UNC Basketball: Tar Heels Need Fine Tuning Not Mass Panic


After losing to Duke, no, after letting a 12 point lead slip away in the final three minutes.  No, that’s not it, after losing to Duke, watching a 12 point lead get squandered, tipping a ball in our own basket with 14 seconds left.  No, that’s not it either, one more try.  After losing to the retched Blue Devils on a three pointer by the most annoying/arrogant player in college basketball Austin Rivers. Losing a 12 point lead that took 18 minutes to build in the final three minutes.  Watching Tyler Zeller inadvertently tip a shot into his own basket.  One that had no chance of going in.  Then missing 2 of 4 free throws down the stretch to go from player of the game to goat in a minute flat.   And watching the ACC lead with a 8-1 conference record, what would have been one game over Florida State and two games over Duke vanish into thin air.  I have to admit, I want to run into a small room and scream until I lose my voice, like I’m sure many of you do.

But panic and depressed reflection like I displayed above is not what this Tar Heels team needs right now.  UNC has a reason for concern and Roy Williams needs to make sure now, more than ever, the team finish strong and head into tournament play confident.  All of the Heels losses this season have come by the hand of either a Top 10 team, or a team that would soon enter the Top 25.  First it was UNLV, next a disappointing loss to Kentucky in Lexingon, then the slaughter at the hands of the Seminoles and now the let down to Duke.

Critics who love to hate on UNC (as Ben Williams has pointed out here, and here) will more than likely come down on Carolina like they were blown out at home by a Division II team.  But it’s not that bad Tar Heel Nation, it’s not time to panic.  After all, it’s February, not March, the Heels have time to right the ship.  The fact is, UNC is still one of, if not the most talented team in the nation.  They rank #1 in the nation in scoring and rebounding and are in the Top 5 in assists.  UNC still has at least seven future NBA players on its roster with three or more Lottery pick talents.

The two best teams UNC has faced this season, Duke and Kentucky, those losses are by a combined two points.  UNLV, well that was early in the season and it was not on a neutral court (I don’t care what the NCAA says).  Aside from the beating in Tallahassee, North Carolinas losses aren’t nearly as bad as many other teams in the nation.  Carolina will still in the hunt for a #1 seed come Tournament Selection time.  The Heels are still in a three way tie for the ACC title with several conference games left to play, including match ups with Duke and FSU.

There is no need for panic in Chapel Hill, no need for Tar Heel Nation to get too carried away with this loss.  Adjustments need to be made, mainly on the defensive end.  The Heels also need to adjust how they manage end of game situations.   But we have plenty of time before UNC takes on Virginia Saturday to talk about all that.  For now my message to you the Carolina proud, don’t panic, our boys learned another hard lesson in the loss to Duke.  But they key is to remember that lesson occurred in the beginning of February, not the end of March.
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