Tag Archives: UNC Basketball

Quick Hitters – NC State

Quick Hitters from UNC’s 107-56 win over NC State on Sunday afternoon in the Dean Dome.

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Kenny Williams shoots a three-pointer against NC State in UNC’s 107-56 victory in Chapel Hill, NC on Sunday, January 8, 2017. Photo Credit: Jeffrey A. Camarati

 

  1. Well, what can you say about a game like this? It was lots of fun. A perfect mixture of UNC hitting on all cylinders and NC State hitting on almost no cylinders.
  2. A crazy stat – UNC score 56 points in the first half. NC State scored 56 points in the entire game.
  3. Perhaps the best moment in a game full of great moments: there was a huge ovation for Theo Pinson when he checked in for the first time this season with 13:47 left in the first half. There were many factors that contributed to the blowout, but excitement over having Pinson back in the line-up was certainly one of the major factors. Pinson surely has some rust, shooting 0-3 in the game. But in only 13 minutes, he had five rebounds, five assists, four steals, and zero turnovers.
  4. The Tar Heels had two separate runs of 20-0 or more in the game. The first run was exactly 20-0 and spanned nearly six minutes of game time. NC State scored with 16:56 left in the first half to make the score 6-4 UNC. The next time NC State scored was with 11:10 left in the half and the Tar Heels now led 26-4. The second streak was a 22-0 run that spanned around five minutes of game time. The score went from 77-48 to 99-48 starting around 10 minutes left in the game til around five minutes left in the game.
  5. Lead hit the 30-point margin when Justin Jackson hit a three-pointer to put the Heels up 43-12 (31-point margin) with 6:03 left in the first half. Translation: It took UNC 13:57 to amass a 30 point lead against an ACC opponent.
  6. After several games of turnover problems, it was nice to see the turnovers back in check in this game. The Tar heels did have 12 for the whole game, but only four in the first half while the game was (somewhat) still in check.
  7. Another encouraging sign? Isaiah Hicks had just one foul for the game. Of course, because of game flow, he only had to play 17 total minutes.
  8. Part of this perfect storm was the fact that NC State’s phenomenal freshman, Dennis Smith, Jr., picked up his second foul with 16:06 remaining in the first half. Sensing the game quickly slipping away, Coach Mark Gottfried brought him back in with 13:01 left. Unfortunately for the Wolfpack, he picked up his third foul three minutes later. He was able to stay on the court for almost all of the second half (19 minutes), but it really didn’t matter at that point as the game was out of reach.
  9. A game like this is going to have some crazy stats. Here’s one: NC State had ONE assist in the first half.
  10. 10 different Tar Heels had double-digit minutes in the game and many had productive games. I’ll single out Luke Maye, who almost had a double-double, finishing with nine points and eight rebounds. Half his rebounds were on the offensive side. He hit a three. He hit a couple mid-range jumpers. Good job Luke!
  11. The Tar Heels built a 33-point halftime lead. Often, in games like this, the struggle is to maintain and even further the lead in the second half. In this game, however, that was not the case as the final margin was 51 points.

 

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Offensive Zone Possessions (@ Clemson)

Based on the way that Georgia Tech’s disruptive 1-3-1 zone slowed down North Carolina’s offensive attack last Saturday, Clemson, a team that typically stays in man-to-man on defense, sprinkled in several possessions of zone throughout the game. While Georgia Tech played an aggressive 1-3-1, Clemson played a 2-3 zone, more designed to coax a team into settling for 3-pointers and mid-range jump shots.

