Daniel Miller's dignity left the building shortly after this was taken. - Grant Halverson
UNC put together one of the more complete performances for its third ACC win of the season.
The game can be broken down like this:
Reggie Bullock: 17 points, 6 rebounds
James Michael McAdoo: 14 points, 9 rebounds
P.J. Hairston: 15 points, 3-6 from three and one vicious dunk on Daniel Miller
Desmond Hubert: 6 rebounds, 5 blocks, 1 steal
Dexter Strickland/Marcus Paige: 9 points, 12 assists, 8 rebounds, 4 steals, 5 turnovers
This was a fairly complete effort. Looking at the stats it is easy to see players performing in their roles. You have the Big Three scoring, Hubert playing defense and Paige/Strickland doing solid work facilitating the offense. UNC also got 79 possessions in this game which is the highest so far in ACC play and exactly what the Heels need to be doing. As has been the case all season, this team is a work in progress. They are prone to ups and downs but steadily, over the past three games, there are signs of progression. The offense and defense look better and the boost in confidence that comes from playing well and winning appears to be making a difference.
Despite the improved play there are still areas of concern. The free throw shooting, especially from McAdoo was below average. The shooting in general from the floor needs to improve. Some of that is shot selection, especially from Strickland who really should not shoot unless it is a drive to the rack. Some of it is missing open looks. McAdoo still has trouble finishing shots at the rim hence him being 5-13. Paige, Bullock and Hairston all had good shots they simply didn't make. UNC shot 42% from the floor which simply needs to improve when the Heels face better teams. UNC did get outrebounded 50-45 to a team that is 11th in ACC play in rebounding margin.
Of course no one expected a finished product at this stage but the outlook is certainly brighter than it was two weeks ago. In fact Miami trouncing Duke by 27 makes the loss to the Hurricanes in Chapel Hill look less troublesome than it did at the time. The takeaway is UNC's season has all the appearance of moving towards some kind of satisfactory level. There will be pitfalls still and a loss to NC State on Saturday could be one of them. However, the hope is that UNC has truly begun to overcome some of the previously cited deficiencies.