For the second consecutive game, Carolina not only lost top a top 10 team, they failed to score 50 in the process. Virginia outlasted the visiting Tar Heels, 56-47 in the defensive struggle we all expected. Armando Bacot fought through a sprained ankle, but even his presence wasn't enough to lift the lifeless Carolina offense tonight. The numbers for the offense wasn't pretty today as they shot: 37% from the field, 7% from behind the three point line, and 55% from the free throw stripe.The most frustrating stat was that the Cavaliers won the rebounding margin, 37-32 making this the second consecutive game this team has been out-rebounded. Simply put, this team isn't good enough to win with those numbers, no matter the opponent. Cole Anthony led the way in scoring, with just 12 points on 4-15 shooting. It appears he's going through the annual growing pains a freshman point guard has under Roy Williams, the problem is right now there isn't enough production elsewhere to offset his growing pains. Anthony Harris and Jeremiah Francis both made their season debuts today, so while there appears to be help on the way, we need to give those guys time to adjust to the college level.
We knew once the calendar turned to December, it was going to be a tough month for this team. I just don't think we expected it to be this frustrating so quickly. There are way too many questions than answers for the Hall of Fame head coach, who's patience is running thin already. The irony about losses are that they help you learn about your team, here's what we learned from the loss at UVA:
1. Cole's Struggling but Needs Help: The frustration is clear on the head coach, and the point guard who's essentially a extension of the head coach when on the floor. Anthony announced himself to the college basketball world in the season opener, but has had his issues on both ends of the floor. His frustration has led to him arguing with officials, and more importantly allowing his effort to wane. With that said, the young man needs help. Brandon Robinson has returned, and hasn't provided what we expected him too coming into the season. Christian Keeling has zero confidence in his ability, and has become a liability when on the court. Those guys absolutely have to pick their play up, especially while Harris & Francis adjust to the college game.
2. Stagnant Offense: You can look at all the shooting numbers and easily see why this is a issue, but also consider this stat: Carolina only had 6 assists on it's 17 made baskets. That means that there is nobody creating for others, when they have the basketball. That's not Carolina Basketball. That;s not the way this great game should be played. Somehow Roy Williams has to find a way to breathe some life into his offense, as they've failed to score over 80 points or shoot 50% from the floor this season.
3. Lack of Floor Balance on Defensive End: This showed up in the Ohio State lost, but became prevalent in the game today. When Carolina stayed in man to man defense, Virginia had little success scoring the rock. When they allowed the initial penetration to suck in the entire defense, it opened up the Cavaliers offense. Too many times Kihei Clark simply drove the lane, drew in multiple defenders to kick out to a open shooter for a three pointer. It would be different if it was only the young players making this simple mistake, but it's the veterans as well. We know this team won't play zone, so the guys have to be more aware of their position on the floor, and know when its appropriate to leave their man to play help defense.
Up Next: It's exam week on the campus so their won't be a game again until next Sunday, when Wofford visits Chapel Hill. This will be a unique home game as the game will be played in Carmichael Arena. It will be the first home regular season game in Carmichael since 1986. The game will tip at 4 with ACC Network once again carrying the broadcast.