What North Carolina Needs to Improve on From Opening Night Win

By Anthony Lenahan
Jeff Curry-US Presswire

North Carolina showed many positive signs in last nights’ opener, but they also showed many things they need to improve on for the rest of the season.

At times the Tar Heels struggled to score and also struggled to stop a very weak Gardener-Webb team.  Other times the Tar Heels were able to score when they wanted and create turnovers on defense.

This leads me to their first problem they need to improve on if they want to be successful.

UNC needs to be more consistent on offense if they are going to want to beat the tougher teams.  There was way to many times where the Tar Heels went on long scoring droughts and couldn’t capitalize on their chances to open up the game.

Against ACC teams and other major conference teams, if you go on scoring droughts, those top teams will be able to score on the other end and go on big scoring runs.  You can’t win if you let the other team go on 8-0 scoring runs every other 5 minutes.

A major reason the Tar Heels went on many droughts last night was because of their outside shooting.  What was supposed to be a strength for this team certainly didn’t look like it last night.

A 1-12 (8.3%) performance from behind the arc is not going to win you games.  First of all the 3-point shot is the most deadly shot in the game.  If you are making 3’s you are going to have a good shot to win the game.

Missing 3’s at a rate like the Tar Heels did last night will cause disaster against better teams.  Long shots lead to long rebounds which will lead to transition baskets the other way.  If the Tar Heels could improve their outside shooting it will minimize the opponents’ fast break opportunities.

Reggie Bullock and P.J. Hairston have the ability to be very good 3 point shooters and are going to have to be if the Heels want to compete.  A combined 1-8 from downtown is not going to help the Tar Heels win many games.

Another improvement Carolina will need to make is free throw shooting.  9-19 (47.4%) from the free throw line is unacceptable.  That is 10 extra points the Tar Heels could’ve and should’ve had.

You can’t afford to shoot this badly from the charity strike in big games.  I’ll tell you right now if the Tar Heels shoot poorly from the free throw line, they won’t beat any good teams.  You can not give away easy points and for a team that looks like is going to be doing most of their scoring in the paint, is going to be shooting a lot of free throws in games.

James Michael McAdoo is the main victim of poor free throw shooting.  As a forward and the Heels go to guy, he is going to be getting fouled a lot down low.  He can not go 6-11 from the line and expect to win.

Roy Williams’ team also turned the ball over way to much last night.  Turnovers always seem to be a problem every year for the Tar Heels.

18 turnovers against a very weak Gardener-Webb team is unacceptable.  Turnovers lead to fast breaks and transition baskets for your opponent, but those 18 turnovers could have also been 18 more shots the Tar Heels got on offense.

Think about that, 18 extra shots the Tar Heels could have had if they didn’t turn the ball over.  Yes, you are going to turn the ball over every game, but you need to keep it to at most 10.

Against more athletic teams, 18 turnovers is like 25 turnovers and with better athletes they are scoring in transition at a more effective rate.

The turnover problem begins with the point guard, Marcus Paige.  4 turnovers is a lot, but you can live with that as a point guard.  What Paige needs to do though, is limit the amount of time the non ball handlers have the ball.

This will limit the amount of turnovers those players will have.  Also he needs to limit the amount of times he gives up the ball to a player who can’t do anything with the pass.

Mostly the Heels need to improve a lot on offense.  The defense played pretty good against a weak opponent.  If Carolina can improve their 3-point shooting, free throw shooting, and limit their turnovers they will be a very successful team this season.

I know Coach Williams will continue to improve his young team and work them hard every single day.

The Tar Heels will take on Florida Atlantic at home tomorrow at 2:30.

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