Lucas: Saturday afternoon – University of North Carolina Athletics

Written by Adam Lucas

As soon as he walked down the university corridor and turned the corner into the Smith Center Tunnel, Hubert Davis You can feel it.

Saturday was North Carolina vs. Carolina State. One National College Basketball writer put together a list of 10 games to watch on Saturday that the Tar Heels Wolfpack weren’t in, even if it was an “under the radar” game.

But that’s why it makes so much sense Hubert Davis To be the head coach at the University of North Carolina – he doesn’t need rosters. All I needed to do was look through the tunnel and see 21,750 seats packed, the largest crowd to watch a college basketball game anywhere in the United States on this day.

“There’s nothing—nothing—better than an afternoon ACC game,” Davis told Jones Angel on the Tar Heel Sports Network after the game. “When I came out of that tunnel at the start of the game, it felt like a big game. And it was.”

It was great for many reasons. The 80-69 win was a conference win, pushing Carolina into a five-team group tied for third at 6-3 (one of that group being Syracuse, where the Heels will travel on Tuesday). The win was also historic Armando Pacote He moved to single possession for two UNC all-time records – double-doubles (Billy Cunningham passing) and rebounds (Tyler Hansbrough passing). It happened not only in front of a cheering crowd but also in front of the 1993 National Title team, which was reassembled to celebrate its 30th anniversary.y Anniversary.

It was also a win that required some toughness that wasn’t always the same in some of the last games in the series, at the state’s discretion. This felt a lot like an old-school Carolina-State game, with Bacot batting against DJ Burns in the paint and a lot of trash talking and both teams fighting for the top tier of the conference. Two glaring fouls were delivered, one blatantly questionable and the second leaky black (No, he doesn’t have to miss any time the next day) The other one is blatant against Casey Morsell.

As with the best Carolina-State games, there was some advance commentary, this time on State’s part. Quotes from both Terquavion Smith and Ernest Ross quickly entered the UNC locker room last week.

This helped create an intense week of practice, highlighted earlier this week when Hubert Davis He became frustrated with his team’s defensive performance and went through a drill to show how he wanted his team to go over the screens rather than under the ball. “I am 52 years old!” barked.

This was the kind of pregame intensity that paid dividends—Carolina held the pack to less than 30 percent from the three-point line—as opposed to the kind that wasn’t very productive. Saturday was a tough day for Ross, who recently predicted that the state would “win that good.” Ross was obsessed with it Nance’s house He missed an immersion of his own accord. As you may recall of Carolina’s six NCAA championships, four of which have come since the Pack last won—in fact, since 1990, the Tar Heels have captured more national titles than NC State has made a Sweet 16 appearance—the nattys weren’t won in January.

But conference games have been, and the Tar Heels had an excellent game plan for Saturday’s edition. NC State’s defensive profile all season has been a team that makes errors at an above average rate. According to Ken Pomeroy, they are dead last in the league by FTA/FGA ratio in ACC games, meaning they send opponents to the free throw line more consistently than any defense in the conference.

Hubert DavisThe game plan, then, was simple: Have the state defend, capitalize on their tendencies, and convert at the free-throw line. Armando Pacote And RJ Davis He charged eight fouls each, meaning they committed as many fouls combined as the entire NC State team. Bacot and Davis also combined to hit 21-for-21 from the free throw line, and there’s your game.

“In the beginning of the game, we settled for way too many three-pointers,” Davies said. “Once we got our head down and attacked through the breach and got Mando at the post, that put us in a great position to get to the goal line. And we’re a very good free throw team.”

However, it will be remembered as more than just a free throw contest. You can go your whole life as a Carolina fan and never see the Tar Heel have a great career record personally. Saturday, the fans in attendance saw one person do it twice. The rebounding mark in Paco’s career overtook Tyler Hansbrough, the player Paco ran against in the Summer Pick-up Games. “Tyler Hansbrough is one of the greatest UNC and collegiate players of all time,” said Packot. “Saying that I have a record on him is unbelievable.”

Hansborough was present, of course, because this is Carolina and that is how it works. It wasn’t long ago that Phil Ford was on hand to congratulate Hansbrough for surpassing his UNC mark. This time, Hansbrough was conceding Bacot in the rebounding class. Before you know it, your favorite players are the ex-players and the stars are the legends.

But they are always there. Because Carolina Basketball is simply unlike any other.

In Carolina, a current player sets a record and the great player who passed him turns up in the record books to personally congratulate him, while the national championship team of 30 years has been waiting to address the entire team in the locker room.

“The ability to connect all the players, current and former, that’s what makes this place special,” said Davis. “They shared their experiences and talked about how their cooperation and closeness allowed them to win a national championship in 1993. That’s something we have to do with this team: we want our cooperation and closeness to allow us to be the best team we can be.”

Also on hand Saturday was a Hall of Fame-designated coach and current season ticket holder (basically every sport on campus) who compiled a 33-5 record against State as Tar Heel head coach. Roy Williams is just a fan now. And so he spoke for most of the other 21,750 votes when he walked out of the Smith Center on Saturday night, boxing in and sealing the victory by eleven points.

“You think, maybe I liked it a little bit?” he said with a wink and a smile.

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