While the Tar Heels are currently shooting their highest 3-point percentage since 2012-13 and second highest since 2009-10, the interior game is still the bread and better so coaxing the team into shooting from outside is a good recipe for springing an upset. The Heels are shooting 36.4% from 3-point range this season. For reference, here are the shooting percentages of every team in the Roy Williams era:

  • 2016-17 – 36.4%
  • 2015-16 – 32.7%
  • 2014-15 – 35.8%
  • 2013-14 – 33.6%
  • 2012-13 – 37.3%
  • 2011-12 – 33.8%
  • 2010-11 – 32.8%
  • 2009-10 – 32.8%
  • 2008-09 – 38.7%
  • 2007-08 – 37.2%
  • 2006-07 – 35.8%
  • 2005-06 – 37.5%
  • 2004-05 – 40.3%
  • 2003-04 – 35.1%

So let’s took a look at this game against Clemson: the possessions in which the Tigers played zone, what happened in those possessions, and then we’ll make some observations about how UNC did in those possessions.

By my count, the Tar Heels had 80 possessions in this game, 36 in the first half, 34 in the second half, and 10 in overtime (including quick end-of-period possessions). For the game, Clemson played zone for all or part of six possessions. One of those six possessions included two separate sections of zone, so there were seven times when Carolina played offense against the Clemson defense. Here’s what happened in those six possessions (seven sequences):

  1. 17:56 (1st half) – Possession starts with Clemson in man-to-man. Clemson foul @ 17:49. Clemson in 2-3 zone from UNC base line inbounds. Result: Joel Berry three. Open. MADE.
  2. 13:11 (1st half) – Possession starts with Clemson in man-to-man. Clemson foul @ 13:03. Clemson in 2-3 zone from UNC base line inbounds. Result: Luke Maye 17-foot jumper. Open. MADE.
  3. 11:30 (1st half) – Full court pressure after made Clemson free throw. Once UNC is across half court, Clemson falls back into 2-3 zone. Result: Brandon Robinson three. Open. MISSED.
  4. 4:49 (1st half) – Possesion starts with Clemson in man-to-man. Clemson foul @ 4:31. Clemson in 2-3 zone from UNC base line inbounds. Result: Justin Jackson three. Contested. MISSED. UNC offensive rebound results in free throws for Tony Bradley (1-2).
  5. 18:58 (2nd half) – Possesion starts with Clemson in man-to-man. Clemson foul @ 18:50. Clemson in 2-3 zone from UNC base line inbounds. Result: Joel Berry three. Contested. MISSED. Kennedy Meeks offensive rebound. Ball out of bounds to UNC @ 18:35 (2nd half). Clemson in 2-3 zone from UNC base line inbounds. Result: Kenny Williams three. Open. MADE.
  6. 13:54 (2nd half) – Possession starts with Clemson in man-to-man. Clemson foul @ 13:40. Clemson in 2-3 zone from UNC base line inbounds. Result: Joel Berry three. Open. MADE.

So now let’s make some observations about the zone possessions / sequences:

  • Clemson certainly coaxed the shots they wanted out of the Tar Heels. The initial shot in six of the seven sequences was a three-pointer. The seventh might as well have been – a Luke Maye 17-foot jump shot just inside the three-point line.
  • The Tar Heels were 4-7 (57.1%) on those initial shots.
  • Five of the seven initial shots were either open or wide open due to good ball movement and probing the middle of the defense.
  • Of the six possessions, UNC scored on five of them (83.3%), thanks to offensive rebounds on two of the three misses.
  • Six of the seven sequences occurred from dead ball, rather than live, situations. In the lone outlier, Clemson began the possession with full-court pressure and sunk into the 2-3 zone once UNC got the ball across half-court.
  • Of the six dead ball zone sequences, five of them occurred after a Clemson foul. In the outlier, Clemson played zone after the ball went out of bounds off a Tiger.
  • Worth noting: Clemson didn’t play zone out of every dead ball situation.
  • Curiously, the possession that started at 13:54 of the second half was the last in which Clemson played zone for the game. The Tigers returned to their man-to-man defense for the rest of the second half and all of overtime.

