(Photo by Robert Willett, The News & Observer)
A young team certainly goes through a growing process over the course of a season. The focus and discipline that are characteristics of a championship contender are not as instilled in a group that’s getting to know each other just as much as they’re getting to know a coach’s system.
This was never more evident than in Carolina’s win over Valparaiso on Sunday.
The brilliant defensive play that marked the Heels’ last contest was nowhere to be seen. The impressive – even demoralizing – blocks and thunderous dunks that have been so prevalent were also missed. To be frank, the Heels didn’t show up for work.
From the AP story:
“I could feel it coming a little bit,” fifth-year senior Marcus Ginyard said. “In warmups, we didn’t seem like we had that pep in our step. Nobody was really talking. We just didn’t have that intensity and it showed tonight.”
The sheer size talent differential was enough to keep UNC ahead for the game, and honestly that will carry them in some of these shaky non-conference games when they play small-time schools like Valparaiso.
The trouble is UNC is playing five ranked opponents in a month, starting Thursday against Ohio State. The other trouble is that Valpo’s Brandon Wood lit up the Dean Dome for 30 points, including six 3-pointers, and Brandon Mcpherson had 20 points behind 4-6 shooting beyond the arc. The Carolina frontcourt might be imposing, but the backcourt will need to step up defensively so that a hot-shooting guard isn’t the downfall of the team on a given night. Especially given that Evan Turner is a monster.
The good news is that the team knew they laid a stinker tonight, and Roy does, too.
“I said before the season started that some days we’re going to be pretty good and some days we’re going to be pretty ugly. And today was one of those days, I thought we were pretty ugly,” Roy said after the game.
So by Thursday, everything will be fixed!
- Most Missed Lobs – The whole team
- The This-won’t-be-my-career-high-for-long Award – Ed Davis, 16 pts (career high), 6 rebs, 2 blks, 6-6 FG
- Best Production in Limited Minutes – Justin Watts, 2 pts, 2 rebs, 4 assts, ZERO TURNOVERS, 10 min played