I want to state this for the record, just so we all have it handy when some perspective is necessary: North Carolina managed only 0.77 points per possession against the Wolfpack, which is the Heels' worst mark of the season. By a lot. Their second-worst offensive performance was 0.86 PPP against Butler.
What we saw Tuesday night was incredibly rare--NC State averaged less than a point per possession and won a game by double figures on the road against a top-20 team. That's crazy. That is crazy. We were due, though, right? So much due-ness in one game, so much glorious due-ness.
I don't want to undersell NC State's defensive performance, because it was for the most part fantastic. There were times when UNC won the race in transition--and they're going to do that against everybody, because that's their game and no one is better at it. Carolina's second-half run aside, though, State was great at defusing Carolina's break opportunities.
The Tar Heels struggled badly to score in halfcourt sets, and as they were limited both by State's ball control and defensive rebounding, they could not dictate this game the way they'd have liked to.
It couldn't have worked out any better for the Pack. Yep, the Heels missed some shots they normally make. But State also squeezed off the lifelines they've come to rely on, and when you are bricking 10-footers, the absence of those lifelines suddenly becomes really, really important.