Monday, January 12, 2009

Soft Tar Heels Need to Learn Defense

To shoot 35% from the field and still score 89 points in a college game is quite amazing. North Carolina got to the free throw line and hit the offensive glass to help offset their bad shooting night.

You'd think that scoring 89 points would be enough. It isn't when you allow 92.

That's what angers me. The Heels have shown the world that (again) they are soft. This team is made up of the same players that wet their pants when Georgetown made their comeback on UNC in the 2007 Elite Eight. They are the same team that fed into a Kansas beatdown in the 2008 Final Four. When the going gets rough, the Heels wilt.

That isn't entirely fair to say. The 2007 Heels couldn't win a close game all year. The 2008 Heels did an outstanding job changing that up. They held their own in close games against Clemson, Duke, Louisville, Virginia, Boston College and against Virginia Tech in the ACC tournament. The 2009 Heels spent the first seven weeks going untested. Now they are 0-2 in ACC play ... or 0-2 against the teams that aren't afraid of them.

In both games, the Heels allowed the opponent to get wide open threes. They also got into the paint, got to the line and were allowed to do anything they wanted on the offensive end. When the Heels tried to mount comebacks, they used poor shot selection (why is Ty Lawson shooting fade-away jumpers?) and keep turning the ball over.

Against both BC and Wake Forest, the Heels have been pushed out of the paint. Tyler Hansbrough has so much faith in his perimeter game that he doesn't fight for the inside position he used to. Deon Thompson doesn't do enough to keep his position. So now Carolina is forced to take tougher shots than they have been used to getting.

I said it after the BC game: the Heels have the best team in the nation. The problem is that sometimes they thing that is enough to win.

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