It's easy to focus on the good in this game; there was a lot of it. UNC came out with a blazing start, leading 25 to 6 after less than ten minute of play. They completely flummoxed the Wildcats, who couldn't find either a rhythm or their big man Patrick Patterson for most of the game. Deon Thompson had a true coming out party, with 20 points and 9 rebounds before fouling out with under three minutes remaining. The turnover generation was phenomenal, with the Heels forcing 28, including sixteen steals, often through an eerie second sense of where the ball was headed. To have that sort of familiarity with the court and each other this early in the season is probably the most heartening thing I've seen to date. And the freshmen continued to play well, even if the game may have cost the team Tyler Zeller, who damaged his wrist in a late-game collision with Ramon Harris and the rim on a garbage-time layup.
So you know what, for the second game of the season we will focus on the good. The fact that the half-court offense still struggles can be put aside, as can the offensive rebounds they allowed Kentucky to keep getting. (To be fair with that last bit, with the wild shots the Wildcats threw up were bouncing off the rim with such unpredictability, it would be hard not to get at least some of them, no matter the positioning.) UNC thoroughly beat a marquee team in the second game of the season. They can head out west with a feeling of confidence they've earned, rather than just a head full of preseason rankings. It looks to be a very good year.
(Catch the game review from the other side here.)