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Caulton Tudor

Heels' big win creates questions

Posted February 21, 2014

Leslie McDonald (2) goes up for a shot during action at the Dean E. Smith Center between the North Carolina Tar Heels and the Duke Blue Devils on February 20, 2014 in Chapel Hill, NC. (Will Bratton/WRAL contributor)

For thousands of North Carolina fans, Thursday’s 74-66 win by the Tar Heels over Duke was an answered prayer.

But looking at it from another angle, the outcome created more questions than answers on some fronts.

To wit:

Is Leslie McDonald really back?

Keep in mind that the Heels’ fifth-year senior wingman erupted for 20 points in an 84-70 win in Chapel Hill over N.C. State on Feb. 1 only to go cool again during ensuing wins over Maryland, Notre Dame, Pitt and Florida State.

McDonald’s 21 points on 9-for-12 field goal shooting against Duke arguably was the best performance of his college career.

Against Wake Forest on Saturday in Chapel Hill (Noon, WRAL-TV) and in the games beyond, McDonald doesn’t have to score 21. But in order for the Tar Heels (19-7, 9-4 ACC) to continue this surge, someone other than Marcus Paige needs to contribute regularly on the perimeter.

Free throw mirage?

After starting 1-for-8 on free throws, Carolina was near perfect to finish 20-for-31 for the game. That computes to 64.5 percent for the game, which is in tune with the team’s 62.3 percent for the season.

But with sub Desmond Hubert missing six by himself, the first seven players in the rotation went 18-for-23 for 78.2 percent. Anything above 70 percent from that group would make the Heels significantly stronger.

On the flip side, Duke went 7-for-12 (58.3 percent) after having led all ACC teams entering the game with a 73.3 percentage.

Freshman forward Jabari Parker missed three of six Thursday but since he’s a 74 percent shooter for the season, the performance no doubt was an anomaly that may have had something to do with the fact that it was his visit to the Dean Dome as a Duke player.

Seedings, settings

The loss wasn’t enough to push the Blue Devils (21-6, 10-4) out of contention for an NCAA No. 1 regional seeding.

At the moment, Duke would probably be a No. 2 behind Syracuse, Wichita State, Florida and Arizona.

But a win over the Orange (25-1, 12-1) Saturday (7 p.m., ESPN) in Durham could rearrange the pecking order.

For Carolina, Thursday’s win was a field flipper.

Before the win, the Heels had the look of a No. 6-8 seed even with their non-league wins over Kentucky, Louisville and Michigan State.

But now, UNC is the first team ever to beat the Nos. 1-4 preseason Associated Press ranked teams and should be no worse than a No. 4 regional seed if the field was set today.

Assuming there is no letdown against Wake (14-12, 4-9) on Saturday, UNC’s sudden national surge would only increase the incentive for State (16-10, 6-7) on Wednesday (8 p.m., WRAL-TV) in Raleigh.

Few teams in the nation are more in need of a marquee win than the Wolfpack. Carolina officially qualifies as a glamour opportunity now.

Then, there’s Virginia (22-5, 13-1), which has the league lead entering its Saturday game against Notre Dame (14-13, 5-9) in Charlottesville.

The Cavaliers would prefer to open their NCAA tourney in Raleigh’s PNC Arena on March 21 and 23. But with each UNC win, the odds increase that the Heels will join Duke in Raleigh while UVa could be sent to Orlando, Buffalo or St. Louis to open.

Letdown or rebound?

On the Las Vegas betting boards, UNC and Duke were seen as dead even. A couple of books even had the Devils a 1-point favorite.

But No. 1 Syracuse was a prohibitive favorite to put away Boston College before the Eagles pulled the 62-59 stunner on Wednesday in Syracuse.

So how do the Devils and Orange react Saturday?

My guess is neither team will be flat, but there’s no denying the fact that Syracuse’s offense has been sluggish in the five games since that memorable 91-89 win over the Devils on Feb. 1 in Syracuse.

Undefeated teams sometimes have a tendency to play with a “don’t-lose” mentality as opposed to “just win, baby” mindset.

