Carolina enters this week of action with a three game winning streak and top ten ranking, having rebounded nicely from their defeat at Texas. The Heels look to start conference play on a strong note with their first two conference games this week. Carolina is still without Kennedy Meeks who should return next week for the Heels' first away games in conference play.
Good Production From the Bench:
Carolina's bench outside of Isaiah Hicks has been inconsistent at best this season. The Heels need to get their bench more involved as conference play begins as they will need to be able to produce when called upon in tough ACC games. There will be games when foul trouble forces the bench players to step up. The games this week should be good warm-up opportunities for the Heels to try to get their bench ready.
Joel Berry Starts Conference Play Strong:
Joel Berry has been quite impressive recently and the Heels would be helped out considerably if he can keep it up through conference play. Fans should look for Berry to shoot well from distance in their first few conference games while also keeping his assist numbers up. If Berry can perform well through conference play, he not only takes a lot of pressure off of Marcus Paige, but he also adds creativity to the offense to help create for Brice Johnson and eventually Kennedy Meeks.
Brice Johnson Stays Strong:
Brice Johnson has been on a tear over the past few games. The Heels should try to keep Johnson's intensity and focus over the first few games of conference play. If he continues to dominate into conference play then the Heels could go quite far indeed this season.
Marcus Paige Answers the Call:
Paige has only been called to upon to star once so far this season--against Texas. While he did score 15 points in the second half of that game, the Heels still came up short. Paige has not had to really shine since that game but he Heels will need him to answer the call when it goes out. If the Heels find themselves in a sticky situation at any point this week, despite Johnson's recent heroics, Paige will still be the go to man for Carolina. Paige needs to be ready and not disappoint when the team needs him, something he has not entirely done yet this season.
Justin Jackson Perks Up:
Jackson has been perhaps, the Heels most disappointing player so far this season. Jackson has been wildly inconsistent from game to game. After starring against Northern Iowa and other points earlier this season, Jackson has faded recently. For Carolina to have a shot at ACC and National Titles, Jackson needs to be much better. The Heels should try to get him on track before conference play really heats up and the games are too close for the Heels to run actions designed to just involve Jackson more.