UNC Basketball has started the season 4-0 after an 80-64 win over James Madison University in Chapel Hill. Below are some random observations and notes from the game.
The Tar Heels are off to a 4-0 start on the season which is something that we all expected. How they got there might not be what we all expected. There have been glimpses and moments and there have also been some things that need to get cleaned up as the schedule starts to get tougher.
It was great to see the return of Junior Puff Johnson. Playing just 13 minutes with 1 assist and 6 points, Johnson immediately made his presence felt. On a play around the 2:30 mark in the first half, Johnson was perfectly positioned in help-side defense to slide over and take a charge. Often it’s not about filling the stat sheet. It’s about contributing with any time that you have. Welcome back Puff!
Armando Bacot seems to have taken this game or the previous games’ criticism personally. In 35 minutes, Bacot had an incredible 23 rebounds, 19 points, and 1 assist. This team needs Bacot to be the preseason player of the year candidate every game. That comes with expectations and today Bacot answered the job description.
RJ Davis led the team with 21 points, two rebounds, and five assists in 34 minutes. I continue to believe that he will be the MVP of this team this season.
Fifth-year senior Leaky Black fills the stat sheet with 12 rebounds, five points, and three assists in 37 minutes of play. Every championship team needs senior leadership and today, Black provided just that.
Coach Hubert Davis continues to show us different lineups and bench play as he prepares for the schedule to get tougher. It appears that freshman Seth Trimble is locked into the rotation. Other players that continue to get minutes are freshman Tyler Nickel and sophomore D’Marco Dunn.
While the Tar Heels dominated the first half, they came out in the second half looking like they thought that their opponent would just allow them to cruise to victory.
Championship and No. 1 ranked teams play 40 minutes of sustained, intentional offense and defense.
The Tar Heels have yet to put together a game so far this season showing that kind of focus and intentionality.
The schedule gets much tougher now. Hopefully, they are learning from each win. Thankfully they have four wins and no losses.