All-in-all, UNC faired well in their zone possessions in terms of shot success. However, they failed to do what they do best – get the ball into the middle and score at the rim. So while Georgia Tech’s 1-3-1 zone was more disruptive when it came to taking the Tar Heels out of their offensive rhythm, Clemson’s 2-3 zone was effective at changing their shot selection.

It will be interesting to see whether other ACC teams follow this blueprint and sprinkle in zone principles to cause similar disruptions to Ken Pomeroy’s 11th-rated efficient offense. Even more curious – when faced with zone, will the Tar Heels continue to settle? Time will tell.

Quick Hitters – Clemson

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Joel Berry had a career-high 31 points to help North Carolina beat Clemson 89-86 on 1/3/17 in Clemson, SC. Photo Credit: J.D. Lyon, Jr.

Quick Hitters from Tuesday night’s 89-86 overtime road win against Clemson in their newly-renovated Littlejohn Coliseum.

  1. Great first defensive possession to force a steal and a transition lay-up. Already a seemingly better start than Saturday.
  2. This was Roy’s 796th He should reach 800 sometime in the next couple weeks.
  3. Undoubtedly due to Saturday’s struggles against Georgia Tech’s zone, Clemson (a typically man-to-man defensive team) played sprinkled in zone several different times throughout the game. By my count, there were seven possessions when Clemson played zone. All seven came out of dead ball situations. Six of the seven resulted in Carolina shooting a three-pointer and the seventh might as well have been. The Heels were shot 4-7 on those possessions. I’ll post another blog detailing the possessions against zone.
  4. After a dialed in start to the game, the Heels gave up back-to-back sloppy turnovers that led to fast break lay-ups for Clemson and a 13-11 lead. In fact, this was another game with many unforced and silly turnovers – 18 total turnovers to be exact. This means the Tar Heels have had 17, 20, and 18 in the last three games. Gotta value the basketball.
  5. Good first half contributions from Brandon Robinson.
  6. The whole team still looks a step slow. Where is the passion and fire from Maui? Where is the drive shown in Las Vegas against Kentucky?
  7. Isaiah Hicks had two first half fouls and picked up a third within the first minute of the second half. Much of it is trouble guarding Jaron Blossomgame. We need Theo Pinson. We have to be able to play small ball against mobile and stretch 4s. Justin Jackson has the size, but not defensive prowess of Pinson.
  8. That said, after all his foul problems, with around 1:30 to go, Isaiah Hicks and his four fouls stayed in front of Blossomgame as he tried to drive, forced him under the basket – which resulted in a turnover when Blossomgame threw a pass straight to Kenny Williams. Well done Isaiah, well done.
  9. This was another game of many missed tip-ins and bunnies. There were lots of offensive rebounds, but it doesn’t matter if you can’t put the ball in the bucket on the second chance.
  10. Speaking of offensive rebounds, the Tar Heels had more offensive rebounds (23) than Clemson had defensive rebounds (22).
  11. Well, Joel Berry is back. Congratulations young man. Career high 31 points points. Career high seven made three-pointers. And all done on incredibly efficient 12-19 shooting on field goals and 7-10 on threes.
  12. Just like in the Kentucky game, the Tar Heels could not close out a late lead. Thankfully, in this game, the team was able to pull out the victory in overtime.

2016-17 Conference Schedule Primer

There are 18 regular season games remaining in the 2016-17 University of North Carolina men’s basketball schedule. Every one of them is an ACC conference match-up. With every conference team having played at least 12 games, we can take a more informed look at the conference schedule.

With that conference schedule beginning today at Georgia Tech, let’s examine what will unfold between now and March 4 when the conference slate ends in Chapel Hill against Duke.

