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Basketball Assignments: State, Wake Forest and Virginia Tech

Carolina will try to get to 7-0 in ACC play.

Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

The Heels are off to their best ACC start of the Roy Williams era and have a real shot at an 8-0 start to conference play. To hit that mark the Heels will need to first need to get through State, Wake Forest and Virginia Tech. Carolina's season has been highlighted by Brice Johnson's transformation into one of the best players in the entire country. Johnson had one of the best performances from any Carolina big man against Florida State and followed it up with a splendid display of his versatility against Syracuse. Carolina needs a bit more from the rest of the team if the Heels wish to be favored for the National Title, but so far this team is matching much of the preseason hype.


Keep Up the Free Throw Shooting:

The grind of ACC play means that the Heels will be bound to play close games. So far this season, the Heels have been very efficient from the free throw line. This needs to continue to be a strength for the Heels if they want to pull out the close games they will inevitably face in conference play. Brice Johnson and Isaiah Hicks have been exceptional free throw shooters so far this season especially considering preseason expectations.

Limit Offensive Rebounds:

A large Achilles Heel for Carolina so far this season has been giving up offensive rebounds and second chance points. Justin Jackson especially tends to sneak out to try to get fast break buckets rather than get defensive rebounds. The Heels outside of Brice Johnson need to recommit themselves to defensive rebounding to clear up this defensive flaw.

Kennedy Meeks Re-Integrates:

While Johnson has been incredible so far this season, he needs to get consistent help from the other big man on the court. Kennedy Meeks is still working his way back from his knee injury and should see his minutes increase gradually over these next three games. Meeks needs to adjust to the new-found production of Johnson and learn to play off him like Hicks has over this recent stretch of games.

Guards Create Effectively:

Carolina turns the ball over about 15% of the time on the season and the guards need to work to keep Carolina's turnover rate low. Marcus Paige and Joel Berry have played very well recently and an underrated part of each of their games is how they avoid turnovers. A couple times in conference play, most notably the Georgia Tech game, saw the Heels turn the ball over at much higher rates. Carolina will play many good teams as conference play continues and avoiding turnovers will be another key part of winning close games. The Heels, especially Berry, need to focus on creating effectively without turning the ball over if the Heels are to win the ACC and National Titles.

Justin Jackson Heats Up:

Jackson has continued to be wildly inconsistent as conference play has commenced. Jackson played very well against Syracuse but not well at all against Florida State earlier in the week. The Heels need for Jackson to establish consistent performances on both ends of the floor just so they know what they have in their sophomore. Jackson needs to be a dependable scorer or slide into a position as a role player. Down the stretch, the Heels can not handle Jackson going 3-12 and missing 3 threes a game. Jackson needs to either convert at a high level consistently or take fewer shots and become an ancillary player for the Heels.