UNC Basketball: Three Offseason Improvements UNC Must Make


Mar 11, 2015; Greensboro, NC, USA; The Tar Heels and Roy Williams are expecting a good season next year. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

What offseason improvements does the UNC Basketball team have to make to go from a good 2014-15 season to a great 2015-16 one.

The 2014-15 UNC basketball season wasn’t bad.  The Heels finished with a 26-12 record and made it to the Sweet Sixteen.  Could the Heels have done better? Yes.  But with a pretty young team, the results were encouraging.  All signs point toward a very good season in 2015-16 for the Heels.  Many people, including ESPN’s Eamon Brennan think that UNC can contend for a national title next year.  But, obviously, the Heels aren’t there yet.  What does Carolina need to do this offseason to give them a chance to cut down the nets next April 4 in Houston?

More from North Carolina Tar Heels

1. Finishing Games

This last year, it always seemed like Carolina wilted down the stretch.  No matter how big Carolina’s lead was, I never felt comfortable.  They blew a 20 point lead against Louisville, ten and seven point leads against Duke and a seven point lead against Wisconsin to name just a few collapses.  Carolina also had some great comebacks last season (most notably the first time they played Louisville), but their season could have been very different had they not blown these second-half leads.  I think that this will get better next year, since the Heels will be a much more experienced team.  But it certainly wouldn’t hurt to practice late-game situations during the summer pick-up games and fall practices.  While this doesn’t replicate the pressure of a real game, it would definitely help prepare the Heels, who looked panicky at times during late-game situations.  Also, the Heels will be better at finishing games if they improve their…

2. Free Throw Shooting

Feb 28, 2015; Coral Gables, FL, USA; Brice Johnson was good at making dunks, but made just 68% of his free throws last year. Mandatory Credit: Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports

There’s a reason it’s called a free throw: it should be easy points.  But this was not the case this year for Carolina, which shot just over 70 percent from the line this year (134th best in the country).  Of course, you’re not going to make every single free throw.  However, last year, UNC was one of the best teams in the country at getting to the line, averaging 21.4 attempts per game.  They need to make the most of this next year, because just one or two points can be the difference in a game.  There’s no real way to get better at shooting free throws than practice, so the Heels should shoot thousands of free throws as a team over the next six months or so.  They need to make free throw shooting a priority this offseason if they are going to contend for a national championship.

3. Outside Scoring

Carolina was pretty good in the post last season, with inside threats like Kennedy Meeks, Brice Johnson and J.P Tokoto being key parts of Carolina’s offense.  But on the outside, it was Marcus Paige and not much else.  Justin Jackson got a lot better towards the end of the season, and he had some great games.  He was much more confident toward the end of the year, and he needs to continue this trend into next year.  Nate Britt and Joel Berry also hit the occasional three, but Paige was obviously the Heels’ main outside threat, and other teams knew this.  As a team, Carolina needs to get better at shooting the ball if they are going to be successful.  Because teams can (and will) lock on to Marcus Paige and not let him get a good look.  If just one or two other players can develop into a consistent scorer from behind the arc, opponents will have to respect this.


Let us know in what other areas you think the Tar Heels need to improve in the comments sections below.