Current ACC Standings

  1. #20 Florida State (13-1, 1-0)
  2. #12 Virginia (12-1, 1-0)
  3. #5 Duke (12-1, 0-0)
  4. Virginia Tech (11-1, 0-0)
  5. #9 North Carolina (12-2, 0-0)
  6. Pittsburgh (12-2, 0-0)
  7. NC State (11-2, 0-0)
  8. #24 Notre Dame (11-1, 0-0)
  9. Clemson (10-2, 0-0)
  10. Miami (10-2, 0-0)
  11. Georgia Tech (8-4, 0-0)
  12. Syracuse (8-5, 0-0)
  13. Boston College (7-6, 0-0)
  14. #6 Louisville (12-2, 0-1)
  15. Wake Forest (9-4, 0-1)
  • Florida State, Virginia, Louisville, and Wake Forest have each played a conference game and are, therefore, currently the top two and bottom two teams in the standings.
  • Florida State beat Wake Forest 88-72 on Wednesday, December 28.
  • Virginia beat Louisville 61-53 on Wednesday, December 28.

UNC Conference Schedule

  1. @ GT (12/31)
  2. @ Clemson (1/3)
  3. NC St (1/7)
  4. @ Wake (1/11)
  5. FSU (1/14)
  6. Syracuse (1/16)
  7. @ BC (1/21)
  8. VT (1/26)
  9. @Miami (1/28)
  10. Pitt (1/31)
  11. ND (2/4)
  12. @Duke (2/9)
  13. @NC St (2/15)
  14. Virginia (2/18)
  15. Louisville (2/22)
  16. @ Pitt (2/25)
  17. @ Virginia (2/27)
  18. Duke (3/4)
  • Every ACC team except for Louisville (who travels to Indiana) will play a conference game this weekend.
  • There are currently six ACC teams ranked in the AP Top 25: Duke (5), Louisville (6), UNC (9), Virginia (12), FSU (20), and Notre Dame (24).
  • Three other ACC teams showed up in the “others receiving votes” category: Virginia Tech, Clemson, and Miami.
  • Joe Lunardi currently projects 10 ACC teams in the NCAA Tournament field – the nine teams mentioned in the AP poll plus Pittsburgh.
  • The five ACC teams not included in the AP poll or Lunardi’s field are: Boston College, Georgia Tech, NC State, Syracuse, and Wake Forest
  • The Tar Heels will play two games (a home and home) against Pittsburgh, Virginia, NC State, and Duke.
  • There will be one game against each of the other 10 conference teams: Boston College, Clemson, Florida State, Georgia Tech, Louisville, Miami, Notre Dame, Syracuse, Virginia Tech, and Wake Forest.
  • Georgia Tech, Clemson, Wake Forest, Boston College, and Miami will all be on the road.
  • FSU, Syracuse, Virginia Tech, Notre Dame and Louisville will all be at home.

1 game against (in chronological order):

  1. @ GT (8-4)
  2. @ Clemson (10-2)
  3. @ Wake (9-4)
  4. #20 FSU (13-1)
  5. Syracuse (8-5)
  6. @ BC (7-6)
  7. VT (11-1)
  8. @Miami (10-2)
  9. #24 ND (11-2)
  10. #6 Louisville (11-2)

2 games (home and home) against:

  1. #5 Duke (12-1)
  2. NC State (11-2)
  3. Pittsburgh (11-2)
  4. #12 Virginia (11-1)
  • The Tar Heels will play seven conference games against teams currently ranked in the AP poll.
  • Match-ups with Virginia (#12) and Duke (#5) will be a game on each teams’ home court, accounting for four of the seven games.
  • Of the other three games against currently ranked teams, all three games will be at home – FSU (#20), Notre Dame (#24), Louisville (#6).
  • Road wins in conference are always hard to come by. There are four ACC teams (BC, GT, Syracuse, Wake Forest) who have yet to reach double digit wins for the season. Of the Tar Heels five road games against teams they only play once, three of them are against one of these four teams (all but Syracuse).

