Story of the Day. Are the Heels Overrated? Only at places like UNC would we be asking questions like this, but after UNC sleptwalked through a tougher-than-it-shoulda-been home win 88-77 against Valparaiso today, it begs the question — are they overrated? Most of the top teams have been busy annihilating their opponents, but other than against North Carolina Central, UNC has allowed vastly inferior teams like FIU and Valpo to hang around much longer than they should. One quote from point guard Larry Drew II really seemed to hit home with us: when asked about pre-game intensity, Drew said, “honestly, I thought everything was all good, but Coach kind of told us before the game, ‘It seems like you lacked a little intensity out there for the shootaround.’” As the point guard and unofficial team leader, Drew should be able to read his team better than that, and it really makes us wonder whether he has the chops to become the leader this team ultimately needs. Carolina was never seriously threatened with a loss, but the Heels allowed 7-10 shooting from deep in the second half, and Brandon Wood (30 pts with six threes) lit their perimeter defense up. It seems that we’re not the only ones who realize that things in Carolina Nation aren’t quite up to snuff yet (and honestly, after losing what they lost, why would they be???), but this weekend’s twin tilts against Ohio State and either Syracuse or California will give us a better sense as to the answer to the above question.
Upset of the Day. UT-San Antonio 62, Iowa 50. It’s not often that a Southland team wins a game on a Big Ten team’s home floor, so even though it’s abundantly clear that Iowa is down (way down), this is still the choice. UTSA used a 17-3 run to open the second half and their experience was able to hold off the much younger Hawkeyes down the stretch as they repeatedly made mini-runs. Despite outrebounding the Roadrunners by twelve boards, Iowa had trouble finding the basket to the tune of 34% from the field and 19% from deep. Not to sterotype or anything, but we thought this was Iowa, you know, where kids can shoot the ball. Morris Smith, IV, led the way for UTSA with 16/4, but it was a balanced attack that did the trick for this team, as five of the seven players who saw playing time scored in double figures. This is the second win over a BCS conference team this weekend for a Southland team, as Texas A&M-Corpus Christi nailed Oregon State on Friday night.
RTC Live. Tulsa 81, FIU 49. This game was an impressive win for Tulsa, and Jerome Jordan is one of the most impressive big men I have ever seen in person, Simply a dominating presence on both ends of the court — 12 points on 7 shots and 6 blocks in 24 minutes. I would be shocked if he was not a first round pick, or even a lottery pick. Tulsa is hungry, disciplined, well-coached, and a force to be reckoned with in Conference USA. This is their year to capture the Conference title. FIU, in contrast, was abysmal, shooting 21% from the field and 15% from beyond the arc. Only Marvin Roberts had double figure points with 18, and that came off of 4-16 shooting. They were undersized and not very physical on either end of the floor. At one point during the game, Isiah Thomas was upset and said loud enough for press row to hear that Tulsa had “no class” for continuing to play its stars, but afterwards in the media interview room, he backed off those comments. Regardless, he has a lot of work to do before this team is even respectable, but I expect him to make this team much better in the coming years with his experience and incoming recruits (h/t RTC correspondent Eli Linton).
Other Games of National Interest.