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.

Newest First
View all
  • I am not who you think I am Nov 20, 12:35 p.m.

    not sure how VCU beating VA is a reality check they've been ranked above them all year.

  • Maxxx Nov 20, 1:09 p.m.

    So when do we figure out if/when the goon squad is return to UNC? I really want to know. Who can answer me? The NCAA? Roy? Are they still investigating? Did I miss something? All the cards are on the table... Someone needs to make up their mind.

  • ghhelms78 Nov 20, 1:09 p.m.

    This is nothing that most observers don't already realize. Teams always struggle the most with playing defense as a unit. It takes a great deal of time for players to adjust to the expectations of having to play defense. Anyone can throw the ball at the basket, but getting down, moving your feet, and gaining experience to anticipate the opponent's next move is something most did not have to do in High School. VCU is always ready to play. That was no surprise. UNC and DUKE have weaknesses which will be addressed by the coaches. Sometimes, a good beating helps to understand that defense is a must. Let them play and talk about it in February.

  • Tizu Nov 20, 1:20 p.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 benefits. If Roy had his way, they'd both be starting right now.

  • Honesty first Nov 20, 1:28 p.m.

    The NCAA approved Cam to play for Auburn within hours of his suspension. I guess the SEC does have pull in the NCAA since that is where Emmert came from.

    How about giving other schools the same attention and time to decision. Think Miami and the months/years they waited.

  • Ken D. Nov 20, 1:37 p.m.

    The NCAA approved Cam to play for Auburn within hours of his suspension. I guess the SEC does... View More

    — Posted by Honesty first

    Mark Emmert came to the NCAA from the University of Washington, which was also his alma mater. He had previous employment at LSU and UConn, among other schools.

    Why are we so quick to assume that everybody will be biased in favor of one school when they take on a new job that involves many schools? Is it because we, ourselves, would behave that way?

  • Maxxx Nov 20, 1:41 p.m.

    The NCAA approved Cam to play for Auburn within hours of his suspension. I guess the SEC does... View More

    — Posted by Honesty first

    Exactly. If they were going to be able to play this year, they would either be playing now, or we would know there is a 5-8 game suspension, etc...

    The fact that they have said nothing about when the suspension is up leads me to believe that they will sit the entire season. But we are talking about Carolina (the college team with the most bandwagon fans in the the nation) so I won't hold my breath.

  • Chapel Hail Nov 20, 1:42 p.m.

    ... ... ...

    uh, nice try Carlton, trying to equate the Heels' embarrassing loss to Belmont to some other minor ACC setbacks, get real, truly you cannot be serious.

  • Jewelry-EricLeak Nov 20, 1:47 p.m.

    The NCAA approved Cam to play for Auburn within hours of his suspension. I guess the SEC does... View More

    — Posted by Honesty first

    Exactly. If they were going to be able to play this year, they would either be playing now, or... View More

    — Posted by Maxxx

    The "bandwagon award" goes to Duke, by a mile. Speaking of Duke, when is Coach K gonna come clean about Myron Piggy, the police record of JJ Reddick and the jewelry bills of his players?

  • Ken D. Nov 20, 1:53 p.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 should be back on the court already. His alleged transgression, to the extent there was one, is pretty minor stuff. There has to be something else there.

    I think Hairston's probably toast, but McDonald's return would make a huge difference if it means getting Paige back at the point where he belongs.

More...

 

 

  • NFL: Chicago at Detroit

    Thursday at 12:30 pm on WRAL-TV

  • NFL: Philadelphia at Dallas

    Thursday at 4:00 pm on FOX50

  • SEC: Arkansas at Missouri

    Friday at 2:30 pm on WRAL-TV

  • HSFB: Football Friday with Tom Suiter

    Friday at 11:35 pm on WRAL-TV

  • NFL: Baltimore at New Orleans

    Tonight at 9:00 on 99.9 The Fan

  • CBB: Duke vs. Furman

    Wednesday at 5:00 pm on 620am

  • CBB: NC State vs. Richmond

    Wednesday at 7:00 pm on WRAL-FM

  • NHL: Hurricanes at Florida

    Wednesday at 7:30 pm on 99.9 The Fan

Scoreboard
Local
Final
CREI 65
NCCU 45
 
Final
NCSU 68
SFLA 65
Final
MIA 94
CHA 93
12:00pm Today
UWGB
ECU
 
7:00pm Tonight
CHA
LAC
 
Final
MIA 94
CHA 93
Final
MEM 107
LAC 91
Final
BOS 88
POR 94
Final
OKC 86
GSW 91
Final
LAL 94
DEN 101
7:00pm Tonight
CHA
LAC
 
7:00pm Tonight
CLE
ORL
 
7:00pm Tonight
PHI
POR
 
7:30pm Tonight
TOR
PHO
 
8:00pm Tonight
HOU
NYK
 
8:30pm Tonight
DAL
IND
 
9:00pm Tonight
UTA
CHI
 
Final
GMAS 60
COC 61
Final
FSU 69
UMASS 75
Final
SHSU 53
WOFF 64
Final
UNCG 67
YOUNG 76
Final
CMICH 75
ARKPB 43
 
Final
ILLCH 60
SILL 67
Final
MORE 46
AMER 51
Final
CORN 59
DREX 61
Final
CCST 60
COOK 65
Final
ARKLR 94
CSNO 88
Final
LEH 44
CLMB 54
 
