Wednesday, November 26, 2008


No.1 NORTH CAROLINA 98, Oregon (Ducks, 16,475 students, Eugene, OR) 69

Gentlemen, start your Nikes…

Noland Richardson’s Arkansas teams known for their high octane “Forty-Minutes of Hell” style? Wait at the bar…

The Shark’s run and gun UNLV Rebels? Check out the Carolina D…

Yes, UNC is big, talented, athletic and deep. But, the real magic ingredients for what Ole Roy has his Tar Heel team doing is defensive pressure and 40 minutes of high energy. Last night, even the deep benchers ran the floor like their hair was on fire.

In the EA Sports Maui Invitational semi-final, the young Oregon Ducks were decimated by the now familiar Tar Heel Surge. They had no answer for Carolina’s stifling defense that fuels their top-fuel dragster offense. After all, the key to UNC’s transition offense that led to last year’s 89 points per game average isn’t just Ty Lawson’s speed and the rest of the fellas ability to run, jump and shoot.

No, the key is good defense, steals, turnovers and defensive rebounds. With 4:39 left in the first half, the Ducks had scored a mere 14 points. It never got much better as they shot 30.1% for the game.

Tyler Hansbrough returned to action after suffering a mild ankle sprain last Friday in a win against UC Santa Barbara. The senior, and reigning player of the year, contributed a quite 16 points in 19 minutes. Hansbrough took an elbow to the chin in the first possession, but seemed no worse for the wear although he is clearly not yet in game shape.

"It's good to get back out there," Hansbrough said. "As far as conditioning, I'm out of shape but that will come by playing. My ankle? I felt it a little, but overall I was able to play a little bit."

Forward Danny Green continues to shine scoring 21 points in 26 minutes and freshman big Ed Davis is quickly looking like the real deal getting his first double/double (11 points/13 rebounds) during just 23 minutes of his fifth college game.

Oregon’s Michael Dunigan led the overmatched not-yet-so-mighty Ducks with 18 points.

The Heel’s opponent in tonight’s finale, No. 7 Notre Dame, won’t be such a pushover. A big, talented and experienced team in their own right, the Irish play in a tough conference and will be better equipped to deal with the North Carolina’s torrid pace.

One thing is for sure. The Golden Domers better double knot those sneakers and hit the Lahaina Civic Center floor running….

N.C. STATE 74, Winthrop (Eagles, 5,111 students, Rock Hill, SC) 48

GEORGIA TECH 74, Arkansas-Pine Bluff (Golden Lions, 3,232 students, Pine Bluff, AR) 47

CLEMSON 81, Savannah State (Tigers, 3,169 students, Savannah, GA) 49

(AP Photos/Chris Carlson)

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