I'm really beginning to wonder if Roy Williams is running out of ideas to try with this team. To say the Heels came out flat is the understatement of the year-to-date. Carolina was down 7-0 before they took a shot. Things got so bad in the early going Williams' called a timeout with 12:34 left in the first half. (It may have even helped. UNC was only outscored 56-54 the rest of the way.) Carolina was down by twenty before ten minutes had elapsed and never cut it closer than eleven. And it was a winnable game through most of the futility; although Clemson built up a lead with a combination of fast breaks and hot outside shooting (7 for 12), they missed their last 14 straight three point attempts and never got the ball inside to Trevor Booker as often as they should.
Again, all through the game the turnover situation was based on an inexperienced backcourt. That's a pretty facile observation, though, and doesn't take into account the fact that things got worse the more seniority the Heels put on the court. The starting five combined for 30 points and 17 turnovers; the five-freshman blue team rang up 34 and only 6 turnovers. The team improved when Williams pulled the first five two minutes in the second half to give them a crash course in beating a press (it didn't take), unfortunately the starters came back and things slid downhill again. Dexter Strickland was tonight's Player Who Played Like He Cared™, scoring 17 points on 7-8 shooting, and nabbing 3 apiece in rebounds, assists, steals, and turnovers. Travis Wear, getting increased playing time with Tyler Zeller out with a foot injury, had a team leading eight rebounds, even if he had the same ball-stripped-from-the-waist shot as every other big man for the Heels.
Ed Davis was a non-factor, shut down by Trevor Booker and the inability of the Heels to run a set offensive play without the ball bouncing, slipping, or sailing out of bounds. UNC only had six more rebounds than Clemson, and the Tigers would have had more if their shots didn't have an infuriating habit of actually going in the hoop. UNC was completely destroyed in this game, completely unable to mount even the beginning of a comeback once they fell behind.
I feel at this point I could cut-and-paste the conclusion from any of the last fifteen recaps here. Young team, lots of talent, too many turnovers, no drive, wake up call, maybe they'll get better. I don't envy Roy Williams right now; I have no idea what I would do in his situation. (Although bench the starters is the first thing to come to mind.) I think it was the exact play pictured above where I just burst out laughing. At lest if UNC is going to lose, they'll lose with entertaining futility. I still believe they'll be good at some point, I'm just no longer certain it'll be this season.
That being said, if they're still playing this poorly come Duke, the language on this blog may no longer be suitable for all audiences.