While it isn’t all that unique for a team to win 30-plus games one season, lose its four best players, and then have a down season the next year; it’s always surprising when said struggling team is the North Carolina Tar Heels.
After suffering an embarrassing loss to one of this seasons biggest underachievers, Texas, Roy Williams’ team finds itself 8-3 and with more questions than answers heading into conference play. Although UNC is expected to still be one of the better teams in the ACC this season, some of their losses, and even some of their wins, have been pretty ugly, and this team seems to really be in trouble as they lack definitive roles.
Aside from sophomore sensation James Michael McAdoo being the do-it-all super forward, the Heels seem to seriously lack outside shooting, as well as leadership. While the latter of those concerns can be chalked up to the team replacing last seasons stars with a crop of talented freshmen and sophomores, the current roster doesn’t seem to be producing, which was increasingly apparent against a Texas team playing without their best player, sophomore guard Myck Kabongo.
McAdoo needs more than inconsistent scoring from junior Reggie Bullock and sophomore P.J. Hairston, he needs senior point guard Dexter Strickland – who’s unquestionably having the best season of his career, which isn’t saying much – to step up big not just with his play, but with his mentoring of freshman guard Marcus Paige, whose stagnant play has really hurt the flow of the team.
There’s still a lot of basketball left to be played, but North Carolina looks bad, and it could possibly get worse.