Caulton Tudor

Will Williams shuffle Heels' lineup?

Posted March 17, 2014

Kennedy Meeks (3) goes up for a shot during action at the Dean E. Smith Center between the North Carolina Tar Heels and the North Carolina State Wolfpack on February 1, 2014 in Chapel Hill, NC. (Will Bratton/WRAL contributor)

— Coaches normally don’t tinker with their personnel rotation only a few days before beginning the NCAA tournament, but you have to think North Carolina’s Roy Williams is at least considering it.

The Tar Heels, who open their East Regional bid on Friday (7:20 p.m., TNT TV) against Providence in San Antonio, have played only two games since March 3 -- a regular-season ending loss at Duke on March 8 and an ACC quarterfinal loss to Pitt on March 14 in Greensboro.

In neither outing did freshman starting center Kennedy Meeks make much of an impact. In 20 combined minutes, he scored one point and had four rebounds.

Meeks, an all-ACC rookie team member, has the potential to one day become a star. But for now, it seems clear that he’s hit the wall and you have to wonder if he can bounce back under the weight of NCAA pressure for the first time.

That’s part of what Williams has to be pondering.

Another issue, and probably far more important, is the backcourt. With a few isolated exceptions, fifth-year senior wing Leslie McDonald has been all but invisible on offense. He didn’t score during the 80-75 loss to Pitt and is shooting only 38.5 percent from the field.

Against Pitt and in a few other games, the backcourt tandem of sophomore star Marcus Paige and freshman playmaker Nate Britt has been more productive.

Britt is only 5-feet-11 and Paige 6-foot-1. It likely would be UNC’s smallest starting backcourt since freshman playmaker Phil Ford (6-foot-1) and senior wing Brad Hoffman (5-foot-10) in 1975.

McDonald, at 6-foot-5, adds a lot more size, but he’s just not playing with any consistency at all. Plus, Britt shoots 79 percent on free throws. McDonald’s 62.5 often is a liability and especially so on a team that struggles at the line in the first place.

When the Tar Heels (23-9) staged a late-game rally against Pitt, Britt was in at the point and Paige, who finished with 27 points, was fueling the comeback from the wing.

And who knows, maybe McDonald would be more effective coming off the bench. It’s for certain he can’t be any colder than he was in Greensboro, when he fouled out and committed three turnovers without getting an assist.

If Meeks goes to the bench, Williams has several options in the frontcourt - Joel James, Desmond Hubert and Brice Johnson.

Johnson has an overwhelming offensive edge but at 6-foot-9, 215 lbs., can get pushed around some on defense.

Providence, however, used only six players in its Big East title win over Creighton and starts two forwards -- sophomore Tyler Harris (6-9, 215) and junior LaDontae Henton (6-6, 210) -- who aren’t extremely physical.

Whether Williams stands pat or makes changes, it’s imperative that the Tar Heels get off to quicker offensive starts. When they fell behind 25-8 early against Pitt, the rest of the game became an endless uphill struggle.

44 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
  • UNIVERSITY OF NATIONAL CHAMPS Mar 21, 2014

    Let's go HEELS!

  • Doc Holliday Mar 18, 2014

    View quoted thread


    Mike, Paige averages 35 minutes a game, Britt averages 21 minutes a game, so neither will play the "entire" game. Just throwing that out there. Care to name your starting 5? I do believe I picked Britt to start along with Paige. Put the emphasis on the last 5 to 8 minutes because of the FT issues UNC has been having and they need somebody in there down the stretch who can make FTs in addition to Paige. Go back & read my post, big guy.

  • Doc Holliday Mar 18, 2014

    View quoted thread


    Thanks, Net! You hit that one out of the park.

    :)

  • Doc Holliday Mar 18, 2014

    View quoted thread


    Thanks, Gunny

  • mike honcho Mar 18, 2014

    A better question, will Paige play with a sense of urgency the entire game? UNC falls behind and he "turns it on" in the final minutes of the game. I think Britt at the point and Paige on the wing looking for his shot the entire game as opposed to the last 5 to 8 minutes is their best shot at victory.......but what do I know, I've played a little horse in the driveway.

