Jan 10, 2013; Chapel Hill, NC, USA; North Carolina Tar Heels guard Leslie McDonald (2) and forwards Desmond Hubert (14) and Joel James (0) react on the bench late in the game. The Hurricanes defeated the Tar Heels 68-59 at the Dean E. Smith Center. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Fair Warning: Is Carolina Bound for the NIT?

It was another frustrating loss for the Tar Heels Thursday Night. This time it came at the Dean Dome, making it that much more frustrating.  The loss to the Miami Hurricanes brings the Tar Heels to 10-5 on the season and 0-2 to start conference play. The last time the Tar Heels were 0-2 to start conference play was 2009 and they won the National Championships.

I’ll stop you before you try finding any comparisons for this years team to that dominant team we saw hang the most recent banner in the Dean Dome.

This years Tar Heels remind me more of the 2010 UNC team that went to the NIT. The one that was in a rebuilding mode after losing four key starters the year before. Rebuilding was short for the Tar Heels as they found themselves back in the NCAA Tournament in 2011 and a preseason favorite to win it all in 2012.

It’s fair to say that this Tar Heel team is in rebuilding mode. It’s also fair to say that panic mode is starting to creep among Tar Heel fans across the country.

The rebuilding process will take a bit of time however. Which is the most frustrating thing about rebuilding. With a solid recruiting class next season the Tar Heels rise to the top shouldn’t take more than another one to two years.

To make matters worse, Duke is undefeated and looks impressive thus far.

This Carolina team is struggling. They have no offensive identity, their perimeter defense is horrendous (shown again against Miami) and key players like Dexter Strickland, PJ Hairston and James Michael McAdoo are disappearing late in games.

This is a formula for playing in a tournament in March, but not the one we all want to play in. Yes, this team looks headed for the NIT.

It’s still early in the conference schedule, but hope is looking bleak. Yes, there is time to turn things around and earn a spot in the NCAA Tournament, but if things don’t change for the Tar Heels they could be in deep trouble.

Could we see a 10 loss ACC record this season? I doubt it as the team has talent, it just needs to put it together.

Putting it together is the first step. Executing while playing great defense and solid offense is the next step. But when will we see that from the Tar Heels?

Trusting Roy and his work ethic, I believe this team will come out strong this Saturday against Florida State. The same Florida State team that defeated North Carolina at their place last year causing Roy to pull his players off the court and to the locker room with seconds remaining.

If the Tar Heels don’t get it together soon it could be an even longer season folks.

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