Mandatory Credit: Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports

UNC Basketball: Need to Step up Right Now

These posts are getting old. I’m getting tired of turning the TV on an watching my beloved Tar Heels lose to teams they have no business losing to. I’m getting tired of having any sort of optimism around this team come and go. I’m tired of telling myself “it’s because they’re young”. I’m tired or having to relive the agony when I write these posts. I’m just tired. Plain and simple.

ACC play opened up in Charlottesville, VA and boy was it a tough game for the Tar Heels. On paper, this looked to be no contest. North Carolina had the better talent and the better statistics, but Virginia dispelled that by having the better team. The Cavaliers executed much better when it came down to the game proving once again that talent by itself can only get you so far. The Heels have to get over this inability to show up for a road game. If they don’t, North Carolina may not be going anywhere this season. As well this team plays in the Dean Dome, road games are crucial when it comes to positioning yourself for the post season.Hopefully, this loss will be a valuable learning experience for Carolina. Winning on the road in the ACC is necessary, but it’s hard to do no matter who the opponent is. We all knew this going into the game, yet here we are today and the pain still stings. Carolina should have won this game looking back on everything. There was definitely no shortage of opportunity to do so even if this was a terrible match up for Carolina schematically.

It’s clear that this Carolina team needs to step up. As Roy Williams put it after the game, they aren’t “young” anymore. This team has played 14 games together and by now they should be used to the pace of the game. Fortunately, there is no time like the present. The Heels have a date with the Hurricanes on Thursday in Chapel Hill. Carolina must take advantage of a home game against a team that has drawn a lot of respect around the college basketball world and not to mention, they’ll be without their star big man Reggie Johnson.

I want to see this team want it on the floor. I loved last night when Reggie Bullock wanted the ball at the end of the game and he called for it and then with no hesitation, shot it. That’s the kind of instinct and intensity that I want displayed. If one player shows that fight, it will spread to his teammates like a virus. This is all so important for the young freshmen who need that guidance and example from their upper classmane. Those kids are so very talented and you can tell they want to win badly, but they need to see it in everyone else.

I’m not jumping the ship yet at all. I still think this team is destined for a postseason berth, but it’s very clear that nothing will be given to them. Now is the time to be relentless. Now is the time to be unforgiving. A coveted spot in March is rightfully theirs and now is the time to step up and take it.


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