UNC’s Takeaways From NC State Loss


Here are a few takeaways from UNC’s loss to N.C. State on Tuesday night in Chapel Hill. 

To say Tuesday’s game was a disappointment is an understatement. NC State held UNC to its lowest amount of points in 30 years. It was also the first time State was victorious in Chapel Hill in 12 years. Not to add to this dog pile of despair but it was also the first time the Wolfpack beat a Roy Williams-coached team at UNC. All that being said, this loss brings a lesson. Here are the takeaways from Tuesday:

1) State Needed This Victory 

State entered the Dean Dome as one of Joe Lunardi’s “Last 4 In” to the NCAA tournament. They were definitely no lock to dance in March. The Wolfpack had to take this game as a “statement opportunity” and cement their position.

The ACC has one of the strongest conferences in the nation. There’s #3 Virginia, #5 Duke, #8 Notre Dame, #15 Louisville, and #18 North Carolina. Unranked Syracuse has the same conference record as UNC and just took down #8 Notre Dame so they’re looking at Top 25 soon. All this helps State’s cause for their dance ticket.

Beating UNC so handedly on the road to boot? Well, that doesn’t hurt. Chapel Hill, meanwhile, luckily knows they’re a shoe in.

2. Guard Defense Must Improve

The fact that NC State needed the victory more doesn’t change that they took it the way they did. Hats off to them. Specifically, hats off to the Wolfpack guards for the way they shredded UNC’s.

Chapel Hill must improve perimeter defense if they hope to make it through March. State’s three guards Anthony Barber, Trevor Lacey, and Ralston Turner combined for 43 points—only 3 points shy of UNC’s total. That’s just not going to get it done.

One way this happens is better coverage on three point attempts. Ralston Turner hit two huge threes at critical times. This is part of his post halftime 11 points. Chapel Hill must get a hand up better.

3) UNC’s Star Wings Have To Knock Down Shots

J.P. Tokoto contributed a non-noteworthy three points on a 1-for-6 shooting night. Brice Johnson only put up four points on another Chapel Hill 1-for-6 performance. He had been averaging 17.4 a game.

Marcus Paige didn’t fare much better. The Tar Heel’s Point Guard sputtered with a single digit performance on Tuesday. Marcus only dropped seven points with a 3-for-8 shooting.

Big man Kennedy Meeks was the light at the end of the tunnel for UNC. He recorded a double-double with 12 points and 14 rebounds. One man won’t and can’t do it by himself.

4) Change Tactics When The Three Pointer Goes Cold

Chapel Hill must have tactical awareness. UNC went 3-for-12 from behind the arc. That 25% is not going to get it done.

When Kennedy Meeks is putting up double-doubles, feed that man the ball. It slows the game down. When the State guards are getting hot, keep the ball out of their hands.

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The return on investment for shooting cold three-pointer after cold three-pointer is notably poor. It keeps the ball out of the post’s hands. It means long rebounds that feed potential outlets. The opposition’s guards are the ones those rebounds feed. It’s off to the races from there.

Run the offense. Slow the game down. Feed the post. Then speed it up when the situation calls for it. Please though, understand when tactics are working and when to switch it up. It might just be the difference between the dance continuing and midnight.