Every team in college basketball strives to play their best during the time of year that matters most, the post season. North Carolina is definitely building in that direction after dismantling Wake Forest for their ninth-straight ACC victory. The Tar Heels have really turned their season around and are now being looked upon as a possible bracket-buster come March.
Again, it was their stellar three-point shooting and team defense which stood out in the win. Leslie McDonald has seemed to re-establish himself as a scoring threat, building confidence over the past two games. His contributions have a great effect on the options around the floor, opening up space for both James Michael McAdoo and Marcus Paige, which makes Carolina multi-dimensional and more dangerous both inside and out. Combined Paige and McDonald shot over 70 percent from beyond the arc which would be nearly insurmountable for any opponent.
The additional contributions from role players like Kennedy Meeks and Brice Johnson have really helped North Carolina during their current streak. Getting points and defensive production from a bevy of players only makes them tougher to play against, which Roy Williams is surely enjoying.
The one Achilles heel which seems to be ever present for these Tar Heels is the free throws. The first half against Duke saw the game slipping away due to horrific foul shooting. Luckily, that turned around in the second half to allow North Carolina to recover and knock off the Blue Devils. They seemed again today to be back on track, making more than 80 percent of their opportunities. If they can continue to improve in this area, as well as playing tough team defense, making some noise in the tournament will definitely be on their radar.
Carolina now looks ahead to a matchup Wednesday with N.C. State which could see them extend their conference streak to double digits. Continuing to build confidence with each victory, they are also become more dangerous, making them an opponent few will want to see when the post season begins.