in-laws house in Maryland. I consider this preparation for the NCAA Tournament when I undoubtedly will be forced to stay up to 2 AM blogging a tourney game UNC is in.
11:47 PM: If UNC win they get BYU who knocked off #6 Louisville. The Cardinals were ranked #6 based on the preseason makeup of the team which has been alter by the loss of David Padgett. I am not sure to what extent that affected UL but it is clear they are no longer a top ten team, at least for now anyway.
11:53 PM: I am wondering if we are going to get a late tip since South Alabama and San Diego still need to finish their game.
11:57 PM: (Taps foot)
Midnight: Would the sixteen combined fans watching from these two schools really care if they cut away early?
12:02 AM: Assuming UNC gets past ODU, BYU is going to be a tough opponent. Not a pushover by any stretch of the imagination.
12:04 AM: Regular starting five for UNC. Heels controls the tip.
12:05 AM: Deon Thompson puts UNC on the board with a nice turn around jumper followed by Lawson taking it coast-to-coast to put UNC up 4-0.
12:06 AM: Lawson hot early, 14 foot jumper gives him four of UNC's first six points. ODU answers with two FTs to make it 6-4.
12:08 AM: Nice ball movement from UNC. Thompson passes out of the double team to Ginyard over to Lawson for three. Johnson for ODU answers to make it 9-7. Hansbrough being Hansbrough to extend the lead to four.
12:09 AM: Lawson coming down off the Thompson steal perhaps feeling the shot a bit too much and shooting in the lane for a miss. I thought he could have done more looking for an open man there. ODU's Johnson hits a second three to make it 11-10 which takes us to the first TV timeout. UNC will have the ball after the commercials.
12:12 AM: Roy probably wishes they would let him do one interview on the HOF so he does not have to do it every game.
12:13 AM: ODU leads 12-11 and a fairly passive defensive effort from UNC. Lawson allowed the penetration which then led to an easy basket.
12:14 AM: Ellington picks up the tipped pass and hits the jumper to put UNC back up 13-12. Ellington's shot looks so much better this season. More confidence it will go down. Johnson for ODU hits another jumper to reclaim the lead.
12:15 AM: Danny Green on the line, hits one and misses the second. Game tied at 14.
12:17 AM: Heels giving up some offensive rebounds and being outhustled a bit early on.
12:18 AM: Alex Stepheson dunks for the two point lead and I am not entirely sure he jumped to do it.
12:19 AM: ODU taking advantage of some hot shooting from Johnson and UNC out of sync to take a two point lead.
12:20 AM: 2nd TV timeout comes after Lawson makes a nice steal and is fouled heading to the basket. Hansbrough has been out of the game for a few minutes. ODU's Johnson is hot and really keeping them in the game. Heels are a little sluggish and perhaps not putting forth their best effort out there. ODU 18 UNC 16. Johnson has 12 of ODU's 18 points.
12:22 AM: Lawson ties the game on FTs and leaves for Quentin Thomas who promptly turns the ball over on the break.
12:23 AM: ODU hot from three and goes up 21-18.
12:24 AM: Hansbrough tenacious as always grabs a pair of offensive rebounds and finally get the layup despite five ODU players around him..well more like three not that it matters. ODU 21 UNC 20.
12:25 AM: Five team fouls on UNC and it does not appear they are necessarily imposing their will on the defensive end. Johnson hits again and again this time from three and suddenly UNC is down six. ODU is playing with far more energy and emotion in this game so far.
12:27 AM: And when the tide is pushing get it to Hansbrough who makes the nice post move for the basket and the foul...misses the FT. UNC down four.
12:28 AM: More Hansbrough following the ODU basket, ODU is hitting everything though and extends back to six, answered by Frasor from about 15 feet to make it a four point game.
12:29 AM: ODU is playing the better game at the moment shooting 57% and getting a lot of good looks. The Heels have not played well on the defensive end thus far and ODU has been extremely active on the defensive end disrupting UNC's offensive set.
12:33 AM: Stepheson with the DUNK and I still don't think he jumps much for those. ODU up three and UNC is simply having way too much trouble grabbing rebounds on the defensive end. A nice defensive play leading to a bad shot by ODU results in an ODU offensive board and 1-2 from the line. ODU 32 UNC 28.
12:35 AM: Ginyard cuts the lead to two with a pair of FTs and some stepped up defense from Thompson forces the turnover which Ellington converts to tie the game. Ellington was so quick in his move to take the jumper there.
12:37 AM: Wow. Hansbrough out to Lawson who hits Ginyard in full stride in the paint for the layup which was counted on the goal tend. I think more of that kind of fast break is in order.
12:38 AM: Holy. Crap. Ginyard grabs the defensive rebound and as he is coming down throws it down court to Ellington who with a defender on him dunks the basketball giving UNC a two point lead and entices ODU into taking a timeout. A much better defensive effort in the past few minutes and it has paid off.
