5 Reasons Why North Carolina Tar Heels Can Still Be Successful in ACC

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5 Reasons Why Tar Heels Can Get Back on Track in ACC


Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Right now, the North Carolina Tar Heels are 0-3 in the ACC after losing important games to Wake Forest, Miami and Syracuse. They find themselves at the very bottom of the conference standings, and it seems like a long way up to the top. While most fans are already counting them out of any possibilities of being successful in the conference moving forward, I actually believe that they have the tools necessary to be successful.

Although they are off to a shaky start, Syracuse was the last team currently ranked in the top 10 that they will have to play for the rest of the season. They have improved drastically from the free-throw line as of late, and although Marcus Paige has been struggling in ACC play, he will surely get back on track before we know it. Head coach Roy Williams is one of the greatest coaches in college basketball history, and he is not one to fall when adversity strikes. Along with the emerging James Michael McAdoo, Williams has the ability to bring this team all the way back to the top.

Only time will tell whether or not the Tar Heels can use these tools to their advantage, but after all, they are the North Carolina Tar Heels, and have a long history of performing well above their expectations. Last season, the Tar Heels began ACC play 0-2 and still managed to win 24 games in the regular season and received a 9-seed in the NCAA Tournament. I truly believe that the team can win 20 plus games this season and receive a seed within the top 10 in the tournament if they pull it together and play Carolina basketball.

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5. Free Throw Shooting is Improving


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A main issue that contributed to the Tar Heels' struggles in non-conference play was the fact that they could not shoot free-throws effectively. Even though they are still struggling from the line in ACC play, shooting about 52.3 percent, it is still an improvement from non-conference play. James Michael McAdoo was the main source of the problem, and in conference play, he is going to the line a lot less, which is a great sign. It is not so much that the Tar Heels are tremendously improving from the line, but they are shooting a lot less free-throws per game.

When McAdoo does get to the line, he is shooting much better, but as long as the Tar Heels continue to not have to shoot that many free-throws, their entire game will improve. They are an awful free-throw shooting team, and they will most likely never get back on track in that category, but shooting over 50 percent to begin ACC play is a good start.

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4. Most of Remaining Schedule is Unranked


Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

As of now, the only ranked teams left on the Tar Heels' schedule are No. 23 Duke and No. 22 Pittsburgh. Both teams are obviously very talented, but the Tar Heels can definitely give them a run for their money. Other than those two teams, the Tar Heels will be facing all other unranked teams. Although they are unranked themselves, if they play the way we all know they can play, they can easily make it back into the AP Top 25.

One bright side to the Tar Heels' season thus far is the fact that their bitter rival Duke is also struggling, so hopefully the team's two matchups will be competitive. Pittsburgh is a team on the rise, but because it is their first season in the ACC, it is unsure whether or not it can continue its success moving forward. Although rankings do not mean much when it comes to conference play, the Tar Heels need to take advantage of the fact that they will not be facing many powerhouses in their remaining schedule.

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3. Marcus Paige Will Get Back on Track


Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Marcus Paige emerged as a star during the Tar Heels' non-conference schedule, scoring in double-digits in every single game. In ACC play, he has only had one double-digit scoring game out of the three. Fortunately for the Tar Heels, it was a 17-point game against Syracuse, the No. 2 team in the country. Hopefully he can continue this trend moving forward, because if he plays well, then the team will flourish as a whole.

He currently leads the team in scoring with 17 points per game, and it is normal for a star player to decline at least once per season. Luckily, stars always find a way to get back on track, and if Paige can fully get it together, then the Tar Heels will have no problem being successful.

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2. Head Coach Roy Williams


Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

While everyone is focusing on the decline of the players on the court, everyone is forgetting about the man that is coaching them from the sidelines. Head coach Roy Williams is a basketball genius, and has always been able to find a way to get his team back to their winning ways. After all, the man is a college basketball Hall of Famer, and has a winning percentage well over .700. He always seems to have a few tricks up his sleeve, and I am almost positive that he will find a way to wake his team up in order to be successful moving forward.

The entire Tar Heel roster trusts Williams to lead them to victory, and there is no doubt in my mind that he will. He is one of the greatest college coaches of all time, and he will not settle for anything short of greatness.

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1. The Real McAdoo is Emerging


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Everyone has been waiting for James Michael McAdoo to be a star since before he even stepped on the court in a Tar Heel uniform. Unfortunately, he has struggled to show his true potential, but the best is still to come. He has scored in double-digits in every conference game thus far, and had a double-double against Miami. His rebounding has really improved, with an average of almost 10 per game, and he seems like the only player out on the court right now that has a will to win. If he can continue to step up and be the player that we all expected him to be, then the Tar Heels have a serious chance of making a run in the ACC.

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