Roy Williams has shortened his rotation and inserted a smaller line since the Tar Heels traveled to Durham over a week ago with positive results giving Tar Heel Nation some hope heading into the second half of the ACC schedule. North Carolina hosts NC State today and while there are many in game match ups the biggest key will be the Tar Heels work on the glass.
In the earlier loss at NC State, North Carolina was outrebounded 36-29 and the Wolfpack made ten more free throws than the Tar Heels attempted. For Roy Williams to utilize the smaller line up the Tar Heels are going to have to find some way to keep Richard Howell off the backboards. NC State raced out in transition and just dominated North Carolina in the first half. North Carolina will have a better shooting team on the floor however, they can not just fall in love with the jump shot. PJ Hairston and Reggie Bullock need to penetrate more to create more opportunities at the free throw line.
The Wolfpack demonstrated in that win they were vulnerable defensively as North Carolina poured in 57 second half points. Do not expect the Tar Heels to score over 100 Saturday, but with a quicker line up that has more scoring options the pace may be frantic to start the game which could favor UNC. NC State wants to push the tempo however, their defense has not been stout especially on the road. UNC has not excelled in a half court game and will need to create turnovers and fast break opportunities which were non existent in Raleigh. The Wolfpack ran it down North Carolina’s throat the first thirty minutes before the Tar Heel offense came to life.
If the Tar Heels cannot block out the Wolfpack expect Coach Williams to play a more traditional line up the rest of the game. This favors NC State much more than UNC and if the the small line up is ineffective then the afternoon could be long for the Tar heel faithful.