12:39 AM: Final TV timeout of the half following another ODU turnover. UNC has switched gears and ODU is starting to unravel a bit. Johnson has been less visible in the offense as well. UNC 36 ODU 34.
12:43 AM: Two offensive rebounds this sequence for ODU and one of them came all the way down to the floor. This, as much as anything else, is the biggest problem so far for UNC. What good does it do to play great defense and force a miss when you do not follow up with the hustle to grab the board.
12:44 AM: Another offensive rebound and basket for ODU. UNC up one as Danny Green steps on the end line to give the ball back.
12:46 AM: ODU retakes the lead as UNC allows the Monarchs to penetrate all the way to the basket for the layup. Hansbrough reclaims to lead on two FTs after getting hammered.
12:47 AM: What do ya know. UNC allows only one shot on defense that time.
12:48 AM: Green for THREE to end the half to give UNC a 43-39 halftime lead.
Halftime Analysis: Well so much for any thoughts of going to bed early on this one. The biggest problem I have seen is that the effort on the defensive end has been abysmal. Based on the ESPN.com box score UNC has been outrebounded 15-10 and 8-3 on the offensive boards. The offense has been firing, shooting 68% from the floor but defensively the 50% clip allowed to ODU has made this game closer than it probably should be. The UNC fast break is predicated on creating turnovers and also grabbing defensive rebounds and pushing the ball of those. This has been largely absent and it shows in the score. ODU has simply gone after the ball more aggressively when they miss shots. If UNC gets handle on the defensive effort and rebounding, they can bury this team assuming the offense keeps functioning as it did in the first half.
1:02 AM: In all fairness to the defensive effort, ODU's Brandon Johnson did not score during the final nine minutes after getting 14 early on. And the second half begins and it is after 1 AM on the east coast.
1:04 AM: Thompson answers the bell to start the second half and so does Hansbrough who grabs a heck of an offensive rebound for the putback and the foul. Hansbrough misses another FT which is beginning to worry me a tad. I know his percentages have been good but that is the second three point play in this game he did not finish off. UNC 48 ODU 43
1:07 AM: The hook shot from the ODU center was downright ugly. Johnson has four fouls which takes ODU's best weapon off the court and UNC is starting to assert itself a little more.
1:08 AM: Thompson again hits another nice shot answering the pleas of Andy in the comments section.
1:09 AM: Lawson is fast...very fast and UNC takes an eight point lead that ODU feels compelled to talk about.
1:12 AM: I am losing the battle with my eyelids and the Heels are showing more life when defending as we go to the first TV timeout of the second half.
1:17 AM: Lawson from way downtown to give UNC a double digit lead at 11. Lawson had been shaky coming into this game but tonight is shooting the ball very well.
1:18 AM: Oh my goodness. Lawson might have broken the sound barrier there in basically going past all five ODU defenders between three quarter court and the basket.
1:19 AM: FT shooting has been poor tonight. Hansbrough spends some more time on the floor attempting to grab the basketball resulting in another jump ball.
1:21 AM: Great sequence. First of all, Bobby Frasor is really defending Johnson well coming up with a nice steal. Secondly, he found Ellington who is not your Ellington of last season since instead of chunking up a bad shot decided to make the extra pass to Green in the corner who drilled the three to put UNC up 11. And yes Danny Green continues to be a huge surprise and factor in these games.
1:25 AM: I am very close to taking back every negative thing I wrote about Wayne Ellington. His jump shot is dead on this season.
1:26 AM: Refs blow a call ringing up Green for a foul when he got the clean block.
1:28 AM: And another Hansbrough monster dunk on the break that ODU again feels compelled to discuss. The dunk overshadowed the fact that Green made a great move to get a good shot off. Leading up to this season I saw Green as a defense/rebound guy but it is clear he has the offensive elements to his game and they are legit.
1:30 AM: Hansbrough is all over the place tonight, diving for jump balls, stealing for dunks and drawing offensive fouls 20 feet from the basket. These are the overlooked parts of his game but totally indispensable. Heels by 12.
1:33 AM: I am not crazy about Thomas being the option for a shot as the clock is running down but I am totally crazy for him making cross court touch passes that result in lay-ups.
1:36 PM: Ty Lawson exists in a slight different phase in the space-time continuum. That is the only explanation I have for the ridiculous speed he shows out there.
1:38 AM: Ellington has arrived.
1:39 AM: Rare stupid foul from Ginyard and UNC has now decided not to guard the perimeter shooting.
1:41 AM: Lawson with a career high 23 points but did his imitation of Derrick Phelps in the ACC semifinal versus UVa in 1993 by falling on his back.
1:44 AM: I love Wayne Ellington. There I said it.
1:45 AM: Frasor is running point with Lawson out and UNC content to run some clock.
1:46 AM: Roy clears the bench with 34 seconds left and UNC up 99-82.
1:47 AM: ODU content to take the last shot but Mike Copeland with the block and some tips to keep the Monarchs from scoring again.
FINAL SCORE: UNC 99 ODU 82.