What: Coaches vs Cancer Classic Semifinals
Where: Madison Square Garden, New York, NY
When: Thursday, November 19th, 9:00 PM
Records: UNC 3-0; OSU 2-0
Time to grow up.
UNC faces its first real test of the season after a lackluster performance against Valpo and some sloppy basketball on the cupcake portion of the schedule. Roy's unhappiness with the team's performance on Sunday is well known. In his Wednesday press conference he followed up on that a little by saying the team simply lacked focus on Sunday and some of that rests on Marcus Ginyard and Deon Thompson for not being the kind of leaders they needed to be. In all fairness Roy also pointed out the season is still young. There is a lot of teaching by the coaches and learning by the players ongoing so it is extremely difficult to know what exactly this team has at this point. For example, Roy has no idea who would be the best option to take a final shot but leans toward Deon Thompson or Tyler Zeller as being perfectly capable. Like 2006, this team needs to play some games and see who emerges. There is no way of knowing right now who might be the go buy. Roy pointed out the same thing could be said in 2006 but by January we had seen David Noel, Reyshawn Terry and Wes Miller have big games not to mention Tyler Hansbrough. In other words Jeff Goodman is full of crap for declaring right now that UNC does not have the point guard, go to guy or anything else he thinks they might need to win.
As for the actual game, OSU provides an interesting matchup starting with 6-7 Evan Turner who will start at PG but likely play four different spots on the floor. If you opt for the ESPN2 audio on this, be prepared for a fairly disgusting display from Dick Vitale where Turner is concerned. On Twitter, Vitale seems to think Turner is the only guy playing Thursday night. I expect Marcus Ginyard will be assigned to Turner as long as Turner is playing on the perimeter. Drew is giving up six inches to Turner and Roy hinted in his press conference that he would look for someone else to check the OSU start. The Buckeyes will basically be running players 6-5 to 6-7 in the 1-4 positions on the floor. That will create all sorts of matchup hijnks especially if Deon Thompson has to guard a 6-5 player with any speed or when you look at John Henson at the three guarding someone is five inches shorter. So from a matchup perspective, this will definitely be a test, especially for the younger players.
UNC will need to win this game with their defense and since they will enjoy a size advantage controlling the boards is essential. The Heels also need to turn those matchups around on the offensive end and get as many interior looks as possible. Two years ago, OSU used heavy doses of zone to try and slow UNC down. It worked to some extent as Tyler Hansbrough had one of his more troublesome games in the 65-55 win. Ty Lawson missed that game but UNC did a fair job getting Wayne Ellington looks and using Deon Thompson in the middle of the paint to break-up the zone. If OSU opts for zone then a similar look on offense might be necessary and if Will Graves or even Ginyard can hit some threes it might force OSU into a different look thus opening up the middle. It goes without saying that the Heels really need to take care of the basketball and that starts with Larry Drew. For all the focus on Turner it would be outstanding to see Drew steal the show and shine at PG for the Heels.
UNC bounces back from poor performances under Roy better than any team I know. Anything short of a well played and focused game, especially from the experienced players will be a shock to me.
UNC 74 OSU 68