Dec 15, 2012; Chapel Hill, NC, USA; East Carolina Pirates guard Paris Roberts-Campbell (22) battles with North Carolina Tar Heels guard Reggie Bullock (35) and forward J.P. Tokoto (25) over a loose ball during the first half at the Dean E. Smith Center. Mandatory Credit: Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

UNC Basketball: Tar Heels need to learn to play 40 mins

UNC has played 400 minutes of basketball this season, ten 40 minute games, they have done enough to win eight of those contests but one thing that have yet to do this season is play a complete 40 minute game from tip to final whistle.

This Tar Heel team is unique to Carolina in that they play a different brand of basketball than we are used to seeing.  They don’t look to the post first in the half court preferring to shoot the three and gaining the majority of their offense from the perimeter.  They don’t run nearly as much as traditional Tar Heel teams and they rely on freshman far more than every Tar Heel team in the Roy Williams era.

While it’s true they don’t resemble a prototypical UNC team, this team carries all the traits of a typical young team in the midst of growing.  With just one scholarship senior on the roster they lack the discipline to do the things needed to close to teams out.  Tar Heel fans should be encouraged by the fact that when UNC is focused and on their game they look like one of the better teams in the country, even if it’s only for a half here and there.

On the other hand with conference play approaching Roy and his coaching staff need to find a way to get this team to fix it’s sloppy play, stop watching the scoreboard and finish opponents out.  Time after time this season with a big lead UNC lets up, they stop sprinting back on defense and start jogging, they stop boxing out, they stop fighting through ball screens with intensity, they commit senseless fouls and they take on the look of a team that is going through the motions.

I’ve heard many fans point the finger at Roy and I’ll admit that some of the responsibility falls on his shoulders but he cannot make this team learn and grow up by himself, the players need to take ownership, take pride in the fact that they wear North Carolina across their chest and man up for 40 minutes.

This isn’t about any fancy statistics or deep analysis of the teams problems, this is about growing up.  UNC has already been embarrassed, twice, once by a team they should have defeated but still the lesson hasn’t sunk in with this team.

Anybody who had any sense knew this was going to be a journey and anybody who’s watching this year can see this a very talented team capable of winning the ACC and going far this season if they get it together.  Right now that’s a big if but it’s certainly something that can happen and something I think will eventually happen this year the million dollar question is when.

 

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