That sound you hear is Tar Heel nation exhaling. I’m not sure about everyone else, but this was the last one I had circled on the old schedule when it came out. This was the last one after MSU, Kentucky, Wisconsin, and even Long Beach State. I guess maybe I should have included that UNLV game, but who knew? They made it through a pretty tough schedule and while we’d all love to see that perfect record, I’ll take the 2 losses. In typical Roy Williams fashion, this team is getting better as the year goes along.

Now I’ll be the first to admit, I’m not sure why it took a month or so to pick up where they left off last year, but based on what I saw tonight, they have surpassed that. The difference? Defense. While no Tar Heel team will ever be known for their defense (as long as Roy’s around), this one is starting to show real promise. There is a new trap that Roy has added that is really starting to initiate the offense and fast breaks. It’s a scrambling trap and all 5 are committing to it. 

I also like the 1-2 punch of Reggie and PJ off the bench. Again, I am not against either of them starting, but I think we’re all hoping for something that will not happen. I actually think Dexter is much more assertive than he was last year. So let’s just agree that this is what it is and the points are coming from the bench. I like this win. I like that we saw Harrison Barnes play like the player everyone in the world thinks he can be. This is a big win. Two more relatively easy games and then the ACC kicks into high gear.

I have 2 more dates circled on the calendar. Both have dook listed as the opponent. I said it after the Kentucky game and I’ll say it again. This team may not lose another game until the ACC tournament. Roy hates that tournament and unlike Coach K (who likes to win that one then bow out of the real tournament early), would just as soon give his team a little rest before the run for the prize. Again, I’m just fine with that. 

8 days off. Merry Christmas Tar Heel Nation.