Alex Conway & John Gwaltney Jr
The New Year wasn't kind to the Tar Heels basketball program
as they dropped their first ACC game against Wake Forest 73-67
UNC will attempt to get its first ACC victory of the year
against Miami Wednesday night as they take on the Hurricanes at
Chapel Hill. They'll attempt to put their stumble out of the
starting blocks behind them as they look to make up ground in
the marathon race that is the ACC conference schedule.
Questions about overlooking opponents are sure to surface for
this game as UNC has a big game against Syracuse looming this
weekend. But if they're not careful, they'll be in for a rough night
and the possibility of starting 0-2 as they run up against a
physical Miami squad looking to prove they can still have an impact
this year after losing much of their talent from last year's squad.
Let's take a look at some of the storylines heading into
The Heels looked flat against Wake Forest. There is really no
other way to say it.
They put themselves in a good position to win the game but just
couldn't get that last little bit that could have made the
difference. Whether it was leaving points on the rim from missed put
backs to unfortunate technical foul calls late in the game, none of
the cookie crumbles fell UNC's way and all the breaks broke in favor
of the Demon Deacons.
Roy Williams talked about having to do a better job,
personally, of getting his team motivated to play. That aspect of
his job is something he doesn't like admitting he has to do but he
fully admitted Monday night during his radio show that it's
something he needs to concern himself with now.
"Some way, somehow, Roy Williams has got to do a better job of
getting the kids more fired up, more enthused. I've always said I
shouldn't have to coach effort," said Williams. "I shouldn't have to
coach interest. I shouldn't' have to coach desire. I should coach
the execution of what we're trying to do but I've done a poor job of
getting these kids fired up to play and it better change. That's the
Williams also spoke about needing to get a better effort down low
and become a more physical bunch, something that will surely be a
plotline to watch against a big Miami team. Williams had his players
on the court Monday on a day that was originally scheduled as a day
off. Instead, UNC had got after one another for about an hour.
"Most physical practice we've had for an hour all year long,"
said Williams. "They were beating each other up and it didn't bother
me in the least bit. We've got to be more forceful around the basket
and finish plays. Hopefully it helped today and we're going to try
the same thing tomorrow."
Slow Down Game
Last year's Miami team could run with the best of them. Shane
Larkin was able to pull the strings and get his team out in the
open floor but without him this season, the Hurricanes have been
much more of a half court playing squad.
That slower pace was on full display in their last outing against
Syracuse, a team that is also notorious for slowing it down, losing
that game 49-44. The Hurricanes are going to force UNC to make plays
on offense with their set plays.
That means the shot have to fall, the Tar Heels have to finish
around the basket and they have to force turnovers on defense to get
the easy baskets that will likely make the victory easier to come
Essentially, if they can do all the things they weren't able to
do against Wake Forest, they should come out on top.
Joel James was ready to go against Wake Forest but was
held out for one more game so the coaching staff could give him a
little more time to get fully healthy.
Despite being a limited player on offense, James' mass was missed
while he nursed knee injury and UNC will happily take him back to
box out down low and seal off defenders for his perimeter players
driving to the basket.
He'll officially make his return against Miami and if indications
from a couple weeks ago are correct, he should start.
"He was full-go today at practice (Monday)," said Williams. "No
limitations. Unless he gets some pain or swelling or something he
will be able to play."
vs. North Carolina
Date: Wednesday, January 8, 2014 Time: 9:00 PM EST Venue:
Dean E. Smith Center (21,750) TV:ESPN2 Radio:Tar Heel Sports
Network & SiriusXM (Sirius
93/XM 191) Series: Carolina leads 18-5 Last Meeting: Carolina lost 87-77 to Miami in the
finals of last year's ACC Tournament on March 17.
Miami at a glance Location: Coral Gables,
Orange, Green & White Conference:
BankUnited Center (7,900) 2012-2013 Record:
29-7 (15-3) Last Game:
Lost 49-44 at #2 Syracuse on Saturday. More on the Hurricanes: Schedule
| Stats |
Roster Official Site |
Last starting line-up
F - Donnavan Kirk F - Garrius Adams C - James Kelly
G - Davon Reed G - Rion Brown