Just when North Carolina Tar Heels fans thought things couldn’t get any worse after the team’s loss to Wake Forest in the ACC opener, the Tar Heels fell to Miami in their second conference matchup. The final score was 63-57, but the game was definitely not as close as the final score showed it to be. Miami dominated the Tar Heels on both ends of the courts, and the game was the epitome of disaster for a team that usually succeeds in the ACC. Now the Tar Heels are 0-2 in the conference for the second year in a row, and nobody really knows how the season will play out from here.
On the bright side, James Michael McAdoo had another double-double, with 12 points and 12 rebounds, but when a team’s leading scorer for a game only has 12 points, obviously something was off. Joel James returned to the starting lineup off of his knee injury, and really struggled to get back into the swing of things. He only had four points in eight minutes of play, and then was replaced by Brice Johnson who picked up some of the slack with eight points. The Tar Heels’ star point guard Marcus Paige had yet another off night, in which he only scored eight points and had eight assists. As long as Paige is struggling, the Tar Heels will follow in his footsteps, which is not a good sign considering they have a tough matchup against No. 2 Syracuse tomorrow.
Miami, as expected, was led in scoring by Rion Brown with 19 points, but also had a balanced attack with the help of Erik Swoope and Manu Lecomte off the bench. The Tar Heels had no answer for Miami throughout the entire game, and it seemed like they came into the contest with no desire at all to win. For a team that already lost one conference game, you would expect them to come out firing the next to try and get back on track. Well, they fell very short of their expectations, and now the Tar Heels are in an even deeper hole in the ACC.
The only good thing for the Tar Heels now is the fact that they are playing a ranked Syracuse team in their next matchup. As seen in non-conference play, the Tar Heels seem to wake up against ranked teams and play completely out of their minds. If they could pull off the upset, then all of their conference losses thus far will be invisible, and they can move forward in their schedule with more momentum and confidence than ever. They do not have much time to get it together, and this Miami loss was crucial to their ACC title hopes, but if Roy Williams can find a way to get his team to play the way we all know they can, then the future can still be bright for the young Tar Heel team.