Takeaways from the First Weekend of the NCAA Tournament

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Mar 21, 2015; Jacksonville, FL, USA; North Carolina Tar Heels guard Marcus Paige (5) pressures Arkansas Razorbacks guard Michael Qualls (24) as North Carolina Tar Heels guard Nate Britt (0) helps out in the second half of a game in the third round of the 2015 NCAA Tournament at Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

Marcus Paige is back

There, I said it. After a season full of lingering injuries and underwhelming play, Marcus Paige is not only getting healthy but getting hot at exactly the right time of year. Against Harvard, Paige had 12 points on 6-10 shooting from the field. He had an offensive rating of 146 and seven assists, the highest number on the team.

Against Arkansas on Saturday night, Paige was even better, scoring 22 points and grabbing five steals. Paige wasn’t super efficient against the Razorbacks, carding an offensive rating of 120 and finishing 2-8 on two point field goals. However, he hit his free throws (9-9 from FT line) and was clutch in the second half when the Tar Heels needed him.

These past two games, coupled with his strong play during the ACC Tournament, provide enough evidence to think that Paige is back. UNC will keep needing big games from him if the Heels want to keep advancing in this tournament.

Next: Justin Jackson Takeaway