The home crowd was the biggest winner against N.C. State.

By the sparse traffic on the way to the game and the late-arriving crowd, I thought the Tar Heels would lose their home court advantage Sunday against N.C. State. I half expected PA announcer Tony Gillam to tell everyone sitting in the upper deck to come down and fill in the empty seats in the lower level

Then, as Carolina began its historic 51-point blowout of the Wolfpack, the fans filled most of downstairs and the attendance of 16,133 was very impressive considering the freezing road conditions outside. And they were rewarded with a performance that was outstanding for UNC and embarrassing for State. You don’t win by 51 points unless you are pretty good and the other team pretty bad.

Huge scoring runs in the first half pushed the lead to 30, and it ballooned to 50 as the pathetic Wolfpack upped and quit midway through the second half. Their poor shot selection, worse execution and sorry effort produced Carolina’s biggest ACC win ever and the most lopsided victory over State since 1921. Roy Williams commended the fans who braved their way to the once-postponed game.

The Heels got a big boost from Theo Pinson’s return, but they were well on their way before No. 1 made his season debut six-plus minutes into the game. His numbers were still Theo-esque – five rebounds, five assists, four steals and 0-3 from the field. He will help at the defensive end, on the boards and with passing, but we will have to see if he is more of a scorer than before when his minutes grow.

Carolina was fab, for sure, but State’s defense was so lame that the guys in white had numerous wide-open three-pointers that looked like dummy offense. The few they missed may have been from sheer surprise over the lack of a defender within 10 feet. Mark Gottfried may be a good recruiter, but as a coach he reminds us how lucky we are to have Ol’ Roy. This team with a bench that outscored the State starters is now deeper than ever with someone like Tony Bradley getting 8 rebounds in only 13 minutes.

Sure glad we were there to see it all.