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Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Tar Heels romp at Boston College to begin February push

Posted by on Wed, Feb 2, 2011 at 4:35 PM

UNC cut through icy New England and the Eagles
  • UNC cut through icy New England and the Eagles
RAYCOM — North Carolina steamrolled Boston College 106-74 on Tuesday night, blowing out a solid Eagles ballclub that entered the game as only a two-point underdog. But this version of the Tar Heels was the juggernaut of days gone by, scoring prolifically in transition and playing at a pace that overwhelmed their opponents.

UNC scalded the nets en route to a 57 percent shooting performance, including 52 percent on three-pointers and 85 percent from the foul line. The Heels also showed up on defense against a ball-control offense that typically operates with great efficiency, holding the Eagles to 35 percent from the field.

Roy Williams has maintained all season that he has a good shooting team, despite the fact that the statistics scream otherwise. But against BC, versus admittedly a poor defense, Carolina was much more effective on the perimeter.

Harrison Barnes is the primary cause of the improved shooting and appears to possess excellent chemistry with point guard Kendall Marshall. Struggling all season with his jump shot, Barnes in the past two games (the other against N.C. State) has set a career high and hit a very high percentage from the floor. Against the Eagles, he stroked in 26 points on 9-for-15 shooting along with six rebounds.

Tyler Zeller emerged from his mini-slump, hitting 18 points and six boards of his own. His emerging frontcourt companion, John Henson, added 13 points and seven rebounds to accompany his always-beaming smile and enthusiasm.

Carolina improved to 6-1 in the ACC and now ranks among the top 15 teams in Ken Pomeroy’s computer rankings. If you aren’t familiar with KenPom, just know that by February his ratings — compiled via fancy advanced metrics — are far more useful that the nonsense trotted out each week in the media and coaches’ polls. You can check out his site here.

We’re now just one week away from the first of two regular season games between UNC and Duke. The Blue Devils have looked vulnerable since the loss of point guard Kyrie Irving to injury, and Carolina fans are beginning to feel emboldened (probably unrealistically) about the Heels’ chances of winning in Durham next Wednesday.

In the meantime, UNC will face Florida State at home on Sunday afternoon. The Seminoles haven’t been a good road team and are poor offensively — in effect, the exact converse of Boston College — but play ferocious defense. They’ll be a good preparation step for the Heels for Duke, but they also pose a legitimate threat of their own.

To view the box score demolition from UNC/BC, click here.

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