A few notes on UNC and Duke as the Tar Heels and Blue Devils each advanced to the Sweet 16 out of Charlotte on Sunday, winning two outstanding NCAA tourney games by a combined total of only five points:
-- Sunday was a lot better day than Friday was in general for both Charlotte and the NCAA tournament. The games were great, the crowd was far more into it, and both Washington and Michigan proved to be excellent sparring partners for the two ACC rivals. If it had gone just a little differently, it could have been a Black Sunday for both UNC and Duke (the 1979 edition, for those with long memories), but both did just enough at the end to win.
-- I thought the officials needed to do some more video review at the end of the UNC-Washington game. First of all, Washington should have had about 1.1 seconds left to get off that final shot, not 0.5, but no official corrected that.
-- I also thought John Henson goal-tended Washington’s final shot, although since it was mistakenly shot from two-point range it would only have made the score a one-point UNC margin instead of the three-point UNC win (86-83) that officially resulted.
-- Henson is involved in so many weird plays, isn’t he? Just in the final 10 seconds, he tipped a ball on an in-bounds pass to cause a turnover, then dropped a desperate heave from a Washington player out of bounds, then did his “was it a goaltending?” act.
-- I know Duke guard Kyrie Irving is supposed to be the next John Wall and all, but he still looks rusty. There’s no doubt that Duke’s Nolan Smith, the ACC Player of the Year, remained the best player on the floor Sunday in Duke’s 73-71 win.
Smith (24 points) was great. He almost broke a Michigan defender’s ankles with one crossover move. Irving was just OK, but he did hit a key bank shot in the final minute (his only field goal of the game).
-- Congrats to Coach K and his 900th career victory. Amazing.
-- The attendance at Time Warner Cable Arena Sunday was a bit better than Friday. There were about 1,500 more tickets sold for Sunday’s session compared to Friday’s – the Sunday session ticket was $77.
The announced crowd was 18,329 Sunday, compared to 16,852 Friday. Still, it’s a stunner the whole weekend wasn’t a complete sellout with both North Carolina and Duke in the house.
-- I am off until Monday, March 28 and won’t be posting on this blog until then. Thanks to all of you so much for reading this blog, and have a good week!