  • justabumer Mar 18, 2014

    It doesn't much matter who starts. What matters is who gets the bulk of playing time.

  • NothingButNet Mar 18, 2014

    View quoted thread


    Now that would be ironic. Mr. Gobbles takes himself far more serious than any of us take him.

  • Hammerhead Mar 18, 2014

    View quoted thread


    Sometimes I wonder if Hokie is actually a 15 year old troll and the joke is on us.

  • NothingButNet Mar 18, 2014

    View quoted thread


    Classic, BB5!

    You outdid yourself. Heh. Go Little Hokies. This. I know this I read. I comprehend. I like to brag about all my degrees. Did you graduate?? Tell me this.....

  • Jeanne Gunn Mar 18, 2014
    user avatar

    View quoted thread


    Great analysis, BB5!

More...

 

 

  • The Ryder Cup

    Saturday at 9:00 am on WRAL-TV

  • CFB: Duke vs. Virginia

    Saturday at 12:30 pm on FOX50

  • CFB: Oklahoma vs. TCU

    Saturday at 5:00 pm on FOX50

  • CFB: Arizona State at USC

    Saturday at 8:00 pm on FOX50

  • The Logan Zone

    Sunday at 11:00 am on WRAL-TV

  • The Ryder Cup

    Sunday at 12:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • NFL: Panthers at Atlanta

    Sunday at 1:00 pm on FOX50

  • NFL: Kansas City at Pittsburgh

    Sunday at 8:20 pm on WRAL-TV

  • CFB: NC State vs. Wake Forest

    Saturday at 3:30 pm on WRAL-FM

AP Top 25
Thu, Sept 29
5:00 PT6:00 MT7:00 CT8:00 ET12:00 GMT8:00 北京时间5:00 MST7:00 EST
Preview
6
Fri, Sept 30
7
6:00 PT7:00 MT8:00 CT9:00 ET1:00 GMT9:00 北京时间6:00 MST8:00 EST
Preview
10
Sat, Oct 1
9:00 PT10:00 MT11:00 CT12:00 ET4:00 GMT12:00 北京时间9:00 MST11:00 EST
Preview
20
 
