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UNC 81 Rutgers 67

I think Deon Thompson summed it up best on Twitter:

Why does it feel like we lost, even when we won? Lucky there is still time to improve before ACC play begins.

Yeah and Roy Williams had one of those press conferences which last about five minutes chock full of cutting reporters questions off and allusions to practices totally not designed for the player's enjoyment. The last time I head Roy this pissed following a win it was the Nicholls St. game in 2007-08 season which the Heels won by a paltry ten points over a team NC State could have beaten. The beef then was the Heels' defense. In this one it is...well...everything but mainly the careless decisions on offense.

Overall the game was fairly ragged with UNC only leading by six at the half. In the second half, UNC slowly took over pushing the lead out to 17 before the wheels came off or at least three of them. Rutgers worked themselves back into game following a combination of Tar Heel turnovers and poor shot selection. In the end UNC hit shots when they needed to while Rutgers did not which was more about Rutgers missing than UNC really be stellar on offense. Dexter Strickland led the Heels with 18 points and hit a big three late to answer a Rutgers run. Apparently the only sticking point for Roy where Strickland is concerned is his defense. If Strickland were better on the defensive end, he would probably see more time. And no, I think Roy might be going too far complaining about Strickland's three saying it was "talent over coaching." Well, Roy sometimes you want that sort of thing and ripping the guy in public over it seems counterproductive.

At this point it appears this team is still awfully disjointed on offense. Many of the turnovers seem unforced, especially passing the basketball. Far too often passes are made with poor spacing or because a player is in a bad position then panics attempting to get the ball to an open player. The offense simply is ragged in execution which is ironic considering six Heels were in double figures. The nature of the offense is such it feels like they happen into points at times. Despite Roy's misgivings with Strickland, he is the best player on the court offensively speaking and the only true scorer out there. For my money, I would rather take chances on Strickland's talent than some of the other options out there. Will Graves played another solid game and UNC continues to get good production from Thompson-Davis-Zeller on the interior. I think the biggest concern and possibly the rudder turning this ship is Larry Drew who is a bit haphazard at times. By no means is he as bad as Quentin Thomas was at the same career point. The problem with Drew is he puts himself in bad spots then throws a difficult pass in an effort to make a play. That usually ends up being a turnover. On the night Drew had 10 points, five assists, four turnovers and was 2-5 from the FT line. Ultimately Drew was less productive than Strickland who had 18 points, four assists and three turnovers in ten fewer minutes. At some point a conversation needs to be had as to whether Drew is the best option at PG over Strickland unless Drew gets more consistent, especially in his decision making.

The silver lining to Deon Thompson's comment is the players do get it and they do have time to correct it. However, no one is happy right now. The fans are not but more importantly the head coach is not. Now let's see what he does and how they respond. And for the record, following the Nicholls St game UNC won the next two games by 35 and 36 points.