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Dec 22, 2012; Chapel Hill, NC, USA; North Carolina Tar Heels players P.J. Hairston (15) and Dexter Strickland (1) and J.P. Tokoto (25) react on the bench at the end of the game. The Tar Heels defeated McNeese State 97-63 at the Dean E Smith Center. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

UNC Basketball: Tar Heels Get it Together Finally But Will it Last?

UNC finally beat an opponent down the way they are supposed to in a 97-63 win over McNeese State.  The win came following an embarrassing loss to unranked Texas and three losses in their last seven games.  UNC got a convincing win right when they needed it, momentum heading into Christmas break, but will it last?

I’m a big believer that the Heels are a very talented team that can go far this season and one that still has a chance to do so and the reason they have looked so bad in many contest this year is the simple fact that they don’t know who they are.  A young team who’s strength is in their vast talent on the perimeter but with their best player playing the power forward position and a freshman point guard growing up has been tough this year for Carolina.

Sadly I don’t think one blowout win against a team like McNeese State is enough to turn their season around.  One thing head coach Roy Williams has preached all season long is taking the right shot at the right time and I don’t think UNC has done that yet, not even in their latest win.

Despite their talent on the perimeter and despite the fact that UNC boasts several players capable of lighting it up from beyond the arc, the Tar Heels have never been a team that lives and dies from outside.  This team has two players capable of putting up huge numbers in the paint in James Michael McAdoo and Brice Johnson and I believe that once this team figures out that they need McAdoo to be the man and that they need to work inside out in order to better open up things from the perimeter they are still going to struggle against upper echelon teams.

One huge development in the McNeese State game was the performance of PG Marcus Paige.  Paige was not expected to have to take over the starting PG duties this season as a freshman but with the surprising exit of Kendall Marshall he was handed the keys to a very expensive and hard to drive car and has had an up and down season thus far.  His nine assists-zero turnover performance was the best of his young career.  Roy has gone on record as stating that Paige is perhaps the teams best three point shooter, and that’s saying something given the likes of PJ Hairston and Leslie McDonald on the roster, if Paige can continue to play error free basketball and learn to mix in his outside shot he still has time to prove that he in fact is the best freshman PG in the nation as Roy Williams told him he was after a recent practice.

I think we are in for more struggles Tar Heel Nation, but I also want to remind you of the 2010-2011 season when the Tar Heels lost 4 non conference games before winning the ACC reg season.  The season is still very young with lots of possibilities.


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