The ACC is deep and loaded. No team will make it through the 18-game onslaught unscathed. This is a veteran and battle-tested North Carolina team who should compete with Duke, Virginia, and Louisville for the ACC regular season championship. In order to do so, the Tar Heels must hold serve at home, win expected road games (Boston College, for example) and steal a few other road games against tougher competition. What are the keys to this happening? Joel Berry must stay healthy, Theo Pinson needs to return sooner than later and assimilate rather seamlessly, Justin Jackson needs to continue to be aggressive, and the three freshmen need to take another step forward. It all starts today against Georgia Tech in Atlanta.

 

 

 

 

Quick Hitters – Monmouth

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Kenny Williams shoots a 3-pointer against Monmouth on December 28, 2016. Williams and the Tar Heels closed out the pre-conference slate with a 102-74 win over the Hawks. Photo Credit: Jeffrey A. Camarati

Quick Hitters from Wednesday night’s 102-74 home win against Monmouth.

  1. Congrats to Kennedy Meeks for becoming the 20th Tar Heel to break the 800 career rebound mark. He’s currently at 803 rebounds. Jason Capel is 19th on the list with 807 career rebounds.
  2. Though Monmouth is not a sexy opponent, this was Carolina’s fourth game against a team picked to win their conference in the preseason. These types of games against veteran mid-major squads are invaluable.
  3. Joel Berry took what appeared to be a knee to the thigh in the first ten minutes of the game. Thankfully, this was not a re-injury to his ankle. After briefly leaving the bench, he came back into the game. With the beginning of ACC play pending, and three games over the course of seven days (including the Monmouth game), this will hopefully not be a deep bruise that causes Berry to miss time. How important is Berry? In the two games he missed, UNC averaged 78.0 points, while they have averaged 90.6 points in the games he’s played (not including Monmouth).
  4. Justin Jackson is absolutely on fire from deep. He hit five threes in the first half and tacked on one more in the second. The great thing is that the shots are in the flow of the offense, he’s still looking to get teammates involved, and he didn’t need a ton of shots (nine) to get his six threes. For the season, the Heels three most prolific three-point shooters (Jackson, Berry, Kenny Williams) are all shooting 40% or more from deep.
  5. Tony Bradley has done a lot really well this year. One thing he hasn’t done as much of as you would expect is record blocks. Coming into this game he had eight on the season (0.6 BPG). He recorded three in the first half of this game. Obviously, Monmouth has shorter interior players than a lot of teams UNC will face, but this is still a good sign.
  6. Speaking of Tony Bradley, he sometimes seems skittish finishing around the rim. He has the athleticism to finish dominantly and needs to begin to do so.
  7. Isaiah Hicks sported a new hair-do in this game. It was suspect. However, he scored 15 points and, more importantly, grabbed nine rebounds. If Isaiah is going to continue rebounding like that, he can sport whatever hair style he wants to.
  8. Justin Robinson for Monmouth had a great first half – 16 points. The Heels shut him down in the second half, however, and he finished the game with those same 16 points.
  9. Poor end to the first half for the Heels. A 19-point lead was whittled down to nine. This was reminiscent of several games in recent years when the Heels failed to close out the first half – most notably, last year’s national championship game.
  10. Three technicals on Monmouth within the first three minutes of the second half, over the course of 55 seconds. Six free throws for Joel Berry? Yes please. Those six free points ballooned the lead to 20 points
  11. Speaking of Joel Berry, he finished the game with no field goals. His only points were the six free throws off the technicals. However, on a night when everyone else wanted to turn the ball over, Berry had five assists and no turnovers.
  12. Ugh, turnovers. There were 17 turnovers in this game, a season high. Gotta clean this up.
  13. There were wholesale substitutions on three separate occasions in the second half.

Quick Hitters – Kentucky

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Justin Jackson reacts to a go-ahead lay-up with under 1:00 left in the game, that gave the Tar Heels a 100-98 over Kentucky. Unfortunately, this was not the last big image from the game. Photo Credit: J.D. Lyon, Jr.

