Welcome to another edition of Four Corners where we highlight four thoughts regarding the ACC. The Tar Heels are off to a 0-2 start and many in Tar Heel Nation are believing the Mayans were actually referring to the end of Tar Heel basketball instead of the end of the world, but my friends before we jump off the proverbial band wagon let us take a quick stroll down memory lane.
1. This Tar Heel team is off to an 0-2 start in the ACC and a major concern heading forward is the teams scoring ability as well as the way North Carolina is playing on the defensive end of the floor. Turning back the clock the 1997 North Carolina basketball team began 0-3 in the ACC and ended the first half of conference play with a record of 3-5. Yes North Carolina had Antwan Jamison, Vince Carter, Shammond Williams and a young easy going point guard named Ed Cota. Many remember the Carter dunks from Cota lob pass, the Williams threes and the Jamison put backs, but the high powered Tar Heels struggled at times offensively and defensively under head coach Dean Smith. The turning point in the season was a loss at Duke where the young Tar Heel’s confidence started to grow. North Carolina with a combination of Ed Cota learning to run the offense and an improved defense the Tar Heels went on a 16 game winning streak that included a ACC championship before finally losing to Arizona in the final four. Many doubt this current team can make a similar run but after an 0-3 start in 1997 did you see a final four run?
2. North Carolina shot 8 free throws against Miami and 40% from the floor. North Carolina has not established itself on the offensive block and routinely settles for jump shots. If the Tar Heels are going to be a jump shooting team 40% from the floor is not going to win very many ball games. Miami shot a better percentage from the floor and went to the free throw line more often. Without an edge on the offensive glass a team cannot make up those differences which have plagued North Carolina in league play.
3. McAdoo and Bullock were 9-30 in Thursday night’s loss versus Miami. The veterans will have to be sharper on the road in Tallahassee if they are to have any shot at defeating the Seminoles.
4. The best game in the ACC is being played Saturday by teams from the triangle however this game does not involve the typical Tobacco Road match up between Duke and North Carolina. NC State welcomes Duke to what will be a hostile environment in Raleigh this Saturday. How will NC State’s young players handle a pressure packed ACC game and will foul trouble dictate how this game is played?