Carolina outlasted an improved Boston College team on the road Saturday in their 90-82 win over the Eagles. This was far from a perfect game, however a win is a win. Here are three things that we learned from the game.
1. This Boston College team is not the same one that went 0-18 in the ACC last year
The ACC is very, very good this year. Any team can beat any other team on any given day, and Boston College played very well on Saturday. Boston College has certainly improved from their 0-18 ACC record in 2015-16. Their two ACC wins were the same as Duke heading into Saturday evening, and they certainly gave Carolina a fight yesterday. This is truly a testament to the fact that there are no pushover teams in the ACC this season, something that we learned rather shockingly after the loss to Georgia Tech.
2. This team is very balanced offensively
Carolina was 6-14 shooting the three today, good for 42.9% from behind the arc. They also had 16 offensive rebounds that led to a 24-14 advantage over BC in second chance points. The Tar Heels rebounded 47% of their missed shots, which is very good. Carolina also won mostly without the scoring of Joel Berry II, who was 3-9 for nine points, his second lowest points total since he had eight points against Georgia Tech. Justin Jackson and Kennedy Meeks combined for 42 points and 13 rebounds (Jackson had 22 points in 31 minutes and Meeks had 20 points and 9 rebounds in 25 minutes).
Theo Pinson also went 3-3 from the field and 5-6 from the line for 11 points, grabbed five rebounds, and dished out three assists in 24 minutes of playing time. His 24 minutes of playing time are the most that he’s played since his return, which is a good sign that he might be on his way to joining the starting lineup soon.
3. This team still needs to improve defensively
Carolina right now is allowing 70.2 ppg, the same as last year, however after today’s game it is clear that they still have a lot to improve on defensively. Carolina allowed 82 points to Boston College, which while not terrible is not an ideal defensive effort. They allowed BC to shoot 44% from three and 47% from the field. Carolina’s rather porous perimeter defense is concerning, especially when just three seconds before halftime Carolina allowed Ky Bowman (who would score 33 points and go 7-8 from beyond the arc) to shoot a three and cut Carolina’s halftime lead to 34-33. Carolina has allowed six threes this season in late-first and second half circumstances, including a game-winning three to Kentucky back in December. They really need to work on late-game perimeter defense before the clock turns to February and UNC will presumably be playing some very close games against some very good teams.
Carolina will play next at home against Virginia Tech on Thursday at 8:00 pm on ESPN. They’ll look to stay undefeated at home against a good Hokies team.