Bacot gets hot(20 pts./22 rebounds) and it’s another Manek Sunday(19 pts.) as Heels head to Final Four:It was easy, and now on to “Big Easy”

It sure looked easy to me, as the North Carolina Tar Heels finally solved and shot down the Peacocks of St. Peter’s, on Sunday afternoon in Philadelphia…Final from Philly, Heels 69, Peacocks 49, and now Carolina is headed to the Final Four….

The Heels ruled the roost, and that is the roost of the Peacocks and not roosters in the lane, with UNC owning the paint…Armando Bacot, North Carolina’s big post man, with 20 points and 22 rebounds on Sunday, while Bacot’s partner in the post, Brady Manek, had himself another “Manek Sunday”, with Brady pumping in 19 bigs points, and Manek stepped outside the lane, and connected on four 3-point shots, plus Manek added 8 rebounds to Carolina’s 49-33 rebounding advantage over the Peacocks, of St. Peter’s…

Caleb Love followed up his 30-point performance from Friday night’s win, with 14 more for the Heels on Sunday afternoon…

North Carolina took a 38-19 lead into the locker room at halftime, and then the Heels proceeded to out-score St. Peter’s 31-30 after intermission…UNC did not shoot the ball all that great overall, but they did get the key rebounds they needed, and they took 21 shots from the foul line, as opposed to 10 trips to the charity stripe for the Peacocks..

The Heels shot 25-61 from the floor, for 41%, it was 6-22 from three-point land for 27.3%, and from the foul line Carolina goes 13-21, for 61.9%…Big difference came from St. Peter’s from the field, where the Peacocks took just one less shot than UNC at 60 attempts, but St. Peter’s only connected on 18 of those 60 shots from the floor, and that came out to 30%…Heels made 25 shots and St. Petes 18, Heels at 41%, and Pete’s at 30%….

The difference??? Coach Hubert Davis told Allie LaForce after the game that he was very proud of the way his team(the North Carolina Tar Heels) played defense today, and Hubert Davis hit the nail on the head…With the exception of a few brief periods, the Tar Heel Defense controlled the game vs. St. Peter’s on Sunday afternoon…

Leaky Black blocked three Peacock shots, Armando Bacok blocked two shots, while North Carolina had a 35-26 edge over St. Peter’s on the defensive boards…And I go back to our earlier points, the big advantage by UNC on field goal shooting, and that large overall rebounding difference of 16 rebounds-plus in UNC’s corner, out-rebounding St. Peter’s again, 49-33…That rebounding number is huge, and that board credit has to go to Bacot and Manek, who combined for 30 rebounds, and then Caleb Love, RJ Davis, and Leakey Black, each had four rebounds/boards….
(And here is another impressive stat from Sunday’s game:Armando Bacot posted his 29th double-double of the season, tying Tim Duncan’s all-time ACC record.)

This was some kind of Easy, as the Heels head to the Big Easy in New Orleans next to face what could turn out to be a ‘Hard Days Night’, vs. the Duke Blue Devils…Next Saturday in New Orleans will mark the first Final Four meeting — first NCAA Tournament meeting, in fact between the Heels and Blue Devils…North Carolina(28-9) vs. Duke(32-6)…Game time is set for 8:49 on TBS…No free TV for the Duke-North Carolina game at the Final Four…

TBS has the game, CBS does not…The game on Cable, and your local radio choices will be UNC on 94.5 FM, while you can find Duke on 93.7 FM…Game on Cable, so you may have to sit around the family table, and listen the voice of the Heels, and the voice of the Blue Devils and let them call the game for you….

I would suggest them bring back Woody Durham to call the game for the Heels, and Bob Harris to call the game for the Blue Devils, but that would not be possible, as Woody left us a few years back for the Hoops Hall of Fame in the sky, and Bob Harris has been gone from the Duke broadcasts for around three years now…Those two were the best, Bob and Woody, Woody and Bob, but now we are only left with the memories that those Hall of Famers shared with us….

