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UNC 107 Hofstra 63

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Welcome back Carolina basketball.

Obviously the standard disclaimers apply. Yes, it was Hofstra which will end up in the middle of the Colonial Athletic Conference. UNC enjoyed a ridiculous advantage on the interior not to mention a significant talent gap. UNC was supposed to win and do so in fairly dominant fashion. The Heels did that but it is important to remember there is a distinction. UNC's talent means they will beat a team like Hofstra by 20 or 30 points. Even last season, UNC blew the doors off teams in November and December. In my opinion these Tar Heels were operating on a different level in this game than the team last season. They passed the eyeball test. There was execution on both ends and UNC hit perimeter shots in buckets. Yes, it was a weaker opponent but the rule of thumb for a #8 team playing a middle of the pack CAA school is you should blow their doors off from tip-off and look good doing it. UNC did that which hopefully points to good times ahead.

Looking at individual performances it seemingly impossible because I think every UNC player did some good things in this game. That is another important aspect of the "looking good" part of this game. UNC got contributions from everyone including an incredible 50 points from the bench. UNC was led by Harrison Barnes who scored all of his 19 points in the first half on 4-4 shooting from three. The next two scorers on the list are a bit of a shock. Leslie McDonald went 4-6 from three and shot a "heat check" three at one point in the 2nd half. McDonald ended up with 16 and Justin Watts had 13 points while making some fairly impressive athletic plays along the way. These two players, despite their performances, still fall in the "wait and see" category. Watts more so than McDonald. Watts showed some serious athleticism and his leaping ability is why Roy Williams decided to play him at the four. We can all cross our fingers and hope McDonald keeps shooting the three that way.

John Henson, Tyler Zeller and Dexter Strickland rounded out the double figure scoring with 12, 11 and 11 respectively. Strickland also had four assists vs only two turnovers which made for a good outing for him. Henson registered his second double-double in as many games but did not record a block though I swear I saw him volleyball spike one in the 2nd half. At the point there was not much scoring but Larry Drew had six assists and one turnover. Kendall Marshall came off the bench for nine assists and two turnovers. The combination of Drew/Marshall/Strickland produced 17 points, 19 assists and five turnovers. That is nearly a 4 to 1 A/TO ratio. As we used to say in Johnston County: "That dog'll hunt."

Given all the solid performances it is easy to overlook Justin Knox who had eight points and eight board. Knox also showed some nice offensive moves in the lane. Reggie Bullock hit a pair of threes early on and ended up with six points. Again, with so many players contributing, there is only so many points to go around. The nice thing about a game like this is it builds confidence and allows a lot of different guys like McDonald and Watts to be contributors. Obviously you will not see this kind of production every time out or versus better teams. However you can see multiple Tar Heels have the potential to help this team.

UNC will get a stiffer test on Friday a Tubby Smith coached Minnesota team. One game vs Hofstra does not a season make like the lackluster performance vs Lipscomb did not really define this team either. The opportunity before UNC on Friday is to show some consistency and perform at a high level versus a team, in the Gophers, folks believe to be a fairly decent squad.

Oh and one more thing from Larry Drew during the postgame interviews:

"You’ve got to give the fans what they want. If they want biscuits, who are we not to give the people biscuits?"