Quick Hitters from Saturday afternoon’s 103-100 neutral site loss to Kentucky in the CBS Sports Classic.

  1. First off, you never like to lose, and especially not to Kentucky, but this looked like the team that was playing in Maui, not the team we’ve seen in the four games since – an encouraging sign. The trick now is becoming that team always. This game had the feeling of a game in March or April and will pay dividends for both teams throughout the season.
  2. I think Joel Berry is going to be all right. With a player coming back from a lower body injury, you always wonder what their first game back will be like. Berry’s return was reminiscent of Marcus Paige’s first game last season against Maryland in the ACC/Big Ten challenge. The key is not having the let down that Paige had after that. Berry’s line from Saturday: 23 points on 9-15 shooting, 3-5 on 3s, 2-2 FTs, 5 R, 7 A, 3 TO, 2 S in 34 minutes. Also, Berry fell to the court after getting his shot blocked less than two minutes into the game. While you hate to see him fall, it’s nice that he was able to get right back up.
  3. The pace of this game was incredibly fun to watch. Two deep and athletic teams who like to run. And yet they take care of the ball really well – both teams finished with single digit turnovers.
  4. Speaking of pace, both teams scored 50+ points in the first half. Kentucky had 56, which is the most given up in the Roy Williams era in the first half. In the end, both teams finished with over 100.
  5. Justin Jackson missed more free throw in this game (five) than he had the rest of the season combined (four). Coming into the game he was 25-29 (86.2%). On the other side of the coin, Tony Bradley, who was shooting 30-50 (60%), went 6-6 in this game to balance out Jackson’s misses.
  6. Speaking of Justin Jackson, he’s getting to the line so much because he is attacking and aggressive. This is a good sign. Jackson finished the game with a career-high 34 points.
  7. Great close to the first half. The Heels closed the lead to as little as four after being down 12, and finished the half down five.
  8. Understatement of the season: Malik Monk is good at basketball. A couple of great defensive possessions against him in the closing minutes of the first half were what helped Carolina close the gap.
  9. That said, you know who would’ve done a great job guarding Monk in this game? Theo Pinson. Not saying Pinson would have completely shut Monk down, because he was hitting everything in sight. However, his lankiness and athleticism certainly would’ve bothered Monk and lowered his point total. Thanks to my man Carter Gilchrist for pointing this out!
  10. Speaking of Pinson, the Heels only got two points from the 2-guard spot today, and you’ve got to think that Pinson would’ve contributed more.
  11. Luke Maye had some important contributions. He had to HUGE 3s down the stretch as the Heels were fighting back. He also had a big time tap out on a missed Justin Jackson free throw that gave the Heels a chance to go up two possessions with under one minute left. Unfortunately, Joel Berry missed a shot and we know what happened next. Maye finished with a career high 11 points.
  12. Foul trouble hurt the Heels in this game. Berry, Isaiah Hicks, and Kennedy Meeks each were playing with four fouls down the stretch. Meeks fouled out, but both Hicks and Berry played smart to stay on the court down the stretch and impact the game in big ways. (Berry did ultimately foul out, but it was on the last meaningful play of the game).

 

 

Quick Hitters – Tennessee

Quick Hitters from Sunday afternoon’s 73-71 home win against Tennessee:

