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

Please with your WRAL.com account to comment on this story. You also will need a Facebook account to comment.

Oldest First
View all
  • Chapel Hail Dec 3, 2013

    ... ... ...

    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, 2013

    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, 2013

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

  • StunGunn Nov 21, 2013

    View quoted thread


    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, 2013

    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, 2013

    Congratulations Coach Smith. A well deserved honor.

  • shadygradyTHEEL Nov 20, 2013

    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, 2013

    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, 2013

    LET'S GO DEVILS!

  • BlueDeviIs00 Nov 20, 2013

    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...

 

 

  • NFL: Oakland at Kansas City

    Tonight at 8:30 on WRAL-TV

  • Premier League: Leicester vs. Manchester City

    Saturday at 12:30 pm on WRAL-TV

  • PGA: Franklin Templeton Shootout

    Saturday at 1:00 pm on FOX50

  • Golf: PNC Father/Son Challenge

    Saturday at 4:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • CBB: Utah at Xavier

    Saturday at 5:30 pm on FOX50

  • MLS: Seattle at Toronto

    Saturday at 8:00 pm on FOX50

  • Golf: PNC Father/Son Challenge

    Sunday at 3:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • NFL: Dallas at NY Giants

    Sunday at 8:20 pm on WRAL-TV

  • NHL: Canes at Los Angeles

    Tonight at 10:30 on 99.9 The Fan

Top 25
Sat, Dec 10
25
12:00 PT1:00 MT2:00 CT3:00 ET8:00 GMT4:00 北京时间1:00 MST3:00 EST
Preview
Men's College Basketball
7:00 PT8:00 MT9:00 CT10:00 ET3:00 GMT11:00 北京时间8:00 MST10:00 EST
Preview
12
25
5:00 PT6:00 MT7:00 CT8:00 ET1:00 GMT9:00 北京时间6:00 MST8:00 EST
Preview
NFL Scoreboard
Thursday, Dec. 8
Oakland 5:25 PT6:25 MT7:25 CT8:25 ET1:25 GMT9:25 北京时间6:25 MST8:25 EST7:25 CT5:25 UAE (+1)20:25 ETNaN:�
Preview
Kansas City 
Sunday, Dec. 11
Pittsburgh 10:00 PT11:00 MT12:00 CT1:00 ET18:00 GMT2:00 北京时间11:00 MST1:00 EST12:00 CT22:00 UAE13:00 ETNaN:�
Preview
Buffalo 
San Diego 10:00 PT11:00 MT12:00 CT1:00 ET18:00 GMT2:00 北京时间11:00 MST1:00 EST12:00 CT22:00 UAE13:00 ETNaN:�
Preview
Carolina 
Cincinnati 10:00 PT11:00 MT12:00 CT1:00 ET18:00 GMT2:00 北京时间11:00 MST1:00 EST12:00 CT22:00 UAE13:00 ETNaN:�
Preview
Cleveland 
Chicago 10:00 PT11:00 MT12:00 CT1:00 ET18:00 GMT2:00 北京时间11:00 MST1:00 EST12:00 CT22:00 UAE13:00 ETNaN:�
Preview
Detroit 
Houston 10:00 PT11:00 MT12:00 CT1:00 ET18:00 GMT2:00 北京时间11:00 MST1:00 EST12:00 CT22:00 UAE13:00 ETNaN:�
Preview
Indianapolis 
Minnesota 10:00 PT11:00 MT12:00 CT1:00 ET18:00 GMT2:00 北京时间11:00 MST1:00 EST12:00 CT22:00 UAE13:00 ETNaN:�
Preview
Jacksonville 
Arizona 10:00 PT11:00 MT12:00 CT1:00 ET18:00 GMT2:00 北京时间11:00 MST1:00 EST12:00 CT22:00 UAE13:00 ETNaN:�
Preview
Miami 
Washington 10:00 PT11:00 MT12:00 CT1:00 ET18:00 GMT2:00 北京时间11:00 MST1:00 EST12:00 CT22:00 UAE13:00 ETNaN:�
