The Tar Heels' NCAA Tournament hopes continue to get more and more bleak, as they
dropped their second straight game following a two game winning streak that provided some hope.
For the second consecutive game, the Tar Heels struggled shooting the basketball, knocking down just 30.9% of their 68 shot attempts. The low point came in the eleven minute stretch where the Tar Heels failed to score a field goal, going a stunning 0-17 from the field during that stretch. That stretch was the second time this season that the Tar Heels have missed fifteen or more consecutive shots, something that was nearly unheard of under Roy Williams entering this season. These shooting struggles, though, have become the expectation of this offense, especially when Cole Anthony has been on the floor.
The key here is to understand exactly what I’m trying to say here. I’m not trying to say that Cole Anthony is the reason this offense is struggling. Do I think that this offense had become more effective with Anthony off the floor? Yes, but Anthony isn’t the only reason why. While I think we can all agree that there are times that Anthony is just trying to do too much by himself, that is in large part because of how stagnant this offense becomes when Anthony is on the floor. The movement without the basketball has seen a considerable drop off in the last two games, as the Tar Heels seem content with going isolation basketball and let Anthony handle the bulk of the responsibility, something that they need to realize is not the most effective way for this team to win games. While Anthony is a talented player, he just hasn’t been efficient enough to warrant this being the style of offense this team needs to run.
In order for this team to return to form that we saw during that mini three game stretch of offensive success, the ball needs to go through the post to create easy scoring opportunities. While the team has struggled in the last two games to finish at the rim, the perimeter shooting hasn’t been any better, especially with Brandon Robinson off the floor. Running the offense through Garrison Brooks and Armando Bacot had gotten this team in the rhythm they needed and they need to get back to that as soon as possible to close the season with any hopes of making the NCAA Tournament.
-According to Adrian Atkinson, one of the stat gurus on social media, pointed out the fact that the Tar Heels entered Monday night’s game shooting around 55% on layup opportunities at the rim this season, a number that, if it holds, would be the worst in a single season under Roy Williams. Those struggles continued on Monday night, as the Tar Heels were just 9 or 21 on layup opportunities. When the Tar Heels have gotten the opportunities, they haven’t been able to finish them, something that has to chance for this team to start putting wins in the win column.
-The Tar Heels were out rebounded 43-37 on Monday night. While Florida State has the size once again this season, they still entered the game averaging just a little over 33 rebounds per game. If there is a year where the Tar Heels must dominate on the glass to win, it’s this year, and that simply didn’t happen on Monday night.
-There was a bright spot for the Tar Heels on Monday night in the form of graduate senior Christian Keeling. In 18 minutes of action, Keeling scored 14 points on 5-10 from the field. Keeling has had his struggles this year, but it looks as if he’s beginning to find his game, something that has become extremely important with Robinson’s injury.