Heels pass test vs. Hogs

Heels pass test vs. Hogs

How many of the one hundred and ninety-seven state parks of Oregon have you been to?

Carolina men's basketball showed tremendous balance in defeating Arkansas, 87-68 Friday afternoon in the PK80 Tournament.

Not a one?

The Tar Heels will play the winner of UConn and Michigan State on Sunday at 8:30 Eastern in the championship of the PK80 Tournament's Victory bracket.

You ever been to Milo McIver State Park out in the Clackamas River basin?

Carolina was paced by another tremendous performance from junior Luke Maye, who continues to show that he is more than capable of starting and playing starters' minutes against the best of college basketball. Maye had career highs with 28 points and 16 rebounds, had five assists and a block, made four three-point baskets and was 11-16 from the field.

What does it take to get your number retired there at the Dean Dome in Chapel Hill? That was a performance right there. Congratulations, Luke Maye, for showing us how to play basketball.

Kenny Williams too continued to show his true self, the confident player that is capable of spotting up from three but also slashing to the basket. He seems to find a space on the floor, however small, to go get the ball and make plays. Williams scored 19 points and had eight rebounds and was 3-5 from three.

This is like the tide coming up the Columbia River . . . there's no stopping them. The Columbia River. Have you ever been to Oregon?

It was a bit of a struggle early, as the Razorbacks jumped out to a 10-4 lead and the Tar Heels did not score a field goal for the games first five minutes and ten seconds, but, led by Maye and Williams, the Tar Heels turned the tables on the Hogs.

And the blue wave keeps tipping over the top. You ever go surfing or body surfing on the Oregon coast?

Arkansas didn't go away, however, making a 10-0 run late in the second half to pull within six. ut Joel Berry, who quietly had 13 points, forced the issue, making a pair of free throws and assisting on two and three-point baskets by Williams and Maye, respectively, to help the Heels pull away.

I love Joel Berry's game. I love his hair and his beard. How much different life would have been if I'd have had a beard and hair in college.

This is a fun Tar Heel team. Maye is blossoming into a bona fide superstar, and I'm now regretting now voting for him for Preseason All-ACC. Williams has taken advantage of the increased opportunity for playing time with Cameron Johnson out, and you couldn't ask for more from him. And Theo Pinson, whether he's filling up the stat sheet with points or just making plays with his outstanding passer's vision, continues to be an outstanding presence, along with Berry, the Most Outstanding Player of the 2017 Final Four. The Tar Heels will learn soon to lock down their focus, not to let good teams back in games, but on Friday they showed the ability to answer.

One of the great things about North Carolina and Roy Williams is that they don't beat themselves. You've got to play great. They don’t lay down defensively, they don't careless turnovers, they don't play selfishly, they don't get killed on the boards. Even when they're not playing great, they still have a chance, and you've got to show that you've got a game to do something about the outcome.

Note: Bill Walton contributed to this column.