Maryland 82 UNC 80

Well, at least UCLA lost too.

It boils down to this.  There is only so many times you can play with a lighter before you end up setting something on fire.  UNC has walked a fine line in three of four ACC games now and it was only a matter of time before the key stop didn’t come or the shots stop falling.  That day was today.

As for the offense, I think enough credit is not given to the fact Maryland is a very good defensive unit.  Stopping other teams is not their problem, scoring enough points is and in this game UNC allowed that to happen.  Still UNC scored enough points to win the game.  I had them pegged for 82 since I thought the Terps’ defense was good enough to dial the UNC offense back a bit.  Once again, the UNC defense failed to deliver the goods.  This is a perfect illustration of UNC’s Achilles heel.  Any time an opponent comes along that can effectively disrupt the UNC offense, it becomes necessary for the Heels to push back and match the defense being applied to them.  UNC should have held Maryland in the 60s and won the game by 20 instead of permitting as many open looks as they did, especially in the post.

So, what’s done is done.  And I can going to steer clear of breaking down the individual performances.  Everyone had their share of problems on both ends of the floor and if I start that ball rolling I will be here forever.  Nor am I overly flummoxed by the late game execution.  I know that this team is capable of doing in that respect, today the shots did not fall.  The $64 question is: Where do we go from here?

First of all, there is the response.  This is the first time UNC has lost this season and based on what I have seen I am not too worried as to how they will react.  Granted the major defensive issues are not going to fix themselves overnight but something in the way of improvement is in order here.  Secondly, and possibly more important is the value of a loss.  There is some debate about whether a loss can be good or not. In my mind this might be the thing UNC players needed to get themselves committed to playing better defense because struggling versus Nicholls State and the like apparently did not make a lasting enough impression.  Through the course of the 18-0 start there was never any real consequence to playing crappy defense.  Sure Roy got pissed and they got run in practice but it is possible they need tangible consequences resulting from how they performed on the defensive end to understand the price exacted.  Now they have tasted a loss and it versus a team that could have pummeled had they shown up with a halfway decent defensive game perhaps it will click.

That is unless the capability is just not there which means there is a limit to how good UNC can play defense.  I am pretty sure they have not reached that limit and I also still do not buy this is a “fatal flaw.”  That could change if we see more games like the last two but for now I am going to live with the loss because it happens.  I am not crazy UNC lost a game they should have won with some distance.  However, I do have confidence that this group of Tar Heel players possess the maturity to process this failure and make the necessary adjustment to make a better showing from this point forward.

Either that or Roy’s foot in their rear ends, I really do not care which.

11 Responses to Maryland 82 UNC 80

  1. Chris says:

    Right now we just have a pretty lazy team. In the game that followed. Duke was in the same situation with Clemson but pulled it out with an incredibly intense defense that ended up with points at the other end. Carolina seems to be content with the thought that they can just outscore the opponent with individual talent, and relegate the defensive effort to an afterthought. We need a big infusion of the David Noel/Wes Miller work ethic, and every player needs to understand that it’s a team sport, not just a minor league NBA showcase for offensive ability. I would bench them all except Hansbrough, allow him to play with the worst 4 players on the team, and then allow the “stars” to work their way back into the lineup with real hard teamwork. Otherwise we lose trying to get into the final 8.

  2. Tar Heel Fan says:

    Yeah, he has not pulled the “White” team for “Blue” in a long time.

  3. Dan Schwind says:

    I would rather enjoy seeing Stepheson take the floor ahead of Deon Thompson on Wednesday. He’s a better defender and, as someone else noted, it might be the spark needed to light a fire under Deon’s butt.

  4. DG4heels says:

    My wife and I returned to the Dome yesterday for the first time since 2006, and we were left a bit wanting. If I’m going to fork over $80 of hard-earned cash, I don’t think it unfair to ask the guys for some effort out there! Anyway, there were many, many people with us up in the rafters calling for Roy to put the Blue team in. It’s interesting that Roy hasn’t used that motivational tool this year as of yet. He seemed much quicker to pull the trigger on that during the 2005 season, in which our team had a similar M.O. In fact, yesterday Roy seemed to be resigned to allowing the guys to play through this, as if to learn a lesson. I have a lot of confidence in Roy, and he’ll figure out the best road to take with these guys – some need a benching, some need a hug, and some need a size 10 stuck up the pooper.