14
9:00 PT10:00 MT11:00 CT12:00 ET4:00 GMT12:00 北京时间9:00 MST11:00 EST
Preview
 
13
9:00 PT10:00 MT11:00 CT12:00 ET4:00 GMT12:00 北京时间9:00 MST11:00 EST
Preview
 
9:00 PT10:00 MT11:00 CT12:00 ET4:00 GMT12:00 北京时间9:00 MST11:00 EST
Preview
2
 
22
9:00 PT10:00 MT11:00 CT12:00 ET4:00 GMT12:00 北京时间9:00 MST11:00 EST
Preview
 
23
9:00 PT10:00 MT11:00 CT12:00 ET4:00 GMT12:00 北京时间9:00 MST11:00 EST
Preview
 
12:30 PT1:30 MT2:30 CT3:30 ET7:30 GMT3:30 北京时间12:30 MST2:30 EST
Preview
12
 
11
12:30 PT1:30 MT2:30 CT3:30 ET7:30 GMT3:30 北京时间12:30 MST2:30 EST
Preview
25
 
8
12:30 PT1:30 MT2:30 CT3:30 ET7:30 GMT3:30 北京时间12:30 MST2:30 EST
Preview
4
 
12:30 PT1:30 MT2:30 CT3:30 ET7:30 GMT3:30 北京时间12:30 MST2:30 EST
Preview
15
 
9
1:00 PT2:00 MT3:00 CT4:00 ET8:00 GMT4:00 北京时间1:00 MST3:00 EST
Preview
 
2:00 PT3:00 MT4:00 CT5:00 ET9:00 GMT5:00 北京时间2:00 MST4:00 EST
Preview
21
 
18
3:00 PT4:00 MT5:00 CT6:00 ET10:00 GMT6:00 北京时间3:00 MST5:00 EST
Preview
 
4:00 PT5:00 MT6:00 CT7:00 ET11:00 GMT7:00 北京时间4:00 MST6:00 EST
Preview
1
 
4:00 PT5:00 MT6:00 CT7:00 ET11:00 GMT7:00 北京时间4:00 MST6:00 EST
Preview
16
 
3
5:00 PT6:00 MT7:00 CT8:00 ET12:00 GMT8:00 北京时间5:00 MST7:00 EST
Preview
5
 
17
5:00 PT6:00 MT7:00 CT8:00 ET12:00 GMT8:00 北京时间5:00 MST7:00 EST
Preview
 
19
5:00 PT6:00 MT7:00 CT8:00 ET12:00 GMT8:00 北京时间5:00 MST7:00 EST
Preview
 
7:15 PT8:15 MT9:15 CT10:15 ET2:15 GMT10:15 北京时间7:15 MST9:15 EST
Preview
24
 
NFL Scoreboard
Thursday, Sep. 29
Miami 5:25 PT6:25 MT7:25 CT8:25 ET0:25 GMT8:25 北京时间5:25 MST7:25 EST7:25 CT4:25 UAE (+1)20:25 ET23:25
Cincinnati 
Sunday, Oct. 2
Indianapolis 6:30 PT7:30 MT8:30 CT9:30 ET13:30 GMT9:30 北京时间6:30 MST8:30 EST8:30 CT17:30 UAE9:30 ET12:30
Jacksonville 
 
Carolina 10:00 PT11:00 MT12:00 CT1:00 ET17:00 GMT1:00 北京时间10:00 MST12:00 EST12:00 CT21:00 UAE13:00 ET16:00
Atlanta 
 
Oakland 10:00 PT11:00 MT12:00 CT1:00 ET17:00 GMT1:00 北京时间10:00 MST12:00 EST12:00 CT21:00 UAE13:00 ET16:00
Baltimore 
 
Detroit 10:00 PT11:00 MT12:00 CT1:00 ET17:00 GMT1:00 北京时间10:00 MST12:00 EST12:00 CT21:00 UAE13:00 ET16:00
Chicago 
 
Tennessee 10:00 PT11:00 MT12:00 CT1:00 ET17:00 GMT1:00 北京时间10:00 MST12:00 EST12:00 CT21:00 UAE13:00 ET16:00
Houston 
 
Buffalo 10:00 PT11:00 MT12:00 CT1:00 ET17:00 GMT1:00 北京时间10:00 MST12:00 EST12:00 CT21:00 UAE13:00 ET16:00
New England 
 
Seattle 10:00 PT11:00 MT12:00 CT1:00 ET17:00 GMT1:00 北京时间10:00 MST12:00 EST12:00 CT21:00 UAE13:00 ET16:00
NY Jets 
 
Cleveland 10:00 PT11:00 MT12:00 CT1:00 ET17:00 GMT1:00 北京时间10:00 MST12:00 EST12:00 CT21:00 UAE13:00 ET16:00
Washington 
 
Denver 1:05 PT2:05 MT3:05 CT4:05 ET20:05 GMT4:05 北京时间1:05 MST3:05 EST3:05 CT0:05 UAE (+1)16:05 ET19:05
Tampa Bay 
 
Los Angeles 1:25 PT2:25 MT3:25 CT4:25 ET20:25 GMT4:25 北京时间1:25 MST3:25 EST3:25 CT0:25 UAE (+1)16:25 ET19:25
Arizona 
 
New Orleans 1:25 PT2:25 MT3:25 CT4:25 ET20:25 GMT4:25 北京时间1:25 MST3:25 EST3:25 CT0:25 UAE (+1)16:25 ET19:25
San Diego 
 
Dallas 1:25 PT2:25 MT3:25 CT4:25 ET20:25 GMT4:25 北京时间1:25 MST3:25 EST3:25 CT0:25 UAE (+1)16:25 ET19:25
San Francisco 
 
Kansas City 5:30 PT6:30 MT7:30 CT8:30 ET0:30 GMT8:30 北京时间5:30 MST7:30 EST7:30 CT4:30 UAE (+1)20:30 ET23:30
Pittsburgh 
Monday, Oct. 3
NY Giants 5:30 PT6:30 MT7:30 CT8:30 ET0:30 GMT8:30 北京时间5:30 MST7:30 EST7:30 CT4:30 UAE (+1)20:30 ET23:30
Minnesota 
 
