Mark Armstrong Blog: Carolina preps for Creighton

March 17, 2012 5:26:21 PM PDT
After a stunning Friday night, it was almost eerily quiet inside the Coliseum today. We are allowed interviews, but the team practices are closed to prying media eyes. You could hear the squeak of shoes on the court and given Duke's disaster last night, the anonymous squeaks seemed like the ghost of Blue Devil players trying to play on into the tournament. How's that for overdramatic?

Carolina took care of bidness of course vs Vermont. It wasn't pretty to start, but the Heels hit the gas in the second to pull away comfortably. James Michael McAdoo had the dunk of the tournament, but I'd expect him to be back on the bench vs Creighton. John Henson wouldn't go so far as to say it, but count on seeing him on the court vs Creighton. After listing the litany of treatments he's had on his wrist (lasers, creams, pills...it went on and on), Henson said how much he enjoyed watching Tyler Zeller's back-to-back block sequence last night. The fact is - outside of John, the Heels just aren't a very swat-heavy team.

Henson's return will be critical for UNC, but his impact could be muted tomorrow as Creighton does its best work from waaaay outside. Over 42% as a team from behind the three point line is darned near absurd and Roy is fretting about it. His guys need to stick on their guys tomorrow defensively or the BlueJays can and will quickly light it up.

I wouldn't be doing my job if I didn't touch on the Harrison Barnes vs Doug McDermott angle. While they won't be defending each other with any regularity, you know they're both eager to show the other what's up. They're buddies, but tomorrow, make no mistake - they're competitors first. It's an interesting tale of two players. Barnes was the start of their HS team, a national phenom who entered UNC to impossible hype. McDermott was second fiddle, thought to be a mid-major talent at best. While Harrison has shown himself to be an exceptional player - many still consider his career underwhelming given the spotlight and expectations. McDermott meanwhile has blossomed from off the radar into a 1st Team All-American (an honor Barnes hasn't achieved). The expectations for Barnes were never fair, but having his HS teammate supercede him in a sense just seems to add to the anticlimactic feel of HB's college career.

Of course - all that said - Harrison figures to have the last laugh tomorrow with a win. Doug's still got a little bit of awe for his former buddy too - as he said today - 'He's gonna be making millions in the NBA soon. I'm gonna be here (Creighton) for awhile.'

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