Duke-UNC: What We Learned

February 11, 2012

I was planning on recapping the game yesterday but was unable to do so due to the goofy grin that was plastered to my face for about 24 hours after Rivers hit The Shot.  I was completely unable to sit down and concentrate on anything yesterday.  Watching 4 hours of late-night Sportscenter after the game probably didn’t help my productivity yesterday but I couldn’t help it.  They kept showing The Shot but with more angles and more crowd shots of crying UNC girls every time the show cycled back through.  Anyways, writing about the game itself isn’t worth the time.  There have already been roughly infinity stories on the subject plus I think 100% of the people reading this will have watched the game.  I have watched it twice so far. (Thanks Tivo)  Instead we are gonna go over the things we learned from the game and what they mean going forward.

1. Austin Rivers is the Truth.

This is an obvious one but its worth talking about.  Rivers was the best player on the court from start to finish.  Carolina’s length on the inside forced Rivers to turn to the weakest part of his game; his three-point shooting.  That shot was on the money Wednesday night as Rivers went 6-10 from 3-point range.  And these were not basic spot-up shots.  All six of Rivers’ made threes were off the dribble and most of them, including The Shot, were off some funky hesitation moves and with a hand in his face.  This video shows all 29 points Rivers scored on Wednesday.  Watch how deep he shoots from on a couple of the threes.

Rivers was impressive in more ways than one Wednesday night.  About two hours after the game the entire team rolled into a Durham bar to celebrate.  The entire team except for Austin Rivers.  I don’t blame the team for wanting to celebrate, and in fairness they did not appear to be drinking, but I respect the focus on the part of Rivers to avoid the big crowds.  Rivers will always be a big man on campus, but if he went to the bar Wednesday he would have been The Man With The Golden Dick.  He didn’t, and he wasn’t.  Rivers sole focus on basketball is not the most endearing trait from a personal popularity standpoint, but its one that will take him, and hopefully Duke, a long way.

2. Harrison Barnes is a headcase.

For most people Barnes’ 25 points and 3 rebounds would be a spectacular game.  Harrison Barnes is not most people.  He is a 6-8 wing scorer with great control and so much natural talent that he draws comparisons to T-Mac.  Barnes should completely dominate games like Durant did in his year at Texas.  And Barnes should absolutely destroy a team like Duke that has to guard him with 6-5 Rivers and 6-4 Andre Dawkins.  Instead Barnes flitted in and out of the game with brief stretches of dominance followed by long stretches of indifference.  The worst of these stretches was when Barnes was covered by Tyler Thornton who stands a massive 6-1.  With a 7 inch height advantage Barnes failed to score even once in about 3 minutes.  C’mon man.

3. Kendall Marshall doesn’t suck.

I so badly want him to.  He strikes me as the prototypical douchebag Carolina player.  The Danny Green type who would be no one if he wasn’t on such a good team.  Unfortunately Marshall is better than that and is going to demolish Bobby Hurley’s assist record if he stays 4 years.  That is unless I go Nancy Kerrigan on his ass.

4. I am a brilliant prognosticator. (Or a total homer)

I made the following prediction in my game preview post on Wednesday, “Austin Rivers is having his coming out party tonight.”  I don’t mean to toot my own horn… but beep beep.

5.  Mason Plumlee isn’t ready for the big time.

Mason didn’t have a bad game.  His line of 8 points on 50% shooting and 14 boards seems pretty impressive, but if you watched the game then you know that Mason is not in the same league as either John Henson or Tyler Zeller.  These guys are two of the best post players in the country, but they are nothing compared to the opposition if Mason decides to leave school early and enter the draft.  He needs to come back to school for another year and refine his post game, and most importantly give Duke 21 feet of Plumlee next season.  21 fucking feet!!

6.  The Tyler Zeller tip in was the weirdest play any of us will ever see.

It was absolutely absurd.  Kelly got fouled on the shot, Mason definitely fouled Zeller on the tap in, and then Zeller probably goal-tended as he tapped the ball in.  That means that Duke should have gotten 3 free throws, or that UNC should have gotten the ball, or that Duke should have gotten 3 points depending on the way the referees interpreted the play.  Instead the refs just swallowed their whistles and let it ride.  I vote we just pretend the play didn’t happen and never speak of it again.  Deal?

7. UNC students are really sad

And I for one could not be happier about it.  Check out this video for proof.


8. This picture is the greatest thing that has ever happened.


There are still a few lingering questions that Wednesday night’s game failed to answer.

1. Which team is the better title bet?

I have no clue.  UNC is more talented but I trust Duke more down the stretch.  Simply put Duke’s best player, Rivers, has the killer instinct necessary to take over and Carolina’s, Barnes, does not.


more importantly,

2.Who the fuck was that little white guy that played for UNC?

My first reaction to seeing him in the game was that Roy had screwed up and accidentally inserted a walk-on.  After consulting with the RAW Thoughts Advisory Board (my buddy miller) I determined that he is actually the back-up point guard for Carolina now that Strickland went down.  This is really bad news going forward for UNC.  Marshall played 38 minutes in the game and that is not sustainable.  Especially since most teams will be able to apply much better ball pressure than Duke and tire out Marshall, or worse yet get him into foul trouble.  This might be a fatal flaw for UNC’s national championship dreams.  On the bright side he has great court vision.



6 Responses to “Duke-UNC: What We Learned”

  1. Scott said

    Well done. I’m a Tar heel, and this is legitimately good stuff. Just wanna confirm your “Harrison Barnes headcase” theory. He is the most unassertive, least arrogant, quietest major sports personality I’ve ever been around, even off the court. He’s a good guy, but he just doesn’t seem to have the same arrogance which some people say you have to have to be big time.

  2. Ed said

    Rivers did come to Shooters by the way. He rolled in late with a hat pulled down over his eyes. This was confirmed when I saw the smokeshow blonde sitting by his dad at the game with him.

  3. AP said

    Who the fuck is Scott?

  4. wombat said

    Miles is a sr so no 21 feet next year

  5. whataburger said

    miles is graduating brah

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