The College Hoops Gazette

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February 01, 2008 - Bring Back the Blue Team!

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One of the criticisms and concerns we've had about this year's model of Tar Heels is that they've looked sluggish and disengaged at times, despite kicking ass in most of their games. And we've suggested that our weak defense, especially help D, might be a product of the team simply having a finite amount of energy at this stage of the season. If they're going to run constantly, at some point they're going to find time to rest. Either physically or mentally, or both. And as a consequence, the D suffers.

Possible cure? Last night's use of a 5-for-5 substitution against Boston College. Think about it -- regular use of a Blue Team would serve a number of purposes, not least of which would be disorienting and disheartening our opponents. We've sure as hell got the horses to pull it off for stretches, despite claims that we aren't all that deep. And when guys like Copeland and even QT come in, they play their asses off, especially on D (okay, their skills might be limited on this point, but enthusiasm and determination count -- they sure seem to inspire the starters when those guys return to the game).

Bring it on, Roy. Twice a game make the wholesale changeover. Might be the last piece of our puzzle. And it's as much fun to watch as any other aspect of the game.

February 01, 2008 - A List of Concerns About Duke

The Duke game is nearly upon us, and the conventional wisdom says that no team in the country is playing harder than the Disciples of K. To that I say, what's new? Those guys always play harder than everyone else. It's maddening as hell, but it's true. Carolina will of course rise to the occasion, and with the home court and Tyler H's inside play, the Heels should outlast Duke in a tough game.

But Duke fans have reason to think they can beat the Tar Heels, and some of their points should be worrisome. To wit:

1. Duke plays physical defense that apparently cannot be properly officiated. I subscribe to the theory that when K has everyone fouling constantly, the refs simply cannot call them all. And so the roughness escalates.

2. Gerald Henderson will be the 2nd best player on the floor behind Ty Lawson, and don't look for Carolina fans to rattle him. My guess is that he'll thrive on the jeers that await him. It's the Duke Way.

3. Greg Paulus (Fainting Goat), Kyle Singler (Le Cadavre), and Taylor King (Cro-magnon) can all light it up from deep, and we don't defend the three well enough.

4. Duke can run on us, which will take away our advantage in the paint, but they can also force us into half court by getting back on defense even better than Maryland did against us.

5. Guard play. Yes, you read me right. Nolan Smith has come along as a solid offense point guard. Paulus will always knock down the open 3, and he'll get a lot of looks. He lit up N.C. State last night and he'll look to do the same against us.

6. Tyler is starting to pass out of trouble, and against Duke he must pass out of the collapsing pressure. If not, Carolina is toast. We are improving, but outside of Danny and Ty, we are not a good passing team. You have to make that pass mid-range after getting the advantage on Duke. Don't see us capitalizing on them like that, and that goes for back-doors as well.

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