banner
Caulton Tudor

Early reality checks hit UNC, ACC

Posted November 20, 2013

Since almost all college basketball teams constantly evolve as the season goes along, there’s only so much that can be read into the eventful first few days of this ACC season.

Nonetheless, we’ve already seen enough to realize that some of those bold preseason predictions for unprecedented league success aren’t likely to be on target.

Here’s why:

  • Belmont 83, UNC 80
  • Indiana State 83, Notre Dame 70
  • Toledo 95, Boston College 92
  • Oregon State 90, Maryland 83
  • Syracuse 56, St. Francis (NY) 50
  • VCU 59, Virginia 56

Taking into account that Carolina, Notre Dame and Virginia all began as top-25 teams with expectations for deep NCAA runs and Boston College (1-3) was seen as a lock to improve last season’s 16-17 record, November thus far has been a stinging reality check.

None of the losses spell doom, but the outcomes do amount to clear indications that the conference’s overall clout hardly is overwhelming.

Even prohibitive league favorite Duke, which lost to powerful Kansas and struggled through Tuesday’s 83-74 win over ECU in Durham, has displayed some early defensive issues.

Paige’s displacement hurting heels

Carolina’s ceiling will rise dramatically with the return of P.J. Hairston and Leslie McDonald.

But since no one is saying when (or even if) that day will arrive, upcoming games against Richmond on Saturday and Alabama-Birmingham (Dec. 1) could be troublesome. Later there are games against Michigan State (Dec. 4), Kentucky (Dec. 14) and Texas (Dec. 18). 

While Hairston’s absence has been the focal point of conversation and conjecture, McDonald’s presence has done almost as much to disrupt the court chemistry. In fact, it’s led to a bona fide calamity.

Without McDonald on the wing, playmaker Marcus Paige has been forced into that role while freshman Nate Britt, who obviously isn’t ready yet, and Luke Davis have assumed Paige’s duties at the point.

Having to use your experienced point-guard at another position is never a good thing and apt to create long-range turmoil.

But without McDonald’s experience and shooting ability, Roy Williams has no choice except to put his best players on the court in patchwork patterns. After all, it’s not as though home-court losses in November are going to be dismissed in February and March.

McDonald’s absence also has resulted in more playing time for sophomore J.P. Tokoto, whose 12 missed free throws against Belmont startled many Tar Heels fans. But again, Williams no doubt understood the risk of having Tokoto on the court in close games. In 35 games last season, he made only 10 of 26 (38.5 percent), but there just are not viable options without McDonald and Hairston.

With Hairston and McDonald, the Heels should be a top-10 team. But without at least one of them in the lineup, any game against an above-average opponent is going to be an adventure.

27 Comments

This blogpost is closed for comments.

Oldest First
View all
  • Chapel Hail Dec 3, 9:13 a.m.

    ... ... ...

    To borrow from an old Caulton Tudor N&O sports headline from back in the day, http://www.wralsportsfan.com/unc/forum_topic/13175695/?d_comments_page=1

  • jabparker4 Nov 21, 10:06 a.m.

    Roy in some ways is lucky that he can use Mcdonald an Hairston as an excuse for this team. Sure if they come back it will help out your backcourt, but lets be honest, neither of the two are that intimidating or dominating. If?when they come back and they still struggle(which they will) the heat will be much hotter on Roy and the average bandwagon holer will see that this team is just not that talented. Lack of talent falls squarely on the shoulders of the coach.

  • tarprint1 Nov 21, 9:25 a.m.

    Wonder when more "LEAKS" will develop over at NC Cheat U ?

  • GunnyGoesBaaaarf Nov 21, 8:22 a.m.

    So when do we figure out if/when the goon squad is return to UNC? I really want to know. Who... View More

    — Posted by Maxxx

    The NCAA isn't allowing them to play while their investigation is on-going for impermissible... View More

    — Posted by Tizu

    I really wonder what's going on with McDonald. Based on the only allegations I've read, he... View More

    — Posted by Ken D.

    I was wondering the same thing, Ken. McDonald was featured in an ad for a mouthpiece by some local dentist. Did he receive big bucks for doing that ad? I think Hairston is gone, and to be honest, that's probably the right thing.

    I hate that Paige, who has worked so hard to hone his skills at the point, is forced to play out of position. That doesn't bode well for the Heels if this is what Roy is forced to do.

  • dsalter Nov 20, 10:21 p.m.

    Opps. I posted the above on the wrong thread. But....congrats anyway Coach Smith. I'm sure Roy's seat is a bit hotter than yours was.

  • dsalter Nov 20, 10:15 p.m.

    Congratulations Coach Smith. A well deserved honor.

  • shadygradyTHEEL Nov 20, 5:51 p.m.

    Johnson is averaging less than 20 minutes per game for the first 3 games (22 against Belmont) and with his athleticism he would have dominated against Belmont.

  • shadygradyTHEEL Nov 20, 5:36 p.m.

