The North Carolina Tar Heels (19-8, 9-5 ACC) have seemed to figure out a way to max out their roster’s potential. Head coach Roy Williams has gone small, moving some unproductive big men to the bench, and in turn the Tar Heels have gone from the NCAA Tournament bubble to being an almost surefire lock to make the big dance.
While the success North Carolina has seen since the move to the smaller lineup isn’t terribly surprising, their ability work the glass despite the smaller players on the court has been a pleasant shock. However, Williams didn’t expect such success on the boards either. He was worried when the only true big man getting large minutes, James Michael McAdoo , was taking a jumper, that the other players would fail to attack the glass.
Here is Williams talking about what he told his team during their victory over the Virginia Cavaliers:
“One time, James Michael shot the ball from the baseline, and we had nobody to get the board. And I said, ‘Guys, you small guys that like this small lineup, I cannot do that if you guys aren’t getting to the board when James Michael shoots. We can’t tell him not to shoot. He can’t be our only rebounder.’
UNC ended up out-rebounding Virginia by nine in the game. Proving that even without size, effort and tenacity would be enough to be competitive trying to grab rebounds.
The move to a smaller, quicker lineup has added space on the floor, and the Tar Heels have become more efficient offensively. Adding those new characteristics to the team, but not losing the ability to crash the boards, have helped make North Carolina a legitimate player in the ACC Tournament and possibly more going forward.
Joe is a Senior Writer for Rant Sports. Follow Joe on Twitter @JosephNardone