Writer: Andy Staples
Game: Louisville-North Carolina
Post time: 10:07 p.m., Saturday
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- If you're only glancing at the score, North Carolina's 44-32 halftime lead might make it seem as if the Tar Heels are crushing Louisville. That isn't the case.
Against any other team in the country -- with the possible exception of Memphis during Friday's first half -- Louisville would be much closer. North Carolina point guard Ty Lawson's speed makes trapping him in the backcourt nearly impossible but the Cardinals kept trying for much of the half. As a result, the Tar Heels scored 12 fast break points. Perhaps the best indicator of just how good this North Carolina team is: Louisville shot 52 percent in the first half and is still down by a dozen.
Still, if the Cardinals can make shots and cut down on the turnovers -- they had 11 in the first half -- they have a chance. Remember, late in the first, Louisville slashed an 11-point deficit to five in about three minutes. If the Heels don't keep the pressure on, the Cardinals may have a comeback in them. If North Carolina learned its lesson after squandering an 11-point second-half lead in last year's Elite Eight loss to Georgetown, Louisville may not get that chance.