Where Do North Carolina Tar Heels Go From Here?
Yesterday, the North Carolina Tar Heels suffered an embarrassing loss in their ACC schedule opener at Wake Forest. Although they only lost by six points, with the way they played they deserved to lose by 60. The team committed 17 turnovers, and only shot 38.7 percent from the field, which is well below what they are capable of doing. After entering conference play with three losses already, the Tar Heels can now add another one to the loss column in both their overall record and their conference record. Now the question is, where do they go from here?
Well, the Tar Heels face the 8-6 Miami Hurricanes at home on Wednesday. The Hurricanes are 0-2 in the conference already, and are coming off a 49-44 loss to Syracuse. They played Syracuse tough until the end, and at some points in the game it was thought that they could upset the No. 2 team in the country. They certainly have a lot of momentum coming into Chapel Hill, so the Tar Heels need to regroup from their loss as quickly as possible.
The team–as a whole–played well below their capabilities in the game against Wake Forest, and their supposed stars did not even come close to shining. James Michael McAdoo committed three fouls in the first half, and only scored 13 points in the game. The worst part about that is the fact that he lead the team in scoring. Marcus Paige usually steps up in big games, but against Wake Forest, the point guard only had eight points on 3-12 shooting. If Paige can’t get going, then the rest of the team suffers, as seen in yesterday’s game.
If I were head coach Roy Williams, I would solely focus on getting McAdoo and Paige back on track. If the two can play the way we all know they can, then the Tar Heels will be a tough team to beat. The only plus to the game yesterday was the monstrous alley-oop from Paige to McAdoo that even got the Wake Forest fans off of their feet, but, of course, the Tar Heels committed a turnover to ruin all of that momentum.
As for the rest of the team, Brice Johnson just needs to keep playing the way he is. He had 12 points off the bench yesterday, along with a few momentum shifting dunks. Leslie McDonald had nine points off the bench, but really struggled to shoot his shot from beyond the arc. He was 1-7 from three-point range, but it is a good sign that he is not afraid to let the shots go considering he will usually make them in future games.
The Tar Heels really dug themselves a deeper ditch by losing yesterday, but they cannot dwell on it for too long. Miami will be a tough matchup, and then they go back on the road to face No. 2 Syracuse in one of their biggest games of the entire season. ACC play may have just begun, but it is already apparent that it will be a roller coaster for the boys from Chapel Hill.