    Like last year, why doesn't Roy start his 5 best players. Johnson is better than Meeks, Tokoto or James. He's quick enough to play small forward, big enough to play power forward in college ball anyway, he blocks shots from anywhere, and has an offensive game and can make a foul shot. He also plays with his emotions on his sleeve so to say, which gets the crowd and the other players excited and motivated. He needs the major minutes that the other bigs are getting (period).

  • DEVILS1 Nov 20, 5:19 p.m.

    LET'S GO DEVILS!

  • BlueDeviIs00 Nov 20, 4:05 p.m.

    The only real upset there is the Notre Dame loss (stunning) and the Heels loss (UNC is a fringe NIT team without PJ and McD).

    I could've told you UNC was overrated a month ago. I didn't need to see them lose to Belmont to figure it out.

More...

 

 

  • CBB: North Carolina vs. Ohio State

    Today at 1:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • CBB: UCLA vs Kentucky

    Today at 3:30 pm on WRAL-TV

  • NFL: San Diego at San Francisco

    Tonight at 8:25 on WRAL-TV

  • NFL: Panthers vs. Cleveland

    Monday at 1:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • CBB: UCLA at Kentucky

    Today at 3:15 pm on 99.9 The Fan

  • NFL: Philadelphia at Washington

    Today at 4:25 pm on 620am

  • NHL: Canes vs. NY Rangers

    Tonight at 7:00 on 99.9 The Fan

  • CBB: NC State at West Virginia

    Tonight at 9:30 on WRAL-FM

Scoreboard
Local
Final
PHI 91
CHA 109
1:00pm Today
UNC
OSU
 
4:00pm Today
MVSU
NCCU
 
7:00pm Tonight
UNCW
ECU
 
7:00pm Tonight
CAR
NYR
 
7:00pm Tonight
CHA
UTA
 
9:30pm Tonight
WVU
NCSU
 
Final
PHI 91
CHA 109
Final
ORL 94
UTA 101
Final
CLE 95
BRK 91
Final
BOS 114
MIN 98
Final
DET 100
TOR 110
Final
MIA 103
WAS 105
Final
MEM 97
CHI 103
Final
SAN 119
POR 129
Final
DEN 109
LAC 106
Final
LAL 103
OKC 104
1:00pm Today
NYK
PHO
 
7:00pm Tonight
NOP
POR
 
7:00pm Tonight
CHA
UTA
 
8:00pm Tonight
HOU
ATL
 
8:30pm Tonight
DAL
SAN
 
9:00pm Tonight
DEN
IND
 
10:30pm Tonight
LAC
MIL
 
11:00am Today
LALAF
NEV
2:20pm Today
UTEP
UTST
3:30pm Today
COLST
UTAH
5:45pm Tonight
AFA
WMICH
9:15pm Tonight
BGU
SALABAMA
Final
YOUNG 92
WILB 71
 
