North Carolina began ACC play last night coming off a much needed and confidence boosting win against at the time No. 20 UNLV. They entered John Paul Jones Arena to face Virginia as the only ACC team not to lose in that arena.
That undefeated record no longer exists after the Cavaliers just completely outplayed Carolina in a 9 point victory for UVA. North Carolina just seemed like they had no will to win as a team and lost everything they gained from their win against UNLV.
Everyone thought the Tar Heels were back on track to being the top 10 team they were at the beginning of the season, but they proved everyone wrong last night. They showed that they deserve to be an unranked and average basketball team for the rest of the year.
If Carolina wants to turn it around and be a contender for the ACC championship, they need to do some serious soul searching. Not one player wants to step up and be a leader for the Tar Heels and that needs to change.
James Michael McAdoo came into the season with a lot of hype and was expected to be their best player. He has underperformed on the court and has not acted like a player who needs to be a leader. He needs to have a strong second half of the season like he did last season in order to for Carolina to make a run.
Reggie Bullock and P.J. Hairston have been the team’s best two players so far this season. It seems like they are the only two on the court working hard, defending, and rebounding. You would think their hard work would be contagious to the rest of the team, but not for Carolina. It just shows that the Tar Heels are playing for team selfish instead of team team.
Marcus Paige needs to look himself in the mirror and realize he is the starting point guard for the University of North Carolina, one of the greatest accomplishments you can earn as a basketball player. He needs to start playing like he deserves that honor and wants to represent the school with great passion and intensity.
Paige has shown signs of his ability, but for the most part, the lack of point guard play from him has been hurting the Tar Heels tremendously.
Dexter Strickland is the only senior Roy Williams has on his team. Strickland needs to use his experience to be a leader on a team that needs one badly. He has been in the locker room for both great times and bad times. With that being said. he knows what it feels like when this team is on a roll–like last year–and he needs to change the energy in the locker room.
All in all, North Carolina needs to become a team. In their first 14 games, for the most part, it seems like they just aren’t playing team basketball on both sides of the court.
On defense, no one is talking or helping on the drive. They let up way to many layups on drives off of half court offense last night that in the long run killed their chances to win. Also, they do not get out and contest open jump shots. Virginia shot 8-14 from 3-point land because they were all wide open. A division 1 college basketball player is going to make open jump shots.
There were the same type of problems on the other end of the court for the Heels. To many one-on-one plays resulting in bad shots. Carolina was looking to up the tempo, but that doesn’t mean force up bad shots early in the shot clock like they were doing. There was a time Bullock had a 5’11 guy on him and instead of asking for the ball, he let Strickland chuck up a contested jump shot that he air balled.
These are the types of things Carolina needs to fix and fix fast. Every player on that team needs to realize how talented they are and how good they can be if they play as a team.