North Carolina Tar Heels: Looking Back and Forward

Mar 12, 2016; Washington, DC, USA; North Carolina Tar Heels guard Marcus Paige (5) celebrates with a piece of the net after the Tar Heels
Mar 12, 2016; Washington, DC, USA; North Carolina Tar Heels guard Marcus Paige (5) celebrates with a piece of the net after the Tar Heels /

The North Carolina Tar Heels earned their one seed with their victory over Virginia in the ACC Championship Game.

The North Carolina Tar Heels stood and delivered on Saturday night when they defeated the Virginia Cavaliers and won the ACC Tournament for Men’s Basketball in Washington D.C. In a fitting nature, the Tar Heels got to sixty first against a team whose tactics come from Wisconsin and the Big Ten.

It was a hard game and grinding game where the foul count remained low throughout. Defense was at a premium and the Tar Heels back court delivered by keeping the opposite numbers on Virginia suppressed for most of the game. Malcolm Brogdon worked for his fifteen points while London Perrantes was kept out of double figures. Their antagonists were Marcus Paige and Joel Berry respectively.

In fact Paige played his best game of the tournament despite going 0 for the three point line. His defensive effort was matched by good offensive reads and some Kemba Walker-esque two point jumpers. The Tar Heels needed every one of his thirteen points.

Berry received Tournament MVP honors for the most consistent play throughout the games. With inside passing cut off by Virginia double teams, Berry added nineteen points of offense from the three and some hard drives to split defenders.

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Virginia tested Justin Jackson early with driving offense from Devon Hall and Marial Shayok, but even Jackson managed to influence the game before the end. Late in the second half, Jackson stole a pass intended for Anthony Gill and ran to the court to dunk it and give the team a much needed six point cushion.

Down low Brice Johnson scored twelve and Isaiah Hicks scored seven from the bench. Freshman guard Kenny Williams contributed by bothering Brogdon for six minutes of game time.

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This was a total team effort to defeat the Virginia plan, because this was a Virginia style game from start to finish. From no scoring in the first two minutes to running past the under 16 and then under 12 timeouts before a play stoppage in the first half. The 28-28 tie, and then the Tar Heels only gaining the lead for good very late.

So the Tar Heels finally won the day in the end. Yesterday they were granted the number 1 seed in the East Region of the NCAA Tournament. Thursday will find the Heels playing the winner of the Farleigh-Dickinson versus Florida Gulf Coast game at 7:20 PM.

Next: Beating Notre Dame

This ACC Tournament victory marks the first such victory for the team since 2008 when the Tyler Hansbrough team won it the year before their national title. They were a Final Four team that year though. The current group of seniors had been in this game three times total. They had previously lost to Miami in 2013 and Notre Dame last year.

Yet business is not finished for this Tar Heel team. With their one seed draw and expectations, they will be aiming for a bigger prize over the next few weeks. That would be a trip to Houston for the granddaddy of them all.