We didn't know what to expect from the North Carolina Tar Heels. The seemingly schizophrenic boys in baby blue can't seem to find a rhythm this season.
I'll tell you what else we didn't expect: the rebounding block party that took place, courtesy of the Syracuse Orange. A couple players wow'd us with unexpected numbers, too, though some of those weren't for good reasons. Have a look at some key stats from today's game to see how the Orange did this afternoon, by the numbers:
Someone on this team read the last TNIAAM Roundtable, didn't they? With better-than-average offensive and defensive rebounds today, Syracuse showed that it can come away with decisive wins when the players crash the glass, even without the best shooting numbers. Let's hope this is the beginning of a new trend.
This was not helped at all by the abysmal three-point shooting numbers. Syracuse was 21.1% from deep. Even Christmas, who shot 76% coming into today's game, only made 1-of-4. Sure, some guys were just off, but UNC's opponents only shoot 38% anyway. Failing to mention that would fail to give credit to a UNC defense that's tougher than I expected.
Ain't no party like a 'Cuse block party, and a 'Cuse block party don't stop! (I think I saw this 100 times, but it never gets old.) Along with rebounds, this speaks to how much more aggressively the Orange played today.
Surprised? The first half was a disaster, especially in the early minutes, so how can this be right? Well, eight of those 10 turnovers came in the first half. The guys just needed a minute to wake up. It was a Nooner, after all.
He tried to do too much in the beginning. When UNC came out swinging, and our defense couldn't stop James Michael McAdoo, Ennis tried to create more on the offensive end. He didn't look rattled when the Heels put a double team on him, but the match-up with Marcus Paige seemed to make him force a couple bad passes.
Christmas was so active today. He's been getting more and more so, recently. You might start to wonder how much of this has to do with his starting at center in place of DaJuan Coleman. It seems like Christmas plays better there, than at power forward.
Calm down, everyone. Cooney hasn't been shooting the three as well since conference play started, but most of that is opponent preparation - you think he's not at the top of scouting reports? He shot out of it, though, thanks to Tyler Ennis who knows that shooters need to keep getting the ball in those situations. In the second half, Cooney shot 33% from behind the arc.
Just putting this in here because I had NO idea he was shooting about 50% this season. Did you?
It was a little scary in the beginning, but all's well that ends well. Overall, Syracuse did a good job welcoming UNC to the
ACC Carrier Dome, and maintaining their claim of the top spot in the conference.