The North Carolina Tar Heels are now 0-3 in the ACC and 10-6 on the season following an embarrassing 57-45 loss to No. 2 Syracuse today. Although they began the game strong and jumped out to a quick lead, all of that momentum vanished almost immediately and Syracuse ran away with it. Turnovers and other stupid mistakes were the Tar Heels’ forte in the contest, and Syracuse did not waste any time taking advantage of each and every one. It is a sad day to be a Tar Heel fan, and it is shaping up to be a devastating season.
Before I completely bash the Tar Heels’ effort in today’s game, I will look at some brighter points because there actually were a few. James Michael McAdoo once again led the team in scoring with his 17 points and was the only player who seemed like he was playing with a purpose. Although he struggled a little to get to the rim, he was the only player in a Tar Heel uniform to have momentum throughout the entire game. He is really beginning to show us his true potential, which is definitely a good sign for a struggling team. Marcus Paige has been struggling a lot lately, but he picked it up in the Syracuse game with 15 points and nine rebounds. Still, the Tar Heels expect a lot more out of their star point guard, and he can definitely perform much better than he has showed as of late.
Now for the ugly parts of the Tar Heels’ game. Aside from McAdoo and Paige, the Tar Heels did not have any other players that scored in double-digits. Their next highest scorer was Nate Britt with four points — keep in mind that Roy Williams played ten players in the contest. I have never seen the Tar Heels perform with such an unbalanced attack all season, and if they plan on being successful moving forward everyone needs to do their part. As a team, they shot 39.2 percent from the field, 16.7 percent from three-point range and 33.3 percent from the free-throw line. To say that they had an off day shooting would be a complete understatement, and it may have been one of their worst shooting games of the entire season. They committed 15 turnovers, which actually seems like it is not that much considering all of the mistakes they made throughout the game. Syracuse outrebounded them 40-35, and the Tar Heels did not stand a chance whenever the ball reached frontcourt.
For Syracuse, their stars shined bright from the tip-off all the way up until the final buzzer. C.J. Fair led the team with 20 points, and the Tar Heels really had no answer for him on both ends of the court. The Tar Heels sort of neutralized Trevor Cooney‘s shooting game, but they still allowed him to score 10 points and knock down two clutch threes. Jerami Grant dominated the Tar Heels on the boards with 12 rebounds of his own and also scored 12 points. Tyler Ennis scored 10 points and also led the the team in assists with seven. The Tar Heels had no answers for the Orange’s zone defense, and they were honestly dominated whenever the ball was in their hands. Syracuse really showed that they are one of, if not the best team in the ACC and in all of college basketball. The Tar Heels definitely have their work cut out for them in future matchups against a Syracuse team that always seems to be a championship contender.
The Tar Heels have yet to win a game in the ACC, but they should have an easy game against 5-11 Boston College on Jan. 18. Hopefully, they can run away with an easy victory and get back on track, but for now they have their backs against the wall and have no idea how they are going to get off of it. Although Syracuse is a tremendous team, the Tar Heels could have put up a much better fight and made the game a little closer. It is not a good year to be a Tar Heel fan and certainly not a good year to be a Tar Heel.