By Adam Lucas1. Carolina did what it had to do to secure an 85-61 victory over Boston College in the second round of the ACC Tournament. Carolina has now won 16 of the last 17 against the Eagles.
2. As has been the case before, the big story between now and tomorrow’s game at Armando Bacot’s ankle. The Tar Heel big man twisted his left ankle in the first half and went to the locker room for the remainder of the first period. He came back and played the first 5:33 of the second half, but was clearly limited and had no lift. Carolina will need as much from Bacot as they can get against Virginia (the graphics at the end of the game on ESPN where UNC faced Clemson were wrong). He had ten points and six boards in 18 minutes against BC.
3. Carolina ran great offense in the first half. It’s quite simple: shots went in. And as you know by now if you’ve watched this team, when shots go in, they’re hard to beat. Caleb love led the Heels with 22 points on 9-for-20 from the field, and RJ Davis added 18 on 7-for-12 shooting. The Carolina offense also featured 10-for-23 from the three-point line, a healthy 43.5 percent.
4. As has often happened with this year’s team, the good offense led to more intensity in the defence. After an intense few days of practice following the Duke game, the Tar Heels were completely locked down defensively, challenging almost every Boston College pass and shot in the first 20 minutes.
5. Pete Nance has added an element of rim protection to Carolina’s defense. Nance had four blocks on Wednesday, with a couple of them aggressive plays that denied what at first appeared to be an easy Eagle basket. Nance now has ten blocks in the past four games. He had ten blocks in 17 games of ACC play before that. Nance was also efficient offensively, doing all of his work in the midrange, where he had ten points.
6. A defensive adjustment in the first half changed the flow of the game. Makai Ashton-Langford started the game 3-3 from the field and threw all three. But then the Tar Heels switched Leaky black on to Ashton-Langford, and he was just 1-for-3 over the rest of the half and one for his next six as Carolina built the largest lead the Tar Heels have had in any ACC game. Ashton-Langford did not make a field goal in the second half until five minutes remained in the game.
7. Something very unexpected happened Wednesday night: The Tar Heels kicked Boston College out of a zone. The Eagles tried going to a 1-3-1 look midway through the first half, but a quick Carolina offensive rebound that led to a basket and a three-pointer quickly convinced Earl Grant that it was a bad idea. The Tar Heels were not as successful against the zone in the second half as they were too stagnant on offense. Of course, a zone won’t be an issue tomorrow night against Virginia.
8. Hard night for Puff Johnsonbut a new very late season story is the emergence of Dontrez Styles. The Kinston native hasn’t been flashy, but he hasn’t hurt Carolina off the bench either. The highlight Wednesday night for Styles was a gorgeous pass to Nance for an assist, and he also added a baseline drive for a slam with two minutes left.
9. Styles was part of a UNC bench contingent that gave the Heels some solid minutes. D’Marco Dunn hit a couple of three pointers, Seth Trimble scored off a drive and the Tar Heel bench contributed 17 points. As everyone knows, to win four games in four days you need production from the bench. We even had a Biscuit Boys sighting – or at least partial Biscuit Boys, as (ridiculous) rules limit the number of players who can dress up and Has Farris and Beau-Maye was in the stands in street clothes – at the last minute.
10. This year marks the first season of an ACC Tournament seat change. Traditionally, all of a school’s tickets have been grouped by section, so that there is a block of seats for each school. But this year, each school got a whiff of tickets through the “good” sections, leading to a very different arena of emotions.
11. Even with the change, it’s still Greensboro that still feels right (and was a fitting place for Jim Boeheim to coach his last game). Next year, the ACC Tournament returns to Washington, DC (which also happened to be the site of Carolina’s last ACC Tournament title in 2016). Subsequent locations have not been announced.
12. Officials carried pink whistles as a tribute to the 22-year-old daughter of Roger Ayers, who was recently diagnosed with thyroid cancer. It is believed that the condition was detected early.