Carolina has rebounded nicely from their defeat at Texas and started conference play on the front foot. The Heels have two more games of ACC play this week with trips up and down the east coast to Tallahassee and Syracuse. The Heels have seen their guard produce at very high level over their past few games while Brice Johnson has averaged close to a double double for the season. The Heels' record in true road games needs a bit more luster added to it and the Heels are seeking to add that luster this week.
Brice Johnson Stays Out of Foul Trouble:
Johnson has always had an issue with ticky tack fouls--moving screens, over the backs and the like. In conference play with refs who have seen him for all four years his reputation will be an issue. Johnson needs to make a concerted effort to play clean games this week as the Heels can not afford for him to hit the bench while Meeks remains out. Johnson will be needed in these road games against the Syracuse zone and Seminole size. He will need to avoid fouls for Carolina to play their best games this week.
Isaiah Hicks Creates:
Against the defenses the Heels will face this week, the big men will have to play their best games. Hicks will be instrumental to that goal for Carolina. Against FSU, Hicks will need to be able to pull their bigs out to the perimeter to create driving lanes for the guards. Hicks should also be able to attack the FSU bigs off the dribble with punishing drives to create Carolina's offense. In the Syracuse game, the key to beating their zone is often a strong passing game from big men. Hicks will need to pass through the zone or attack the Orange's center on Saturday if the Heels are to create consistent offense.
Joel Berry Improves His Shooting:
Berry has scored very well this season and continued that into conference play so far. Berry needs to not only maintain this high level of play but now increase his efficiency. The Heels will need to shoot well from range to beat the Orange's zone and Berry should be an instrumental part of that effort. Berry also needs to improve his shooting in general for Carolina to perform well against teams like Louisville and Virginia. The Heels have gotten great production from Berry so far but need a bit more efficiency if their offense is to reach its potential.
Justin Jackson Improves His Consistency:
Jackson seemed to wake up over the past few games but he went through a similar stretch earlier this year. Jackson needs to keep up his recent run of good form to help the Heels continue to win without Meeks. Jackson needs to play well on offense in both games this week. In particular, his floater game could be critical against Syracuse, Jackson should be able to beat his man off the dribble from the wings consistently before then launching a floater over the center. Good play against FSU is notably in Jackson's best interest outside of just helping the Heels, if Jackson plays well against FSU's size, then NBA scouts will take notice.
Paige Improves His Efficiency:
Marcus Paige has been good recently but his three point shooting has not been as efficient as he normally is(4-15 over the past four games, only one three made per game.) The Heels could use improved outside shooting in conference play and the postseason and particularly against Syracuse due to their zone. Carolina's outside shooting starts with Paige and the senior should step up to help carry Carolina through these road game while Meeks is nursed back to health.