Sunday, November 27, 2011

UNLV upsets No. 1 UNC: A few quick thoughts

And No. 1 goes down.

North Carolina went into Orleans Arena and got dropped by a hot-shooting UNLV team, 90-80. The Runnin' Rebels shot 13-32 from three point range and made a number of big plays down the stretch -- momentum killing threes, key defensive stops, seemingly every loose ball. Since its late on a Saturday night and I don't have the energy to make this into a well-written, flowing post, we get ... BULLET POINTS!

- Mike Moser's addition to the Rebels might be even greater than we thought. He had 16 points, 17 boards and six assists playing against one of the best front lines in the country. His ability to hit the glass and stretch the floor offensively makes UNLV's offense that much more dangerous.

- Kendall Marshall cannot guard anyone. He's incredible at getting his teammates open looks, but he was absolutely torched by Oscar Bellfield tonight. Bellfield finished with 18 points and nine assists, getting into the paint at will and creating wide open threes for his teammates.

- North Carolina looked flustered when they got down in the second half. They did not respond well to the 14-0 run UNLV went on at the start of the second half. Part of the reason was that UNC was forced to become a half-court team; with UNLV hitting shot after shot, the Heels could not get out and run -- the best way to slow down a fast breaking team is to score. But UNC also made some really bad decisions in the half-court. They forced some shots, they missed some free throws and, frankly, they looked rushed and overwhelmed.

- UNLV wasn't much better down the stretch. They dodged a couple of bullets by getting lucky bounces off the offensive glass down the stretch. There were four or five possessions in the closing minutes where the Rebels fired away on threes way too early in the shot clock. When you are up by ten on the No. 1 team in the country with three minutes left -- particularly when that team is known for their ability to score in bunches -- quick threes are not the smartest way to try and protect the lead.

- You think UNC is worried about Wisconsin on Wednesday and Kentucky next Saturday now?

- Its very, very easy to pick-nits about how this game was played. But the bottom line is this: UNC did not play their best game, but a (large?) part of their struggles can be credited to the play of UNLV. The Rebels threw the first punch in both halves and had enough juice to hang on and win.

I'll have more on this tomorrow and Monday after I get a chance to a) rewatch the game and b) think about this without leftover tryptophan running through my veins.

(Image via bubbaprog. Great to have you back grabbing college hoops screenshots, Tim!


Kyle said...

Not sure how Marshall is going to stay in front of Teague when Bellfield gave him fits all night... I'll keep saying it, but UNC strengths do not take advantage of Kentucky's weaknesses and I'm quite glad we dropped UCONN for the Johnies in the SEC / Big East Invitational because they are the only team that I think can either beat Kentucky now or in April

DMoore said...

UNC has a very good chance of having another loss before they even get to play Kentucky. UNLV shot so well because they were able to move the ball around and get clean looks at the basket. If defending that is one of your team's weaknesses, then you will have a LONG night playing against Wisconsin.

UNC's weaknesses were not playing disciplined defense, poor rebounding, and bad free throw shooting. Their strength is their transition game. Wisconsin is probably a worse matchup for them than Kentucky -- UNC may do better against a team that emphasizes their athleticism than one that emphasizes execution.