Saturday, February 1, 2014

What's up with UNC basketball?

Coach Roy WIlliams has had to do a lot more teaching with this young squad than he probably anticipated

This season has hurt.  I didn’t have high expectations this year.  I thought UNC would be solid, certainly not as good as Duke’s star-studded squad, but respectable.  I glanced at the schedule, games against Louisville, UK, and Michigan St. would surely be challenging, but I figured it would toughen up the team so that by the time ACC play started (and PJ Hairston came back) the Tar Heels would be fine. Fast-forward to three top five wins, some befuddling losses to the unranked Belmont and UAB, and PJ Hairston’s ineligibility and I’m already exhausted halfway through the college basketball year. The team has had its share of ups and downs and now it appears a thorough low point will be home base for UNC basketball.
Enough with the anguish, analytically what is the team missing?
1)      Shooting: I’ve never seen such a poor shooting team.  Outside of guard Marcus Paige, the team doesn’t have any decent shooters. They shoot 31% from 3, and are an abysmal 62% from the free throw line; shots that should be renamed for this team because they have cost UNC a couple of games already

2)      Player Development:  

·         Again, exclude Paige from this discussion. He’s on pace to lead the team in scoring and assists, a feat that hasn’t been accomplished since Phil Ford.
·         Isaiah Hicks has looked completely overwhelmed every time he has been in the game.  I heard about Hicks and his game awhile ago, which makes his current lackluster play all the more deflating.
·         Brice Johnson has shown plenty of potential with his length and athleticism.  Coach Roy Williams has been hesitant to play Johnson more than 20 minutes per game average (6th most on the team) he currently has.  The bench needs a scoring punch, but the starters could probably use a rim protector that they have been missing for the duration of the season.
Coach Williams Thought both these gentleman would still be playing in Chapel Hill this year

3)      Consistency:

·         If I were to describe the Tar Heel season in one word (instead of this meandering filibuster) I would be with “inconsistent”. In addition to beating three top 5 teams (an unmatched feat this year) they also recently handed Clemson a thorough beatdown at the Smith Center.  While they extended the longest win streak against one team at home in the country, they also managed to topple a team in Clemson that handed Duke a loss earlier in the season. 
Normally all of this would be a cause for celebration, but losses to several unranked teams and a 1-3 start in conference play has been befuddling.

If only this team had a fully developed player to rely on, especially for shooting accuracy; perhaps one currently in the D-League. The shortest distance between two points is a straight line; in this case, UNC is exactly a PJ away from being a national contender. I’m so confused as to the future of my favorite team, recent wins over Clemson and Georgia Tech give me hope.  It’s apropos that this post is so disjointed; hopefully the season will end with a bigger bang than this article.  

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