The North Carolina Tar Heels historically have relied on superstars who have been able to take their respective Tar Heel teams to NCAA tournament greatness. The Tar Heels won it all with Michael Jordan in 1982, George Lynch did it in 1993, Sean May was the key piece in 2005 and Tyler Hansbrough most recently accomplished this in 2009. For the Tar Heels to have a chance at a similar run, James Michael McAdoo must be the player that can carry the Tar Heels the rest of the season.
During the Tar Heels’ recent six-game winning streak, McAdoo has played like he deserved the high draft pick status that was given to him early on in his career. The forward has averaged 18 points per game and has grabbed 53 rebounds in that stretch. In North Carolina’s biggest game of the year up to this point on Saturday against Pittsburgh, McAdoo played all but three minutes, shot 11-for-18 from the floor, had 24 points and also collected 12 rebounds.
Against Florida State tonight, McAdoo showed nothing that resembled his past six games. In fact, McAdoo was held scoreless in the game, only grabbed five rebounds and fouled out. His no-show did not cost the Tar Heels as they picked up a big win against the Seminoles. For the Tar Heels to make a serious push in March, McAdoo will have to perform like he did the previous six games instead of tonight, or else Roy Williams and the rest of his squad will be watching most of the tournament.
The Tar Heels still have three games remaining that will greatly enhance North Carolina’s resume. Due to a cancellation last week, the Tar Heels and Duke Blue Devils meet in the first of their two matches this season (they also meet in the regular season finale at Duke). North Carolina also has a must-win game against another bubble team in the North Carolina State Wolfpack. If the Tar Heels are able to win at least two out of these three crucial games, it will be because of McAdoo playing like the legends before him.