  1. Let’s get this out of the way: this was not a pretty game, but it was a win. A game in which the Tar Heels were missing two starters, shot 2-17 from 3, and shot 13-24 from the free throw line.
  2. Since returning from Maui (Indiana, Radford, Davidson, Tennessee), the fire, intensity, and urgency that was present to that point of the season appears to be gone. Joel Berry being out for the last 2.5 games doesn’t help matters. It could get really ugly next Saturday against Kentucky if the team can’t recapture the fire they played with in Maui.
  3. After going down 30-15 with 7:35 left in the first half, there was a steal from Nate Britt, a steal by Kenny Williams, a forced 3-second violation and, less than two minutes later (5:40), the Heels are only down 9. All keyed by defense.
  4. After cutting the lead to 8 just before halftime (on Justin Jackson’s first two points), the Heels had the lead down to two within the first two minutes of the second half. Another run keyed by defense.
  5. Nate Britt (similar to most of his teammates) did not shoot the ball well, but he did have FIVE steals.
  6. Hicks and Meeks each had 3 fouls by 2:30 into the second half and were rather ineffective.. They have to dominate games for this team to accomplish the goals it wants to. Thankfully, Tony Bradley played really well.
  7. Too many mid-range, contested jumpers. In particular from Justin Jackson, who was struggling with his shot (3-for-15 FG, 0-for-6 3P). When the shots aren’t falling you have to get the ball to the rim.
  8. Elevator screen on two straight plays in the second half. The first time, Kenny Williams couldn’t quite get through so the usual look at a 3 wasn’t there. The second time, Tony Bradley slipped the screen for a wide-open dunk when his man anticipated the screen and overplayed it to the top side. This was a thing of beauty.
  9. Who hit the shot to tie the game at 50? None other than Stilman White. He’s filling a similar role to what Jackson Simmons did in recent years. The less-talented, but savvy veteran who comes in and gives a few solid minutes to help settle his team.
  10. Great end-of-game substitution by Coach Williams. He subbed out Kennedy Meeks for the longer Tony Bradley, who promptly rewarded his coach’s decision by blocking Tennessee’s last shot.

 

 

Quick Hitters – Davidson

Quick Hitters from Wednesday night’s 83-74 home win against Davidson.

  1. The starters looked flat to start the game. So much so that four minutes into the game the five players on the floor were Seventh Woods, Stilman White, Luke Maye, Brandon Robinson, and Tony Bradley. This crew moved the score from 10-3 to 15-13 when they exited, exactly what you want to happen when you bring in the second unit to provide energy.
  2. Much of the 10-0 run the reserves went on early in the game was fueled by Luke Maye, who had seven points in that stretch. Maye finished with a career high 10 points.
  3. Once again Seventh Woods is taking too many shots and dribbling too much. He wound up playing only 11 minutes in a game where it seemed like he would play a lot more due to Joel Berry’s injury.
  4. Most of the minutes I assumed Woods would get went to Stilman White who had a solid 15 minutes including six points (all on free throws) and one assist against no steals.
  5. Much of the credit for the frustration in this game is due to Davidson’s double-teaming the post. The Heels got sped up, made some poor decisions, and then didn’t spend time getting the ball inside in the first ten minutes of the game. This trend continued throughout the game. For the most part the interior players did not handle the double teams well.
  6. That said, the team did a poor job of forcing the issue inside. This is attributed both to Davidson’s active defense and the absence of Joel Berry.
  7. Justin Jackson’s work over the summer is paying off from deep. He finished 7-13 on three-pointers. Overall, he tied his career high with 27 points.
  8. While it hurts to have Joel Berry out, very similar to last season and Marcus Pagie’s absence early in the season, the extra experience Nate Britt, Seventh Woods, and Stilman White are getting will pay dividends later on. At the same time, based on what we saw tonight, if Berry doesn’t play against Tennessee or Kentucky, things could go south in a hurry.

Quick Hitters – Radford

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Tony Bradley goes up for a lay-up against Radford on December 4, 2016. Photo Credit: Jeffrey A. Camarati

Quick Hitters from Sunday afternoon’s 95-50 home win against Radford.

