UNC-Davidson: Good and Bad

After North Carolina lost at home to Hampton on Friday, most UNC fans figured it couldn't get any worse. They figured wrong.

Although Carolina played a little better on Tuesday, for the most part there was no improvement as the Tar Heels lost again - at home – to a program that shouldn't have been within 15 points of fabled UNC.

Here is a look at the good and bad of Carolina's second defeat in as many games.

GOOD

Melvin Scott – The Baltimore freshman started at point guard and delivered 15 points and three assists. He played with poise and appeared to be one of the few Heels not yet affected by the ugliness of the season. Scott was 3-5 from three-point range, the rest of the Heels were 3-15.

Fight – Despite its terrible play, UNC did show some fight for the second consecutive game. Carolina isn't winning because a lack of effort. Perhaps they are trying too hard at this point. But if the players' heads clear up some, the Heels will be better for this experience because they will work extremely and be appreciative for everything they accomplish.

Brian Bersticker – Some will say it is grasping at straws when noting a player who saw just 10 minutes (four points, two rebounds) of action. But folks, grasping at straws, at least for now, is what it has come down to.

Shooting – Don't laugh because the positive here is that had the Heels shot moderately well in their first two games they'd be 2-0. UNC was 18-60 (30%) from the floor on Tuesday night. So that, for UNC fans, is a positive to consider. As poorly as the Tar Heels performed, they still could have easily won both games. So maybe they aren't as far away as some think. But then again, maybe they are!

Rebounding – Carolina hits the boards hard and out-boarded the Wildcats 40-33. Jason Capel led Carolina with 11 rebounds (22 in two games for the senior).

BAD

Shooting – Carolina shot 18-60 (30%) from the floor and for the second consecutive game appeared as if their craft has been an after thought. Part of this is due to tightness that has clearly settled but most is because Carolina isn't getting enough quality looks out of the offense. They are getting few open shots inside, as evidenced by Kris Lang's incredibly slow start.

Guard situation – Although Scott played well on Tuesday, this is a huge concern for the Tar Heels. UNC lacks a quality point guard and even the wing spot is filled with uncertainty. Scott may be decent in the long run but this club clearly needs experience and leadership from that spot NOW. Brian Morrison may be too erratic and Boone simply doesn't belong. Maybe this is why Ronald Curry will be such a welcome addition in early January.

Brian Morrison – Morrison has exceptional raw skills and is a great athlete with the potential to be a superb player. However, he plays with such reckless abandon sometimes that he can be as liability as much as a positive force. Because of this, Doherty must decide whether it is worth it or not to have the Washington sophomore on the floor or not. He played just nine minutes on Tuesday and unless he tempers his game (this was written a year ago), he will probably remain on bench, which is a negative for UNC because when tamed he could be a tremendous asset.

Turnovers – If Davidson can force the Heels into 20 turnovers what will teams like Maryland, Virginia and Duke do?

Capel/Lang – As important as the point guard situation is, the Heels will likely struggle until Capel and Lang get it going. Both players have clearly placed tremendous pressure on themselves and wear the uniform with tremendous pride and clearly recognize what is happening. But they, perhaps more than their mates, need to relax and just go out and play some hoops. The rest of the players will follow their lead. The pair combined for 7-28 from the floor and 21 points. Plus they turned the ball over five times.

Confidence – Clearly the Heels are seriously lacking confidence as a unit and most likely as individuals. Because of their mental state, the Heels are playing tight which is evident in very few creation baskets as well as the little mistakes made at key moments: Lang's dropped pass late on Tuesday, poor shooting, defensive breakdowns especially late (also see Tuesday). Until the Heels win a game, it will be Matt Doherty's greatest challenge to get this team to play looser than they have.

Matt Doherty – There is no doubt in this scribe's mind that Doherty is the right man for the job and will take Carolina to incredible heights, but it may not happen this year for various reasons, some of which he isn't responsible for. However, some he curiously is. First of all, he started an all defensive unit on Tuesday, including the offensively challenged Adam Boone at the wing guard, when the Heels' main problem on Friday was offense and shooting. The other is the infatuation he has with Boone. Boone is an extremely nice kid and an asset to the program in many ways, but he isn't yet an ACC player and it boggles the mind to consider what both Doherty sees and former coach Bill Guthridge saw in the Minnesota native.

Record – At 0-2, Carolina finds itself in a very rare situation. The last time the Heels were was in the 1982-83 season – when Doherty was a junior playing for Dean Smith's Heels – and the last time UNC was 0-2 at home was, well, never.

UP NEXT

Carolina next plays on Wednesday at home against Indiana in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge. The 9 p.m. game will be televised nationally by ESPN.

Andrew Jones is in his sixth year covering football and basketball for Inside Carolina. He also in his fourth year as a copy editor and staff writer for the Wilmington Star-News and hosts a nightly radio show on WAAV-AM980 in Wilmington. He has also written for ACCNews and once published The College Game and the former Total Sports. He can be reached via e-mail at: AJWAAV@aol.com.


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