As is the case more often than not, Theo Pinson didn’t score the most points in North Carolina’s win Monday night. However, he was absolutely instrumental to the Tar Heels’ win against Notre Dame. Pinson turned in another double-double performance to help Carolina cap off their third win in five days.
It’s a surprise to no one who has paid close attention to the Tar Heels the last several weeks that UNC plays better when Pinson is on the floor. In the win against Duke on Thursday, Pinson expertly guarded Marvin Bagley to contain the freshman big man. Theo’s fourth foul against the game against NC State in Chapel Hill marked the beginning of UNC’s downfall in that game. Pinson going out with an injury in the second minute at Clemson seemed to have an obvious impact on the result.
The senior has been remarkable this season, and he continued that excellence on Monday against the Fighting Irish. Pinson’s 16 points were second on the team behind only Joel Berry II. Theo was the only Tar Heel to make it into double figures in rebounding with 10 boards. He also dished out a team-high five assists.
It may be a bit unfair how overshadowed Theo has been by Luke Maye’s emergence this season, although Luke deserves all the praise for the year he’s having, but games like the one against Notre Dame serve as a reminder that Pinson is having one hell of a senior season. He has finally become the player we were all waiting on him to be in Carolina blue, even if he isn’t a consistent scoring threat. Theo doesn’t have to be. What he has brought defensively has been huge, and when he contributes offensively as well like he did against ND he becomes even more indispensable.