Is it just me or was college basketball across the board a little funky today?
After a week of talking about bringing the intensity level up for ACC play the Heels did in spots but largely did just enough to make it a comfortable win rather than the absolute bloodbath people sort of expected heading into the game. The game was close for the first ten minutes before UNC reeled off one of those patented Tar Heel runs to open a up a double digit lead which resulted in a 40-27 halftime lead. In the second half a 10-2 run to open the second stanza made it a 21 point game at which point the Heels started talking on the cell phone and trying to eat their Taco Bell takeout while driving on the interstate. The foot came off the gas and Boston College closed to nine after a series of defensive lapses. The Heels responded and opened the game back up to the deficit it ultimately ended at.
The Tar Heel frontline played extremely well with the exception of the offensive rebounding. UNC's OR% is normally around 40. In this game it was 32.8 and that is probably most responsible for the slight lower offensive efficiency of 111.6. Regardless, Harrison Barnes played the type of game you expect the preseason ACC POY to have. Barnes went 10-15 for 25 points, five rebounds, four steals and only one turnover. The numbers don't tell the whole story. Barnes is showing a lot of versatility in his scoring and looks very much like the player we all thought he would be. In the past four games which includes Texas, Barnes is averaging 22.2 ppg, shooting 60% from the floor and 6-10 from three. He is definitely starting to roll. Tyler Zeller, likewise had a nice day going 8-12 for 20 points. John Henson followed up with 14 points, eight rebounds and three blocks to round out the Big Three's scoring day which comprised 59 of the team's 83 points. The rest of the Tar Heels had a rough day to the tune of 8 for 30. Dexter Strickland had some shots rim out and James Michael McAdoo continues to find every part of the basketball goal but the inside part of the net. P.J. Hairston hit two threes but not much else and Reggie Bullock 1-7 and did not hit a three.
Defensively, UNC had some lapses, especially in the second half but 20 turnovers, two shot clock violations(which was really three but Henson grabbed an airball and the refs let it go) and a 79.2 defensive efficiency is a pretty decent day. BC shot 42% from the floor and did get some easy looks due in part to the aforementioned lapses. Roy Williams chalked that up to poor execution and focus on such things as how to handle a screen or properly rotations. In short it can and should be better because some of those 20 turnovers and stellar DE has something to do with BC being not very good at this stage.
While there were actual issues with UNC's focus and intensity I also wonder to what extent BC trying to slow the game down made it seem more lax than it actually was. I also think UNC being forced into a slower, halfcourt game does make them less efficient offensively though much of that rests on players not named Barnes, Henson and Zeller. Overall, this kind of game is an annoyance for the fan who would rather see the team play at a high level every time out. It is still a win in convincing fashion even if it wasn't in the fashion we expect.