Carolina enters the home stretch of the season ranked in the top ten with three of their final four games on the road. The team currently has a one game lead on Louisville for the ACC regular season title and could wrap up the conference on Senior night against Syracuse with some help around the league.
Clean the Defensive Glass:
Carolina has had a season long issue with giving up offensive rebounds which is especially striking considering they have only played a handful of teams all year with size that comes anywhere close to their own. Beyond failures to just box out, the guards and Justin Jackson have not shown a proclivity to go and get long rebounds. Everyone on the floor needs to dedicate themselves to cleaning the defensive glass and ensuring that opponents do not get more than one opportunity to shoot.
Joel Berry Finishes Strong:
Berry notably struggled in losses to Louisville and Duke and the sophomore point guard has been a key bell-weather for the Heels this season. It is really important going forward for Berry to be more decisive on offense. Berry takes far too many long two point jump shots for the offense to function efficiently. Going forward, Berry needs to either drive, shoot a three or pass to another player. Berry needs to increase his decisiveness and finish the season strong if the Heels are to win another ACC Regular Season Title.
Justin Jackson Keeps It Up:
Jackson woke up in the Boston College game and has been playing his best ball of 2016 over the past few games. Jackson has started to get his outside shot to fall and has looked like the player he was at the end of last season over this stretch. If Jackson can become a consistent offensive player for the stretch run then the ceiling on the Heels is higher than it has appeared for much of the season. Carolina has often needed three or four players to step up each night, if Jackson can join that group on a regular basis then Carolina could go far in March.
The Bench Shows Up:
Isaiah Hicks has been the only consistent performer off of the bench for the Heels this season but against Miami Coach Williams chose to start Hicks over Kennedy Meeks. If Hicks stays in the starting lineup, then the Heels will need to find new chemistry on their bench. Meeks will need to work with Theo Pinson and Nate Britt to carry the offense in extended minutes. Pinson and Britt have been better recently and each dish a lot of assists considering they do not play many minutes. The Heels need their bench to be show up rather than fade as they enter the stretch run and Pinson, Britt and Meeks will all be key to getting that to happen.
Take Care of Business:
Carolina enters the final four games with a one game lead over Louisville for the ACC title. The Heels play two games that they should win and two difficult road contests. The team needs to take care of business in the NC State and Syracuse games and play their hardest in the Virginia and Duke games. If Carolina goes even 2-2 in this stretch there is a good chance that they win the ACC Title.