Let's see what another break gives us.
ACC Now called the Heels "listless."
Roy said they played better than they did against Oral Roberts and Evansville.
There are plenty of complaints about the level of intensity as well certain issues stopping the Crusaders' Urule Igbavboa.
I actually think the bigger issues were the lack of offensive execution, especially when it came to hitting shots and taking care of the basketball. On the flip side UNC does not score as much as they ought to off turnovers. This was the case against Oral Roberts and it was an issue this game. In other words, holding Valpo to 63 points was fine. The hang up is with the slow start by the Heels and the fact the final margin was only 22. This is a fair point given how badly the Heels trounced Michigan State and to a less extent Note Dame. Both of these programs are ranked whereas Valpo is considered to be a very weak team. The expectation based on these previous wins is that a team like Valpo would be roadkill by halftime This was not the case and since the Heels returned from exams, they have not nearly been as sharp. In this way it would seem they tend to play down to their opponent and on the basis of the Maui/Big Ten-ACC wins it would also appear UNC is capable of raising their level of play when needed.
This game also was a foul plagued affair. 45 total fouls were called between the two teams with Valpo committing a pair of intentionals late in the game. The frequent fouls contributed to the general ugliness of the game. The twenty three Tar Heel fouls speaks to some poor defense at times. Valpo on the other hand apparently watched the Evansville game and figured they have nothing to lose in hacking the Tar Heels at will. It remains to be seen whether future opponents opt for this type of "defense."
Overall, I continue to be less inclined to worry about this team on the basis of what happened in earlier games. UNC is still missing a key player, especially where defense is concerned. Yes it was a slow start with plenty of craptastic play for the Heels but again my issues were more with how the shooting and lack of execution off Valpo turnovers than it was anything else. UNC also did a poor job handling the zone defense which led to 27 three pointers on less than 30% shooting. If the Heels hit four more threes this ends up being a 30+ point blowout. Also, given how listless UNC played they still opened up a close to 30 point lead up late in the 2nd half. The lesson there is that UNC misfiring on various cylinders is still more than capable of blowing most teams out. This just happens to be a funky stretch for the team right now, something I do not think will continue, especially in ACC play.