North Carolina no longer looks like a team that is even fit for a bid into the NCAA tournament. The Tar Heels fell to 0-3 in the ACC and were terrible all over the court in a 57-45 loss against Syracuse at the Carrier Dome Saturday.
The loss came with North Carolina coming out actually playing with the intensity and tenacity that was not evident in recent losses to Wake Forest and Miami. However, after building a lead early, turnovers, lazy defense and terrible shot selection ultimately led to the Tar Heels’ demise.
The Tar Heels started the game missing their first eight three-pointers and finished hitting just 2-of-12. North Carolina made it even harder on itself by playing right into the Syracuse’s zone. The length of the Orange zone is definitely tricky to overcome, but it was not aggressive enough to cause the amount of turnovers (15) UNC had. The Tar Heels tried too often to outsmart the defense with predictable passes and ill-advised shots. Syracuse is known for disrupting even the best offenses with its zone, but on Saturday, North Carolina beat itself. The offense was not aggressive with drives, which was easily noticed with the lack of free throw attempts (9) and the defense could not stay within itself and left many open shots. Roy Williams‘ team was also outrebounded 40-35. The only bright side was that James Michael McAdoo continued to play well. He scored 15 points and had nine rebounds.
North Carolina has a lot of problems that need an immediate fix. Marcus Paige can no longer be the only perimeter player the team can rely on, and the post play is awful. No one is is hitting three-pointers now because defenses can stay outside, the defense gets lazy if the team falls behind early and free throw shooting is still major issue.
The Tar Heels need to find their way now or making the NCAA tournament will only be a pipe-dream.
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