UNC Basketball: Can Tar Heels Build on Momentum against the Miami Hurricanes?


The Tar Heels Heels played well against a lowly Wake Forest team on Tuesday night, but they face a Miami team that is 18-3 overall and 9-0 in conference play.  The Heels have some serious momentum right now, having won six of their last seven games.  But is that enough to reconcile a win against the Hurricanes on Saturday at 2 pm eastern time?  Well, what is momentum anyways?  Websters defines ‘momentum’ as, force or speed of movement; impetus, as of a physical object or course of events.  I know almost nothing about physics, so I have almost zero idea what that means, but it sounds cool and that is what is important.

Feb 2, 2013; Chapel Hill, NC, USA; North Carolina Tar Heels head coach Roy Williams reacts in overtime. The Tar Heels defeated the Hokies 72-60 at the Dean E. Smith Center. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

The Heels have certainly played well in their last 7 games, even in the NC State game where they showed some serious heart in their comeback effort that just fell short.  I was in attendance at the Virginia Tech game, and even though we should have won that game by 20 or more, I was proud of the way they battled back in a tough circumstance and then proceeded to blow them out in overtime.  Marcus ‘the kid’ Paige played very very well in the overtime period scoring his career high with 19 points and four threes, and he also played strongly against Wake Forest with seven points and four assists (well, maybe not super well).  Regardless, we survived a 3-13 shooting performance from Reggie Bullock and a P.J. Hairston-less game against VT.

I was proud of the Heels effort against the Demon Deacons, a team that we have regularly blown out over the course of history.

But Miami is darn good this year, and I don’t really know what it is.  They blew the sin out of Duke a couple of weeks ago, and did I mention that they HAVEN”T LOST A CONFERENCE GAME.  They have Reggie Johnson, a very large man playing in the post that didn’t even play the first time we lost to them.  They have Barry Larkin’s son, who is an up and coming stud.  Miami is a good basketball team, but I would say that we are too.

We have Reggie, PJ, and Leslie McDonal all the way back and all the way healthy for practically the first time this season (knock on wood).  If, and only if, all three of them can play above average basketball games and we can contain Reggie Johnson in the post with one of our lanky big men or Joel James (my personal pick for guarding him), then we have a chance.  In the first match up UNC lost by nine, and as I said earlier they had no Reggie Johnson.  Even when we had Zeller and Henson, we couldn’t really guard this guy.  He will back you down in the post over and over again and just wear you down physically, and that has historically been too much for our big men.  However, Joel James is a large man as well.  I know he is only a freshman, but when Desmond Hubert is your other option to guard this man then I would say that it makes sense to stick Joel in there.  He hasn’t proven to be a great defender yet in his short career, but we got to give him a chance sometime, right?

Call me crazy, but I believe we have a chance to give Miami its’ first conference loss on Saturday.  That would be real nice considering what our next game is.  But we are not here to talk about that quite yet.  So, take hope Tar Heels, this season is looking up, the team is beginning to rally around one another, the shooting is getting better across the board, and we have seen these results.  Watch this Miami game on Saturday, and remember that the key is to lock down Reggie Johnson at all costs.