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Heel Tough Blog: Maui Recap

Brian Spurlock- Getty Images

The Tar Heels fought hard in Asheville in the most unorthodox Maui Tournament in the prestigious preseason tournament. The Tar Heels won their first two games of the tournament to make Wednesday afternoon‘s final against Texas, but unfortunately, the bad luck against the Longhorns reared its ugly head again. Here is our recap of the three day trip to Asheville.


The positives:

*Good starts are important, but so is the ability to overcome a bad start, which is exactly what the Tar Heels did

*Overcoming the sluggish start showed the Heels possess at least some level of mental toughness-mental toughness was an item to watch on our tournament preview

*Four players in double figures-balanced scoring is always good

*Andrew Platek deserves some recognition. Let’s hope Platek can bring that level of play on a consistent basis

The not so positives:

*It was the first time they saw it, but the Heels have to be able to better handle a double team and trap in the post

*21 of 32 for 65% from the charity stripe isn’t going to cut it. It is becoming a concerning theme

*My player of the game-RJ Davis-very efficient game. 5 of 9 from the field, including 3 of 4 from three. 16 points, six rebounds, and only one turnover 


The positives:

*It was a back and forth battle. The Tar Heels found a way to get stops and make plays down the stretch. That was the difference in the game. It was good to see late game execution

*Five players in double figures. Balanced scoring will bode well for the Tar Heels

*Carolina dominated the paint. The Heels won the rebounding battle 43-23, including 15 offensive rebounds 

The not so positives:

*Stanford’s defense was tough, to the point that it set the tone and somewhat dictated the pace of play. I felt Carolina’s offense could have been more aggressive, especially early. Stanford packed the paint, and the Heels passed the ball around the perimeter. I would of liked to seen more penetration

*Turnovers, turnovers, and more turnovers-to the tune of 24. Carolina had 24 turnovers on 72 offensive possessions. Yes, they turned the ball over on a third of their offensive possessions. Turnovers are bad, but live-ball turnovers are worse. Lazy passes led to plenty of live-ball turnovers for Stanford. That will not work vs Iowa and the heart of the ACC. 

*Yep, you guessed it, free throw shooting. 15 of 24 for 62%

My player of the game-Leaky Black-yes his four turnovers were frustrating, but Leaky had 10 points and seven rebounds.  The 10 points came on 3 of 5 shooting, including a crucial late game basket to give the Heels a three point lead and a game sealing free throw. Leaky also played lockdown defense on Ziaire Williams. 


The positives:

*The second half-the start, the inside game

*Overall fight-the Heels got punched in the mouth and fought back-great sign for a young team 

*Owning the boards. The Heels out rebounded Texas 50-32

The not so positives:

*Another sluggish start. The team is young, but poor starts will not bode well in the ACC

*First half defense-confusion and indecisiveness led to wide open threes for the Longhorns 

*Late game offensive indecision-someone will need to step up and command the ball 

*Still turnovers. The Heels have to show more care for possessing the basketball. It is hard to score and have offensive continuity when turnovers are high 

*Free throws and shooting from three. Respectively, the Heels shot 18 of 32 for 56% and 1 of 9 for 11%

My player of the game-Garrison Brooks. Brooks had 18 points and seven rebounds. 

What did we learn from Maui?

*Carolina has to find a way for better starts.

*Healthy Anthony Harris or not, RJ Davis is quickly putting a stranglehold on being a permanent face of the backcourt

*The Tar Heels should have an inside advantage against almost every team they will face. They need to continue dominating the boards, using it to create offense 

*It is likely this team could be led by a different player each night. That shows the depth of this team 

*We are only four games in. The team is learning and growing, there will continue to be pains along the way

The Tar Heels return to action vs the #3 Iowa Hawkeyes on December 8th. 

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