Happy New Year!
Considering this was a road game versus a fairly decent team and in front of a rather hostile crowd you have to like how things went. Wayne Ellington probably had one of his better games of the season on both ends of the floor. Ellington swiped three steals on his way to 15 points and hit a three pointer near the buzzer to end the first half that had dagger-like qualities to it. That play in particular highlighted how well the Heels executed on the offensive end most of the night. The fact this team has been together for three years now is evident in the way they work the basketball looking for the open shot.
Tyler Hansbrough got off to a slow start and was harassed early on but eventually got his 22 points. Ty Lawson had yet another all round great game with 11 points, 7 assists and five rebounds. Lawson did turn the ball over twice and for that I am sure there will be some kind of penalty for that level of slopiness. ;) Ed Davis also had a nice game and was the leading rebounder with eight.
Concerns? Roy was not happy about the number of fouls the Heels handed out or the fact UNR outrebounded UNC despite having a smaller team. For some reason the team rebounding strikes me as being a bit of a problem this season. Last season the Heels had 43.5 rebounds per game, this season it is down to 41.9. I am not sure how much this should be considered a concern at this point but I do know there have been games the Heels have been outrebounded in they probably should not have been. A breakdown of the individual stats does not point to any one player being worse. Hansbrough is averaging 2.5 fewer rebounds per game but that if offset by Deon Thompson being two rebounds better and Ed Davis double Alex Stepheson's rebounding averages from last season. The issue might lie with the fact the three guards: Lawson, Danny Green and Ellington are slightly down in the rebounding department and the fact Marcus Ginyard who averaged 4.5 rpg last season has been out. As I said, not sure if it is something that might be an issue but Roy is probably not happy with the face that half of Nevada's boards were offensive.
The only other issue I saw was the fact Hansbrough let Luke Babbitt do pretty much what he wanted to. Hansbrough plays soft defense to avoid foul trouble but when UNC plays Duke, for example, they cannot allow Kyle Singler to have that many good looks. In some cases Babbitt was creating jumpers by faking the drive then shooting a fall away. That is a tough shot to defend for anyone. If there is one weakness in Hansbrough's game, it is his one-on-one defense. Hopefully getting another body in the person of Mike Copeland will help because that gives you a couple of fouls to use if anything else.
Aside from playing College of Charleston on January 7th it will be all ACC from here on out. UNC opens the conference season with Boston College in Chapel Hill Sunday, the CofC followed by the first really big test of the ACC season at Wake Forest on January 11th.