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Heel Tough Blog: Miami Recap

The San Diego Union-Tribune

With first place on the line in the ACC, Carolina turned in arguably their worst performance of the 2021-22 season, so far, in a lopsided 85-57 loss at Miami. The loss drops Carolina to 12-5 on the season, and they are 4-2 in ACC play. The 28 point margin of defeat is the largest ever to Miami, the 11 largest in program history in ACC play, and the third time this season they have lost by 17 points. UNC started the game with a 5-2 spurt, before being out-scored 47-17 the rest of the first half. That 27 points halftime deficit, tied for the largest in the history of Carolina Basketball. The Tar Heels shot just 34% from the field and committed 14 turnovers, which were converted into 30 Hurricanes points. Hubert Davis tried calling timeouts, to no avail, as his team was once again non-competitive on the road. Miami had three players score at least 20 points, led by Isaiah Wong’s 25 points. For the record, Carolina had just one player score double figures (Armando Bacot).

This is starting to become a trend, of the wrong variety, as seemingly every time Carolina leaves Chapel Hill, they fall apart. UNC has road wins at the College of Charleston, Georgia Tech, and Boston College. The most impressive road win might be the one at Charleston, which isn’t saying much, for a team that entered the season with ACC title aspirations.

Hubert Davis said all summer long that the transition from assistant to head coach, was smooth, but he’s learning otherwise now that the games have started to count. His frustrations aren’t as visible as his mentors were, but you can tell by his facial expressions, and hear it in his voice, how disappointed he is in not getting the best out of the team consistently. While we’re all board with the first-year head coach, if UNC doesn’t turn this around sooner or later, missing the NCAA Tournament isn’t out of the question:

  1. Turnovers: When you turn the basketball over 14 times, and the opponent scores 30 points off those turnovers, chances are you aren’t going to win the game. Factor in only forcing 4 turnovers of the opposition, and scoring just 5 points, it makes it almost impossible. Miami entered the game, forcing the most turnovers of any ACC team, and they lived up to their reputation. Their physicality overwhelmed Carolina and took them completely out of the game. It’s going to be hard to win, when your three best players, Armando Bacot, Caleb Love, and R.J. Davis commit 10 turnovers.

  2. Shot Selection: Of Carolina’s 65 shot attempts, 30 of them were behind the arc, and despite the team entering the game as the 6th best three-point shooting team in the country, that’s not a recipe for success. The Tar Heels got caught up in the early avalanche of triples made by Miami and settled for one bad shot after another, in what is easily the worst offensive performance of the season.

  3. Defense: It’s hard to even gauge just how bad Carolina was defensively, when you look at the turnovers, and the missed long shots, that led to easy offense. But when you only force 4 turnovers, it’s easy to believe that your energy, effort, and toughness, weren’t at the level required to win road games in the ACC.

  4. Armando Bacot: Shortly after being named the National Player of the Week, Mando recorded his 8th straight double-double, with 15 points on 6-9 shooting, to go along with 12 rebounds. Why Carolina wasn’t able to utilize him better, will remain a mystery, but Bacot the only Tar Heel ready to play tonight. He suffered a fall late in the second half that forced him to leave the game, Hubert Davis said on the Tar Heel Sports Network postgame he anticipates Bacot being ready to go for Saturday night.

Up Next: It’s another road game for the Tar Heels, as they travel to Winston-Salem on Saturday night, to take on Wake Forest in another edition, of the Big Four rivalry.

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