The Heels have a lot of fans worried about how their recent play will translate once they embark into their ACC schedule. It’s hard not to do so, but let’s go one game at a time. Tonight, the Heels face Texas. On paper, it seems that North Carolina has the upper hand. They have a better record, better statistics, a complete roster, and the two common opponents that they share are Chaminade and Mississippi St. both of whom the Tar Heels beat by 40+ points. Texas on the other hand, split the games and didn’t beat Mississippi St. by an overly impressive margin.
The one knock on the Tar Heels, is while their talent is unquestioned, their will to win has lacked. Lately, North Carolina has struggled to put teams away even after taking commanding leads early. The Tar Heels have shown that they have one big time half in them during every game only to pair it with a half of complete non existence. Looking back on the East Carolina game on Saturday, the Heels stormed out to a 42-26 halftime lead in what looked to be a laugher. Unfortunately, Roy William’s team assumed what we all did. The lackadaisical act that followed was somewhat of an embarrassment. Carolina gave up 61 second half points and a barrage of three point baskets to the Pirates that turned the 16 point halftime lead to a mere six point victory that in all honesty should have been closer.
ECU is just one example (East Tennessee State and Butler) where the Tar Heels have made close calls or lost a game all together for failing to put it all together for the full forty minutes. I’m hoping that tonight, Carolina will have righted the ship. We can blame this team for being young or having exams, but in reality, if you are a good team, little things like playing hard for forty minutes shouldn’t even be an issue. I think our shooters will set the tone tonight. If Carolina makes the outside shots they’re capable of, I got to believe the post players will follow suit and the momentum will carry them for the game’s entirety.
This may be a lame excuse for the Heels, but I think at the end of the day, Texas is a big enough name in sports that Carolina will treat the game with a little more respect. Because of this, we should see a higher level of intensity from the Heels for a lot longer. No excuses not to play every minute to the fullest tonight though because exams are done and the ACC is lurking.