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UNC 95, Wake Forest 57: Three Things Learned

A blowout victory was exactly what the Tar Heels needed ahead of their biggest game of the year

NCAA Basketball: North Carolina at Wake Forest Nell Redmond-USA TODAY Sports

It's hard to learn anything from a game that is over in the first 5 minutes. That said, ahead of the first edition of the biggest rivalry in college sports, there are some things that were solidified about this UNC team.

1. Cam Johnson is healthy

This was covered in our player of the game article, so it will suffice to say here that there are no concerns about Cam Johnson's ankle after he rolled it against Virginia. He came back to that game, but didn't look himself and it was fair to wonder if he would need some time before being fully comfortable on both feet. Not only did he pour in buckets against Wake, he was moving around like the old Cam: getting free off of screens, creating space for his jump shot, and slashing when necessary. He looks to have all of his newfound explosion back and generally seems to be 100% ahead of UNC's trek to Durham.

2. This UNC team is really good on the road

This victory was at unc's third on the road in ACC play by 20 or more points. That's the first time UNC has had three such conference road winds in its history, which is absurd. The Tar Heels have had a favorable schedule so far, but they are as of now undefeated on the road and we're in the middle of February. in the ACC, that's impressive no matter who you're playing. There seem to be a couple of reasons for this: first, that UNC senior leadership, even if not taking over like we want them to sometimes, are very, very good in the locker room. This team seldom looks rattled in hostile environments; every time they have looked out of sorts it's been of their own doing. I can only imagine this is due to good preparation on the part of the youngsters that comes from the mentorship of the older guys. And I guess playing true road games and non-conference doesn't hurt, either. That Wofford game to open the season just keeps looking better (Though with media reports that Joel Coliseum was 75% Tar Heel blue, calling this a road game may be a stretch). And again, this is great news ahead of UNC traveling to Durham and its likely toughest environment yet.

3. Coby White is in his comfort zone

We are all too familiar with Coby White's heroics as of late; I still haven't totally picked my jaw up after his performance against Miami to save the Heels from a debilitating conference loss. But obviously, that kind of scoring performance can't be expected every game, and, while we knew White could score when he got to Chapel Hill, there were still questions about how he would adjust to the system and to being a pure point guard who was required to facilitate as well as score. That's part of why Miami was so impressive, because he dished out 6 assists in addition to the scoring explosion. He definitely struggled at it in the beginning of the year, but showed signs of getting more and more acclimated as the season went on and is now at a healthy 4.3 assists per game for the whole season and 4.5 in conference. He was helped at first by the emergence of Kenny Williams as a passer, and the latter frequently led the Heels in assists while White was getting his facilitator legs under him. As of this game, though, he's taking the mantle fully. He led UNC with 6 assists against the Deacs and is averaging 5.5 assists per game over his last 8, coinciding with UNC's brilliant run since the first Louisville game. If he can maintain this level of passing through the rest of the season, UNC's going to be playing for a while.