Last night was the final of the Maui Invitational, which always means that we’ll get to see two national powerhouses go head to head to bring the distinguished trophy home. North Carolina showed why they should be the unanimous top rated team in the nation- they absolutely picked apart Notre Dame’s defense, shooting 58% from the field. The Tar Heels grabbed the lead with 12:36 left in the first half and never looked back en route to a 102-87 victory over the eighth ranked Fighting Irish.
Kyle McAlarney broke his own school record of nine three pointers in one game with ten last night against North Carolina, accounting for 30 of his 39 points. To the credit of the Fighting Irish, their star player Luke Harangody had some kind of sickness all day leading up to the game, but still managed to score 13 points and grab seven rebounds.
Overall, North Carolina right now is too much for any team in the nation to even contend with. The talent level is way above any I’ve seen in college basketball in my lifetime, and they play hard on every possession. Even if Harangody was healthy they wouldn’t have a great chance to beat the Tar Heels. Another key to UNC’s success is their unbelievable depth. When they sub out a few players, its like replacing them with better rested versions of themselves. North Carolina’s bench would make up one of the better teams in college basketball.
Also, the last time North Carolina won the Maui? 2004. The last time North Carolina won a national championship? 2004.
ZACH: Three thoughts on North Carolina:
- Ty Lawson makes this team go. Anyone who watches college basketball on a regular basis knows this already, but watching him last night makes me think he added another gear to his electric speed baseline-to-baseline this summer. He abused Tory Jackson on multiple occasions after Jackson was foolish enough to risk a steal instead of staying in front of Lawson, using the quickest first step in college hoops and finishing every time down, often drawing a foul to boot. He knocked down free throws and hit outside jumpers too. If Lawson plays like he did last night all season, an undefeated season will happen.
- How’s that shin, Tyler? As the esteemed Red Sox announcer Don Orsillo might say, “Psycho T’s back…and he’s back BIG!” 34 points, an earth-shattering dunk, his patented turnaround hook shots, diving for rebounds, and even a three point shot? Yeah, I think he’s back. Hansbrough is really an incredible player down low- when he puts up a shot you think there’s no chance it goes in, then it hits the bottom the net.
- Carolina is so loaded, it’s not even funny/fair. They’ve turned into the Evil Empire even moreso than Duke, which puts me in an awkward position because the one game I used to root for Carolina was against the Blue Devils. As Pat pointed out, their bench of Drew-Frasor-Green-Graves-Davis would beat most high-major teams. While Notre Dame lost their legs by the end of the tournament, North Carolina was fresh because they’re so deep and talented.