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UNC vs. Lehigh: Three Things to Watch

A Sunday afternoon tune-up.

NCAA Basketball: Radford at North Carolina Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

The North Carolina Tar Heels had fans uneasy during the first half versus Radford, but settled everyone down with a solid second half performance.

Sunday’s game versus Lehigh should be a chance to put new players and the renewed focus on tempo on display. Nothing beats live action, so head coach Hubert Davis must take advantage of this opportunity to improve the team.

Here are a few things to watch during the Sunday matinee at the Smith Center.

Tempo without Turnovers

UNC committed eight of their 11 turnovers in the first half against Radford. One of the biggest reasons for this number was Davis’s emphasis on tempo.

Perhaps this is one of those games in which the team sees just how fast they can run. There may be some more turnovers, but as long as it does not risk the game, it could be good to test the limits.

As mentioned in other articles after the Radford game, it was refreshing to see this style of game played again. Let’s see how it progresses over the next few games.

Depth and Minutes

Another point of optimism for this season is the quality depth of this team. The combination of transfers and youngsters will give this team a chance to flourish down the stretch.

Cormac Ryan led all players with 31 minutes, while the other four starters played at least 21 minutes each.

Four players off the bench logged at least 10 minutes of playing time, which is certainly encouraging.

The key in the early season is finding the right combinations and getting the team used to each other on the floor.

Could there be more interesting combinations tomorrow? Will Davis use players like Seth Trimble and Jae’lyn Withers in specific situations to see how they adjust? Will there be combinations on the floor that could reflect future situations with injuries or foul trouble?

And get Jalen Washington more minutes!

Free Throws

Shew, that was not pretty the other night. Carolina was just 65.2 percent from the free throw line versus Radford. That mark would have been the sixth-worst percentage last season.

With the opportunities Harrison Ingram will get in transition and on the floor, he must improve his shooting. RJ Davis, the best free throw shooter on the team, did not have an opportunity at the line in Monday’s game. As was repeated often last season, Davis must drive and create those chances for free throws. Let’s watch this during the season.