The Tar Heels sit at a 2-1 record coming right off of a loss to Belmont. The team the Tar Heels face beat Belmont 69-61. The Richmond Spiders are 3-1 coming off a win against Hofstra. This will be a huge game for the Tar Heels. Will they bounce back from an ugly loss or keep playing the same way they have against Holy Cross and Belmont?
Here are some key things to watch for UNC Basketball against Richmond:
Will the Tar Heels defend the 3pt line?
Through Richmond’s first four games they are only shooting 18.7% from beyond the arc and have only made 17 threes. This will be an area to keep an eye on to see if the Heels have learned from their loss against Belmont. Don’t let that percentage fool you, Richmond takes a good amount of threes, they just have not fallen. The Tar Heels will need to defend the 3 point line as if their lives depended on it in order for Richmond’s threes not to fall.
Will a big man begin to separate himself from the others?
Joel James is only averaging 13 minutes a game while only averaging 4 points and 4.3 rebounds a game. Kennedy Meeks is averaging 12.7 minutes yet averaging 6.7 points and 5.7 rebounds a game. Meeks has been more effective but his lower stamina keeps him off the court. James can stay in the game longer, just has not been nearly as effective as Kennedy. The minutes between these two will be interesting to watch all season long.
Rebounding usually shows heart and effort. Against Belmont they rebounded well, but not well enough. In order for the Tar Heels to be successful they will need to rebound at a high rate and now allow many offensive rebounds and second chance points. With the size North Carolina has this should not be an issue, but size does not always get you rebounds. The Heels will have to play with heart and go after every rebound.
Free Throw Shooting:
With the new rules on foul calls, free throw shooting will usually win or lose you a game. Will the Tar Heels rebound from their poor 22-48 showing against Belmont? The Tar Heels have the size and athleticism to get the foul calls, but need to make their free throws to capitalize on those calls.
Will Marcus Paige continue his strong play?
Marcus Paige has been the Heels’ go to guy this season. He is averaging 18 points per game this season and has been the Tar Heels have gone to when they need a big bucket. It is important Marcus keeps taking and making shots to continue his transformation into an alpha dog.
Will the Tar Heels bounce back?
This is the most important question. The answer is equally as important. The Tar Heels cannot continue their level of play and be successful. This game will show if the Tar Heels have learned anything. The name on the front of the jersey does not win you games. North Carolina gets everyone’s best shot, and if the Tar Heels are not ready and do not come out strong then they will be in trouble. The Tar Heels must bounce back.