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UNC vs. Texas Southern: Three things learned

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Heels dominant in Greenville

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-First Round-North Carolina vs Texas Southern Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

North Carolina won their first game of the NCAA Tournament in easy fashion with a 103-64 finish against Texas Southern. Despite the game’s one-sided affair, we still learned a few things yesterday.

Justin Jackson is back

The junior forward appeared to be pressing a bit in recent games. He had missed 24 of his last 31 from three-point range coming into Friday. It seemed as if the weight of being the ACC Player of the Year was causing him to force things in an attempt to live up to the billing of the award. He fixed that problem quickly in the opening round by throwing up a 5 of 6 from three in the first half. Those five makes tie him with Shammond Williams for the most in a single season in school history.

Jackson is good enough to carry a team all the way. If he is making threes and playing like he did last night, there is not a team in the country that can beat North Carolina.

It can all be taken away in a second

The game against Texas Southern was never in doubt. It was an over-matched opponent going against a team that has their eyes on atoning for an alleged loss in an alleged title game last year. So the drama in the second half was lacking. The only thought was “NO INJURIES.” Every Tar Heel fan in the world had a minor heart attack when Joel Berry rolled his ankle in the second half. Nate Britt and Seventh Woods are capable back-ups, but everyone saw how much North Carolina struggled without Berry against Duke. The ceiling of the team is lowered without him. Luckily, Berry was able to return and looked healthy a few minutes later.

That is how quickly the season can end, though. One fluke play or one dirty, reprehensible foul from a dirty, reprehensible school like, let’s say Creighton, and the season is done (special thanks to America’s team Rhode Island for knocking the aforementioned Creighton out of the tournament). That is all it takes. To win it all, you need the talent, which the Heels have in abundance, but you also need some luck. Hopefully Berry avoiding an injury on a nasty looking play is a harbinger of more luck to come.

March is fun

Obviously. Winning by 39 points in the tournament is always enjoyable. The impending finality of the tournament, where one bad shooting day ends your season, looms large. That is what makes things like yesterday so enjoyable. There is no stress about advancing. You get moments like this:

More importantly, you get reactions like this:

Makes the seriousness of the tourney seem like a distant memory.