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.