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Random Thought of Day #2 Difference Maker--Ryan Flanagan!

Ryan Flanagan--Weapon of Choice down the Stretch
Ryan Flanagan--Weapon of Choice down the Stretch

If you are Johns Hopkins, who do you stop on Sunday?

UNC sits at 7-2 on the season but in my head it feels like they are a .500 team. That could just be me. Losses to Ohio State and Duke have made me question the team but a big win over Maryland last weekend (I called it Glaude!) has me back on their bandwagon.

I have always liked the Tar Heels. I like the way they play and they are fun to watch. When they show up to play (Saturday against the Terps) they are a very explosive team capable of going on big runs (8-0 run on Sat).

When your leading scorer is a freshman, some people will question that. But the fact that Nicky Galasso is leading the team with 35 points is only a good thing for coach Joe Breschi. Pre-season All-American Billy Bitter hasnt really found his stride in 2011 but he has played big in the City Classic the past two years. Like the game last week, this could be the perfect recipe for a wake up call of Billy Bitter.

Bitter isnt having a bad year by any stretch of the imagination, just not what we expected from him thus far. The arrival of Galasso has taken away some of the points Bitter was expected to have but from watching the team last week, its safe to say this team is in a safe position nine games into the year.

Yes they play in the ACC with three other teams just as talented as them, but UNC has a differnce maker that the three others dont have.

Ryan Flanagan is that man. Virginia had it in 2009 (Mike Timms) and Duke had it last year (Parker McKee). Flanagan is a blue collar type leader that will be clutch for this team in the final stretch. He also has two goals and two assists on the year and plays close defense.

So back to my thought, who do you stop? Who do you plan to contain? Is it pick your poison? Do you shut down Galasso and get three and one from Bitter?

Lets take a look at the top scorers for the Heels thus far: (via lax.com)

34 nicky galasso a fr west islip, ny 16 19 35
1 marcus holman m so baltimore, md 18 5 23
2 thomas wood a jr dallas, texas 14 7 21
4 billy bitter a sr manahasset, ny 12 8 20
22 duncan hutchins m fr baltimore, md 5 6 11
20 jimmy dunster m jr cos cob, conn 10 0 10
41 pat foster a fr lutherville, md 8 2 10

As you can see, the Heels have a balanced attack and speaking of balance, look at Galasso's numbers. Almost even between goals and assists.

Hopkins is much improved on defense in '11 and no doubt Pietramala will have UNC scouted and his team prepareed. But who do you shut down? The Heels can come after you from attack and midfield as well as on the break, similar to the way Syracuse does with Joel White running the fast break.

Jimmy Dunster and Bitter are prime for big games and I expect that to happen in the big venue of the New Meadowlands at the B.C.C.

UNC Schedule so far: 7-2, 1-1 in ACC

2/12 robert morris W (14-11)
2/19 @ ohio state L (8-13)
2/25 navy W (10-8)
3/5 umbc W (13-9)
3/8 pennsylvania W (12-6)
3/11 @ princeton W (9-5)
3/17 duke L (9-14)
3/22 dartmouth W (12-7)
3/26 @ maryland W (11-6)