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North Carolina’s loss was much, much worse than simply a blowout

Nov 28, 2012, 12:51 AM EDT

North Carolina v Indiana Getty Images

This was more than just a loss for No. 14 North Carolina.

The 83-59 mollywhopping they took at the hands of No. 1 Indiana on Tuesday night is a legitimate cause for alarm for the folks in Chapel Hill.


I thought you’d never ask.

Marcus Paige is not a point guard. He’s not Kendall Marshall, not even close. What made Marshall so great was his ability to create shots for the other three first round picks on the floor with him. Paige doesn’t have that kind of talent around him, but that doesn’t change the fact that he is a score-first point guard. That won’t work within Roy Williams’ system.

James Michael McAdoo is not Tyler Hansbrough. He doesn’t have a back-to-the-basket game, he can be forced into taking the shots the defense wants him to take, and at this point, he looks soft. He got pushed around by Indiana just like he got pushed around by Butler. In fact, this can be attributed to the entire UNC front line. They don’t have a low-post scorer, and while the point guards have gotten much of the credit for UNC’s success over the years, the success of Williams’ secondary break offense hinges on having a player in the pivot that demands a double-team. Sean May. Hansbrough. Tyler Zeller. When UNC relied on Ed Davis in 2009-2010, what happened?

Perhaps more alarming is the fact that there doesn’t seem to be a leader or a go-to guy on this team. This is the second time this season that UNC has been blitzed and had no response. Everyone makes runs in college basketball, but which Tar Heel do you see being the guy that says, “Enough of this garbage, give me the dang ball, we need a bucket”? I’m coming up empty.

But the biggest concern I have is with the simplest of mistakes.

Jordy Hulls should never, ever get an open look from beyond the arc. Never. He was 3-5 on Tuesday, with a couple of wide-open looks. He was also standing by himself a couple of times waiting to receive a pass as Indiana simply got an easier look at the rim.

Or what about the missed box-outs? The poor defensive rotations? The poor defensive effort, period?

Or how about this: after watching Tyler Zeller run the floor as well as anyone in the country for four seasons, how is it possible that North Carolina can so consistently get beaten down the floor for easy baskets by Cody Zeller? He did it at least four times in the first 25 minutes, and he wasn’t the only one that got easy layups in transition.

This will not be the last time that Indiana blows out a ranked team at Assembly Hall.

But this isn’t the first time that North Carolina has gotten smacked around this season.

Be very concerned, Tar Heel fans.

Rob Dauster is the editor of the college basketball website Ballin’ is a Habit. You can find him on twitter @robdauster.

  1. beelza - Nov 28, 2012 at 4:21 AM

    I have never seen a crowd put so much pressure, for the entire game, on the visiting teams offense. I don’t care who goes into Assembly, they start 10 down at least.

    • ukcatsfan - Nov 28, 2012 at 8:05 AM

      IU fans do know how to put pressure on the opponent. I remember the UK game last year that definetly impressed me how the crowd influenced the game especially when UK stepped to the free throw line. UK needs to get IU back on the schedule……….would make for a great rivalry right now for sure!

      • arlingtonsynn - Nov 28, 2012 at 8:22 AM

        100% agree.

        It sucks that just when the series was going to become good again (ie… IU rebuilt themselves), it gets cancelled.

      • metalhead65 - Nov 28, 2012 at 9:03 AM

        talk to your coach! he had no problem with them on the schedule until Crean rebuilt them. now when they are not a easy win he does not want to play them unless it is by his rules by taking away home court from the hoosiers. don’t hold your breath waiting for the hoosiers to give in to his demands. it was a good rivalry,but not the main one for the hoosiers,that is and always will be Purdue.

  2. LogicalConsideration - Nov 28, 2012 at 10:15 AM

    As a Carolina fan, last night’s result was not a surprise, though apparently it was to Mr. Dauster. Most Carolina fans would tell you that the #9 preseason ranking was absurd and the current #14 ranking was highly suspect. Right now, we’re probably about the 30th best team in the country. There is plenty of raw talent, but little experience. All the problems described are things that have been obvious to anyone looking since the first game.

    But cause for alarm? Hardly. Of the 10 players that average at least 10 minutes per game, 4 are freshmen and 3 are sophomores who really didn’t play much last year (except for McAdoo in a reserve role). McAdoo does need to get tougher, but given the fact that Zeller was the banger during McAdoo’s freshman season, it is no surprise that he isn’t there, yet. And the problems on defense are things that the young players can learn to correct.

    Carolina fans know that because of inexperience this isn’t a Final Four year. Probably the most likely result is that they will improve enough to be 50/50 for making the Sweet 16. This happens to most top teams every few years. High level success begets early NBA departures. Lose 3 or 4 starters at once and the next year is more about learning and building a foundation for the next few years.

    • mshane1957 - Dec 7, 2012 at 10:42 PM

      The Heels need to be ready for some payback from the Wolfpack this year. It will be sweet taking them out to the woodshed. We’ve waited a long time since the days of Norm Sloan. The Pack is back this year!

  3. ukcatsfan - Nov 28, 2012 at 10:27 AM

    I know what you are saying metalhead, I honestly wouldn’t have minded seeing UK play at Lucas Oil though. But in the end I do realize that Cal was pushing so much for the off site game that it is the reason they aren’t playing them this year. I am just hopeful that both team continue to be good and get back on each others schedules.

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