If you only watched the first couple minutes of this game and went to bed happy, you’re having a better night than the rest of us. Unfortunately, everything fell apart for the Tar Heels after a successful start, and what unraveled was a fairly embarrassing loss that was salvaged a tiny bit at the end.
The final score doesn’t necessarily accurately reflect how dire things got for UNC. Roy Williams sat every starter for considerable minutes, stemming from what we can only assume was tremendous disappointment in their effort and execution. Carolina shot just 39% from the field for the game after starting off at a 69% clip. That’s how precipitously things fell off a cliff.
Michigan made 50% of their shots from distance, sinking 11 of their 22 shots. Carolina made just seven of theirs with most of them coming from Kenny Williams late in the second half. It was good to see Kenny finally find his shot a bit, but it’s unfortunate that it had to come in such an ugly overall performance.
The seniors, particularly, came up small in this game. Cameron Johnson, Luke Maye, and Williams combined for 27 points with 11 each coming from Maye and Williams. Maye might have had the quietest double-double known to man, possibly because the lasting image of him in this game was his repeatedly poor defense. Coby White and Garrison Brooks also finished in double figures with 12 and 10 points, respectively.
You know it’s a bad time when Roy Williams calls a timeout. When that didn’t work and his team was floundering, he decided it was time to sit his starters. Yes, that contributed to the final margin being what it was, but the coach likely felt it was his last card to play when it comes to getting his message across. Williams has kept his team in the locker room for nearly the maximum amount of time for the last four games running. You can imagine what those speeches have been like. Yet, the same issues keep happening over and over.
There are likely a lot of people who won’t agree with Roy’s methodology here. However, we all know that Roy plays for March and not November. If he has to lose a November game that would have likely been lost either way with the way his team was playing, he’s going to do it in order to get his players where they need to be down the stretch. They did show some signs of life after their time as spectators, but the final step is seeing those lessons learned for next game.
UNC’s bench, to put it mildly, was awful. They were hung out to dry a little bit against a very good team with the starters struggling, but there was just no effectiveness to be found. The team as a whole committed just 10 turnovers, which isn’t awful, but their defense was pretty putrid throughout the game. That made their offensive woes feel even worse.
Here is a good summation of those woes:
From the 12 minute mark in the first half to the 12 minute mark in the second half, UNC's seniors combined for four points. Score swung 31 points in Michigan's favor in that 20 minutes.— matt ferenchincense (@MattF15) November 29, 2018
Michigan is a very good team deserving of their high ranking. Carolina did a good job of making them look even better than that tonight. The schedule does not get easier from here. How the team responds to getting out-played this way will be telling.
They’ll have to wait a week, though. UNC isn’t back in action until December 5th against UNCW. I don’t envy them between now and then.