clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Texas 103 UNC 90

Well, that didn't go well.

The general UNC fan perspective is that the Heels showed up or rather didn't show up, got whipped because of their effort. Okay, that might be part of it but let's all remember something that might be a little difficult to grasp. UNC is on the flip side of many of these matchups they have enjoyed the upper hand in for the past three years. We became so accustomed to see UNC being the most talented team on the floor it is a shock to see them get manhandled on the interior by another basketball team. Yes, you can probably point to some effort issues. Roy did. Eric Montross did on the radio broadcast. When offensive rebounds or rebounds in general are the skewed, effort is often cited. However, Roy also pointed out that Texas is #2 for a reason. Montross said on one play that Ed Davis had perfect box out position on Texas center Dexter Strickland but could not move him. Sometimes the other team is just better. Sometimes the opposing players are more talented.

This is not to say UNC should not have played better or failed to do some things that could have evened matters up. The Heels certainly did not do themselves in favors with turnovers. The 60-41 rebounding deficit UNC faced generally loses you games. I think some of the disappointment ranges from the preseason expectation that this was one of the best front courts in the country. It was assumed the Tar Heel interior players would be the best big men around until you realized they lack sized to control the space not to mention an absence of a killer instinct. There have already been discussions about the post players for UNC being soft and eschewing contact more often than not. When that mentality is applied to an immovable object like Pittman within the context of a tightly called game(UNC committing ten fouls in the first 10 minutes of the 2nd half) that "soft" play is magnified even more.

It should be noted after watching this game that I am beginning to wonder if we have reached a point where serious tuning of the rotation must be done to ensure the best players are getting the most time. Based on the comments section I will probably get some agreement on this but not to extent some of you are willing to go. If it were up to me, I think Will Graves needs to player fewer minutes in favor of a Larry Drew/Dexter Strickland backcourt and Marcus Ginyard at the three. Graves is a good shooter and I think you can still make use of that. Otherwise Graves is slow and for the love of Dean Smith cannot hold onto the basketball with both hands if his life depended on it. He mishandles the simplest of passes, is often out of control on the break and generally looks like a heavier version of Quentin Thomas circa 2005. At this point you have to put the players out there who give you the best chance to win and I think that leans more towards the younger personnel. Ginyard, for all the grief he gets for some things, is having a good season and I think he should continue to see significant playing time. Likewise, Deon Thompson is catching heat for disappearing at times versus Texas. However Thompson has shown himself to be an effective player. Graves is the only one I see who should play less but if you can balance the minutes and get more of the Wears and Tyler Zeller alongside Strickland, somewhere in there is a combination that will be more effective.

It is interesting to note that in 2006, Roy had no choice but to hand huge minutes to Tyler Hansbrough, Bobby Frasor, Marcus Ginyard and Danny Green. With only David Noel, Wes Miller and Reyshawn Terry on the roster from the previous season, someone had to fill the gaps and those four freshmen did an admirable job. This season, because there are these veteran players, Roy is reluctant to turn the freshmen loose. Maybe they aren't ready but for various reasons I cannot accept that. I have seen too many flashes of great play to believe these players will not be even more productive with more minutes. Obviously I am speculating and when certain players do not perform well, the fan automatically looks to the backups for relief. Also understand that this is not a call to cut bait and simply toss the freshmen out there for the sake of experience. On the contrary, I think utilizing the younger players gives UNC the best chance and a fringe benefit is they will get the experience.

Not to sound cliche, but to some extent "it is what it is." This teams has some things it can fix on both ends of the floor. The offense needs help but the defense isn't much better and strikes me as far too dependent on the blocked shot. A better perimeter defense would do wonders to disrupt the opposing team's offense. On offense it is all about the turnovers. Fix that and a lot things get better fairly quick.

UNC gets Marshall in three days and will practice tomorrow. May God have mercy on their souls.