  1. Kenny Williams scored 14 of the first 18 points, including 4-4 from three-point range. He had reached his career high in points five minutes into the game. Williams finished the game with 19 points, leading the way for the Heels.
  2. Too many offensive rebounds in the first half for Radford. In fact, Isaiah Hicks found a seat on the bench after a couple missed block-outs.
  3. After a hot start, there was a lull between the under-8:00 and under-4:00 media timeout of the first half. A couple missed bunnies inside, an early shot clock three from Joel Berry, a turnover by Berry before crossing half court.
  4. After beginning the scoring, Kenny Williams beat the halftime buzzer to put the Heels over 50 for the first half.
  5. With 17:36 left in the game, Joel Berry stepped on the foot of a Radford defender while driving and went down in a heap. Thankfully this was a game where Berry didn’t need to come back in. Coach Williams said the team will take precautionary X-rays to confirm a sprain, but that he is encouraged by the current assessment.
  6. I wrote this before Joel Berry’s injury: Seventh Woods is extremely athletic, but often looks lost when he gives Joel Berry a breather. Hopefully this stretch of games leading up to ACC play will give him a chance to settle in more.
  7. This is a completely different team with Joel Berry out. Hopefully it’s not a long-term injury. However, if there was a good time for Berry to be out, it’s this stretch of games before ACC play.
  8. At this point in his development as a point guard, Seventh Woods is calling his own number too much.
  9. After shooting well on free throws for the first seven games, this is the second game in a row where the Tar Heels struggled from the line. The team was a combined 18-29 (62.1%) against Radford. The main culprits were Kennedy Meeks and Tony Bradley, who shot a combined 5-13 (38.5%). Taking away those two players, the rest of the team was 13-16 (81.3%)
  10. It seemed like Meeks, Isaiah Hicks, and Bradley each had rather pedestrian days, yet they wound up with a combined 35 points and 23 rebounds, with all three players scoring in double-digits.

Quick Hitters – Indiana (ACC/Big Ten Challenge)

Quick Hitters from Wednesday night’s 76-67 loss to Indiana in the ACC / Big Ten Challenge

  1. This was Roy Williams’ 1,000 game coaching in college. He’s won 799 of them. Remarkable. I’m glad he’s the coach of the North Carolina Tar Heels.
  2. Listen, I want to win every game and go 40-0, but that’s unrealistic. If you told me going into the game that Joel Berry would shoot 3-for-12 and Isaiah Hicks would shoot 2-4, I would imagine the margin of victory would have been greater than nine. This is a good learning lesson in a hostile environment that will pay huge dividends on Thursday, February 9 in Durham, North Carolina.
  3. There are many things that we could point to as the reason for the loss. One of these is fast-break points, a Carolina staple. The Heels scored exactly two fast-break points in the entire game. Not a recipe for victory.
  4. Another culprit was the free-throw line. In the first half, the Heels collectively missed the front end of three 1-and-1’s. Collectively the team shot 5-for-11 on free throws in the first half and 13-22 for the game. I’m not saying they have to hit every one of those, but the team missed nine free throws and lost the game by nine points (and don’t forget the missed 1-and-1’s).
  5. This was the third true road game of the season and sixth (out of eight total games) away from home. This was certainly the toughest road environment to play in so far. It’s extremely hard to win on the road when you get down early and let the crowd stay in the game. With that said, Carolina missed eleven of their first thirteen field goals and had a huge hole to climb out of.
  6. A positive sign was the methodical fight displayed. No, the Heels did not win the game, but after being down 17 points in the first half, the lead was cut to as few as four points with 4:29 to go. I use “methodical” because there was no huge run or spurt; the team just settled down in the second half and worked themselves back into the game. Credit Indiana for making big shot after big shot every time the Heels cut into the lead.
  7. The tide really started to turn when Kennedy Meeks scored inside with 3:51 left in the first half and then again less than a minute later. This momentum carried over into the second half as Meeks continued to get position inside.
  8. After being down by double digit rebounds early, the teams ended up tied with 37 rebounds apiece.
  9. The Joel Berry didn’t have a great shooting night (3-for-13), he did have eight assists and only two turnovers. Justin Jackson was the leading scorer with 21 points.
  10. Though UNC didn’t win the game, the ACC won the ACC / Big Ten Challenge for the first time since 2008.