In that respect, Syracuse could be much more loose than has been the case recently even though the game is in Cameron. Meanwhile, the emotional Blue Devils need to avoid the urge to try to win a 40-minute game on the first few possessions.

17 Comments

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  • Raleigh Rocks 1 Feb 27, 2014

    Mcdonald is NOT back, and I dont know if he was ever there. I get scared everytime he touches the ball.

    Carolina will not win any tourney because they can not shoot a FT. I do not understand why they just dont take a step back and shoot a jump shot from the line. Gotta do better than they are now

  • Jeanne Gunn Feb 22, 2014

    View quoted thread



    Tur - You're absolutely right - I did goof on that - thanks:)

  • heelsforever Feb 21, 2014

    Leslie back to what? For him to come back, wouldn't that have to mean that at some point he had already been there? I love Leslie like all the Heels, but the guy will return to what he has been with the occassional good game here and there.

  • Mary is a liar Feb 21, 2014

    View quoted thread

    Not to mention when you're behind you have to foul.

  • Boogalooboy Feb 21, 2014

    what about the discrepancy about the number of shots each team shot Mr. Tudor..

  • GoHeelsGo Feb 21, 2014

    Do you still have proof readers?

  • justabumer Feb 21, 2014

    I'm just hoping that the Heels don't suffer a letdown tomorrow.

  • dooksucks01 Feb 21, 2014

    No mention of Syracuse losing their starting center.

    Figures.

  • Turheel Feb 21, 2014

    View quoted thread



    JGUNN, Hicks didn't attempt a FT last night, I believe you meant Nate Britt who went 6 for 6.....big time right there because they were all down the stretch. GO HEELS!

  • InTheNo Feb 21, 2014

    Were these just Carlton's random thoughts as he drove over to Dean's house with a bag of Big Mac's and a pack of smokes?

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Scoreboard
Local
Final
ROC 8
DUR 2
 
2:30pm Friday
STONYBROOK
NCSTATE
 
7:05pm Friday
SYR
DUR
 
6:35pm Saturday
SYR
DUR
 
5:05pm Sunday
SYR
DUR
 
Final
TEX 3
CLE 12
Final
COL 6
CIN 4
Final
MIA 2
PIT 5
Final
CWS 5
TOR 3
Final
KAN 2
NYY 4
Final
BOS 4
MIN 6
Final
PHI 0
NYM 7
Final
SEA 3
TAM 0
Final
SFG 3
MIL 1
Final
DET 3
OAK 2
Final
HOU 4
BAL 5
Final
WAS 3
CHC 0
Final
ARI 3
STL 4
Final
SDP 5
ANA 4
Final
ATL 3
LOS 2
1:05pm Today
CWS
BAL
 
