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Basketball Assignments: Pitt, Duke, Miami

Carolina looks to build a new winning streak with a three game homestead.

Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports

Carolina seems to be in a bit of a rut recently. The Heels lost to Louisville and Notre Dame in back to back games before struggling mightily at lowly Boston College. These recent struggles have been attributable to lax play on offense and defense, the Heels have struggled in every facet of the game over this tough stretch and the schedule does not do them any favors with Pitt, Duke and Miami at home for their next three games.


Box Out:

If the Heels had boxed out against Notre Dame, they probably win that game easily. The Heels also gave up 13 offensive rebounds against Louisville in the game before that. Carolina has more size and skill inside and at the wing than every team they will face for the rest of the regular season. The Heels need to win the rebounding battle every game and make sure opponents only have on trip up the floor if they want to get back on track to claim another ACC title.

Guards Rediscover Efficiency:

Over the past three games, Marcus Paige and Joel Berry have gone a combined 21-60 from the field. Numbers like that will not cut it over this next stretch. The Heels need both Paige and Berry to consistently hit outside shots as well as finish inside. Carolina is yet to lose a game that was not close, if the guards improve their play, the Heels will be right back in the top 5 and look like national title contenders again.

Make Your Free Throws:

Carolina beats Louisville and Notre Dame if the Heels make all their free throws. The team has not been bad a the line this season and Carolina typically wins the battle at the line in most contests. However, they should continue to focus on making their foul shots in every game and when the margins are as slim as they have been, the charity stripe can make a big difference.

Someone From the Bench Not Named Isaiah Hicks Produces:

Carolina's bench production during ACC play outside of Hicks has been woeful at best (discounting the BC game when Coach Williams moved most of the starters to the bench). The Heels need Nate Britt or Theo Pinson to produce in meaningful minutes. Both players are capable shooters from distance and Pinson is a great rebounded for his size. The Heels need complete team performances for all 40 minutes if they want to win games against tough ACC competition. Right now there are six players that produce in most games, they need to get one or two more players from the bench if they want to wrap up an ACC title.

Somebody Stars:

This team is not one where four or five guys score 10+ points every night, but rather one where someone, Brice Johnson, Marcus Paige or even Justin Jackson goes out and gets 20 points to lead the team to victory. Over the past few games, Johnson seems to have cooled off a bit and the Heels are once more looking for a player who will lead them every night. It's anyone's guess as to who will be up next for the Heels but Carolina needs someone to lead the team in each game of this homestead if they want to win these games and move towards an ACC title.