Preview
Philadelphia 
Denver 10:00 PT11:00 MT12:00 CT1:00 ET18:00 GMT2:00 北京时间11:00 MST1:00 EST12:00 CT22:00 UAE13:00 ETNaN:�
Preview
Tennessee 
NY Jets 1:05 PT2:05 MT3:05 CT4:05 ET21:05 GMT5:05 北京时间2:05 MST4:05 EST3:05 CT1:05 UAE (+1)16:05 ETNaN:�
Preview
San Francisco 
Seattle 1:25 PT2:25 MT3:25 CT4:25 ET21:25 GMT5:25 北京时间2:25 MST4:25 EST3:25 CT1:25 UAE (+1)16:25 ETNaN:�
Preview
Green Bay 
Atlanta 1:25 PT2:25 MT3:25 CT4:25 ET21:25 GMT5:25 北京时间2:25 MST4:25 EST3:25 CT1:25 UAE (+1)16:25 ETNaN:�
Preview
Los Angeles 
New Orleans 1:25 PT2:25 MT3:25 CT4:25 ET21:25 GMT5:25 北京时间2:25 MST4:25 EST3:25 CT1:25 UAE (+1)16:25 ETNaN:�
Preview
Tampa Bay 
Dallas 5:30 PT6:30 MT7:30 CT8:30 ET1:30 GMT9:30 北京时间6:30 MST8:30 EST7:30 CT5:30 UAE (+1)20:30 ETNaN:�
Preview
NY Giants 
Monday, Dec. 12
Baltimore 5:30 PT6:30 MT7:30 CT8:30 ET1:30 GMT9:30 北京时间6:30 MST8:30 EST7:30 CT5:30 UAE (+1)20:30 ETNaN:�
Preview
New England 
NBA Scoreboard
Denver 4:00 PT5:00 MT6:00 CT7:00 ET0:00 GMT8:00 5:00 MST7:00 EST4:00 UAE (+1)01:0019:00 ET6:00 CTNaN:�
Preview
Washington 
Minnesota 4:00 PT5:00 MT6:00 CT7:00 ET0:00 GMT8:00 5:00 MST7:00 EST4:00 UAE (+1)01:0019:00 ET6:00 CTNaN:�
Preview
Toronto 
Philadelphia 5:00 PT6:00 MT7:00 CT8:00 ET1:00 GMT9:00 6:00 MST8:00 EST5:00 UAE (+1)02:0020:00 ET7:00 CTNaN:�
Preview
New Orleans 
Portland 5:00 PT6:00 MT7:00 CT8:00 ET1:00 GMT9:00 6:00 MST8:00 EST5:00 UAE (+1)02:0020:00 ET7:00 CTNaN:�
Preview
Memphis 
Golden State 6:00 PT7:00 MT8:00 CT9:00 ET2:00 GMT10:00 7:00 MST9:00 EST6:00 UAE (+1)03:0021:00 ET8:00 CTNaN:�
Preview
Utah 
San Antonio 6:30 PT7:30 MT8:30 CT9:30 ET2:30 GMT10:30 7:30 MST9:30 EST6:30 UAE (+1)03:3021:30 ET8:30 CTNaN:�
Preview
Chicago 
NHL Scoreboard
Colorado 4:00 PT5:00 MT6:00 CT7:00 ET0:00 GMT8:00 北京时间5:00 MST7:00 EST4:00 UAE (+1)19:00 ETNaN:� BRT
Preview
Boston 
St. Louis 4:00 PT5:00 MT6:00 CT7:00 ET0:00 GMT8:00 北京时间5:00 MST7:00 EST4:00 UAE (+1)19:00 ETNaN:� BRT
Preview
NY Islanders 
Edmonton 4:00 PT5:00 MT6:00 CT7:00 ET0:00 GMT8:00 北京时间5:00 MST7:00 EST4:00 UAE (+1)19:00 ETNaN:� BRT
Preview
Philadelphia 
New Jersey 4:30 PT5:30 MT6:30 CT7:30 ET0:30 GMT8:30 北京时间5:30 MST7:30 EST4:30 UAE (+1)19:30 ETNaN:� BRT
Preview
Montreal 
Vancouver 4:30 PT5:30 MT6:30 CT7:30 ET0:30 GMT8:30 北京时间5:30 MST7:30 EST4:30 UAE (+1)19:30 ETNaN:� BRT
Preview
Tampa Bay 
Pittsburgh 4:30 PT5:30 MT6:30 CT7:30 ET0:30 GMT8:30 北京时间5:30 MST7:30 EST4:30 UAE (+1)19:30 ETNaN:� BRT
Preview
Florida 
NY Rangers 5:00 PT6:00 MT7:00 CT8:00 ET1:00 GMT9:00 北京时间6:00 MST8:00 EST5:00 UAE (+1)20:00 ETNaN:� BRT
Preview
Winnipeg 
Nashville 5:30 PT6:30 MT7:30 CT8:30 ET1:30 GMT9:30 北京时间6:30 MST8:30 EST5:30 UAE (+1)20:30 ETNaN:� BRT
Preview
Dallas 
Calgary 6:00 PT7:00 MT8:00 CT9:00 ET2:00 GMT10:00 北京时间7:00 MST9:00 EST6:00 UAE (+1)21:00 ETNaN:� BRT
Preview
Arizona 
Carolina 7:30 PT8:30 MT9:30 CT10:30 ET3:30 GMT11:30 北京时间8:30 MST10:30 EST7:30 UAE (+1)22:30 ETNaN:� BRT
Preview
Los Angeles 
Minor League Baseball
International League
El Paso 4:05 PT5:05 MT6:05 CT7:05 ET12:05 GMT
Scranton/Wilkes-Barre