Despite the somewhat hard times that have befallen them after their collapse against Duke, Louisville is a very good team. They showed that when they came into the Dean Dome and handed UNC an embarrassing loss. That being said, Carolina is a fantastic team. They are playing as well as anyone in the country right now, and that means they can make some good teams look rather pedestrian.
Coby White and Luke Maye scored 19 points each in UNC’s quarterfinal win over Louisville, which is not at statement anyone would question. How they did it, though, was impressive. Carolina has relied more on three-point shooting this year than they have in recent years, but they hit just seven of their 20 attempts from distance against the Cardinals. As we’ve repeated multiple times as of late, UNC can beat you a number of ways. That was on display Thursday evening.
White was aggressive in driving to the basket over and over. In addition to his 19 points, Coby racked up seven rebounds and six assists. He turned the ball over just once.
In the postgame press conference, Coby attributed his success to pushing the pace while remaining under control. It’s easy to see that the freshman has worked to better develop that part of his game as the season has gone on.
Joining White and Maye in double figures were Garrison Brooks and Cameron Johnson with 11 and 14 points, respectively. Johnson actually didn’t score a point in the second half after being the team’s leading scorer at halftime. Nassir Little chipped in five points and six boards off the bench.
Although Kenny Williams didn’t have nearly the offensive game he had in the win against Duke on Senior Night, what the senior was able to accomplish was arguably more important. Louisville’s Jordan Nwora is one of the best scorers in the ACC. Kenny was incredibly disruptive on defense all night, holding Nwora to just seven points and four turnovers.
Carolina out-shot Louisville 46%-41% and out-rebounded them 44-35. Much like in the Duke game in Durham, the Tar Heels were able to feast in the paint. UNC outscored the Cardinals down low, 40-26.
Louisville threw their best punch at UNC with a 12-0 run late in the first half that closed the gap to just one point. Carolina responded in a big way, going on an 11-2 run to close out the half that put a safe distance between them and the Cardinals. From there, despite some minor Louisville runs here and there, it was basically all Tar Heels.
UNC will now await the winner of the Syracuse/Duke game tomorrow night. Chances are the Blue Devils will prevail and Carolina will have to face them a third time, this time with Zion Williamson in the lineup. The media is going to be insufferable about it, so just prepare yourselves now.
For tonight, like Roy Williams says, we’re going to enjoy this one.