Fair warning: if you’re looking for in depth analysis that includes how players did on a detailed level, how schemes functioned, and maybe even a deep dive into some stats, you may leave this recap unsatisfied. If you turn away now, I’ll completely understand, and I hope you enjoy the rest of your Saturday.
Readers that decided to stay, hello.
Following a game that gave us a very promising 38 minutes of basketball, the Tar Heels came out and laid an egg against the Pitt Panthers. The really interesting thing here is there’s not one or two things that I can point to about where the Heels struggled. It was everything. No, really, it was everything. If we really want to be technical, the Heels’ ability to rebound was better than Pitt’s, but that also can be attributed to how many shots they missed and how many second chance opportunities they got...that also missed. Aside from that? Everything was basically terrible, and I really don’t know what to say.
Pitt was the aggressor on both sides of the ball, and they played like a team that smelled blood. Usually in home-and-home games both teams make adjustments that point to each team finding things they could do better, but UNC somehow regressed in every facet. What’s terrible about it is I couldn’t tell you how much of it is injuries (Jeremiah Francis just now coming back, B-Rob fresh off an accident, Cole Anthony, all of the ankle injuries that never truly go away in a season, etc.), and how much of it is just not being very good in general. All we know is this: Pitt was the better team today, and it wasn’t even close.
It’s been known ever since Cole Anthony went down that the best players remaining on the court are in the post, and teams have done a very good job of shutting that down more than not. Amazingly, Brooks and Bacot combined for 28 points, but considering what we’ve seen both of them do at times this season, that still feels sub-par. The Panthers did a good job double-teaming the post due to the fact that they know the Heels don’t really know what to do outside of the paint, as was evident by the 22.2% three-point percentage. What helps prevent such a heavy amount of double-teaming transpiring? Having Cole Anthony back. That’s it. That’s the list.
If we’re being really honest with ourselves, nothing is going to even remotely get better at this point until Cole Anthony returns. To be more specific, Cole Anthony is the only chance that this team has of finishing above .500 and putting up a fight in the ACC Tournament to finish out the year. The NCAA Tournament hopes only exist through an ACC Tournament victory, and if we’re being extremely honest, that will be a Herculean task that I’m not sure this team is built for. We’ll have to see how things play out the rest of the way, but next up is Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, and we all know that environment will be ready to make things somehow worse for the Heels than the Zoo was.
P.S., if you really wanted more detailed analysis of the game, here is a graphic that explains it all.
Please come back soon, Cole. We miss you.