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UNC vs. Elon: Three Things Learned

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Here are some takeaway from UNC’s 49-point win on Friday night.

NCAA Basketball: North Carolina at Wofford Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports

On Friday night, UNC improved to 2-0 with a 49-point win over Elon on the road. While all 40 minutes weren’t pretty, more on that in a second, overall it was a much better performance from the Tar Heels than on Tuesday. Not surprising considering the final margin.

There’s only so much you will find out about a team in a big win over a sub-200 team in the KenPom rankings, but here are three things that stood out.

The defense could still use a little work

ESPN caught Roy Williams walking off the court at halftime, and he didn’t look nearly as happy as most coaches would with a near 20-point lead, having scored 63 points on 54% shooting. That was for good reason, UNC’s defense was really bad in the first half.

The Tar Heels allowed 46 points on 57% shooting to Elon in the opening 20 minutes. If they weren’t playing a team that they could carve up at the other end, that could’ve been trouble. It wasn’t even like they were being lit up from three, either. Other than Steven Santa Ana’s 3-4, Elon were 1-8 from three in the first half. There were a fair amount of backdoor cuts leading to layups.

Good news is, they did turn it on in the second half. The Phoenix were held to 22 points in the second half, shooting 5-31 in the process. After giving up 1.125 points per possession in the first half, that dropped to 0.478 in the second half. No harm, no foul on Friday night, but a good team might have been able to take advantage of whatever was going on in the opening 20 minutes.

Nassir Little is fine

Against Wofford, Nassir Little didn’t light the world on fire. Considering what else went on elsewhere that night with some freshman who play for a different Triangle school, some people were concerned about how Williams was going to use the highly-ranked freshman. It’s been a while since the Tar Heels have had a one-and-done prospect.

A couple days later, I think we can say those concerns were overstated. In his second career college game, Little scored 21 points, and had a couple impressive dunks, including this beauty:

Get Kenny Williams some rest

His defense, especially against Wofford, has been fine, but Kenny Williams’ slow start on the offensive end continued against Elon. Williams scored just one point after going for zero on opening night.

On Friday, he went 0-7 from the field, including 0-5 from three. The thing is, he got some good looks, and it’s not like he was just missing wildly and looking bad. The shots just weren’t going down. Between the fact that he had to chase Fletcher McGee around all night on Tuesday, and a semi-short turnaround on Friday, we’ll give him some slack.