Last Saturday’s 77-72 win at Florida State was a huge win for the North Carolina Tar Heels.
How huge? It prevented Carolina from starting 0-3 in conference play and put themselves in a deep hole for making the NCAA Tournament. It would have made a season that has so far been a disappointment go to a complete disaster in the making.
With their win on Saturday, Carolina proved a few things.
They proved that they actually can play good team ball together. Something we’ve rarely seen this season. It showed us that there is potential for a decent offense compared to the mediocre offense we have seen so far this season. It also showed that this team has heart.
Playing in a tough road environment and trailing late in the game, Carolina came together when faith was being lost. The team came together and showed heart, drive and passion to win the game and notch their first conference win of the season and a much needed one.
This is the game that Carolina fans have been waiting for. They were tested and they certainly responded well to the test.
Now is this a turning point for this young Tar Heels squad? It could be. It could also just be some false hope to what could be an NIT season. We won’t know the answer to this question until Selection Sunday in March.
For now the Tar Heels will have to build momentum off of this win. It will come at a long wait however, as their next game comes seven days after the win at Florida State when they host Maryland on Saturday. A long stint in between games for the team to either build on that momentum, or lose that momentum.
If Carolina can get on a roll and earn a spot in the NCAA Tournament, this win could prove as the turning point to their season. And what a better place to earn it than Florida State, where they were crushed last season.
Even with this solid win under their belt, their are still questions in the Tar Heels game.
The team still doesn’t seem to have the veteran leadership they need down the stretch in games. The offense still looks lack luster and struggles mightily at times. The perimeter defense still proves to be a major weakness for the Tar Heels.
But even with those problems, this team can build off of a solid performance. Carolina really has only five over the top games left in the ACC schedule. They play both Duke and NC State twice, and have to travel to Miami who already beat them at the Dean Dome just last week.
However, a solid record in ACC play could be credible on the Tar Heels NCAA Tournament resume.
Looking ahead to the more reasonable future, after their win at Florida State, the Tar Heels host Maryland and Georgia Tech before traveling to take on North Carolina State.
In my eyes the next two games are must wins for the Tar Heels. If they can get to 3-2 and build confidence before their game with NC State, the Tar Heels could have a chance to surprise some people.