First half analysis- For the majority of the half, Terrence Jones and John Henson stole the show. Much of the hype surrounding this game centered around the teams' defensive ability, particularly their shot blocking, but the offensive maturation of Jones and Henson was impressive. Jones was crafty, using up fakes to create opportunities, including a huge dunk over both Henson and Tyler Zeller and a three-shot foul. Henson showed tremendous progress on the offensive end. Once known as nothing more than a big time dunker, Henson showed a variety of back to the basket moves and an ability to step out and hit the mid-range jump shot. He was also everything you've come to expect on the defensive end, displaying perfect timing and the ability to affect or block every shot in his vicinity. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist was quiet for the majority of the half, but after picking up an apparent shoulder injury, he really picked up his level of play. Kidd-Gilchrist gathered several key offensive rebounds, including one on a missed free throw, and was a real factor in transition.
Second half analysis- Kidd-Gilchrist remained aggressive to start the second half, converting on two very nice plays going to the basket. The first was a beautifully-executed spin move in the lane past Harrison Barnes. The second was a strong drive and an and-one finish. Anthony Davis also took a step forward in the second half, converting on an alley-oop from Kidd-Gilchrist and a tough layup in traffic. He also blocked two shots and kept several plays alive with his length on the offensive glass. Davis blocked a potential game-winning jump shot by Henson in the waning seconds, rebounding the ball himself and making a great pass as the Wildcats ran out the clock. On the other side, the Tar Heels were really limited on the inside after halftime. Kentucky began doubling Zeller on the catch, and he looked uncomfortable dealing with the double team. Henson continued to impress with his improved footwork and free throw shooting, as Harrison Barnes carried the much of the load from the perimeter. In the end, these were two very equally matched team, who played a wonderfully entertaining ballgame. They could well end up playing each other again in New Orleans in early April, should we all be so lucky.
John Henson- Vastly improved offensively. Back to the basket moves, jump shot out to 15 feet. Much more complete player. Footwork looks really solid. Free throw technique looks much better. 9/10
Tyler Zeller- Good strength. Doesn't show it aesthetically, but gets good position in the half court offense and for put backs. Shows the ability to finish through contact. Off the floor on the last defensive possession. 6.5/10
Harrison Barnes- Good technique and range on his jump shot. A little unsound defensively. Needs to make better decisions on the defensive end. Smart defender, underrated on that end. 9/10
Kendall Marshall- Great size. Good vision. Atrocious jump shot at times. Can make open three-pointers. Great decision maker in the open floor. Very instinctive. Varies the pace of his passes. Very impressive passer. 7.5/10
James Michael McAdoo- Good athlete. Needs to let the game come to him. One spectacular rebound in the first half. Really poor at the free throw line. Ugly jump shot. Great energy on defense. Seems panicked with the ball in his hands. 4/10
PJ Hairston- Great jump shot. Really quick release. 5/10
Terrence Jones- Good handle for a man of his size. Good up fake and great range. Tough to stop offensively. Will be able to score at the next level. SMART offensive player. Better athletically than he gets credit for. 8/10
Anthony Davis- Length is apparent every possession on both ends. Several tremendous rebounds. Needs to add strength. Allows opponent to get much too deep in the post. Seems most comfortable setting high ball screens and flashing. More suited as an NBA four? Good screener. Game changer on defense. 9/10
Marquis Teague- Quick in the open floor. Nice ability to penetrate. Left his first two floaters short. Shows a tendency to make bad decisions defensively. Quick trigger, maybe too quick. 6/10
Doron Lamb- Disappeared for large portion of the first half. Came alive in the second half. At his best when he can penetrate to the basket. Loves the right wing. Not great handle. 6/10
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist- Had a tough time finishing in traffic in the first half. Flashes of phenomenal ability, but needs seasoning and consistency. Great motor. Very good offensive rebounder, especially for his size. Great in transition. Two great finishes at the start of the second half. 8.5/10
Prospect Rankings (based on information gathered from this game):