The North Carolina Tar Heels faced the nations number one ranked team the Indiana Hoosiers in Bloomington. The stadium was rocking as the fans went crazy for this storied rivalry with the Tar Heels in the building.
Keeping an eye on the rotation Roy Williams went with Desmond Hubert in the starting lineup after going with Brice Johnson in the last contest. Joel James entered the game for Hubert after the first timeout along with Leslie McDonald who entered for Dexter Strickland. After two early fouls to Paige he exited the game with Strickland returning to the lineup and with JP Tokoto giving Reggie Bullock his first rest with 13:35 remaining in the first half. Brice Johnson gave James Michael McAdoo his first rest with 12 minutes remaining in the first half.
I immediately questioned the game plan when Hubert matched up with Cody Zeller to start the game. Zeller scored seven of the first 11 points for Indiana as he beat Hubert down the court for easy layups and did whatever he wanted offensively early. It was a game of small runs early with Indiana maintaining a small lead the first ten minutes before Carolina took their first lead of the game.
With UNC down just two with three minutes to go in the half Indiana went on a strong run to close out the half with a flurry of easy baskets as the Heels failed to close out on the shooter and gave up way too many open layups. Indiana took a nine point lead into halftime after out executing and outrunning Carolina with a 15-6 run to close the half.
McAdoo had a strong first half with ten points, Tokoto saw his most significant first half minutes of the season and looked good defensively. Bullock did next to nothing with zero points on just three shot attempts. Brice Johnson looked great with eight points on 4-4 from the field. Zeller and Victor Oladipo led Indiana with 13 points each.
Score at the Half: UNC 37 Indiana 46
The second half Johnson replaced Hubert in the lineup to start the half. UNC missed three great opportunities to score early on two missed free throws and two misses inside of five feet and Indiana extended the lead to 19 with 16 minutes remaining before Roy finally called a timeout. UNC did not score in the first five minutes of the half already down 23.
Since the game was tied with four minutes to go in the first half UNC was outscored 32-8 and could do absolutely nothing on the offensive end with just one FG in the first seven minutes of the second half. Defensively Indiana continued to get good open looks and convert. Dick Vitale a comment that he has a better chance of growing hair over the last 12 minutes of the game than UNC does making a miracle comeback.
Bullock finally scored on a FT with 10:40 left in the game. McAdoo sat on the bench for a long stretch with Jackson Simmons getting extended playing time, perhaps Roy was proving a point that if you don’t play hard on both ends of the floor you sit. McAdoo looked lost when he was in the game early in the half.
It only got uglier as the Hoosiers continued to stretch their lead and shut down Carolina on the offensive end. The Tar Heels didn’t get any easy shots in the half court and couldn’t create anything. Rarely am I at a loss for words and almost never do I want to just turn off a game, leave my man cave and watch whatever the wife has on upstairs but this game made me want to breakout of the basement worse than I wanted my Thanksgiving break back.
You cannot pin this blowout loss on any one player, McAdoo disappeared and played uninspired for the entire second half. Reggie Bullock was nobody’s second option tonight and outside of Brice Johnson I didn’t see anybody play well on the offensive end. This was a team loss, nobody played exceptionally well and nobody defended their position. The team as a whole was horrible on the defensive end and the intensity just wasn’t there.
This did not look like a top 25 team on the court in my view. Carolinas hustle and basic execution on both ends of the floor were severely lacking. PJ Hairston was greatly missed as nobody could create their own shot but even without him the play of the Tar Heels for most of the night was inexcusable. Roy Williams has a lot of work to do with this team.
Final Score: UNC 59 Indiana 83
Up Next: UNC finally returns home to face UAB on December first at 6pm on ESPNU