It was Reggie Bullock versus Virginia and Virginia won. That is pretty much the long and short of it. Reggie Bullock returned from a concussion last week and showed no signs of it. He played as well as he could have and got very little help from his teammates. In fact, given he was 7-9 from the floor and 4-6 from three for 22 points, I am not sure why the offense doesn't simply run sets to get Bullock more shots. Then I remembered, this team struggles mightily to run any sort of coherent and cohesive offense so that probably won't work as well as anyone hopes.
All things considered, the defense wasn't that bad. The three point bug continues to bite as UVa hit 8-14, many of them wide open because there was no recovery or rotation from helping in certain situations. Still, UVa's OE was 98.0, well below their season average of 105.0 and they scored 61 points. A good offensive team could have easily won this game but UNC is not that. The offense is simply a hot mess and in a game that requires half court offensive execution, having only one player doing almost half the scoring isn't going to get it done.
The long list of players not helping out really starts and ends with James Michael McAdoo. McAdoo ended up with 10 points on 4-9 shooting. He simply has to be better. Part of that is the half court offense doesn't get him the ball in any kind of usable position. The other is McAdoo struggles to finish, even when he is wide open, he finds a way to get blocked from behind. At this point, McAdoo is cruising towards an Ed Davis comparison as the player with NBA lottery talent(according to the experts) who failed to carry the team. In fact he is probably already there seeing that McAdoo needed to be this breakout star to push UNC up a notch but instead has been very hit or miss.
Of course it is not just McAdoo, though some consistent elite level play from McAdoo would help tremendously. The bottom line is UNC doesn't have good offensive options beyond Bullock and McAdoo. There are too many players(Joel James, Desmond Hubert) who the word "raw" get used about. P.J. Hairston certainly tried but missed three pointers he should have hit. Leslie McDonald has yet, to my knowledge, made an offensive impact in a game against a quality team. Dexter Strickland has regressed to some extent and simply doesn't have the quickness to turn the corner while Marcus Paige is just plain inexperienced and out of sorts. Brice Johnson certainly has his moments but not developed enough to be a reliable offensive option.
Given the way things have gone so far, some frustration is warranted as is concern over whether this team has some flaws which simply cannot be overcome. Then again, the 2011 team lost by 20 to a very bad Georgia Tech team after having a November and December similar to the one this team. This was also road game against a slow-tempo team who excels at playing defense. A loss wasn't a surprise to KenPom or Las Vegas though the loss itself is not the source of irritation. That would be the manner of the losing and until these Heels acquit themselves better, even in losses, the shaking of fists at the sky will continue. All is not lost but it is starting to feel like it is.
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