Lucas: Rapid Reactions
1. If that Marcus Paige shot goes in--and it really looked like it was--there's all kinds of questions for Rick Barnes about why he didn't foul up three. Carolina had no timeouts left and there was plenty of time to hack Leslie McDonald before he threw the pass to Paige.
2. Really, though, in the end there was no way that game could've ended other than a missed free throw and an offensive rebound, which is exactly how the Longhorns essentially won the game. The Tar Heels got exactly what they wanted when Demarcus Holland missed a free throw with under 10 seconds remaining, but they were unable to box out and allowed an easy stick back.
That was the central theme of the night, as Texas eventually corralled 20 offensive boards. The Carolina coaching staff put a heavy emphasis on Texas' offensive rebounding prowess in pregame preparation...and then the Longhorns went out and proved exactly why. The 'Horns had an astronomical 58.3 percent offensive rebounding percentage in the first half on the way to building a 53-42 halftime lead.
3. Give Rick Barnes credit for being the first coach to employ a gimmick defense against Marcus Paige for an extended amount of time. Although Paige finished with 23 points, the Longhorn triangle-and-two was effective against him for stretches of the first and second half. In addition to sinking a big three-pointer late, Javan Felix's defense against Paige was important.
4. Carolina shot just 38.5 percent from the field, and a big reason why was the inability to force Longhorn turnovers. Texas had just 12, tied with UAB for the fewest by a UNC opponent this year.
In addition to taking care of the basketball, the Longhorns consistently beat Carolina down the court, both on offense and defense, and grabbed every loose ball.
5. Free throws: what can you say? Other than Paige, the Tar Heels were 16-39 (41.0%). "I'm tired of talking about free throws," Roy Williams said after the game. "You've got to be tough enough to step up and make them."
If he sounds frustrated, it's because in Carolina's three losses--by a combined 10 points--the Tar Heels have missed 56 free throws (stat via ESPN's Jason McCallum).
Adam Lucas is the editor of CAROLINA.