The Tar Heels continued their winning streak this afternoon by extending it to five games over Florida State 79-58. The game was balanced for the most part as UNC got good production from their big man James Michael McAdoo with 21 points and their wings PJ Hariston and Reggie Bullock with 16 and 20 respectively. The Tar Heels bumped their record up to 21-8 and 11-5 in the ACC and look to be in firm position to make the big dance.
This game had glimpses of the one that Carolina won against Maryland several weeks ago when they stormed out to a big lead and then let their foot off the gas giving Maryland an opportunity to make the score closer than the game really was. The Tar Heels came out hot and followed it up with some lapses early in the second half, but were able to break away again towards the end. It’s pretty clear that when Roy Williams goes small, the Heels space the floor out and score so much more effectively. When guys like Joel James and Brice Johnson come in, the floor tightens up and teams play much better defense against them.
One area of concern for me in this game, was the lack of bench production. Lately, the Tar Heels have gotten strong production from their sixth man Leslie McDonald, who has added a much needed offensive presence off the bench, but today no one had more than three points off the pine unless you count the fluke team basket shot by James early in the game as his then he would have had four. I’ve said plenty of times that besides Leslie, someone is going to have to assert themselves off then bench as a solid 7th man if this team wants to make a run in the NCAA tournament. Right now, Brice Johnson is the leading candidate, but he needs to continue to work hard on defense so that Roy doesn’t see him as a liability and feel the need to take him out.
All things considered, this team played very well and showed that they have the weapons to be dangerous. Marcus Paige continues to improve and the three point shooting has remained ever consistent. Pair those things with a guy like McAdoo who can put up 20+ points, you have something that has the potential to be special. It was nice to get the win in front of five star recruit Justin Jackson today, who was on his official visit, and it was nice to get a good win without one of the team’s best defenders in JP Tokoto. The Tar Heels close out their season this week with two very tough tests against Maryland on the road and Duke at home. We should know a lot about this team when it’s all said and done, but as of today, they are continuing to impress. Great win and go Heels!