[Promoted from the FanPosts. Great stuff in here -- ed.]
I just took a look at the last six minutes or so of yesterday's game against UNC, and it was like a Clint Eastwood movie: we had the Good, Bad, and Ugly side of this team.
First, the Good: We won, and our two freshman guards went 7-8 from the free throw line in the last two and a half minutes, Bledsoe's miss on the second of a 1+1 being the only miss. Also, we kept fighting for rebounds and got several good calls. Wall's strip/steal was also brilliant as was his ball-handling for the most part.
Now, the Bad: On successive trips down the floor, Wall tried to take over the game, resulting in two turnovers. First was an ill-advised shot in the lane that got blocked, resulting in a UNC FG. The second was the charge, also in the lane. To be fair, he did it on the third trip, too, and got a tripping foul called which resulted in free throws for us. Also bad was the possession in which we missed two consecutive 3-pointers by Miller and Bledsoe. Despite the nice percentage we're shooting from beyond the arc, this was one of our worries at the beginning of the year, and, while both were open, squared-up shots, both were missed.
Still in the Bad category, we got exactly one field goal in the last five minutes (Bledsoe's in-bounds reverse layup), and that won't cut it. And we were darned lucky that Bledsoe's little ill-advised jump-hook in the lane was knocked out by a Tarheel.
And the Ugly: Our big players were non-existent on offense. For whatever reason, Patterson seldom touched the ball in crunch time, and when he did, it was way out on the floor. We depended entirely on our guards and were lucky they got it done. We also threw the ball around like we didn't want it, Bledsoe's baseline drive-kickout over Wall's head being the ugliest. Where were the adjustments when UNC was coming back? Coach Rupp used to say that the coaches play the first three minutes of the second half. Based on that, I'm not sure Ol' Roy didn't beat Coach Cal a little yesterday.
All in all, I'm incredibly glad to get the win. It makes 1996, puts us five ahead of UNC, and resulted in THE CALL being made from my Tarheel son to me instead of from me to him.
But despite all the encouraging signs, I'm still not comfortable with this team. We didn't react well either to Wall's absence or to UNC's picking up the defensive pressure in the second half. We took our foot off their throats when we had them down. Many of these issues are signs of immaturity, so I hope we outgrow them. But I'm still not comfortable.