North Carolina Tar Heels Rely Too Much on Marcus Paige
The No. 16 North Carolina Tar Heels were upset by the UAB Blazers 63-59 in a game where they were clear favorites after defeating the No. 3 Louisville Cardinals in the game before. The major stat in the loss to the Blazers was UNC star Marcus Paige’s inability to score from three. He went 0-of-6 from beyond the arc and 6-of-16 overall for the game.
North Carolina’s inability to score more than 60 points when Paige has a bad game brings up the argument that UNC relies too much on Paige for point production from 3-point range. This argument is true, as Paige has scored at least three 3-pointers in all wins this season, while scoring just one in the loss to the Belmont Bruins and zero in the loss to UAB.
Paige’s threat from 3-point range is essential to North Carolina’s success, because it forces teams to play man instead of zone.
Someone beside Paige has to step up, because he’s not going to score 20 points every game and the Tar Heels have a lot better opponents on their schedule than UAB. North Carolina still has to face the No. 1 Michigan State Spartans, the No. 3 Kentucky Wildcats and the surprisingly good Texas Longhorns in games where they may not be the favorites, and could lose if they don’t have a threat from 3-point land.
James Michael McAddo is clearly UNC’s go-to player game after game, but Paige’s points are essential to the Tar Heels winning against decent opponents. Roy Williams must get other players to step up soon, or the upcoming ACC schedule is going to be a nightmare to navigate for a McAdoo and Paige-dependant UNC.