Final
TULA 56
JST 49
 
Final
RAD 76
SIENA 66
 
Final
BUCK 88
CASEWEST 65
 
Final
LIB 94
CPNC 65
 
Final
SCAR 68
CLEM 45
Final
CMICH 97
CONC 60
 
Final
MIAMI 44
EKENT 72
Final
GWEBB 91
HIWASSEE 71
 
Final
ODU 60
MDES 43
 
Final
BUF 88
NIAG 62
 
Final
KSU 71
NCAT 57
 
Final
FAM 65
UNF 83
 
Final
NORST 81
NARZ 62
 
Final
DART 58
NILL 55
 
Final
MORE 60
NKENTUCKY 83
 
Final
UCSB 69
SDCHR 46
 
Final
STJ 53
GAELS 47
Final
ALA 69
STILL 49
 
Final
HAMP 66
TENST 54
 
Final
TENN 61
TENT 58
Final
WMARY 86
WSHMD 46
 
Final
MERC 67
COOK 46
 
Final
FLGC 83
FUR 78
 
Final
CALST 49
SDKST 53
 
Final
MTST 68
CHAT 58
Final
NDAK 78
DICKINSON 48
 
Final
LAMON 76
LSUALEX 71
 
Final
PRIN 77
LIP 55
 
Final
LAM 80
MLGN 53
 
Final
MINN 92
SEAT 57
 
Final
LOYC 73
SUTAH 57
 
Final
SELA 81
WINT 71
 
Final
SILL 52
NO 56
 
Final
MARQ 83
ALAAM 49
 
Final
TTU 72
ARKPB 51
 
Final
DEN 84
COLST 85
Final
CREI 75
TXPA 60
 
Final
CAL 78
EWASH 67
Final
UTST 69
IDST 56
 
Final
UTEP 55
ARZ 60
Final
CHAM 63
HAW 94
 
12:00pm Today
GEOR
CHAR
 
12:00pm Today
WKENT
LOU
 
12:00pm Today
MICH
SMU
 
12:00pm Today
CIN
VCU
 
1:00pm Today
BSU
ABCHRIST
 
1:00pm Today
PROV
UMASS
 
1:00pm Today
AMER
MNTER
 
1:00pm Today
UNC
OSU
 
1:00pm Today
IUPUI
SALA
 
1:00pm Today
VILL
SYR
 
1:00pm Today
VT
CITA
 
1:00pm Today
DUQ
MLOWELL
 
1:30pm Today
FAIR
BEL
 
2:00pm Today
YALE
GTDNS
 
2:00pm Today
FD
DEL
 
2:00pm Today
PSU
DREX
 
2:00pm Today
UNCG
ELON
 
2:00pm Today
ILL
MIZZ
 
2:00pm Today
CAMP
MONT
 
2:00pm Today
LONG
PSUBEAVER
 
2:00pm Today
HOU
SCST
 
2:00pm Today
FSU
SFLA
 
2:00pm Today
BING
BONA
 
2:00pm Today
RUTG
RFLSH
 
2:00pm Today
MCNST
TOL
 
2:00pm Today
JVU
TRUETT
 
2:00pm Today
GT
VANDY
 
2:05pm Today
INDST
EILL
 
2:30pm Today
BUT
IND
 
3:00pm Today
STEPH
ARTCH
 
3:00pm Today
OREG
DELST
 
3:00pm Today
Terriers
FATL
 
3:00pm Today
TXARL
HPYN
 
3:00pm Today
KU
LAF
 
3:00pm Today
ARKST
MARS
 
3:00pm Today
MEM
ORU
 
3:00pm Today
KNST
UMBC
 
3:00pm Today
NW
WMICH
 
3:05pm Today
MIZST
EMICH
 
3:05pm Today
CHIST
STJOE
 
3:30pm Today
KENT
UCLA
 
4:00pm Today
COC
DAVID
 
4:00pm Today
RIU
DET
 
4:00pm Today
UCR
HOUB
 
4:00pm Today
MURST
ILLST
 
4:00pm Today
NWST
LALAF
 
4:00pm Today
WAGN
MON
 
4:00pm Today
MVSU
NCCU
 
4:00pm Today
PITT
OU
 
4:00pm Today
TENNM
PBY
 
4:00pm Today
WYO
SOUTH
 
4:00pm Today
AFA
UCD
 
4:00pm Today
MSST
USCU
 
5:00pm Tonight
JMU
HIGH
 
5:00pm Tonight
TXST
HTILL
 
5:00pm Tonight
DRAK
ISU
 
5:00pm Tonight
SHU
UNH
 
5:00pm Tonight
SCU
NE
 
5:00pm Tonight
MSU
TXSOU
 
5:00pm Tonight
UF
WAKE
 
5:15pm Tonight
ND
PURD
 
5:30pm Tonight
SHSU
PVU
 
6:00pm Tonight
AUB
XAV
 
7:00pm Tonight
AKR
BLUFFTON
 
7:00pm Tonight
DAY
BU
 
7:00pm Tonight
UNCW
ECU
 
7:00pm Tonight
CLMB
HOF
 
7:00pm Tonight
GMAS
IONA
 
7:00pm Tonight
TOWS
LAS
 
7:00pm Tonight
MAN
MRGST
 
7:00pm Tonight
CCST
YALE
 
7:00pm Tonight
PEPP
RICH
 
7:00pm Tonight
MAR
STJOE
 
7:00pm Tonight
KYST
TEXAM
 
7:00pm Tonight
MAST
VALPO
 
7:05pm Tonight
UMKC
INCWORD
 
7:30pm Tonight
IDST
CALST
 
7:30pm Tonight
NIOWA
IOWA
 
7:30pm Tonight
SIUE
UWMIL
 
8:00pm Tonight
TEX
LBSU
 
8:00pm Tonight
TCU
TXSA
 
8:30pm Tonight
ARK
SEMIZ
 
9:00pm Tonight
NCOL
JVST
 
9:00pm Tonight
ARST
LEH
 
9:00pm Tonight
NMST
NMU
 
9:00pm Tonight
WASH
OKLA
 
9:00pm Tonight
GRCN
STED
 
9:00pm Tonight
WEBER
WLVRN
 
9:30pm Tonight
WVU
NCSU
 
10:00pm Tonight
SDST
BST
 
10:00pm Tonight
GONZ
CPSL
 
10:00pm Tonight
PAC
FRES
 
10:00pm Tonight
PORT
MNTST
 
10:00pm Tonight
CSNO
TAMCC
 
10:05pm Tonight
UTST
SDKST
 
11:00pm Tonight
BYU
STAN
 
11:30pm Tonight
UNLV
UTAH
 
Final
NJD 3
TAM 2
Final
OTT 6
ANA 2
Final
DET 1
NYI 2
Final
WIN 2
BOS 1
Final
CAL 1
DAL 2
4:00pm Today
LOS
ARI
 
7:00pm Tonight
CLB
CHI
 
7:00pm Tonight
BUF
COL
 
7:00pm Tonight
PIT
FLA
 
7:00pm Tonight
CAR
NYR
 
7:00pm Tonight
MON
OTT
 
7:00pm Tonight
TOR
PHI
 
7:00pm Tonight
NYI
TAM
 
7:00pm Tonight
NJD
WAS
 
8:00pm Tonight
MIN
NAS
 
10:00pm Tonight
VAN
CAL
 
10:30pm Tonight
SJS
STL
 
4:30pm Today
WAS
PHI
8:25pm Tonight
SFX
SDC