One of the biggest pitfalls of the NCAA Tournament is a game like this. This was a game that took the Heels completely out of what they normally do. Tyler Hansbrough was locked down by a zone defense and a career game from Jimmy Graham. The UNC offense did not operate anywhere close to the normal pace. With the interior game compromised UNC was left to shoot more jumpers than they probably are comfortable. In the end they hit the shots. Ty Lawson, who has in the past been accused of falling apart while keeping trapped in trying to match an opposing guard shot for shot, did exactly that in this game securing the win. Quite simply Lawson seems to have matured since the two game debacle to start the ACC season. Counting the FSU game this makes the third time of late Lawson essentially saved the Heels' collective bacon with conference player of the year type play.
This was a good tough win. Games like this which include a unstoppable scoring threat on the opposing team while facing a tough defense that throws you off is the stuff of NCAA Tournament nightmares. Winning a game like this requires someone to step up and make shots(Lawson) and getting some key defensive plays(Green's help block on the McClinton shot; Hansbrough's charge taken.) Sometimes you have to win ugly. Sometimes you have to simply survive. This Tar Heel team has been together long enough they understand how to do both. Since the beginning of the 2007-08 season UNC is 58-5 with only two of those losses on the road. As we get ever close to the point in the season where the only thing that matters is winning the freaking game, it is good to know these guys have a grasp of the concept and how to execute in that type of situation.