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UNC 81 Marquette 63

Now that is the way you go about dealing with an lower seeded team and avenging the 1977 team in dominating fashion.

UNC came out in the first half and played some of their best defense of the season. After falling behind 10-8, the Heels embarked on a 19-0 to open the game up and ended the half outscoring Marquette 32-7. It was completely keyed by the defense which forced bad shots and turnovers galore. UNC probably should have been up by more than they were but found some trouble getting the ball into the basket at a few transition opportunities. Still, it was a solid performance leading to a 40-15 halftime lead.

In the second half the Heels extended out to a 33 point lead before taking their foot off the gas. Marquette was far from giving up and made a run of their own which whittle the lead down to 14 with four minutes left. UNC asserted itself enough to extent the lead out again to 24 before Blue Steel took the court. It seemed like the Heels let up about five minutes before they should have. Part of that was Marquette going to a zone which slowed the Heels down and appeared to flummox then some. As a result the Heels took their own sweet time trying to get a shot but had trouble getting them to drop.  It also appeared UNC got a little sloppy and careless which Roy Williams pointed out can happen with a young team and maintain a constant t high level can be difficult. In other words, he may have been disappointed in the second half performance but but at this stage survival is the only goal that matters.

Tyler Zeller and Harrison Barnes continue making a name for themselves in the NCAA Tournament. Zeller had 27 points, 12 rebounds and what looks like an attempt at growing a beard. Harrison Barnes put in 20 points while John Henson had yet another double-double 1ith 14 points and 12 rebounds. Henson also blocked five shots which brings his season total to 118 just two short of Brendan Haywood's record for blocks in a season. Dexter Strickland had a stellar night. Strickland looks like a player who has finally figured out the kind of things he should be doing on offense while also playing solid defense . In this one he shutdown  Darius Johnson-Odom who ended the night with only seven points. Strickland had four steals but limited his offense to easy scoring opportunities. Strickland's play in the tournament has been huge as he continues to take the opposing team's lead guard out of the game.

Now the Heels move on to the Elite Eight on Sunday at 5:05 PM. UNC will have a rematch with Kentucky who knocked #1 Ohio St. out. The Heels won the first meeting in Chapel Hill in what was a very close game. This one will be more of the same with much higher stakes than we saw a few months ago.

Oh, have anyone seen Duke? UNC is in the Elite Eight but I don't see the Blue Devils anywhere.