North Carolina drops to 0-2 in ACC after awful home loss; Syracuse up next
All season long the Tar Heels have have been consistently inconsistent. Following a road loss Sunday Night at Wake Forest, you expected UNC to bounce back. Or did you? Despite Miami being a completely different team from last year; coming into the Dean Dome with an 8-6 record, you just had to be uncertain which North Carolina team would show up.
And Despite Miami losing all five starters from the team that had a magical season, one thing is certain--A Jim Larranaga coached team will play great defense and make you uncomfortable in the process. Just ask the No. 2 team in the country. The Hurricanes held Syacuse to only 49 points in a close defeat.
Over the past several games, Larranaga has switched to playing zone after playing strictly man-to-man for years. And that defense was just what the doctor ordered against a Tar Heels' team that has two perimeter players.
PJ Hairston is gone. He's not coming back to play again due to a mistake he made. That can no longer be an excuse and UNC needs to move on mentally. Nobody is going to hold a telethon for them. North Carolina is loaded with McDonalds All-Americans.
Roy Williams must find a way to adjust to the defenses his team will see going forward. Nobody in their right mind should defend UNC man-to-man.
Marcus Paige has gone through a cold stretch (2-15 FG in the loss to Miami) after starting the season red hot. And, Leslie McDonald is streaky at best. Everyone was excited when he returned. However, shooting under 40% from downtown is nothing to write home about, especially on the college level.
I was rather confused by a coaching decision Williams made in the game. UNC trailed by ten and went on a mini run to cut the Hurricanes lead to four with 4:30 minutes left. Then, North Carolina went into a full court trap and got beat for a breakaway layup and a foul. And then trapped on the next possession with the shot clock under ten, which resulted in a dunk.
Why are you trapping a team down four points that can barely score in the half court to begin with? It's a two possession game--play straight up defense. I know the thinking is to get turnovers which result in easy baskets. However, you gave up five points in a close game. I think the risk is greater than the reward. You can't coach desperately.
Here's the good news for North Carolina, their next opponent is the aforementioned No. 2 Syracuse Orange. How is it good news you ask? Well, despite all of UNC's bad losses, they also have 3 wins over the preseason 1, 2 and 3 ranked schools in the country. With wins over Louisville, Kentucky and at Michigan State, can the Tar Heels rise to the occasion again and shock the nation?
Highly unlikely, unless Roy Williams can devise a game plan to neutralize the great 2-3 zone Syracuse plays. There's only two ways to beat the Cuse zone: Quick ball movement that gives your best shooters good looks. Or, exploiting the hole in the middle of the zone with big men who can knock down jump shots or attack the rim fast. Neither is an easy task to say the least. And the former appears impossible for UNC.
This matchup has disaster written all over it for North Carolina. They shot 30% against Miami and lost by 6. Shooting in the same neighborhood against the Orange could result in an embarrrassing loss.