Tar Heels play down to competition yet still defeat ETSU by 23 points | Sports

Tar Heels play down to competition yet still defeat ETSU by 23 points

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I sat on press row at the Dean Smith Center to watch UNC humiliate N.C. State in 2008. After tonight, please allow me to say to East Tennessee State — you are no Wolfpack.

State's futility four-plus years ago resulted in a pathetic 13-point first half; tonight, the Buccaneers tallied only 12 points and erased an ugly Wolfpack basketball footnote.

Directional schools can fool you, but not usually. Obviously excluding instances where the state's name itself is directional — such as North Carolina — the Easts and Wests of the world tend to get stomped versus major opponents. Things get even worse for some of the Southeasts and Northwests, but almost no one could have performed worse in the first half than ETSU tonight.

Carolina stayed sharp during the first half but succumbed to happy feelings in the second, taking poor shots and committing silly turnovers. Nevertheless, the Heels handled their task as expected and will host East Carolina next weekend, which should provide a more realistic view of the team's improvement. Click here to view the UNC/ETSU box score.

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