The North Carolina Tar Heels have two wins over top-five teams on the 2013-14 College Basketball season, but also have losses to Texas, Belmont and UAB on the year as well. Outside of the P.J. Hairston saga that has now concluded, the story for the Heels this season has been all about their inconsistency.
After beating up on a couple of lesser teams over the Holiday season, UNC opened up ACC play against Wake Forest on Sunday night. Though the Demon Deacons and Tar Heels both held a 10-3 record coming into the contest, the Heels are clearly the more talented team with a much higher ceiling than Wake Forest.
Higher ceilings didn’t matter, though, as the Heels came out and played extremely poorly while Wake Forest came out and was able to take advantage of those mistakes, for the most part at least.
Carolina shot just 38.7 percent from the field and 2-15 from three against the Demon Deacons, which obviously is less than ideal. More than that, though, the Heels also turned the ball over 17 times on the night, which led to 19 points for Wake Forest. If that isn’t bad enough, the Tar Heels also failed to get to the line often, making just 11 trips while the Demon Deacons made 33 trips. Pouring it on even more, the Heels also failed to convert efficiently on their 24 offensive rebounds, getting just 15 points off of those boards.
One of the biggest takeaways from Sunday night for the Heels, other than the fact that they have to find ways to consistently step up, is the fact that they aren’t going to be successful if Marcus Paige doesn’t carry them when they are struggling. Even when UNC has had let-down games this season, Paige has been the guy that has bailed them out. However, he managed just eight points, six assists and four turnovers on 3-12 shooting against Wake Forest. This Tar Heels team, if they’re going to keep playing down to their competition, has to have Paige continue to develop as a leader.
For Carolina fans, this team is endlessly frustrating. Even without Hairston, this team has a ton of talent and can compete with almost any team in college basketball. However, until they can establish consistency as a unit and with their individual leaders, it’s going to be unrealized potential this season for the Tar Heels.