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North Carolina Hammers Louisville Despite Smith's 36

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Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports

Well, that was miserable.

The easiest thing to do is to compare what happened today to what happened against Duke last november, but that was an extremely competitive game against a Blue Devil team that was a lot better at that time than North Carolina is now. Also, the Cards started Zach Price at center.

The long and short of it is this: Louisville isn't as good as we thought they were. That said, I don't think they're as bad as they were today.

The Cards are still figuring out how to adjust to life without a rim protector. U of L's four frontcourt guys right now are all defending like they're Gorgui Dieng, which they're not. The result is opponents getting a lot of made floaters, a lot of dishes for easy baskets and a lot of offensive rebounds..

Also, if you're in the game as Louisville's point guard, it's your responsibility to be the safety on defense. No gambling for steals, no going for an offensive rebound, no glancing into one of the suites to catch a few seconds of "Castle"; get the hell back.

I think the worst part about this loss is the fact that U of L doesn't have the schedule this year to make it obsolete - from a resume stand point, at least. If Louisville loses at Kentucky on Dec. 28, then the Cards are going to enter play in an average AAC without a single quality non-conference win. Not ideal.

Still, this is what it is: a November loss for a program that has pretty much always found a way to lose at least one in November. There are a lot of things that need to be cleaned up, but the personnel and the talent is there to make it happen. It's a five-month season, and what happened this afternoon has next-to-no bearing on Louisville's chances of winning a second straight national title.

Here's your box score...you don't have to look:

North Carolina Tar Heels
STARTERS FGM-A 3PM-A FTM-A OREB DREB REB AST STL BLK TO PF PTS
James Michael McAdoo, F 3-11 0-0 3-6 1 2 3 1 0 0 2 0 9
Joel James, F 2-4 0-0 1-1 1 5 6 0 0 0 0 1 5
J.P. Tokoto, F 1-4 0-0 2-4 1 2 3 0 0 0 0 4 4
Nate Britt, G 3-9 0-1 3-4 0 1 1 3 0 0 4 3 9
Marcus Paige, G 9-13 3-6 11-11 1 3 4 2 1 0 3 4 32
BENCH FGM-A 3PM-A FTM-A OREB DREB REB AST STL BLK TO PF PTS
Brice Johnson, F 6-7 0-0 1-1 1 5 6 0 0 3 1 4 13
Desmond Hubert, F 0-0 0-0 2-2 0 1 1 0 0 0 1 1 2
Kennedy Meeks, F 5-6 0-0 3-7 4 7 11 5 1 0 0 2 13
Isaiah Hicks, F 1-2 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 2
Jackson Simmons, F 2-2 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 4
Luke Davis, G 0-1 0-1 0-2 0 1 1 0 0 0 2 1 0
TOTALS FGM-A 3PM-A FTM-A OREB DREB REB AST STL BLK TO PF PTS
32-59 3-8 26-38 10 29 39 12 2 3 14 20 93
54.2% 37.5% 68.4%
Louisville Cardinals
STARTERS FGM-A 3PM-A FTM-A OREB DREB REB AST STL BLK TO PF PTS
Stephan Van Treese, F 1-1 0-0 0-0 1 1 2 0 0 0 0 3 2
Montrezl Harrell, F 2-4 0-0 1-2 3 5 8 0 1 3 3 6 5
Russ Smith, G 11-21 6-14 8-9 0 1 1 1 2 0 3 2 36
Wayne Blackshear, G 0-3 0-3 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 5 0
Chris Jones, G 7-20 4-9 0-0 1 5 6 1 1 0 3 1 18
BENCH FGM-A 3PM-A FTM-A OREB DREB REB AST STL BLK TO PF PTS
Chane Behanan, F 2-4 0-0 3-4 5 5 10 0 1 0 2 4 7
Luke Hancock, F 1-8 1-3 7-8 3 0 3 1 1 0 1 4 10
Mangok Mathiang, F 0-0 0-0 2-2 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 1 2
Terry Rozier, G 0-2 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Kevin Ware, G 2-4 0-1 0-0 0 2 2 0 0 0 2 3 4
TOTALS FGM-A 3PM-A FTM-A OREB DREB REB AST STL BLK TO PF PTS
26-67 11-30 21-25 15 21 36 3 6 3 14 29 84
38.8% 36.7% 84.0%