Quick Hitters from North Carolina’s 56-47 road loss to Virginia on Sunday afternoon in Charlottesville.
DISCLAIMER: I know you’re ready to freak out. Carolina has lost three of four. They haven’t looked good or in sync while doing so. The injuries seem to be torpedoing this season’s chances. But hear this: Patience, friend, patience. It’s December. This team is trying to work in a lot of new players. This team is trying to get players back from injury and integrate them. This team is trying to find offensive flow. This team is trying to find shooters. All I can say to remind you to be patient is this: There’s a man at the helm of this program that always finds a way. There’s a man at the helm of this program who is currently fifth all time in Division 1 coaching wins. There’s a man at the helm of this program who is already in the Hall of Fame. You don’t achieve these heights without a couple seasons of bringing together a young squad for the good of the name on the front of the jersey. Patience.
- Let’s start with some happy things, shall we? Armando Bacot, who appeared to quite severely sprain his ankle against Ohio State on Wednesday and was expected to be out “indefinitely”, was able to not only play, but start against Virginia. No clue how this happened, but his presence was a welcome return. Here’s Bacot talking about how he was able to get back on the court so quickly:
- In the same vein of comebacks, two Tar Heel freshmen returned from injury to play their first collegiate minutes. Jeremiah Francis and Anthony Harris, both of whom suffered knee injuries in high school, were able to play (and score) after being cleared. If either, or both, are able to provide backcourt depth and/or the opportunity for Cole Anthony to move off the ball from time-to-time, it will be a big boon.
- The final piece of good news for this space is that the back-to-back games against the top-two defensive rated teams in the country are now behind us.
- Of course, against those two teams, Carolina managed to eclipse 50 points exactly zero times. In the Roy Williams era, these have been just the seventh and eighth games in which the Tar Heels have scored under 50. As you can imagine, this is the first time in that period that sub-50 point games have happened back-to-back. Interestingly, all eight sub-50 points have happened since the 2010-11 season.
- Virginia | 47 | 2019-20
- Ohio State | 49 | 2019-20
- Michigan State | 45 | 2017-18
- Virginia | 49 | 2017-18
- Virginia | 43 | 2016-17
- NC State | 46 | 2014-15
- Syracuse | 45 | 2013-14
- Boston College | 48 | 2010-11
- I’m just going to start hitting you with ugly numbers. Ready?
- The teams combined for 0 (ZERO!) first half fast break points.
- Carolina had one assist in the first half.
- Both teams had more turnovers than made field goals in the first half (Carolina 6-5, Virginia 8-5).
- With 5:49 left in the first half, only one player on either team had multiple made field goals.
- For the game, Cole Anthony had zero assists and six turnovers. In truth, this is pretty typical for a freshman point guard playing their first game at Virginia.
- Carolina hit their first (and only) three-pointer of the game with 17:30 remaining in the second half. The Heels shot 1-for-14 on threes for the game (7.1%).
- The Tar Heels fouled three-point shooters on three different occasions. Truthfully, even doing this one time in a game is unacceptable.
- The free throw woes continue. Heels shot 12-for-22 today (54.5%).
- For the second game in a row, the Tar Heels were out-rebounded (this time 37-32).
- As the season goes along, one of the big keys to Carolina finding success is production from the grad transfers, Christian Keeling and Justin Pierce. Today, Keeling, a known scorer, took zero shots (ZERO!). Pierce shot 0-for-4 from the field. A “zero” in the points column is unacceptable from these two.
- Both of these teams are inept offensively at this point in their development. The teams combined for two points in the first five minutes of the game and 11 points in the first 10 minutes. Virginia’s first field goal came with 12:48 left in the first half. Carolina didn’t hit double-digit points until 15:00 into the game and had just 18 at the half.
- The second half started with a veritable offensive explosion – Carolina scored 11 points in the first 4:00. However, the Tar Heels managed just 18 more points over the final 16 minutes.
Roy Williams postgame press conference:
Remember to check in for Quick Hitters after every North Carolina basketball game. Next up is a home game against Wofford on Sunday, December 15. Tip is at 4:00ET on the ACC Network.
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