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UNC 73 Miami 56

No complaints. No, it wasn't perfect but there were not any red flags to take away from this game either.

I honestly cannot find much to really criticize in this win mainly because I am not going to bag on the shooting because bad shooting nights happen. Harrison Barnes was not good, his first such game since the back-to-back 9 point outings prior to the Texas game. Barnes simply could not hit a shot despite being aggressive and getting nice open looks. The end result was a 2-12 shooting night and only six points. Normally that would be bad news, as would John Henson 5-13 shooting for only 11 points. However the Heels got a huge night from the backcourt, possibly the best of the season out of Kendall Marshall and Dexter Strickland.

Heading into this game the thought was Miami's Durand Scott and Malcolm Graham would be a huge issue for the UNC backcourt to check. Instead the opposite occurred. Scott and Grant were a combined 6-20 and 0-7 from three. Marshall had his first double figures scoring game of the season hitting 5-7 for 12 points while dishing out eight assists. The only hiccup on his stat line was four turnovers. Strickland was sensational on both ends playing stellar defense and dropping 14 points. The real shame with Henson and Barnes being off is I would love to see this team with all five players scoring points. Tyler Zeller led the scoring with 16 on 6-11 shooting and a perfect 4-4 from the line. I also thought Zeller showed some toughness dealing with the rather rotund Reggie Johnson.

Outside of the starters, the bench still did not have a good shooting night either. Reggie Bullock did have a solid game doing other things like grabbing six rebounds(three offensive) and at one point keeping Duran Scott out of the lane with some nice on-the-ball defense. Likewise P.J. Hairston was only 1-5 from three and James Michael McAdoo did play, was generally effective though he only took two shots. Besides not shooting well, when UNC rotated a mostly bench lineup onto the floor, play was a tad sloppy and it allowed Miami back into the game in the first half before one of those patented big runs effectively ending the game.

The overall team defense was very good. It was aggressive and focused for most of the game. Miami didn't help itself with some of the shot selection but I would like to think UNC had something to do with that.  In short, UNC seized control of the game as the first half came to c alose and kept it basically on course through the seocond half. Some bad shooting from Barnes and Henson actually turned out to be a good thing since it afforded Marshalll and Strickland in particular to step up on the offensive end. If it that works to give them both confidence going forward, it will be well worth it.

Now the Heels head back out on the road for the first time since the Kentucky game with a tough matchup versus FSU followed by a trip to Blacksburg. UNC has never started 4-0 in ACC play under Roy Williams. With defense like they played vs Miami and Barnes/Henson shooting the ball better, they have a shot at it.