UNC Insider: Tar Heels "need to play better"

UNC Insider: Tar Heels "need to play better"

Published Jan. 10, 2012 12:44 p.m. ET

From the way coach Roy Williams went down the list of his team's failures, you might have thought North Carolina had just lost its ACC opener to Boston College, not posted an 83-60 victory over the young Eagles.

Williams spent the post-game time listing his team's shortcomings after the Tar Heels extended their winning streak to eight games.

Among them were failures to help on low-post defense, misplays coping with screens that led to open three-pointers for the Eagles, and a layup given up after a switch on defense.

"You can't make those kinds of mistakes," Williams said. "I told them it was very reasonable that I was upset and they need to play better."

Adding to his concerns was the fact that Boston College is seen as a team that is going to struggle to stay out of the ACC basement this season. Coach Steve Donahue started five freshmen against the Tar Heels.

"They had five freshmen in the starting lineup coming in, and I don't think they ever got really shaken," Williams said. "We tried hard to take them out of things they wanted to do, and I don't know that we did a really good job of it.

"They turned it over 20 times and I like to think that our defense had something to do with it, but I'm not sure."

Coming up next for the Heels is a Miami team that finally is playing with a complete roster and came within one basket of winning its league opener at Virginia.

Their clash in Chapel Hill on Jan. 10 will be the last of nine consecutive home games for the Tar Heels, who then visit Florida State and Virginia Tech in their next two games.


--North Carolina coach Roy Williams has been happy with the contributions he has gotten from his backups in the early season. But that wasn't the case in the opening ACC win over Boston College.

"Our bench has really been great for us this year with giving us big jolts when they come in there," he said after Carolina's 83-60 win, noting the cold shooting of James Michael McAdoo (1-of-5), Reggie Bullock (1-of-5), and P.J. Hairston (1-of-5) off the bench.

"Our three guys that give that to us all the time were 4-of-17," Williams said. "It's good to get by with a game like that. They had pretty good shots, but 4-17 for three guys known for scoring off the bench has got to be better."

--The Tar Heels now have won a record 27 games in a row at the Smith Center going into their game against Miami. Their overall home winning streak, which includes an NIT game at their former home, Carmichael Arena, is 28 in a row.

The school record for consecutive home wins is 32 set in 1926-29.

--Sophomore F Harrison Barnes continued his strong play with a game-high 25 points against BC. He was 10-of-15 form the field overall and 3-of-4 on three-pointers.

In his last four games through Sunday, Barnes was 34-of-56 (60.7 percent) from the field and 6-of-10 on treys while averaging 22.3 points a game.

"If we can get that type of efficiency out of him, day in and day out, he's going to be tough to stop," sophomore G Kendall Marshall said.   

BY THE NUMBERS: 50 -- The Tar Heels have won their ACC opener 50 times in 59 seasons overall and seven times in nine opportunities under coach Roy Williams.



--vs. Miami, Jan. 10

KEY MATCHUPS: Miami has become a different team since 6-10 junior C Reggie Johnson rejoined the team after recovering from summer knee surgery. Johnson is a load physically down low and an excellent passer. In addition to veterans Durand Scott and Malcolm Grant, Miami has added freshman Shane Larkin to its backcourt arsenal.

--at Florida State, Jan. 14

KEY MATCHUPS: Florida State's defense under coach Leonard Hamilton always presents a challenge for the Tar Heels. The Seminoles were No. 1 in the league in field-goal defense, holding opponents to 36.4 percent a game from the floor through Saturday, but allowed Clemson to shoot 49.0 percent in their ACC opener. G Ian Miller took over the team lead in scoring (13.6) since joining the Seminoles in the second semester. He had 16 points in their loss at Clemson.

FUTURES MARKET: Sophomore G Kendall Marshall had 11 assists against BC, his second consecutive game in double figures in assists and the seventh time this season he has been in double figures. He has 161 assists already this season. At his current pace (10.1 per game), he would set the school single-season record for assists (currently 284 by Ed Cota) against Virginia on Feb. 25 with two more games to come in the regular season.


Junior F John Henson extended his streak of games in double figures to four with his 14 points against BC. He was 5-of-9 from the field against the Eagles, making him 28-of-49 (57.1 percent) from the field in that streak. He is averaging just over 16 points in those four games.

Senior F Tyler Zeller had 20 points against BC but saw his streak of games in double digits in rebounds end at five when he snared only eight against the Eagles. Over his last eight games, he is averaging 10.4 rebounds a game.

Junior G Dexter Strickland had three steals against BC, raising his season total to a team-leading 23.


"One time it didn't look like we could dribble after we made a steal on the other end." -- Coach Roy Williams, on his frustrations on the Tar Heels' inconsistent play in the win over Boston College.