North Carolina Basketball: 5 Things To Watch vs. Boston College

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North Carolina Basketball: 5 Things to Watch vs. Boston College

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Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

North Carolina has been the biggest surprise in the ACC all season long and for varying reasons. The Tar Heels were stunned in the non-conference season by three unranked and unremarkable teams, only to bounce back and upset three highly-regarded teams. After picking up those upsets, the Tar Heels' roster was completely decided with the return of Leslie McDonald and the loss of last season's leading scorer P.J. Hairston.

Coach Roy Williams looked to have his team set and ready to roll into the ACC schedule as one of the favorites to win the league. Marcus Paige was looking like a first-team All-American and ACC Player of the Year candidate, James Michael McAdoo finally looked comfortable in his role on the court and the young front line was providing just enough to be a disruptive force. Then it all fell apart. North Carolina dropped its first conference game to Wake Forest, lost at home to Miami and got ripped apart by Syracuse in the Carrier Dome.

Paige has not been nearly as solid. He is forcing bad shots and does not have swagger he did against Louisville, Michigan State and Kentucky. The post play has been inconsistent and only McAdoo offers any offense around the paint. The defense is often lost all game long and open shots are everywhere for opposing teams. North Carolina has had nearly a week to regroup, but many questions loom over the Tar Heels.

Saturday's game against Boston College may be the last chance for North Carolina to start turning this extremely disappointing season around.

Gregory T. Philson is an ACC college basketball writer at RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @GTPhilson, “Like” him on Facebook and add him to your network on Google.

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5. Home-court Reaction

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Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

North Carolina never has an extreme advantage at home because of the size of the Dean Dome and the lack of energy from fans in non-Duke games. The crowd will need to give the Tar Heels a big boost even before the tip against Boston College. It may not be the "wine-and-cheese" crowd, but the fans do need to bring more energy.

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4. Early Team Demeanor

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Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

The entire team is lacking confidence and if a few shots fall off the mark, the players could fall into the abyss early and never recover. North Carolina needs to get out early and run the court in hopes of gaining momentum.

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3. Post Players

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Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

James Michael McAdoo has been solid since an early-season slip, but Brice Johnson, Kennedy Meeks and Joel James all need to do more than they have in conference play. The group as a unit should drop in 30 points, grab 20 rebounds and play aggressive post defense.

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2. Marcus Paige

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Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Opposing teams have been gearing up to slow Marcus Paige and have been successful in ACC play. Paige is taking bad shots and looks distant at times. He needs to find his shot early on and dominate Boston College.

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1. Roy Williams' Coaching

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Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Roy Williams was building a solid Coach of the Year resume, but has fallen on bad times with the 0-3 start in the ACC. Williams is a great coach, but he needs to get his group ready to play with the enthusiasm it had earlier this season. The game could be an indicator of how Williams will coach his club for the remainder of the season.

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