Monday, March 17, 2008

MY BETTER IS BETTER THAN YOUR BETTER

NORTH CAROLINA 86, CLEMSON 81

As they say in the new Nike ad: My better is better than your better. My power is more powerful than your power.

Clemson's power is good. Carolina's power is better.

It’s hard to beat a team three times in one year. It’s even harder when it’s a team that is as good as Clemson. The Tigers are getting better every game, but the Tar Heels were focused and determined.

One day after an inferior effort against the Hokies, the Tar Heels reminded everybody why they are #1 in the country – they just keep coming. They play hard. They play fast. They play well.

While Clemson did a good job of neutralizing ACC Tournament MVP Tyler Hansbrough, Wayne Ellington continued his spectacular play against the Tigers, and Ty Lawson started to look, and play like...well...Ty Lawson. Five Tar Heels were in double figures (Hansbrough, Ellington, Lawson, Green and Ginyard).
The Tar Heels’ celebration was very subdued, leading one to believe they have their collective eye on a bigger prize.

Ellington finished with 24 points for North Carolina, which has won consecutive ACC tournaments for the fifth time. Hansbrough was named the tournament's most valuable player after finishing with 18 points and 11 rebounds while scrapping inside the entire game against the third-seeded Tigers (24-9). His performance followed a 26-point day that included the last-second jumper to beat Virginia Tech 68-66 in Saturday's semifinals.

Ellington, a 6-foot-4 sophomore, continued his season-long torture of Clemson, finishing 10-for-13 from the field to go with four rebounds and four assists. In January, he had a career-high 36 points and hit a last-second 3-pointer to give the Tar Heels' a 90-88 overtime road win. A month later, he finished with 28 points as North Carolina rallied from 15 points down to beat Clemson 103-93 in double overtime, a loss that dropped the Tigers to 0-53 all-time in Chapel Hill.

This time, Ellington hit his first five shots to outduel Clemson's K.C. Rivers in a back-and-forth game that was in doubt until the final seconds.
If Clemson continues to play at this level, they will enjoy a good run in the NCAA tournament.

Head coach Roy Williams of the North Carolina Tar Heels hold the trophy with ACC Commissioner John Swafford after defeating the Clemson Tigers to win the 2008 Men's ACC Basketball Tournament. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

Tyler Hansbrough #50 of the North Carolina Tar Heels goes up for a shot over Raymond Sykes #12 of the Clemson Tigers. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Wayne Ellington. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

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