And why it is 7:27 and not 7:30 or 7:25?
At this point in the tournament you have to deal with endless discussions of the matchup and naturally the hype. I actually find myself caught up less in the hype and more of the worry since this could be the last game of the season should the Heels decide to play a horrible game this evening. Worry is a part of the fan psyche though making my predilection to anxiety perfectly natural.
The talk all week has been about the WSU defense and how it will show UNC something they have never seen before. Joe Ovies at 850 raises a good point about how the door should be swinging both ways:
Conventional wisdom says North Carolina hasn’t faced a team like this. For some reason, the fact that Washington State hasn’t seen a team like the Heels has been glossed over. The PAC-10 has become a defensive league, and no team in that league has the same weapons as the Heels. “But, but…Oregon tried to speed them up and lost!” The Ducks don’t have the same caliber athletes as the Heels.
This is a spot on point which is lost because folks tend to think a great defense always trumps a great offense. As much as UNC has to figure out WSU's defense, that same defense has to figure out how to keep UNC from doing what it did to Arkansas on Sunday. Everyone is talking about the possessions game and how UNC will get far fewer but versus the Razorbacks UNC had a low possessions game but because their offensive efficiency was so ridiculously high they score often enough to post 108 points. Granted the fast break helps with that but I see no reason why UNC cannot come out and use their superior offensive talent to score often enough with the opportunities afforded them to win this game.
I also was thinking how nice it would be to have Bobby Frasor available for this one. I know you play with the team you have not the one you wish you had but if it so happens that Ty Lawson and Quentin Thomas get antsy with the pace, having Frasor to calm the storm would be huge. Since that is not happening we simply have to hope Lawson and QT stick to the game plan of being patient and taking what the defense gives them.
There is a chance this game could be a repeat of the Villanova game in 2005 where UNC faced another team intent upon the dilberate pace who could also play great defense. UNC scraped by in that one after snagging a ten point lead with three minutes left that somehow dissipated to the point Villanova almost had a chance to take the lead. I also am a firm believer in the "Near Death Experience Game" it seems like all national title teams face at some point in the NCAA Tournament. The most famous one is Duke beating Kentucky in 1992. UNC had the Cincinnati game in 1993 and the aforementioed Villanova game in 2005. And you might even considered the 52-50 win over James Madison in 1982 along this line as well.
Given the level of anxiety we all will endure during the game makes the ocean of trepidation we are all floating in now much more unbearable. A little less than nine hours to go here and it cannot get here soon enough.