Alex Conway & John Gwaltney Jr
UNC hasn't quite turned the corner yet.
After defeating three top 25 teams in Louisville, Michigan State
and Kentucky, with all three of those games coming under
different circumstances (on the road, at home or at a neutral
site), it appeared the Heels had become a team that could play
Now it appears they can only play well against teams their
expected to lose to. Sort of.
UNC dropped a home game against the unranked Texas Longhorns
Wednesday night 86-83 and did it in familiar fashion. The loss, on
the surface, doesn't appear as bad as the losses to Belmont and UAB,
two other games that were unexpectedly lost by the Tar Heels.
However, the loss to the Longhorns underscores a slightly more
With that, let's take a look at some storylines heading into
Saturday's game against Davidson.
What Kind Of Team Is This?
It's easy to chalk up the losses to UAB and Belmont as games the
Tar Heels just didn't take seriously enough. The loss to Texas says
something different about this team.
It says this team is simply inconsistent as a whole. Texas isn't
a school with a low profile. They are a national program with a wide
reaching brand that came into Chapel Hill for a midweek match-up
that should have been circled on the calendar by every player in the
offseason as one of the marquee match-up's of the non-conference
Instead, the players showed the same lack of focus in the
Longhorn's game as they have in other less than stellar performances
against teams that don't stand out nearly as much on the schedule.
It's concerning because this doesn't mean the Heels are looking
past anybody, rather their concentration can come and go at a
Roy Williams has put his team on notice that this type
of play won't be tolerated. He ripped into his team publicly after
their loss to UAB and that appeared to spark a fire under the
players in their next time out.
He had a fired up quote after the game against Texas that echoes
those earlier sentiments.
"I am not happy guys. I am not in the daggum Christmas spirit. If
you want to really know how ticked off I am, I told them we would
practice at midnight tonight," said Williams. "And then I told them
I better check the NCAA rules so we cannot practice at midnight
tonight. We cannot practice until 5 a.m.
And everybody's (butt) will be in here at 5 a.m. this morning."
Anyone who's watched a game this year knows that UNC has
struggled at the line this season. The charity stripe was closed for
the Heels on Wednesday as they missed 23 free throws and shot just
51 percent in that area.
For Williams, the matter comes down to mental toughness.
"I'm not very pleased with our intensity, with our effort or with
our concentration," head coach Roy Williams said. "I thought it was
just ridiculous in the first half. (In the) second half we tried
harder, but you have to be tough enough to step up and take shots.
I'm tired of talking about free throws, you have to be tough enough
to step up the dag'on thing or go play soccer. Tell Anson (Dorrance)
I'm not trying to bag on his sport, but God almighty."
Marcus Paige was perfect from the line (8-8), but that
only highlights a point Williams made earlier in the week on his
radio show. He expressed concern that UNC's opponents would
eventually find a way to make sure Paige didn't get to the line and
would force his teammates to make their shots.
That they didn't.
If you take away Paige's percentages and makes, the rest of the
squad shot just 41 percent. That obviously won't get it done and it
remains to be seen if this issue can be fixed.
If it can the Heels can go far. If it isn't, this will likely be
the Achilles heel that ends their season at some point.
Leslie McDonald got his first action of the season as he
returned from suspension against Texas. He logged 22 minutes and
scored 15 points on 4-of-10 shooting. He didn't do a great job
hitting his free throws (3-8) but did knock down four 3-pointers.
McDonald is going to need some time to get his legs under him so
that he can get up and down the court but his offensive firepower is
much needed and coming at a great time.
vs. #14/18 North Carolina
Davidson at a glance Location: Davidson, NC Nickname:
Red & Black Conference:
Belk Arena (5,223) 2012-2013 Record:
26-8 (17-1) Last Game:
Lost 72-58 to Drexel on December 15. More on the Wildcats: Schedule
| Stats |
Roster Official Site |
Last starting line-up
F - Jake Belford F - Andrew McAuliffe G - Brian Sullivan
G - Tyler Kalinoski G - Chris Czerpowicz