UNC-GT: The Good & the Bad

Less than 48 hours after getting clobbered on it's home floor to rival Duke, the North Carolina Tar Heels continued to descend into depths never considered possible for this fabled program in a 86-74 defeat at Georgia Tech.

UNC is now in a three-way tie for last in the Atlantic Coast Conference and appears headed for the play-in game of the ACC Tournament. Here is a look at the good and the bad of Carolina's 13th loss in 19 games and seventh in nine conference clashes.

GOOD

Jason Capel – Capel appeared to finally get the cobwebs out of his "head" after consecutive poor games since missing three due to a concussion. The senior scored 21 points, including 4-7 from 3-point range, and grabbed seven rebounds in 37 minutes.

Brian Morrison – Although Morrison fouled out, he gave the Heels 21 solid minutes by scoring 16 points. He showed patience and didn't commit a turnover as he and Capel were the only Tar Heels to play remotely well.

Free throws – Carolina made 18 of 22 from the charity stripe, a nice performance for a team that is now shooting 65.9 percent for the season.

BAD

Overall offense – Carolina's movement without the ball was poor. There was little screening, few cuts to the basket, too many lazy passes (16 turnovers), too many passes 40 feet from the basket, poor efforts coming to the ball and too many contested shots. There were few attempts to get the ball inside and the zone offense essentially consisted of excessive dribbling and predictable passes around the perimeter. Wing guards Melvin Scott (13 points but a poor floor game) and Jackie Manuel combined for six turnovers and one assist in 38 minutes. UNC shot 21-56 (37.5%) from the floor overall but made good on 14 of 31 from 3-point range. In other words, the Tar Heels connected for just SEVEN two-point field goals, simply a disgraceful number!

Kris Lang – Lang had perhaps the worst game of his career on Thursday against Duke – until Saturday. Primarily guarded by a freshman, the senior scored just four points although he hauled down 13 rebounds, most of which were on the defensive end where he performed moderately well. Equally surprising is that he took just six shots. UNC's guards aren't adept at getting the ball inside which means Lang must work even harder to get open. The bottom line is that he was shut down.

Will Johnson – Johnson, usually a decent shooter, was 1-6 from the field, including an 0-5 performance from beyond the arc. A couple of shots were rushed while there were better options available.

Defense – As is always the case, UNC allowed way too many easy baskets, both inside and on the perimeter, especially in the second half. Tech scored 52 points in the final 20 minutes after Carolina led at the half 35-34. Tony Akins, Halston Lane and company were wide open too often and only a few times had hands in their faces. Carolina's poor communication and switching on defense helped Tech register 20 assists on 28 field goals. It was one of the more uninspiring defensive efforts of the season.

10 wins? – As it always is, Carolina's goal was to win 20 games and make the NCAA Tournament at the beginning of the season. The shocking season, however, forced Carolina and its fans to readjust their goals. Some fans felt a win in Atlanta would help the Heels eventually reach 10 wins. With games left at Wake Forest, N.C. State, Virginia and Duke and home games versus Maryland, Florida State, Clemson and Ohio University, four more wins will be extremely hard to come by. Perhaps the Tar Heels will register win No. 10 in the 8-9 game of the ACC tourney and earn the right to probably play either Duke or Maryland.

UP NEXT

The Tar Heels travel to Winston-Salem to take on Wake Forest at 9 p.m. on Wednesday night. The game will be televised by JP Sports.


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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