Gophers Win Over No. 8 Tar Heels Impressive On The Surface

I had to work last night – ’tis the season – but went home afterwards and watched the Minnesota-North Carolina men’s basketball game that I recorded.

Working in sports can be great. The one thing that’s tough from a sports fan perspective is that when you have to work during a game you want to watch, there’s no way of avoiding finding out what happened. I mean, it’s part of my job to know during work last night that the Gophers upset the eighth-ranked Tar Heels.

But since it was an upset, I had no problem at all sitting down to watch it despite knowing the result. I had to know how they did it.

It went pretty much as I expected. With Tubby Smith, wins like Friday’s victory are all about defense, defense, defense.

Both teams were really sloppy in the first half, and UNC never fully stopped playing that way. That was a pretty disappointing effort from a Tar Heels squad that looked lost on offense as freshman stud Harrison Barnes was held without a field goal.

The Tar Heels just didn’t  have that go-to scorer down the stretch. The Gophers really don’t either since Devoe Joseph is suspended indefinite for violation of team rules. But the Gophers are a veteran team. The core of this team has played together the last couple of seasons outside of Trevor Mbakwe, who was a beast on Friday night.

And how about that offensive rebound-turned-dunk by Rodney Williams? Pretty sick play. I suppose he should get a lot of the credit for Barnes’ struggles since I think he defended him most of the game. Williams is still pretty unpolished, but that kid oozes athletic ability.

This is a very good win for Minnesota come selection time, no matter how bad UNC looked. Everyone talks about what a bad team the Tar Heels were last year, but they still won 20 games, didn’t they?

North Carolina is a perennial power. The Gophers caught them on a good night and made the most of it.