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UNC - Maryland Thoughts

The game hasn't even started yet, and I'm already annoyed. In part because the entire pregame was devoted to UNC's defensive woes - yes the defensive numbers aren't as good as in years past, but you can't cite them as 227th in the nation and not be laughed out of the studio. Really, folks have been using tempo-free stats for how many years now?

Then the feed from Chapel Hill starts and I get to hear Brent Musberger and Steve Lavin. I really should have gone to the game.

MD 12, UNC 9 I really thought Maryland was going to be a better team than they have been this year, figuring preseason that they'd be contending for second in-conference. That hasn't been the case, much to Jeremy Gold's ire, and that's primarily because Greivis Vasquez isn't the player I thought he'd be this year. That leaves a team relying on Gist and Osby inside, and Terps are starting with the Clemson/Georgia Tech strategy of beating on Hansbrough and making Thompson and Stepheson pick up the slack.

The tempo's slower than UNC is used to as well.

MD 15, UNC 9 I'm pretty sure Stevelavin doesn't actually know what passsion and excitement are. Either that, or he's watching a different game in his head.

MD 17, UNC 14 For a team with defensive woes, UNC seems to get an awful lot of blocks, although statistically they're middle of the road in that category.

To clarify what I said early about the defense, UNC's defense is statistically lacking when compared to the other undefeated teams. They're 35th in the nation in defensive efficiency. It's almost lke John Gasaway can see the future.

UNC20, MD 19 " Hansbrough gets a blow on the bench." Please think before you speak, Steve Lavin. Better yet, just don't speak.

UNC 22, MD 22 Quentin Thomas's ball handling is much improved since the conference slate started. He does occsionally try an ill-advised pass, though.

MD 27, UNC 24 Hansbrough has eight rebounds in the first 14 minutes of the game. Some of that is due to the Heels poor shooting, but still you sometimes forget how good he is at pulling down the ball.

MD 37, UNC 35 Ginyard had a great steal from the weak side, only to dribble it off his foot (after being hacked, but still).

MD 41, UNC 35 (Halftime) And Musberger and Lavin spend a minute bereating the Smith Center crowd before realizing they're booing the refs not the team. Good Lord.

Generally when a team "owns" a half = Lavin's words - they're up by more than 6, but hyperbole aside the Terps are playing extremely well. I forgot how good a threat Osby is on the boards and defense (I seem to say that a lot) and UNC is tenative on offense. They're not getting much done in a halfcourt set and not getting the transition opportunities they're used to. I doubt the locker room is particularly quiet at the moment.

MD 44, UNC 35 I spent halftime flitting around the web, from excellent take on UNC's current situation to some garden-variety Duke hating. What leapt out at me was the comment thread at Awful Announcing - there was less "Duke gets all the calls" complaints and more "Duke and UNC get all the calls."

Now naturally, I don't think UNC gets ll the calls - I think even Duke's possible advantage of a couple fo years ago is no longer there, in part because of the media attention and in part because Kryzyewski is behaving himself. But the two straight fouls Hansbrough drew on Maryland players definitely won't dispel those comments though.

UNC is starting the second half absolutely horribly, by the way.

MD 49, UNC 39 UNC is turning the ball over too much, but they do get back after the steals - I'm not sure the Terps have had an uncontested layup, and often they don't even get a bucket.

Lawson has three fouls, but is still in the game.

MD 52, UNC 45 Two good interior passes, from Green to Stepheson and Stepheson to Hansbrough. There should be more of that with the defense collapsing on Hansbrough.

MD 52, UNC 47 You know if announcers would spend more time talking about what's going on and not what they think is going to happen, it would make for better television. And while I'm all for a UNC run, two scores isn't really indicative of the tide turning.

MD 59, UNC 54 Osby and Gist are scoring too often when they get the ball in the key, and I think Hansbrough's beginning to be annoyed by that, if his answering dunk is any indication. The more Maryland is forced to shoot the three - even with Hayes - the better, as they're not strong from behind the arc.

MD 59, UNC 57 They are, however, good at defending the three, which makes every Ellington dagger all the more impressive.

MD 63, UNC 61 Another good pass from under the basket from Stepheson to Hansbrough gets two points and a foul. It looks like Hansbrough feels the foul calls are tilted against him.

UNC 64, MD 64 I don't care if his last name is Ellington, you don't give a Carolina player the nickname, "The Duke," Brent.

UNC 70, MD 70 Maryland's last two shots have been transition layups after getting behind the UNC defense. This is a rare thing, so naturally the announcers are talking about the historical origins of the name "Williams."

MD 72, UNC 70 Maryland is forced to call timeout to escae a UNC defensive trap, leaving them with only one remaining and 4:42 to play. Musberger and Lavin are now discussing Hank Williams, Sr.

UNC 73, MD 72 Will Graves drains a three. I don't know if it was smart - the second one probably wasn't, at least - but it was good.

UNC 77, MD 74 Green sinks a great drive drawing a foul, but the important thing is the time the ball spent on the offensive end of the court. UNC was picking up all the rebounds, and it was more a case of alertness than position.

UNC 78, MD 76 Hansbrough lets Osby get away from him going for a perimeter steal, but Osby misses the layup when the help defense arrives.

UNC 78, MD 78 If Maryland was shooting free throws like Clemson or Georgia Tech, this game would be safe in the Heels' hands. Vasquez and Gist are making them, though.

UNC 80, MD 80 The double team was uncharacteristically late on Hansbrough, giving him time to face the basket and get the two. Williams puts Hayes in with 43 seconds - is he really thinking three?

MD 82, UNC 80 Hansbrough again goes for the perimeter steal, putting Osby on Green and an easy two. With 10.7 seconds left, UNC has the ball under their basket.

MD 82, UNC 80 Ellington has missed a three (rebound out of bounds) and a drive (rebound leading to a jump ball). 1.7 seconds left, is he getting it again?

MD 82, UNC 80 Hansbrough takes a dribble and a three - I don't think that was Plan A, but it was a good, makeable shot that didn't fall.

The camera really wants b-roll of female Carolina fans crying - for the most part it's not happening. This ain't Durham, people.

Greivis Vasquez spends his postgame interview talking about teamwork and apologizing for making it look like he tries to do everything himself. This might be an indication of the Terps' chemistry problems earlier this year. Ah well.