Last season, College of Charleston fought hard against the North Carolina Tar Heels. The Cougars led at the half, and were hanging tough with the Tar Heels.
Second half Caleb Love made his first appearance of the season, and a 23-9 run put UNC on the path to victory.
All this to say that CoC is not an early season cupcake. There is still a lot of work to do for Carolina, especially on the offensive side of the ball.
Here are a few things to watch during Friday night’s game in Chapel Hill.
The most impressive part of Monday’s game was the defensive intensity of the Tar Heels. UNCW flatlined through several stretches of the game.
The 2021-22 CAA regular season co-champions and 2022 CBI champions managed just 21 points in the first half and were down by 16 within the first five minutes of the second half.
UNCW was held to just 29.3 percent from the floor. This defensive effort would have ranked as the second-lowest opponent field goal shooting percentage from all of last season.
The Seahawks’ 4 of 16 shooting from beyond the arc would also rank as one of the better performances from the UNC defense when compared to last season.
It was encouraging to see the defensive effort from the Tar Heels, and certainly from off the bench.
How well will Carolina keep up this defensive intensity, especially if the offense gets back on track?
One of the most concerning parts of the UNCW game was the rebounding effort from the Tar Heels.
The Seahawks outrebounded UNC 37-32, and the offensive glass was the difference.
UNCW had 16 offensive rebounds and finished with 14 second-chance points. This is compared to just seven offensive rebounds for UNC and an equal number of second-chance points.
Armanda Bacot had over half of the offensive rebounds for the team, and there was plenty of work to do in the first half with Carolina hitting just 38 percent from the floor.
Pete Nance was marketed as a better rebounder than his three-rebound performance on Monday.
How much was this the first game of the season and how much is this a bigger concern? Let’s keep an eye on this through the end of the month.
Injuries and Roster Updates
In the game versus UNCW, seven Tar Heels played double-digit minutes, with Tyler Nickel and Dontrez Styles also logging minutes off the bench.
Keep an eye on playing times and substitutions on Friday and over the course of the next few games.
Puff Johnson did not dress versus the Seahawks due to a sore knee.
Jalen Washington did dress but was just cleared for 5-on-5 activities.
Johnson was a key substitute during the NCAA Tournament last season, and Washington is billed as the “best shooting big man coming out of high school that I’ve ever seen” by head coach Hubert Davis.
These two are key pieces to this team, so let’s monitor their status in the upcoming days.