North Carolina cruises to a big win over Marquette

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North Carolina beat down Marquette.

There really is no other way to describe it.

The Golden Eagles took a 10-8 lead with into the under 12 timeout. When Buzz Williams was forced to call a timeout with 18:55 left in the second half, the score was 46-15. The Tar Heels had gone on a 38-5 run in the span of 12:25.

By the time Marquette finally came alive, it was too late. The Tar Heels cruised to an 81-63 win.

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My task here is to find deeper meaning in this game and to provide it to you in the form of a blog post. And sometimes, there just isn’t anything deep.

North Carolina is a better basketball team than Marquette. For a 12:25 stretch, Carolina absolutely caught fire while Marquette completely disintegrated. The Tar Heels were jumping passing lanes and forcing turnovers — Marquette coughed the ball up 14 times before their first assist. North Carolina was getting up and down the floor as well as they have all season, and the Golden Eagles were completely unable to get back on defense. UNC got to the offense glass at will. Tyler Zeller, Harrison Barnes, and John Henson dominated the interior.

It was an overwhelming performance by North Carolina, one that came on a night when Marquette played about as poorly as they are physically capable of.

These things happen.

But if you dig through the rubble, you’ll see some interesting results.

Marquette’s most effective player tonight was Davante Gardner. He’s a 6’9″ freshman that is likely sitting on the wrong side of 275 lb. He’s a big boy, he eats up space, and he pushed around Henson and Zeller on the block, finishing with 16 points and six boards (four offensive) on 6-9 shooting. He’s also half the player that Jared Sullinger is, which is concerning for Tar Heel fans should Ohio State pull out the win tonight.

The inverse of that?

Zeller beat Marquette down the floor on seemingly every transition bucket. He finished with 27 points, 15 boards (nine offensive), four assists, three steals, and at least four transition dunks that I can think of off the top of my head. That right there is our Sullinger-counter measure.

North Carolina is a very good basketball team.

We knew that before they played Marquette. How much can we learn from a blow out win over the 11th place team from a conference that has sent just 6.1% of their league members to the Elite 8?

Report: Four-star center reclassifying to 2015; down to three

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An interesting recruiting development hit on Friday as Josh Gershon of Scout.com reported that four-star center Jayce Johnson is reclassifying to the Class of 2015 and looking to join a program at semester break.

The 7-foot native of California is down to Cal, Colorado and Utah and Johnson is on an official visit to Utah this weekend after transferring to a charter school this week. As Gershon notes, only Cal has a scholarship to offer Johnson this season, but the family is willing to pay a semester at the other programs if it’s the right fit. Johnson would like to redshirt and train with his future college while playing against more mature players.

But if Johnson is persuaded not to redshirt, he could be an intriguing big man off the bench later in the season for a couple of teams looking to make a postseason appearance. As the No. 67 overall prospect in the Class of 2016, Johnson is a talented prospect and he isn’t afraid to score with either hand. With some time to fill out, Johnson can turn into a talented Pac-12 player down the road.

VIDEO: Utah Valley’s Mark Pope dances, lip syncs with daughters

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New Utah Valley head coach Mark Pope made quite an impression on fans at the team’s Midnight Madness celebration last night. That’s because Pope did a dance and lip sync routine with his four daughters that turned out to be pretty impressive.

The former BYU assistant looks to be the leader in the clubhouse for best coach dance so far this preseason. We’ll see if any other coaches pull out elaborate routines at madness celebrations the next few weeks.