If you woke up today thinking that Carolina was going to blow out Louisville in a 45-point victory, I recommend that you go buy a lottery ticket right now. In fact, I would say that you should probably invest in the stock market and earn yourself Gamestop-level money. Tonight’s massive win against Louisville may be the most shocking win the program has seen in quite a while. I honestly am still train to recover, but regardless, I have a job to do.
At the beginning of this game Louisville and UNC traded blows back and forth thanks to some lackluster defensive efforts. UNC was finally able to break away thanks to Kerwin Walton, Garrison Brooks, and Armando Bacot. From there the door blew all the way off the hinge, as the Cardinals had zero answers for the Heels in the paint — Carolina’s bigs finished the game with an overwhelming 57 points total, with Sharpe leading the way with 21 points. The Heels also won the rebounding battle with ease, pulling down 45 boards to Louisville’s 34. It’s been quite a while since we’ve seen UNC’s bigs bully ACC opponents in the paint the way that they did in this one, and this is something that we’ve been waiting for from this team, especially since they have so much more strength and agility than a good amount of the teams they’ve seen so far.
As far as the backcourt goes, Kerwin Walton ripped Louisville apart with extreme prejudice. He finished the game with 19 points, four rebounds, and made five of his seven shots from deep. He had a three cringeworthy turnovers, but it’s hard to be too upset when he catches fire like he did tonight. As for Caleb Love and RJ Davis, both of them had nine points and six points respectively. Love has been more and more impressive these days on the defensive side of the ball, coming away from this one with two steals and a block. Oh, and did I forget to mention that disrespectful dunk he had at the end of the first half? That is an important detail to point out.
Easily the most impressive part of this game for the Tar Heels is how many assists they had compared to Louisville. UNC had 29 assists to the Cardinals’ eight, which highlights just how well the Heels were able to move the ball around and find the open man. As far the Cardinals, they struggled mightily with the Heels’ stingy defense. After watching players constantly close in late or allow easy shots at the basket for the first half of the season, it has been impressive to see UNC finally figure out how to keep teams from imposing their will on them. Hopefully we will finally see this consistently as we near the end of the regular season.
Overall, this was a surprising, fun, and important win over a very good Louisville team. Sure, the Cardinals had not played a game since February 1st, but at the end of the day a 45-point win over a team that is 33rd in the NET rankings is an incredible addition to the Heels’ resume. The next game will be against Marquette this coming Wednesday in the Dean Smith Center.