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I Could Not Be More Proud...

Lod Fired Up!
Photo: AP - Winslow Townson
Via Yahoo Sports
...And I could not be more disappointed.

The atmosphere was amazing the fans were great from all the teams represented, and the games were fun to watch. I left asking myself what have I been missing all these years. It was much more fun seeing the games in person than watching them on TV and listening to Billy Packer, he is just far too excruciating.

Let me get a couple of things out of the way so I can move on to what I saw in this game.

Officiating: As I have read on numerous sites over the past several months that the officiating always has some factor on the outcome of a game. This game was poorly officiated at best but we had it much better than what I saw in the Georgetown - Vandy game; Green clearly traveled and Hibbert did not foul on what was called his fifth, that looked pretty clear to me. I do think that SC took on the teeth in this game when it came to the officials, even the abundance of traveling calls was surprising to me but that's how it goes.

Floyd's technical: It was late in the game and SC was clearly not going to make a come back and Coach Floyd simply lost his cool on what was a marginal call at best. Yes, with SC being down 6 points late those two foul shots did put the game out of reach but with SC not getting those shots to go down late in the game I just didn't see it as difference maker so to me it had no bearing on the game unless you gamble and I don't. So while to some, yes it was those guys, it may have looked classless and all that gibberish, Floyd had just had enough with the officials lack of consistency, to me it was unfortunate but immaterial to the outcome of the game so you'll understand if I don't light my hair on fire over it. It is his personality and no one is going to change it so you take the good with the bad and so it goes...

Anyway, on to the game!

If you want to call it a choke job that's fine but I just don't see it that way. A lot of people never expected SC to be in this position and while the players might have, and a good many fans didn't as the thought process was we would be better NEXT year not this year. As I have said for number of weeks now SC has been playing with house money because no one gave them a chance to get this far. This season was all about setting up next season with the arrival of Mayo and Patterson. I am still not sure about Mayo but that is a discussion for another time.

SC's game plan worked great for the first 25 to 30 minutes. Hansbrough was non-factor and SC was getting the points they needed, at one point being up 16 in the 2nd half. There were points in this game where SC just was not getting the breaks with some outside jumpers and 3-point attempts. They were clearly out-matched on the boards and their lack of a "big man" in the middle became more and more apparent as the game wore on. Brandan Wright is a stud and to me he was the deciding factor in the game, his ability to get rebounds and points in the paint was the difference. SC's offensive game plan worked fine as they used their tenacious defense to get the ball and score points, it wasn't flawless but the game plan worked pretty well. You could see that UNC was clearly back peddling in the first half and in the beginning of the second half when SC went on a 7-0 run.

In the first half SC shot 50% but it could have been 60% or better with some of the shots that didn't go. They played a real tight defense, which included double or triple teams on Hansbrough forcing the ball to the outside that made UNC miss some embarrassing shots especially in the 3-point range. With the bricks that UNC was putting up SC capitalized on it in transition and got the penetration they needed. The key was obviously keeping Gibson in the game as regular commenter BruinFan1 pointed out, when Gibson went out 12:00 minutes left that was the edge UNC was looking for and the momentum shifted, upon his return he was not a factor until he fouled out. But clearly that was not the only thing going for UNC in their comeback. They controlled the boards and found ways to get those second chance points that are so important in winning those types of games. If SC converts some of those offensive rebounds to defensive rebounds SC wins this game going away, as they really set the tempo and were making some shots. UNC just has too much experience, depth and overall size. By doubling up Hansbrough it left Wright free to do what he wanted and that became more apparent once Gibson was out of the game.

Thanks for a Great Effort Guys!
Photo: AP - Winslow Townson
Via Yahoo Sports
SC in essence plays with 4 guards and a forward on this team, the lack of a true big man in the middle really hurt them when going up against both Wright and Hansbrough especially as the game wore on. You could see SC start to go flat as shots started hitting the front of the rim and not going in, I also saw what like a lot of standing around and not getting to the boards to get those much needed put-backs. I could understand that SC wanted to get back on the transition but when they were staying close it just didn't seem that they were going after the ball

I love Nick Young and what he has done for this team but it just seemed like he wasn't in the game last night or as I said in the thread he went walk-a-bout it was almost like he wasn't there and SC went on one of its biggest runs when he was on the bench after, I believe, his second foul. I'm not sure that his draft stock went up last night and a number of people in our section had made that observation. I thought Gabe Pruitt had a great game and he really helped set the tempo for SC he made some great outlet passes to Lod for some great 3's and he was really into the game he also did a great job in containing Lawson who only scored 4 points.

A disappointing loss for sure but I am proud of well these guys played throughout the season. Some of the games may not have been pretty or they may have been nail-biters but will all the nay sayers and critics not giving them a chance I am pleased with the results. I said earlier in the season that you have to start somewhere and this was just as good a place as any so I know next year is going to be fun to watch.