Here are my thoughts from the game last night and if you don't care about Duke or UNC then just skip down to OTHER NEWS:
- Did the refs realize that their whistles worked last night? I guess they were going with the theory that no blood, no foul. Also, they didn't know that traveling is illegal in college basketball. A big deal was made by Dan Shuman and Dick Vitale that Hansbrough (who is leading everybody in free throw attempts) never went to the line. While I agree he probably got fouled at least once, I also thought the refs not calling any travels or as many fouls was a bigger story line.
- The difference in the game were the blocks. Duke had 7 and UNC had 15. Both teams shot the ball 76 times with Duke making 25 and UNC making 31. The reason Duke missed more shots than Carolina is because they had there shot blocked (or fouled) on what seemed to be most of Duke's drives.
- There were a few crucial moments and none was bigger than when Duke went up two (68-66) and had the ball with under 6 minutes to go. Greg Paulus made a great crossover on Hansbrough, but missed a wide open 2 point jump shot. The ball went right to Henderson standing about 5 feet away from the basket. He was standing flat footed, so he was a little too far out (he needed one power dribble) for a dunk, but he misjudged the situation and tried the dunk anyway. This resulted in a point blank miss. After that position Duke had another chance when Paulus missed a wide open 3 off a great pass by Scheyer. Either the 3 or the dunk would have put Duke up two possessions and completely changed the game.
- The layup by Hansbrough to put UNC up 70-68 featured two offensive fouls. One by Green for pushing Scheyer (I think) out of the way. The next was Hansbrough jumping over Singler for a no call on an over the back.
- The next play Paulus missed another crucial three that would have put Duke up 1 with under 2 minutes to go. To his credit Paulus kept Duke within reach in the first half by shooting well from the outside, but at the end of the game he couldn't make anything and finished the game shooting 5 for 14.
- More ref complaints: How did Paulus get called for a foul on Ty Lawson's drive to put UNC up 72-68, but Tyler didn't get called for fouling Scheyer on his 3 pointer when Duke was down 74-68 and their was 44 seconds left. I am not saying that call would have changed the outcome of the game (since Duke couldn't make anything the last 6 minutes), but it would have been nice to see.
- That 10-0 run in this year's game was reminiscent of the equally important 2005 Duke-UNC game at the Dean Dome. Last night Duke lost the regular season title, a possible #1 seed in the Charlotte region, Senior night for DeMarcus Nelson (who obviously didn't handle the emotion well), and a possible chance of sweeping Carolina. In 2005 Duke lost a possible sweep and the chance of hurting UNC's seed that eventually led to a national championship.
- Can somebody please tell DeMarcus Nelson to take stop shooting 3s and Jon Scheyer to start shooting more 3s? Nelson's strength is taking the ball to the basket and finding ways of scoring close to the goal.
- I still think if Duke wins the ACC championship then they should get the #1 seed. I know I am in the minority on this, but I don't think Duke should be punished for playing a difficult non-conference schedule that resulted in them winning 2 out of 3 tough games against Pitt, Marquette, and Wisconsin. I think winning 2 out of those 3 games (with the one loss being because of an under 10 second 3 pointer) is more impressive than beating BYU, Ohio St., and Kent State.
- Duke missed an opportunity I didn't think they would get after how they played in the first half. I almost would have rather had them play like they played in the first half for the entire game because if that would have happened there would have been no "what ifs" since they would have lost by 20.
Friday night was my own personal "Hockey night in Minnesota." I went with a good friend (and huge hockey fan) to go see the University of Minnesota Gophers play the University of Minnesota-Duluth-Bulldogs. After that I had a few beers and watched the high school hockey tournament game between Roseau and Hill Murray, in which Hill Murray (not Bill Murray) snapped a nearly year and a half long winning streak by Roseau. It was Minnesota high school hockey's equivalent of the Patriots losing. Here are my thoughts with pictures from that night:
- Mariucci Arena is an amazing hockey arena. The arena does a great job of highlighting the illustrious history of Gopher hockey and making the arena feel like it has been there for a 100 years despite only being 15 years old.
- I am not even going to fault the Gophers for putting up National Runner Up banners because for someone who is a hockey novice like me I enjoyed seeing when the Gophers made it to the title game. I even think this should be introduced into normal life. You could have a "almost got promoted" party or hang up a banner saying that you son or daughter almost got into an Ivy League school. The saying should now be "close only counts in horseshoes, hand grenades, and Gopher hockey."
- Not only does the Gophers hockey team have cheerleaders, but they skate in between periods. How great is it that the cheerleaders cheer and skate? Is it required by law that you have to skate if you were born in Minnesota? Check out this video of Minnesota Cheerleaders skating.
- The Gopher cheerleaders mission statement is to "push the limits of hockey cheerleading" and "to be one of the Best Hockey Cheer Teams in the nation." How can push the limits of hockey cheerleading? How many Hockey Cheer Teams in the nation are there? Why is Hockey Cheer Teams capitalized? It seems like with the Gopher hockey cheerleaders there are more questions than answers.
- Umm....Goldy (the mascot of the Gophers) writes on the same 2007-2008 mission statement page that he will "make it rain." Seriously, go to the website (which is gophersports.com) and scroll down to Goldy Gopher. I didn't know Goldy had so much in common with Pacman Jones. Below see the picture of Goldy amongst his fans:
- I need to get better with my hockey talk since I accidentally called center ice "midcourt" and the periods "quarters."
- Major props to the Gophers hockey band for playing Pinball Wizard, Sergeants Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band and With a Little Help from My Friends among others.
It is hard to believe a week from now is Selection Sunday. After that is opening weekend, which thankfully I get that Friday off because of my company recognizing Good Friday as a holiday.