Mandatory Credit: Mark Dolejs-USA TODAY Sports

UNC Basketball: Newly Inserted Lineup Coming Up Big For North Carolina

With a date at home against Duke looming Saturday night, Wednesday’s game against Maryland could have been a classic ‘trap’ game for the Tar Heels.

Instead, the Tar Heels dominated for a 79-68 win and a season sweep of the Terrapins. Now their focus shifts to Saturday when the hated Blue Devils invade Chapel Hill to close out the 2012-2013 regular season.

More importantly, during their current 6-game win streak North Carolina’s small lineup has flourished since Roy put it in place against Duke. The new lineup that features Marcus Paige, Dexter Strickland, Reggie Bullock, PJ Hairston and James Michael McAdoo gives the Tar Heels the chance to spread out the floor and create mismatches for opposing teams.

So far, oppossing teams haven’t adjusted to it. That’s propelled the Tar Heels to their win streak and making them a serious contender for the ACC Tournament. Carolinas NCAA seeding has also steadily rose during the win streak.

With Carolina playing so well, it’s evident that a team will eventually figure out how to beat this small lineup. When that time comes, Carolina must adjust.

It will be interesting to see what Carolina does going forward. Obviously they will continue to use this small lineup that’s been successful but at times they will have to adjust to opposing defenses. The mismatches and Carolina style  of play won’t always be there for them.

This could provide problems for North Carolina especially in the NCAA Tournament, where one bad match-up could mean a quick exit.

The biggest test for this new lineup will be Saturday night when Carolina takes on Duke who has been fueled by Ryan Kelly who recently returned from injury. With Kelly, the Blue Devils posses a challenge for Carolina to defend his perimeter game as well as the Blue Devils post game led by Plumlee.

However, Carolina will have their own mismatches on the offensive side of the ball. It’s going to be a good test for the Tar Heels to prep them for tournament play

During this six-game win streak Carolina has simply dominated opponents. They have won all six games by double-digits, and have scored at least 70 points in five of those six games. The other game they scored 68 in a win at Clemson.

The starting five has surely elevated their play to a new level and proving this lineup can work.

It’s now up to them to execute it come tournament time.


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