Sunday, February 10, 2008

Tar Heels hold their ground

With #4 UCLA already knocked off by a revitalized Washington team, North Carolina looked doomed again without Ty Lawson.

At home, the Heels trailed by 11 to Clemson at halftime and as many as 15 into the second half. Hell, they were still down 11 with under four minutes to play! So I change the channel to "Office Space" on Comedy Central, and when I flip back, UNC is within two points! They tied the game and forced overtime, where Clemson managed to hang in for five more minutes. Into the second overtime, the Tar Heels took over, winning 103-93.
Hansbrough dropped 39 points to lead the way for North Carolina, and a miserable 1-7 from the free throw line is what doomed the Tigers. UNC, on the other hand, went 31-36 from the charity stripe. Clemson didn't hit a foul shot until the first overtime (also when UNC earned their first lead of the game).
Staying in there and getting the W was huge for the Heels. They still only trail in the ACC by two games, which can be made up easily. Three is much more insurmountable with only seven conference games left for both UNC and the first place Duke Blue Devils.

As mentioned before, UCLA suffered a shocking setback as they lost to the (Pac 10) Huskies in Seattle. I didn't watch that game, nor did I watch Xavier survive against St. Joe's or Indiana over Ohio State, so how about a little Women's BBall blogging? Alright!

I wanted to save this stuff for tomorrow and Tuesday, but I can just blog again!

Courtney Paris, who in my eyes is the most dominant inside presence in the women's game, registered her 87th career double double Saturday, tying her with Tim Duncan for the all-time NCAA mark...and she's only played 90 career games.
That's THREE games without a double double. She has 82 in a row, and that spans 800 days according to
Paris is listed as 6-foot-4, and an absolute force on the inside. She doesn't miss much, and she's aggressive as hell, averaging well over 20 points and 15 rebounds per game each season she's played. Like Tennessee's Candace Parker, Paris is only a junior, so she has another year left after this one.
What scares me most about Oklahoma is that they won't be a #1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. They're more likely to get a two or three seed. To me, that just means there is a much better chance of Marist running into them earlier in the tournament. Duke is another dangerous team that will get seeded #2, 3, or 4 in the NCAA's, but there isn't quite as much of a mismatch with Duke and Marist as there is with Oklahoma and Marist. Meg Dahlman can hold her own against any center in the country, but Courtney Paris has at least 100 pounds on Dahlman.
I probably shouldn't jump the gun, because the Red Foxes probably still have to win the MAAC tournament to insure a spot in the field, and that will keep pressure on them down the stretch.

As for the #2 Lady Vols, Candace Parker's knee is only bruised according to school sources, and Parker thinks she might even be able to return for Monday's game, where they host #7 Rutgers (no Imus comments, please) in a rematch of last year's Championship game.
It's nice that Parker wants to return, and I honestly believe she will, but I don't agree with the decision. If she just takes a few games off and makes sure she's at full health, it will benefit the team in the long run.
Though this is a great matchup, it's ultimately meaningless for now. A healthy Tennessee squad can beat any other team on the floor and would be my favorite to win it all in March. Their single loss was AT Stanford (then #4, now #6) in overtime. They are the best team, and as long as Parker is healthy, there is no changing that.

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