The UNC basketball team lost back-to-back games at Wake Forest and at home versus Miami, starting off conference play with a 0-2 record. That was not what the Tar Heels were thinking would happen having beaten currently ranked #1 Michigan State, #3 Louisville, and #11 Kentucky.
The last time they started ACC play off 0-2 was in 2009 and they went on the win the national championship.
Unfortunately for the Tar Heels, bad losses have been something that has been somewhat commonplace this season. Before the victory over Louisville, the Tar Heels suffered a 3-point loss at home against Belmont. They were able to recover quickly with a win over highly ranked Louisville just seven days later, but then went on the road and lost to the University of Alabama at Birmingham by 4 points.
The buzz among ACC basketball fans, fans in Chapel Hill, and the players themselves is whether or not the Heels can actually play consistently this season.
“We’re a little shook, 0-2 in league play is not the way we expected to start,” said sophomore guard Marcus Paige. “Everyone faces a little adversity here and there. I know we have guys who are not ready to give in and quit, but this group is tough enough to make things happen. We just have to change.”
A win at home in overtime versus the Davidson Wildcats did not help ease the tension in Chapel Hill due to the fact that the Heels should have secured an easy win over the Southern Conference opponent.
The exact problem that is causing the team’s inconsistency cannot be pinpointed yet. The loss of shooting guard PJ Hairston is not a valid option due to the fact that he has not played a single game this year, which means the team has found success when beating the top ranked teams.
Some fans have been pointing to the number of free throws missed as to why the Tar Heels are not winning games they should be winning. The Tar Heels, as an entire unit, have missed 167 free throws so far on the season.
The team needs to figure out what is causing the issue and figure out how to solve it quickly before the team travels to Syracuse on Saturday to face the #2 Orange in the Carrier Dome. Syracuse is currently sitting atop the ACC with a 2-0 record in conference play and an undefeated 15-0 overall record.
Coach Roy Williams is one of the most upset with the team’s performance and he has been looking for what has been going wrong and is looking at how to fix the problem.
“When you go to school here and you coach here as an assistant, and you come back and coach here, it’s a feeling of ownership and it’s a feeling of pride,” coach Williams said. “And right now I’m not doing a very good job with this basketball team. That’s the hardest thing there is that I’ve ever had to say.”
Paige is one player who feels he can spot places where they are inconsistent and could improve, but he feels that they need to simply play better overall.
“Taking care of the ball is probably the number one thing, getting good shots. We’re alright on defense sometimes – we have a couple breakdowns – but at the end of the day, we’ve just got to play better overall,” said Paige.
Whatever the reason for inconsistency may be, the Heels need to figure out and figure it out quickly if they want to be a successful team this season.