Guess we will have to go with the flow, and the flow says take what you can get with the radio broadcast, or find a diner like Jake’s, or a KickBack Jack’s, where you can catch the game on the tube…Decisions, decisions, decisions…Glad we are not coaching in this game since that will be some kind of crazy chore too…Just let ’em run, look for Duke to go with a zone, attack the basket, as Hubert Davis has been telling his men to do…Coach K will be there in full force, and he will be probably have most of the spotlight shining on him, and that might be a good thing, since that will reflect the attention to him, and take it off his Blue Devil players…

Duke will be favored by 3 points on Monday, since Duke is the higher seeded team, as the #2 seed, and North Carolina might become the favored team by Wednesday, even though the Heels enter the game as the #8 seed…I am going to say by Saturday at Noon time, Duke will be a 3 1/2 to five point favorite, and all because this is Coach K’s final season, and this is Hubert Davis first trip as a coach, as he heads back to the Final Four…Davis was there as a Tar Heels player back in 1990….

Duke will win the game(5 points), and then Coach K will face Kanas in the Championship game, since Kansas coach Bill Self has already said, “Don’t worry about the mules, load the wagon”….

There you have it, Duke over North Carolina, 81-76 on Saturday night

More on Sunday’s game from GOHeels.com
TAR HEELS RUN PAST PEACOCKS, 69-49, FOR 21ST FINAL FOUR BERTH

PHILADELPHIA—North Carolina crushed all hope of a March Madness miracle in the early going Sunday, getting 20 points and 22 rebounds from Armando Bacot in a wire-to-wire 69-49 runaway over 15th-seeded Saint Peter’s.

The eighth-seeded Tar Heels (28-9) made their record 21st Final Four, and next on their list is none other than archrival Duke and its soon-to-be-retiring coach, Mike Krzyzewski.

Next Saturday in New Orleans will mark the first Final Four meeting — first NCAA Tournament meeting, in fact — between the Tobacco Road archrivals whose campuses are separated by 11 miles.

While Coach K’s winding road to retirement has been something to watch this March, nothing has captured more imaginations than the run put on by underdog Saint Peter’s. The entire basketball budget for this scrappy group from Jersey City, New Jersey, is $1.6 million — or around $400,000 less than what Tar Heels first-year coach Hubert Davis, who was sobbing as his players enveloped him after the buzzer, makes in a year.

Two nights earlier, the Peacocks (21-12) beat Purdue to become the first 15 seed to advance to an Elite Eight.

It got ugly early.

After Carolina’s Leaky Black missed a free throw 2 1/2 minutes in, Bacot edged in for the offensive rebound and an easy putback. It gave Carolina a 7-0 lead. In its three tournament wins over Kentucky, Murray State and Purdue, Saint Peter’s had never trailed by more than six.

The Peacocks, whose 10-game win streak ended, moved the ball well and got plenty of good looks over the first 10 minutes. Some shots went halfway down and rimmed out. Others bounced twice on the iron but wouldn’t fall. They trailed 21-7 after missing their first six shots, and 16 of their first 19.

Late in the first half, Daryl Banks III swooped in for what looked like a windmill jam. It got rejected — by the front of the rim. It made the Peacocks 5 for 27 on the night, and when Bacot dunked on the next possession, North Carolina led 36-15.

Fousseyni Drame led Saint Peter’s with 12 points and KC Ndefo had 10.

The weekend before, North Carolina had taken a 25-point lead against Baylor only to see it all melt away before pulling the game out in overtime. The turning point there came when Brady Manek got ejected for throwing an inadvertent elbow. Manek finished this game on the sideline, too — watching garbage time from the bench after scoring 19 points.

It was an emotional evening for Davis, who replaced Roy Williams, the coach who took the Tar Heels to five Final Fours over 18 years. Now the 51-year-old Davis joins the likes of Ray Meyer, Steve Fisher and Denny Crum as rookies to reach the sport’s biggest stage.

Were it not for Saint Peter’s, maybe North Carolina would be the underdog story of this tournament. Way back when, in 1985, another 8 seed shocked the world. It was Rollie Massimino’s 1985 Villanova team.

Then again, these are the Tar Heels. They’ve been playing as well as anyone for more than a month.

When they beat Duke, 94-81, at Cameron Indoor Stadium on March 5, it cast a cloud over what was supposed to be a celebration of Coach K’s final home game. On Sunday, they wrecked another of those so-called “perfect” story lines.

But this is more than a consolation prize for college hoops: Next, UNC and Duke meet for the 258th time…..