4:35pm Today
CWS
BAL
 
8:05pm Tonight
BOS
TEX
 
10:05pm Tonight
DET
ANA
 
10:05pm Tonight
NYY
OAK
 
10:10pm Tonight
CLE
SEA
 
10:10pm Tonight
PIT
SDP
 
10:15pm Tonight
ATL
SFG
 
4:05pm Friday
KAN
CHC
 
7:05pm Friday
COL
PHI
 
7:05pm Friday
TAM
BAL
 
7:10pm Friday
MIA
NYM
 
7:10pm Friday
WAS
CIN
 
8:05pm Friday
BOS
TEX
 
8:10pm Friday
ARI
MIL
 
8:10pm Friday
CWS
HOU
 
8:10pm Friday
TOR
MIN
 
8:15pm Friday
LOS
STL
 
10:05pm Friday
DET
ANA
 
10:05pm Friday
NYY
OAK
 
10:10pm Friday
CLE
SEA
 
10:10pm Friday
PIT
SDP
 
10:15pm Friday
ATL
SFG
 
2:10pm Saturday
TOR
MIN
 
3:05pm Saturday
COL
PHI
 
4:05pm Saturday
TAM
BAL
 
4:10pm Saturday
ARI
MIL
 
4:10pm Saturday
CWS
HOU
 
4:10pm Saturday
MIA
NYM
 
4:10pm Saturday
WAS
CIN
 
7:15pm Saturday
BOS
TEX
 
7:15pm Saturday
KAN
CHC
 
7:15pm Saturday
LOS
STL
 
10:05pm Saturday
ATL
SFG
 
10:05pm Saturday
DET
ANA
 
10:05pm Saturday
NYY
OAK
 
10:10pm Saturday
CLE
SEA
 
10:10pm Saturday
PIT
SDP
 
1:10pm Sunday
MIA
NYM
 
1:10pm Sunday
WAS
CIN
 
1:35pm Sunday
COL
PHI
 
1:35pm Sunday
TAM
BAL
 
2:10pm Sunday
ARI
MIL
 
2:10pm Sunday
CWS
HOU
 
2:10pm Sunday
TOR
MIN
 
2:15pm Sunday
LOS
STL
 
2:20pm Sunday
KAN
CHC
 
3:05pm Sunday
BOS
TEX
 
4:05pm Sunday
ATL
SFG
 
4:05pm Sunday
NYY
OAK
 
4:10pm Sunday
CLE
SEA
 
8:05pm Sunday
DET
ANA
 
9:10pm Sunday
PIT
SDP
 
7:05pm Monday
TOR
WAS
 
7:10pm Monday
CHC
MIA
 
7:10pm Monday
MIN
BOS
 
8:10pm Monday
BAL
HOU
 
8:10pm Monday
MIL
STL
 
8:40pm Monday
LOS
COL
 
9:40pm Monday
ATL
ARI
 
10:05pm Monday
TAM
ANA
 
10:10pm Monday
NYM
SDP
 
10:10pm Monday
NYY
SEA
 
10:15pm Monday
PIT
SFG
 
Final
HOU 90
GSW 104
Final
ANA 2
CHI 5
8:00pm Friday
TAM
NYR
 
8:00pm Saturday
CHI
ANA
 
12:00pm Friday
AUBURN
CHARLESTON
 
1:00pm Friday
CALIFORNIA
CCAROLINA
 
1:00pm Friday
COLUMBIA
ECAROLINA
 
1:00pm Friday
ORALROBRTS
ARKANSAS
 
1:00pm Friday
OREGON
IOWA
 
1:00pm Friday
SFLORIDA
FAU
 
1:00pm Friday
WRIGHTST
NOTREDAME
 
2:00pm Friday
MICHIGAN
BRADLEY
 
2:30pm Friday
STONYBROOK
NCSTATE
 
2:30pm Friday
TEXAS
OREGONST
 
3:00pm Friday
INDIANA
RADFORD
 
3:30pm Friday
ULLAFAYETE
RICE
 
4:00pm Friday
LEHIGH
LSU
 
6:00pm Friday
CANISIUS
SWMISSOURI
 
6:00pm Friday
CLEMSON
ARIZONAST
 
6:00pm Friday
MERCER
FLORIDAST
 
6:00pm Friday
MOREHEADST
LOUISVILLE
 
6:00pm Friday
VIRGINIA
USC
 
7:00pm Friday
FIU
MIAFLA
 
7:00pm Friday
FLAAM
FLORIDA
 
7:00pm Friday
MARYLAND
MISS
 
7:00pm Friday
SACREDHART
TCU
 
7:00pm Friday
STJOHNS
OKLAHOMAST
 
7:00pm Friday
TSOUTHERN
TEXASAM
 
7:00pm Friday
VCU
DALLASBAPT
 
8:00pm Friday
HSTNBAPT
HOUSTON
 
8:00pm Friday
LIPSCOMB
VANDERBILT
 
8:00pm Friday
OHIO
ILLINOIS
 
8:00pm Friday
TULANE
NWILMINGTN
 
10:00pm Friday
PEPPERDINE
FULLERTON
 
10:00pm Friday
SANDIEGOST
CSANTABAR
 
11:00pm Friday
CSBAKER
UCLA
 
Final
ROC 8
DUR 2
 
7:05pm Friday
SYR
DUR
 
6:35pm Saturday
SYR
DUR
 
5:05pm Sunday
SYR
DUR