UNC-IU: The Good & the Bad

For the first time since the 1928-29 season the North Carolina Tar Heels have started a season 0-3 and for the first time ever, UNC has lost four straight home games. Here is a look at the good and the bad of UNC's most recent loss, a 79-66 decision against Indiana:


Kris Lang - Lang scored a career-high 27 points displaying an array of interior moves and short jumpers. He played with incredible intensity and was a leader on the floor. He blocked four shots, grabbed eight rebounds and had two steals but perhaps most importantly didn't get overly frustrated. He showed patience with the younger players and even helped the youngins from the floor a few times.

Melvin Scott - Scott (four points, five assists, four turnovers) made some strides running the offense and communicating with his mates on the floor. He penetrated well but did not have success finishing, but that will come with time. He also showed some grit on defense. But perhaps most importantly was his maturity in the locker room after the game. Much like football QB Darian Durant, Scott understands the big picture and appears capable of handling the responsibilities of his crucial role.

Will Johnson - Johnson (nine points) has more game than many UNC fans want to recognize. He had some beautiful dishes inside that didn't result in baskets and nailed some huge 3s. He played solid defense and gave the team a lift doing the little things. He is a lesser version of what Matt Doherty was as a player and will help the team all year.

Jason Capel - Although many UNC fans think Capel (16 points, nine rebounds) is selfish and not a team player, nothing could be more incorrect. He cares so much about winning and will do whatever it takes for his team to win. He is sound fundamentally, does many little things that improve the team fights as hard as any Heel has. If you like hard-nosed basketball, Capel is someone to appreciate.

Jackie Manuel - Manuel scored just eight points but grabbed six rebounds and worked his tail off on defense. He communicated well, dove for loose balls and had a sound mental approach to the game.

Brian Morrison - Morrison played 11 minutes and appeared more under control than he had been. He was more patient with the ball and made some beautiful swing passes to Johnson for 3s and did some nice things on defense. The sophomore from Washington remains a key player for the Heels and if he is playing near his potential by late January UNC will be much more of a force.

Matt Doherty - Give Doherty a lot of credit for getting the team in a positive frame of mind prior to the game and maintaining it throughout despite the constant up-hill battle. Carolina made strides because of their mental approach, which was more in unison than in the earlier games. Doherty is receiving too much unnecessary criticism from fans that just don't fully understand the game and why the Heels are in the situation they are. He is a fine coach in the learning process. Those people will feel foolish one day.

Fans – The fans that showed up did a tremendous job. There was an ACC atmosphere in the arena and nearly everyone in attendance tried to play the role of sixth man. Kudos to those fans.


Jason Capel - Capel was charged with seven turnovers – all in the first half – and struggled with the ball. He continues to be plagued by a pair of bad habits. When dribbling, he turns his back to defenders regardless of where he is on the floor and double and triple-pumps when around the basket. He needs to go up strong so as not to allow more defenders to collapse on him. Plus he will probably draw more fouls. His shooting has been terrible in all three games but should improve.

Adam Boone – Although he was charged with just two turnovers, Boone should have been credited with three on consecutive possessions. Boone is an extremely nice young man but is struggling in virtually every facet of the game right now. Maybe Jonathan Holmes should get some minutes.

Jawad Williams - The freshman played just nine minutes and looked about as uncomfortable as a player can. His only shot attempt was an air ball and he was hesitant every time he touched the ball. His defense was no better as exemplified by IU's last possession of the first half. Williams flashed above the top of the key to stop a driving Hoosier but then surprisingly went back to his man allowing Dane Fife to drive to the whole where he drew a foul and nailed both free throws to give IU a 10-point lead. Williams has tremendous potential but it is going to take time. Doherty is showing patience with the youngster and so too should UNC fans.

Bench - Carolina's bench provided just two points and other than Morrison nobody played more than nine minutes. In fact, the bench took just five shots. They need to be more active and play with more confidence. But then again, so does the entire team. With roles not yet defined and each player's head seemingly in a different place, it will be a while before there is any continuity on this team, which means rotations will continue to change.

Shooting - The Heels shot 39% and 30% in their first two games and 36.7% on Wednesday night. The Heels got a lot more quality looks than in the first two games, mainly because IU played man-to-man defense in the first half and part of the second. However, when they went to a zone Carolina struggled to get any quality looks and actually went nearly five minutes late in the game without attempting a 3-pointer despite being down by double-digits. Capel was just 4-15 from the floor and 0-7 on 3-pointers. Scott was 2-11 with four of the misses being blocks in the paint. Morrison was 0-4 but looked a little more comfortable with his release.

Turnovers – The Heels aren't creating much offensively which is compounded by committing too many turnovers. They had 18 against the Hoosiers, a number that will surely drop when there is more precision on offense.

Fans – There were nearly 3,000 empty seats for a home game with INDIANA. Folks, this wasn't McNeese State or North Texas, it was Indiana. If this were a football game with a Nebraska in town and there were 6,000 empty seats people would talk about UNC not being a football school. Maybe it isn't a basketball school either!


The Tar Heels next host Georgia Tech on Sunday night at 6 p.m. The game, which will be televised by FoxSportsNet, is critical for the Heels if they are to avoid the school's first 0-4 start ever. Tech hasn't been that sharp and is similar to UNC in that they too are rebuilding with young players.


Andrew Jones is in his sixth year covering football and basketball for Inside Carolina. He is 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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