There wasn’t a great chance Carolina was going to win yesterday, but that percentage was lessened when it was announced that Garrison Brooks and Justin Pierce weren’t going to play. The absence of Brooks’ forced Roy Williams to use his NINTH different starting lineup, easily the most since he returned to Chapel Hill. Cole Anthony is the most talented player on this team, but Garrison Brooks is the best player, and without him they have almost no chance of winning.
That’s exactly what happened, because once Louisville settled in it was very evident who the better team was. Jordan Nwora posted a double double, and when he plays the way he played yesterday, Louisville is a legit threat to cut down the nets the first Monday night in April. Cole Anthony led the Tar Heels with 18 points, but was only 7-16 from the field. Anthony was the only player to score in double figures. The most discouraging part, was that the Cardinals completely controlled the glass, and didn’t allow Carolina to get second chances on the offensive end. For the game Carolina shot just 39%, compared to 47% for the hosting team.
It was the 7th straight loss for the Tar Heels, and it’s becoming clear they’ll be playing on Tuesday in the ACC tournament for the first time since the event moved to 5 days. It’s also becoming evident that Roy Williams will have his first losing season as a head coach, a season that has worn the Hall of Fame head coach very weary. Three things to take away from the road loss:
1. Lack of Offensive Cohesiveness: This isn’t anyone’s fault, because every time you turn around another guy is out, this is bound to happen. The team has never got a chance to learn where every player wants the basketball, and what they do best offensively. It’s rare that we’re in late February and we still don’t have a lineup that you feel like you can win with, but here we are. There’s no fixing this issue either, until the season ends and everyone gets healthy for summer ball.
2. Didn’t Rebound: The only chance Carolina had to win the game, was to control the glass. That didn’t happen. Louisville did a great job keeping the Tar Heels off the offensive glass, which allowed them to control the pace of the game. It wasn’t long ago that Roy Williams mentioned he didn’t think his team was at good at rebounding as the numbers suggested. It appears that Ol’ Roy knew what he talking about.
3. Turnovers: In addition to the lack of rebounding, turnovers showed up in a big way once again. There were three times Carolina simply lost the basketball, as they appeared to be a team shook. Louisville played with great intensity and physicality on the defensive end, which bothered the Tar Heels. The turnovers are also apart of the lack of offensive continuity, which won’t be fixed this season.
Up Next: Carolina returns home as they’ll host NC State, ironically the last team they beat. The game will tip off at 9 pm on ESPN.