    I have a feeling that all of our recent success has faded the memory of that loss to Georgetown, and a new “L” will sharpen it right up. Let’s see how they react to this loss – I have a feeling that it will serve us very well in the motivation department. If not, then perhaps a Blue Team revival might be in order.

    BTW, I completely agree with the Alex Stepheson take. He is one of those quiet performers that I enjoy watching. And thanks again, THF, for posting your blog – you really take a lot of time to put together a quality site and it’s much appreciated.

  5. 52BigGameJames says:

    I could go for that Dan. FWIW-Gary Williams said they were planning to double off Ginyard, but his early 3’s put the damper on that plan. So, one might ask, if G hits those early 3’s, wouldn’t it set the table for some fakes and drives? Ginyard can’t finish worth a s**t at this point. GW’s comment should be a hint that Roy’s got to get Ginyard going. Green rightly stated they got no ball pressure out front making entry passes easy for Md. Defense is effort and execution. Offense (the kind we need from certain players) is a matter of confidence. Despite the misses, I think Wayne and Danny are there–if Roy can get Ginyard and Thompson to believe that they are both go-to level players, then we’ll really have something, but that’s going to take some time, and Roy is going to have to give them the chance to fail, just as he did with Wayne. My impression is that both Ginyard and Thompson see themselves as purely support players–who’s to blame for that? Just sayin….

  6. 52BigGameJames says:

    btw–Ginyard for the most part played sh***y defense yesterday-check the tape.

  7. 52BigGameJames says:

    ok–3 cups of coffee and a good nights sleep: I think it’s time they start asking who is the leader of this team. Grevious (or wetf his name is) is obviously the one for the Terps. Lawson & Hansbrough aren’t verbal leaders, and probably never will be. E? doubt it. Many of us thought it would be Ginyard, but until his confidence & performance comes up, it”s hard to be a verbal leader (and he knows it). Along with that Thomson/Stepheson change, I might would try Green for Ginyard (with the green light to be the verbal leader)…but that’s just me. I just think at this point, Ginyard might be more comfortable (verbally and performance) coming off the bench until he finds his way.

  8. Andy In Omaha says:

    It wasn’t just the defense that lost the game yesterday. It seemed like every time Tyler touched the ball down low and when the olibatory triple-team came from the Terps, the other four guys were just standing outside the perimeter. There were also some really questionable shot selections as well.
    Also, I’m kind of getting sick and tired of hearing about how great a defender Ginyard is. He got torched yesterday, and didn’t have good games against GT and Clemson. He’s not an offensive threat, so teams can afford to back off of him when he has the ball on the perimeter and that allows teams to really pressure Hansbrough down low. Danny Green should be starting and getting much more playing time at that position; I strongly believe that Green shows a lot of toughness on defense and on the glass. Ginyard is no Jackie Manuel on defense and should be treated as such.
    Finally, I hope Roy has a tape of that somewhat classless celebration by Maryland and shows it to they guys every day so they know what it feels like to lose at home. To see them jump up and down at center court and conduct themselves in that manner should be all the motivation we need to destroy our next opponents.
    Maybe I’m just overanalyzing, but this team isn’t out of it yet. It’s just one game and maybe this is what UNC needed to realize their not the unbeatable force a lot of the basketball world thought they were.

  9. Russell says:

    “Either (adjustment) or Roy’s foot in their rear ends, I really do not care which.”

    There’s another, less Industrial Revolution era discipline: For Roy to turn on his brain.
    UNC is getting beat in every aspect of the game for 35 minutes, has finally scrambled to go up by 4 with 2 1/2 minutes left. How about a Four Corners variation offense to close it out?

  10. Chris says:

    How about some good old-fashioned hard work? This is a team with a lot of individual talent that is flat-out lazy, except for Tyler. Play Ty and Tyler and 3 walk-ons until someone decides to play (and I hate to say it) as hard and as intensely as Duke is playing right now. Turns out the close wins at Clemson and against Georgia Tech weren’t evidence of a team that can win the tough ones. They were evidence of a lazy, lazy group of 5 very talented players that don’t play like a team.

  11. Josh Bowling says:

    Andy in Omaha. It must be where you are located and where I am located, because all I have heard is how beatable they are! Every color commentator has made it a mission to discuss our weaknesses and how we can be beat in half-court and so on. Never have I heard we are unbeatable, never!

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