I don't envy Roy Williams in the slightest. Put yourself in his shoes. You now have four days until Carolina's next game against Boston College. Which of the myriad of problems from tonight do you focus on?
- The nineteen turnovers, fifteen in the first half? UNC was a complete disaster when it came to holding on to the ball. Multiple passes bounced off the recipient's face. The Heels had the same number of turnovers as they had field goals, and that was only because of a late scoring burst to bring those totals in line with one another. The faster Tech ran, the faster it spurred on the Heels, and the quicker the ball bounced off hand, knee and face into the Yellow Jackets' possession.
- The 32% shooting from the field? Carolina missed layups and point-blank shots all game, culminating in one fast break wherein they missed three layups. UNC's 51 total points was a new low in the Williams' era, surpassing the previous record of 54 achieved six days ago against Duke. The nineteen field goals they did make – same as the number of turnovers remember – was also a new low, undercutting the 20 made against the Blue Devils as well.
- The 10 of 24 free throw shooting? The missed shots from the charity stripe alone were almost enough to get Carolina back in the game. I think that would the biggest temptation if I was Williams, running nothing but free throw drills for the next three days. It wouldn't help the team win anymore, but it would be a lot more satisfying than reteaching the same strategies that are failing all over the place this year.
- The fact they were repeatedly beaten down the court by the Georgia Tech offense? And not just on turnovers, but after some of the rare Tar Heel baskets. If nothing else, Carolina should be prepared to hustle back against a running opponent. It's what they see in every scrimmage in practice!
- Being outrebounded, for the sixth time this season and the third time in four games? And ignore Gasaway for a moment about rebounding margin; UNC's style of play depends on outrebounding the other team. That or shooting the lights out of the building, which certainly won't happen this season.
Yeah, I don't know where I would begin either.This was a horrible, dismal performance. The lone bright point was John Henson, who had 11 points, 10 rebounds, and 4 blocks and played much of the game with an intensity and joy that has been missing from the team this season, until it was beaten out of him by the sheer futility of the exercise. Also, no one appeared to get injured, although Marcus Ginyard sat out large stretches of the game.
I said going in this game could make or break what remained of UNC's season, and it definitely broke it. Shattered the thing all over the place. My one comforting thought is that if the underclassmen feel the need to avenge the humiliations other ACC teams have inflicted on them this season, no one will have the time to go pro early. Hell, some of them may have to apply for a fifth year of eligibility just to balance the scales.