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College of Charleston 82, UNC 79 (OT)

Maybe this time it will sink in.

College of Charleston isn't like the other three teams that have beaten UNC this season. They're not going to crack the top ten. They only played eight players all game, and their starting lineup tops out at 6'8". Coming into this game, they were 346th in offensive rebounding and 344th on the defensive end. Out of 347 teams. They were 7-6, and had lost to Clemson by 39 points and Tennessee 17. 

And yet, the Cougars got eight offensive rebounds. Ten blocks. Nine steals. They pushed around a Carolina team that had no heart, no fire, and no desire to win the game. Charleston started the game with a 12-5 run and finished regulation with a 12-2. Sure, they sank thirteen threes, but even from two they had a respectable 40 points to the Heels 52. They showed up to play, and UNC didn't.

The easy analysis of this Carolina team has been that the backcourt is the problem. After all, the front line has Ed Davis, John Henson, and a small army of people 6'10" or taller, while the backcourt has Larry Drew and a bunch of folks most notable to the national press for not being Lawso. n, Ellington, and Green. And people will look at tonight's game, with the 13 to 1 differentia in threes and the 13 turnovers and say the same thing, following in the footsteps of Seth Davis and quite a few bloggers.

They'll be wrong. Those thirteen turnovers? Ed Davis was responsible for four of them. Those ten blocks didn't happen out on the perimeter. I don't think I ever saw the Carolina bigs actually go up strong, preferring to put the ball down low and hope for a foul. (They were rewarded with 22. Of their 34 free throws, they only made 70%.) With the game on the line in overtime UNC played Drew, Strickland and McDonald, which resulted in, well, a missed layup from Strickland with five seconds remaining when the team was down three. That was the backcourt's fault, come to think of it.

After the start of this game, I started to think that UNC needed a loss, to really get it across how much they're underperforming. I'm not even sure this will be enough, frankly. This team may need a losing streak, dropping a couple of games to start the ACC and maybe fall out of the Top 25. The team is coasting on talent, and something has to shake them up an got them playing as a team. The national ranking the Heels started the season at was asking too much from a young team, and we all knew there were going to be mistakes and bad losses, but the least the team could do is show some fire, some improvement, and some recognition that things are going poorly from someone beside the coach. And so far, I'm not seeing any of those things.

College of Charleston deserved this win, and they went out and took it from Carolina; it wasn't given. Andrew Goudelock's game-tying three, his fourth, was well-defended and a damn good shot. The combination of Jeremy Simmons and Casaan Breeden produced nine blocks and necessitated an offensive shift UNC couldn't execute. And the team played with a sense of urgency we haven't seen in Carolina blue in quite some time. Perhaps the team should look into it.