Final
USB 89
MERMAR 54
 
Final
NMU 51
TEXAM 64
Final
STLU 56
TAMCC 62
 
Final
FAIR 80
SD 72
Final
EMICH 79
LONG 48
Final
ND 74
PROV 75
Final
RAD 88
CATAWBA 52
 
Final
DEN 80
COPST 54
 
Final
UAB 58
JST 50
 
Final
WICHS 105
NWM 57
Final
OKLA 90
NWST 68
Final
KSU 59
YALE 66
Final
CREI 65
NCCU 45
 
Final
NCSU 68
SFLA 65
Final
UCR 102
STKAT 49
 
Final
PSU 63
USC 61
Final
HC 101
NICHOLSCOL 70
 
Final
BC 53
DAY 65
Final
MON 75
TOWS 79
Final
HOF 93
WAGN 71
 
Final
CIN 54
EILL 49
Final
UGA 74
FATL 61
Final
BRAD 58
NCAT 50
 
Final
LATU 76
PBY 48
Final
RUTG 76
Terriers 73
 
Final
SAMF 64
UMKC 55
Final
NAVY 70
BING 68
Final
SHU 85
GWEBB 67
Final
UNT 58
IONA 78
Final
KENT 86
MNTST 28
Final
FORD 57
MLOWELL 64
 
Final
UCF 76
USCU 69
 
Final
SCAR 63
AKR 68
Final
WVU 78
UCONN 68
Final
CALST 70
DEL 52
 
Final
HOW 78
HOOD 51
 
Final
OSU 106
SHU 48
Final
VANDY 78
TENST 46
Final
NE 65
MAN 51
Final
COLST 75
MERC 62
Final
MISS 80
NARZ 74
Final
WASH 76
PAC 69
Final
LMU 82
SDCHR 60
 
Final
CHAR 58
MIAMI 77
Final
GAELS 72
UCI 69
Final
ILLST 64
ODU 45
Final
UCLA 77
LBSU 63
Final
SEAT 62
MONT 66
 
12:00pm Today
UWGB
ECU
 
1:30pm Today
WEBER
NEV
 
2:30pm Today
FRES
EVAN
 
2:30pm Today
KYST
PURD
 
4:00pm Today
LSU
CLEM
 
4:00pm Today
ALCOR
DILL
 
4:30pm Today
CHIST
UGST
 
4:30pm Today
DET
MDES
 
5:00pm Tonight
ARZ
MIZZ
 
5:30pm Tonight
INDST
PEAY
 
6:00pm Tonight
FLGC
MAR
 
6:00pm Tonight
LALAF
UWMIL
 
6:30pm Tonight
ODU
GWEBB
 
7:00pm Tonight
MD
ARST
 
7:00pm Tonight
TOL
BUCK
 
7:00pm Tonight
JMU
COL
 
7:00pm Tonight
WINT
ETST
 
7:00pm Tonight
GSOUT
FIU
 
7:00pm Tonight
BST
GRAM
 
7:00pm Tonight
APP
HAMP
 
7:00pm Tonight
MAST
JVU
 
7:00pm Tonight
XAV
MURST
 
7:00pm Tonight
WAKE
NICST
 
7:00pm Tonight
MSU
SCU
 
7:00pm Tonight
LOU
SAV
 
7:00pm Tonight
TENT
SELA
 
7:00pm Tonight
VCU
VILL
 
7:00pm Tonight
OU
WCU
 
7:30pm Tonight
IND
EWASH
 
8:00pm Tonight
ILL
BRO
 
8:00pm Tonight
MSST
CLAYST
 
8:00pm Tonight
BEL
LIP
 
8:00pm Tonight
TCU
MVSU
 
8:00pm Tonight
IOWA
PEPP
 
8:00pm Tonight
MEM
PVU
 
8:00pm Tonight
KU
RIDE
 
8:00pm Tonight
BAY
STEPH
 
8:00pm Tonight
INCWORD
A
 
8:30pm Tonight
USF
HAW
 
8:30pm Tonight
OKST
ORST
 
9:00pm Tonight
WYO
FAM
 
9:00pm Tonight
MARQ
YALE
 
9:00pm Tonight
CHAM
PITT
 
9:00pm Tonight
ILLST
SHU
 
9:00pm Tonight
NMST
STET
 
9:30pm Tonight
ISU
ALA
 
9:30pm Tonight
SDKST
CHADRON
 
9:30pm Tonight
NCOL
CCHR
 
9:30pm Tonight
OREG
MICH
 
10:00pm Tonight
SDU
WMICH
 
10:05pm Tonight
PORST
SIUE
 
11:00pm Tonight
AUB
TULSA
 
11:30pm Tonight
SDST
BYU
 
Final
WIN 2
STL 4
Final
NYR 5
MON 0
Final
ANA 2
ARI 1
Final
VAN 4
CHI 1
7:00pm Tonight
NYI
PHI
 
7:00pm Tonight
BOS
PIT
 
7:30pm Tonight
FLA
MIN
 
7:30pm Tonight
DET
OTT
 
Final
HOU 13
CIN 22
Final
ATL 24
CLE 26
Final
NEP 34
DET 9
Final
MIN 21
GBP 24
Final
IND 23
JAC 3
Final
CHI 21
TAM 13
Final
PHI 43
TEN 24
Final
SEA 19
ARI 3
Final
SDC 27
STL 24
Final
DEN 39
MIA 36
Final
SFX 17
WAS 13
Final
NYG 28
DAL 31
7:00pm Tonight
BUF
NYJ
8:30pm Tonight
NOS
BAL