NCAA BK

UNC trying to avoid 1st 0-4 start to ACC play

Share This Story

   
 

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP)

It took North Carolina only a couple of weeks to tumble from the Top 25 to the bottom of the ACC.

The Tar Heels (10-6, 0-3) have never lost their first four ACC games in any season. To avoid that unwanted place in school history, they have to beat Boston College on Saturday.

With no games since last weekend's loss at No. 2 Syracuse, they've had plenty of time to dwell on their predicament.

Too much time, point guard Marcus Paige said.

''The best way to get that taste out of your mouth is to go out and win a game,'' Paige said Friday, ''and when you haven't had a game, you can't win a game.''

The only other time North Carolina started league play 0-3 was in 1996-97 - Dean Smith's final season. That team rebounded well enough to win the ACC tournament and reach the Final Four.

These Tar Heels certainly can't bank on repeating that history - not with the deficiencies they've shown so far.

Though North Carolina is averaging 75.6 points, points have been far tougher to come by in league play.

The Tar Heels haven't cracked 70 against any of three ACC opponents and are coming off a 45-point effort against the Orange that marked their lowest-scoring game in coach Roy Williams' 11 seasons.

Only once in the past decade have the Tar Heels averaged fewer than 76 points - in 2009-10, when they finished 5-11 in the ACC and were relegated to the NIT.

Of course, it might've helped to have P.J. Hairston, who averaged a team-best 14.6 points last year but never saw the court this season because of NCAA violations and earlier this week joined the Texas Legends of the NBA Developmental League.

Hairston was the key figure in 2012-13 when Williams made a midseason switch to a four-guard lineup - a move that provided a scoring spark and helped propel the Tar Heels to a third straight ACC championship game.

There are no such quick fixes this year.

''We don't have that capability of getting more scoring in the lineup right now,'' Williams said, ''because it's just not there.''

The scoring woes can be partly blamed on the team's defensive shortcomings, too. It's hard for the Tar Heels to shift into the fast-paced style Williams prefers when the defense struggles to force turnovers or missed shots.

''It's harder to beat teams down the floor when you're taking the ball out of the net,'' Paige said.

UNC is allowing its ACC opponents to shoot nearly 42 percent and is generating only 12 turnovers per game.

''If you don't score well against a set defense, you better try to run faster,'' Williams said. ''If we get better defensively, then we might get some more (fast) break opportunities. You've still got to figure out how to get better defensively, too.

''I really love pushing the tempo, I really do, and we haven't gotten into that nearly as much as I wanted us to,'' he added.

The Tar Heels spent the past week re-evaluating what has gone wrong so far, with Williams saying Friday was the final day in a three-day period of self-reflection.

''They're intelligent kids. They know what's going on, and I'm just talking to them about getting better every day,'' Williams said. ''Let's get better today. That's our focus. We're not talking about 0-3.''

---

Follow Joedy McCreary on Twitter at http://twitter.com/joedyap

Tagged: North Carolina

Related Stories

Member Comments

Please note by clicking on "Post comment" you acknowledge that you have read the Terms of Use and the comment you are posting is in compliance with such terms. Be Polite. Inappropriate posts may be removed by the moderator.

powered by



NCAA BK Videos

Georgetown, Syracuse to renew CBK rivalry Posted: Jun 10, 2014
Georgetown basketball coach John Thompson III on the renewal of the rivalry betw...

Cuonzo Martin new head coach at Cal Posted: Apr 16, 2014
Cuonzo Martin is introduced as Cal's new head coach.

UConn tops Notre Dame in women's final Posted: Apr 09, 2014
Hear from Geno Auriemma and his players after their National Championship victor...

Fox Sports Store

    itemName itemURL imageSrc price itemDescription
    Nike Florida Gators #1 Replica Elite Basketball Jersey - Black http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Florida_Gators/browse/featuredproduct/885881/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_885000/ff_885881_xl.jpg&w=100 74.95 Nike Florida Gators #1 Replica Elite Basketball Jersey - Black
    Nike Georgetown Hoyas #22 Hyper Elite Road Performance Jersey - Navy Blue http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Georgetown_Hoyas/browse/featuredproduct/1030243/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1030000/ff_1030243_xl.jpg&w=100 119.95 Nike Georgetown Hoyas #22 Hyper Elite Road Performance Jersey - Navy Blue
    Nike Duke Blue Devils #5 Tourney Takeover Replica T-Shirt - Duke Blue http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Duke_Blue_Devils/browse/featuredproduct/1032710/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1032000/ff_1032710_xl.jpg&w=100 27.95 Nike Duke Blue Devils #5 Tourney Takeover Replica T-Shirt - Duke Blue
    Nike Oregon Ducks X-Ray Ball T-Shirt - Green http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Oregon_Ducks/browse/featuredproduct/1052002/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1052000/ff_1052002_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Nike Oregon Ducks X-Ray Ball T-Shirt - Green
    Nike Ohio State Buckeyes Road Warrior Tri-blend T-Shirt - Scarlet http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Ohio_State_Buckeyes/browse/featuredproduct/1052645/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1052000/ff_1052645_xl.jpg&w=100 29.95 Nike Ohio State Buckeyes Road Warrior Tri-blend T-Shirt - Scarlet
    Indiana Hoosiers 2013 NCAA Men\'s Basketball Road to March Madness T-Shirt - Crimson http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Indiana_Hoosiers/browse/featuredproduct/1124528/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1124000/ff_1124528_xl.jpg&w=100 19.95 Indiana Hoosiers 2013 NCAA Men\'s Basketball Road to March Madness T-Shirt - Cri..
    adidas Louisville Cardinals 2013 March Madness #10 Premier Swingman Jersey - Red http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Louisville_Cardinals/browse/featuredproduct/1127200/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1127000/ff_1127200_xl.jpg&w=100 89.95 adidas Louisville Cardinals 2013 March Madness #10 Premier Swingman Jersey - Red
    adidas Notre Dame Fighting Irish 2013 March Madness #45 Premier Swingman Jersey - White http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Notre_Dame_Fighting_Irish/browse/featuredproduct/1127218/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1127000/ff_1127218_xl.jpg&w=100 89.95 adidas Notre Dame Fighting Irish 2013 March Madness #45 Premier Swingman Jersey ..
    Nike Gonzaga Bulldogs March Madness Bracketville T-Shirt - Navy Blue http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Gonzaga_Bulldogs/browse/featuredproduct/1155821/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1155000/ff_1155821_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Nike Gonzaga Bulldogs March Madness Bracketville T-Shirt - Navy Blue
    Top of the World Miami Hurricanes 2013 NCAA ACC Men’s Basketball Tournament Champions Adjustable Hat – Green http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Miami_Hurricanes/browse/featuredproduct/1177723/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1177000/ff_1177723_xl.jpg&w=100 25.95 Top of the World Miami Hurricanes 2013 NCAA ACC Men’s Basketball Tournament Cham..