After a much-needed week of practice, the North Carolina Tar Heels will take on the 5-12 Boston College Eagles at the Dean E. Smith Center on Saturday. This is the Tar Heels’ fourth ACC matchup of the season, and they are hoping to receive their first victory in the conference. If they are going to win one game in the ACC, this would be the game to win considering the Eagles are struggling tremendously this season.
The Eagles are lead by sophomore guard Olivier Hanlan, who is currently scoring 19.1 points per game, and Marcus Paige will most likely be given the responsibility to guard him throughout the game. Speaking of Paige, he began ACC play with two eight-point games, but bounced back with 17 points against Syracuse.
Every Tar Heels fan is hoping that he can continue this surge moving forward. He is the team’s backbone in the backcourt, and if he plays the way we all know he is capable of playing, then the team should have no problem earning their first conference victory of the season.
The only other real threat that the Eagles’ have is 6-foot-8 forward Ryan Anderson, but James Michael McAdoo should be able to neutralize him in the frontcourt. If McAdoo can continue to put up double-doubles and be a strong force on the rebounding end, then the Tar Heels will certainly flourish. He has been the only player that has seemed to play with a will to win in the past three games, and I really hope the rest of the team follows in his footsteps.
The Tar Heels have not lost to Boston College in the last three seasons, beating them four times by very comfortable margins. I do not want to say that this is an automatic win for the team, but history shows that the Eagles are not much of a threat.
The Tar Heels may be 0-3 in the conference thus far, but they can still be a contender for an ACC title if they pull it together starting tomorrow. They have the talent, but they are just struggling to execute it with a complete team effort.
Brice Johnson has been coming off the bench and making a huge impact, but he seemed to struggle in their last game against Syracuse in which he only had two points coming off the bench. McAdoo cannot do all the work in the frontcourt, and if the Tar Heels are going to be successful, then Johnson needs to get back to being a prolific big man.
Leslie McDonald needs to knock down a couple of threes, J.P. Tokoto needs to score at least 10 points while being a defensive threat, and then the Tar Heels will be victorious.
This is all a lot easier said than done, but the Tar Heels definitely have all of the tools to do it. If they happen to lose this game, then head coach Roy Williams might as well just throw in the towel for the rest of the season. Falling to 0-4 in the ACC is a feat that not even some of the greatest programs in the country can come back from, and after the Boston College game, the road is not easy for the young Tar Heel squad.
They face off against Virginia on the road, then head back home to face off against a tough Clemson team, followed by another away matchup against Georgia Tech. After those three game, the Tar Heels face their bitter rival North Carolina State, and we all know how difficult of a contest that could be.
Their road to getting back on track in the ACC begins tomorrow against Boston College, and the Tar Heels desperately need a W.