Sunday, April 5, 2009

UNC Ends Nova's Run

Final Score: #1 North Carolina 83, #3 Villanova 69

Player of the Game: Ty Lawson - 22 pts, 8 ast, 7 reb, 2 stl

Recap: Well, it was fun while it lasted, but much like 2006's team against Florida, Villanova ran into the one team in the country that they cannot beat. This team just doesn't match up well with the Tar Heels. UNC's size, quickness, and depth were too much to overcome. Plus they have a perfect inside/outside combination. When Nova tried to double Tyler Hansborough inside, he'd kick it out to Wayne Ellington or Danny Green for an open three, and they were making their shots. But when we stuck to them on the perimeter, Ty Lawson penetrated to the rim and Hansborough attacked the basket, both drawing a combined 29 free throw attempts.

Despite UNC's many strengths, they are still beatable... if you make your shots, which Villanova didn't. The Wildcats shot 32.9% from the field and just about everyone had their worst shooting nights of the season, spelling certain doom for Nova. Scottie Reynolds had 17 points, but was 6-18 from the field and only 3-11 from three. Dante Cunningham had 12 points, but was 5-13 from the field. Corey Fisher (13 points) was 5-19, and 0-4 from downtown. Dwayne Anderson never got it going either (2-12 FG, 0-6 3PT). Stokes and Pena both went oh-for from the floor. The only players to have good shooting nights were Reggie Redding (15 points, 5-9, 2-3, 3-3) and Shane Clark (6 points, 3-4).

I don't want to spend too much time focusing on the bad because the fact is these guys played their hearts out all season long and exceeded everybody's expectations by taking Villanova to the Final Four for the first time since 1985. Of course two more wins would have been nice, but this season was a wild success and Jay Wright and his players deserve a ton of credit. A special thanks go out to Dante Cunningham, Dwayne Anderson, Shane Clark, and Frank Tchuisi: best of luck to them in the future.

Other notes from the game:
  • At least Jay Wright didn't embarrass himself by doing a Guitar Hero commercial in his underwear...

  • Corey Fisher had the sickest move of the season when he dribbled the ball behind his back, then spun it around his back, but, typical of Nova's night, just barely missed the lay-up. Still, with skills like that it's easy to see why they call him Fisher Price.
  • It's not a North Carolina game unless Hansborough gets to the line 10+ times. What happened to no blood, no foul...... oh, yeah.
  • Unbelievably, at one point in the game, Hansborough flopped blatantly and the refs actually held their whistles... that's a first.
That's it for now, but there will be plenty more to come over the offseason including reflections on this season and previews of next season, which should be a lot of fun.

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