As always, there was a lot of hype for the Tobacco Road Rivalry, Duke vs. UNC. I heard some mixed previews; Duke would win because Ty Lawson was out, UNC would win because Tyler Hansbrough wouldn't be stopped down low. Well, we found out last night.
Both teams started off running. Like everyone was saying Hansbrough "couldn't be stopped, you could only hope to contain him" (ha ha, good old Dan Patrick). But the loss of Lawson showed too.
Duke tried their best not to foul Tyler. It seemed like their attitude was "he's going to score, there's nothing we can do about it". The Blue Devils kept trying to stop Hansbrough without fouling, but when he was down low it didn't work. The good thing is, throughout the game the Duke D kept Tyler up in the high post, where 1) his jumper wasn't as strong as his layup, and 2) he wasn't in as good position to rebound as he would be at the low post. That kept Duke in front and helped a lot.
Without anybody to answer Tyler down low on the other side of the ball, Duke used their spread, perimeter offense to their advantage, finding the weaknesses, holes, and mismatches in the Tar Heels defense. With their great ballhandlers, they found open shots and lived on the three-pointer all game long. Which is good when you can make most of them, exactly what the Blue Devils did. They made 13 threes in the game. Trading 3's for two's for Ty's 2's isn't a bad deal, huh?
All in all Duke ended up winning by 11 points, 89-78. 6 different players were in double figures, showing that Duke, who was #2, has plenty of depth. And when you have depth, you can go far in the NCAA Tourney. Now the Heel fans' excuse will be Ty Lawson was out. Yes, that did have a big impact on the game, but if you're #3 in the nation, you should have depth. If they were like Duke, having 6 players that could go 10+ points, it shouldn't have been a problem to find another guy that could put up some good numbers. I'm saying once UNC hits the good seeds in March Madness, they will have a hard time and might drop out quicker than expected because if one guy gets into foul trouble, their bench might not be able to contend with the other teams. They showed last night they can't win against a top power with a (mostly) one-man effort with Tyler Hansrough, no matter how dominant he is.
I can't wait to see the next game with a healthy Lawson; it should be even better than the one last night.