Minor League Baseball
International League
El Paso 4:05 PT5:05 MT6:05 CT7:05 ET12:05 GMT
Scranton/Wilkes-Barre 
 
TOUR Championship (PGA)
PosNameScoreThru
1R. McIlroy - z-12F
2tR. Moore - y-12F
2tK. Chappell - y-12F
4P. Casey-9F
5H. Matsuyama-6F
6tJ. Thomas-5F
6tD. Johnson-5F
8tA. Scott-4F
8tJ. Dufner-4F
10tS. Kim-2F
View Full Leaderboard
z = Won in Playoff   y = Lost in Playoff
 
Reignwood LPGA (LPGA)
PosNameScoreThru
1A. Jutanugarn-818
2B. Henderson-718
3L. Salas-618
4tY. Pan-518
4tJ. Song-518
4tT. Yang-518
7tM. Hur-418
7tI. Lee-418
7tW. Liu-418
7tS. Smith-418
View Full Leaderboard
 
European Open (EURO)
PosNameScoreThru
1A. Levy - z-19F
2R. Fisher - y-19F
3tM. Jonzon-16F
3tR. Karlsson-16F
5B. Wiesberger-15F
6M. Kaymer-14F
7tR. Bland-13F
7tE. De La Riva-13F
7tF. Fritsch-13F
7tG. Havret-13F
View Full Leaderboard
z = Won in Playoff   y = Lost in Playoff
 
Pacific Links (CHMP)
PosNameScoreThru
1C. Montgomerie - z-15F
2S. McCarron - y-15F
3tM. Jimenez-13F
3tJ. Sluman-13F
3tS. Dunlap-13F
3tD. Garwood-13F
7tB. Langer-12F
7tM. Dawson-12F
7tO. Browne-12F
10tF. Funk-11F
View Full Leaderboard
z = Won in Playoff   y = Lost in Playoff
 
ATP Scoreboard
Wednesday, Sep. 28
Chengdu Open (ATP)
Second Round
K. Khachanov3 6 6   
A. Mannarino6 3 1   
(3) G. Dimitrov77 6    
D. Lajovic61 4    
(4) F. Lopez6 7    
J. Monaco3 5    
(8) P. Lorenzi0 4    
D. Schwartzma6 6    
 
Shenzhen Open (ATP)
First Round
Y. Nishioka6 3 4   
T. Fabbiano3 6 6   
Second Round
(7) F. Fognini63 4    
M. Zverev77 6    
(2) D. Goffin62 6 2   
M. Jaziri77 3 6   
(3) R. Gasquet6 6    
A. Whittingto1 0    
(6) B. Paire0 77 5   
J. Tipsarevic6 65 7   
 
WTA Scoreboard
Wednesday, Sep. 28
Wuhan Tennis Open (WTA)
Third Round
(8) M. Keys6 4 6   
D. Kasatkina1 6 4   
(4) S. Halep6 6    
Y. Shvedova3 3    
(5) K. Pliskova2 2    
(10) D. Cibulkova6 6    
(6) V. Williams2 2    
(9) S. Kuznetsova6 6    
B. Strycova1 6 7   
J. Jankovic6 4 5   
(7) C. Suarez Nav5 66    
(11) J. Konta7 78    
(1) A. Kerber712 5 4   
(14) P. Kvitova610 7 6   
(3) A. Radwanska6 6    
C. Wozniacki4 2    
 
Tashkent Open (WTA)
Second Round
(8) N. Broady2 4    
I. Khromachev6 6    
(5) K. Nara2 2    
K. Pliskova6 6    
(4) N. Hibino7 6    
R. Ozaki5 1    
(2) K. Flipkens77 3 77   
M. Sakkari60 6 64   
(6) L. Tsurenko6 3 6   
I. Soylu1 6 1   
(9) D. Allertova7 6    
P. Tig5 2    
S. Shapatava2 5    
K. Kozlova6 7    
S. Voegele6 3    
F. Schiavone2 2