North Carolina Winning With Defense

By Gregory Philson
Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

North Carolina is in the middle if a three-game winning streak in the ACC where the Tar Heels have won by an average of 15 points, and a change on defense is the reason why.

The Tar Heels are two weeks removed from looking awful all over the court and subsequently getting blown out because of it. The opposing teams were getting any kind of offense they wanted and games that were close early turned sour quickly for North Carolina.

Then against Clemson it all changed out of nowhere. Coach Roy Williams clearly told his team they needed to get the offense rolling by caring more on defense. For most of the season the Tar Heels were slow and lazy on defense, but now they are scrambling to the floor for loose balls, gang rebounding and making it extremely difficult for opposing post players to score. This actually makes sense because of the size the Tar Heels possess but has only recently come to fruition. Brice Johnson is changing shots with his length, and James Michael McAdoo is using his superior athleticism to block and disrupt shots.

Of course the talent level of the teams North Carolina has played recently is not high. However, it has allowed the team to gel into a unit that now looks way more competitive. The Tar Heels have a great opportunity to add at least two more victories to this streak with a home game against Maryland and a roadie in South Bend against Notre Dame this week. Only time — and better opponents — will tell what North Carolina really is, but the team that is playing now finally looks like an NCAA tournament contender.

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

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