New motto for 2010:
UNC Basketball: Dominating Schools With State In The Name
If you are keeping score at home, UNC moved to 4-0 this season versus teams with State in their name. Florida State should be very afraid.
The Heels played with a thin frontline but managed to get by taking control of the game in the 2nd half and then hit key shots down the stretch to close the deal. Once again, when UNC wins they get a decent effort from Deon Thompson with Larry Drew and Dexter Strickland both having great games. In general the Heels rebounded the ball particularly well with multiple players topping six or more boards. The defensive effort was also much better but I imagine that has more to do with it being NCSU than anything else. Speaking of defense and intangibles, hats off to Will Graves who was tasked with guarding a bigger Tracy Smith on the blocks and did about as well as could be expected. Graves spent some time at the four and looked more comfortable. His size works well with the physical nature off the interior play and while Graves only scored five points he pulled eight rebounds and had two steals.
On the freshman watch, John Henson had an outstanding game with nine points, eight rebounds, three steals and three blocks. Henson got the start and made the most of it. In the postgame press conference Roy Williams revealed that Henson is still learning the four spot after spending most of the season at the three. David Wear and Leslie McDonald both contributed in a major way filling out a nice overall effort by the team.
During the postgame press conference Roy talked about Henson transition to the four and the fact Graves was used some on the blocks. Obviously with so much depth coming into the season, it was not wholly unreasonable for Roy to use Henson at the three. Now with the post ranks depleted Henson has to move down and the results have been promising. The frustrating aspect of the move is it really might have been helpful to have occured 10 games ago when it was clear Henson was not doing so well at the three. The problem was the playing time which has been resolved via injury. You also have Graves playing effort and capable of being physical at the four. Obviously it would have been difficult for Roy to make these adjustments with so many big men available. Now that the injury epidemic has cost UNC three interior players, Henson and Graves are being utilized differently and more effectively. Unfortunately it comes a little late to do any real good.