The Tar Heels had their first exhibition game last Friday against UNC Pembroke. The biggest problem was the amount of turnovers. North Carolina committed 23 turnovers, nearly doubling the average of last season. This should be a big concern for the Tar Heels. They only had 17 assists, matching the average from the 2012-2013 season. The assist to turnover ratio was a mere .74, meaning for each turnover committed there was only .74 assists to go with each TO. This must be improved upon for the Tar Heels to be successful this season.
One must not forget that JP Tokoto, Leslie McDonald, and PJ Hairston did not play in this game, but it is still a cause for concern. The Tar Heels must get used to playing without Hairston, at least for the first part of the season. No one knows how long McDonald will be out either, so the Heels should get used to being without him for a little bit. JP Tokoto will be back for the season opener on Friday, November 8th against Oakland. Having one of the wing players back will help handling the ball.
The turnovers committed against UNC Pembroke were due to players not being able to catch the ball, trying to dribble through crowds, and bad passes. All of these things can be corrected by focusing more and playing smarter.
James Michael McAdoo had some issues last season taking care of the ball and he looked to decrease his amount of turnovers committed this season. Well, he did not improve that during the exhibition, granted he was playing out of position at the small forward slot, but that cannot be an excuse for long. The Tar Heels will likely be playing McAdoo at that same position until McDonald and Hairston come back into the lineup. James Michael’s turnover per game stat will be something to keep an eye on this season.
Even the starting point guard Marcus Paige had some turnover issues during the exhibition. He committed 5 turnovers and boasted 2 assists. Paige was 2nd in turnovers committed last season, behind McAdoo. Don’t forget that he was a freshman playing in Roy Williams’ fast paced system. Tar Heel fans should not be worried about Paige, but he is another to watch with his assist to turnover ratio.
All is not lost though. Without the 3 wings on the roster and with power forwards James Michael McAdoo and Isaiah Hicks at small forward, there were some chemistry issues. These will be resolved with more practice and game time.
The assist to turnover ratio will be very important to the Tar Heels this season. Taking care of the ball is always a huge priority, but it will be even bigger of a priority to the 2013-2014 Tar Heels. There will be foul trouble and injuries throughout the season, so playing smart and under control will be key. When the assist to turnover ratio is above 1 for the team tends to be better. If the Heels can take care of the ball then they will be in for a good season.