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Looking at the Loss to UNC

There were a couple of things in the local papers that I didn't get to yesterday.

Jim Alexander of the Press-Enterprise brought back some great memories about the Lakers great run in the 80's with Pat Riley's famous chalkboard quote "No rebounds, No Rings". That couldn't be truer, SC got killed on the boards and if we would have had 30% of the rebounds that we didn't get SC wins this game. That really was the key to the game. Everything was pretty much clicking on both offense and defense. There were some bad turnovers but we were doing pretty well in this game except for rebounds.

The phrase still resonates with Los Angeles basketball fans of a certain era.

"No rebounds, no rings."

...Friday night, USC's Trojans learned the stark reality of that motto, in an East Regional semifinal that they had in the palms of their hands.

They had a 16-point lead early in the second half. But their success against No. 1 seed North Carolina didn't last, and the reason for their ultimate 74-64 loss had everything to do with what happened on the glass in the second half.

Carolina outscored USC 41-22 in the second half, 34-10 in a devastating stretch that turned a 49-33 Trojans lead into a 67-59 Carolina advantage.

That's a pretty tough pill to swallow but that should work out fine next year with some of the players we have coming in. I certainly wouldn't say that SC was crushed in this game as UNC was being handled pretty well by SC for most of the game they just couldn't get the rebounds in the end.

Also in the P-E is Dan Webber's brief article on USC's defensive effort. SC was playing scrappy all night and you could tell by the production levels of Hansbrough and Lawson.

The defense the Trojans played on North Carolina was, in USC coach Tim Floyd's word, "terrific."

"The whole night," Floyd continued as USC, despite the 74-64 loss to the top-seeded Tar Heels, held UNC's top two stars, point guard Ty Lawson and All-American forward Tyler Hansbrough, far under their season averages.

I know that briefly mentioned this in yesterdays post but I wanted to bring it up again. There has been a lot of talk out there that Floyds technical put SC out of the game. I can see where that argument can be made but I think anyone who buys into that is fooling himself or herself. SC was having a hard time hitting those shots so I doubt that they all of a sudden they would have hit two 3-pointers in a row with 50 seconds left to play. SC was at a point where they needed to foul in order to have a chance to get the ball back. I just don't see how it affects the game.

As for Floyd's behavior people are welcome to debate it all they want, as I said yesterday you take the good with the bad so to me it's no big deal. We certainly didn't go nuts at pet Carroll's F-bomb laden tirade in the Oregon game, so we shouldn't do it here. Yes, I am aware that our detractors wanted to make some noise with it but that is what they do...make noise. So I don't know why anyone should be surprised.

Adande had some thoughts on it as well:

What a shame that such an effective USC game plan, one that nullified Tyler Hansbrough and created wide-open shots for 28 minutes Friday, apparently didn't include the words "box out" or "keep cool."

USC, the better team for much of the night, went down because it couldn't keep North Carolina off the boards. It didn't help that Coach Tim Floyd picked up a seal-the-deal technical foul when USC was still within six in the final minute.


...I'm also searching the memory banks to recall the last time I saw a coach get a technical foul so late in an NCAA tournament game that wasn't completely out of reach. It happened with 49 seconds left when Gibson received his fifth foul for an illegal screen. A shaky call, sure, but no cause for Floyd to throw his coaching notes on the court when a couple of missed free throws and a three-pointer could have brought the Trojans to within three.

I'm not buying it and while I generally like Adande's work I'm not sure he was watching the same game as I was. He said this earlier in his article:

The Tar Heels put on a box-out clinic. You know the drill where the rebound has to hit the floor before anyone can touch it? The Tar Heels decided to run it in the final four minutes of the game. When a Lodrick Stewart three-pointer rimmed out, the Carolina players sealed off their men, the ball bounced once, a Tar Heel grabbed it and they went off the other way. I'm not sure I've ever seen that happen in a game before.

So either SC had a chance on the boards or they didn't, sounds like they didn't from the above statement and as I said earlier, down six with under a minute left, while you're getting killed on the boards...well, you the math. Comeback = not happening. I'm giving Floyd a pass, as we aren't even in this game without him as our coach. It happens so we should move on.

In both today's LAT and DN there are articles that talk about the future of SC basketball and how that future is bright. You can read Bolch here and Kredell here. A lot of it on Mayo and his pending arrival but I think the key is Pruitt as he really does lead this team well. I hope he finds a way to hit the books and stay for his senior season. As for our future recruits we will obviously take a look at that down the road and yes there will be a lot of discussions about the ramifications of those who are coming in.

There is no doubt that we have some great talent coming in and with it we can hopefully fill some deficiencies in our game without changing the team dynamics. But there are some issues there and I have confidence that coach Floyd will be able to manage it just fine. I am willing to give the benefit of doubt as some have suggested so we will see how it goes.