When Roy Williams hinted at a lineup change on Monday night, the thinking was such a shuffle would light a fire under the team and the players affected.
Not so much.
Instead of a fast start, UNC's performance was lackluster to say the least. The offense was out of sorts and the defense allowed an anemic offensive team to get it rolling in a way Boston College hasn't all season. Unlike road games at Virginia Tech and Notre Dame where the Tar Heels staked double digit leads, UNC failed to get any traction and trailed at the half by six. The Tar Heels got very little from the post for a second straight game and the offense in general was a mess except for Justin Jackson.
Much like Saturday night when Marcus Paige finally shed his shooting slump, Jackson figured out how to discard his in impressive fashion. Jackson displayed the full array of his offensive capabilities hitting 8-10 shots and hitting multiple threes for the first time since November 24th versus Kansas State. That game was also the last time Jackson topped 20 points
And UNC needed every bit of it. While Joel Berry hit a couple of early second half baskets and Marcus Paige made 3-6 threes including the clutch one that put UNC ahead for good, it was Jackson throughout the game that kept the Tar Heels afloat. With UNC up just two points and game inside of a minute, Jackson stepped up to hit a jumper to make the lead four to give UNC control of the game.
Jackson's play versus Boston College is just another example of one of the parts on this team putting together a solid game but getting very little help. As a result the offense did enough but not nearly as much as it is capable of giving. UNC showed through the first half of the season this offense was capable of scoring at will and using multiple options to do it. During the recent offensive struggles there has been less balance and more instances of one or two Tar Heels carrying the scoring load instead of four or five.
Clearly the players are still capable as Jackson showed tonight the question is at what point will all the primary offensive weapons get onto the same page. When that happens, this team will start looking like a Final Four contender again.