Here is a look at the good and the bad of UNC's 19th loss in 27 games and 12th Atlantic Coast Conference defeat in 16 battles.
Jason Capel – Capel didn't have an assist and turned the ball over four times but he still scored 28 points, was 12 for 12 from the free throw line and grabbed nine boards. He fought hard and despite being verbally assaulted by Duke's students, remained focused.
Jawad Williams – Williams tallied 14 points and said he enjoyed himself playing in Cameron despite the loss. He said he liked that kind of environment and that it will help make him a better player. He also didn't back down from Duke's Matt Christensen, when, at six years younger, he could have simply backed down. The difference between Jawad merely being a decent and excellent player, other than improving his reactionary skills and hands, is toughness. He has become increasingly more aggressive over the last month and is on his way in that department.
Fight – Carolina showed a lot of fight and never quit. They were toe-to-toe with Duke physically and kept plugging away and even cut the margin to 60-47 with 14-plus minutes left in the game. Credit coach Matt Doherty for keeping his team focused and intent on playing hard. A criticism earlier in the season, Doherty's kids have fought hard since the loss in Winston-Salem. Looking hard for positives? There's one.
Turnovers – UNC committed 25 turnovers against its rivals for the second time in as many games this season. See dribbling and offensive sets for a major reason why UNC coughed it up so much. Duke scored 19 fast break points as opposed to just two for UNC.
Defensive boards – Although the Heels were close in rebounding for the game (33-30 Duke) they did allow 13 offensive boards of which Duke capitalized with 15 second chance points. UNC had eight second chance points for the game.
Interior defense – The Heels didn't help out well inside and were beaten back door and by back screens to the tune of 38 points in the interior. Couple that with Jason Williams' scorching 3-point shooting and it's a wonder UNC didn't lose by 50.
Dribbling/offensive sets – The Heels reverted back to their ugly ways dribbling way too much on the perimeter and rarely starting the offense where it is designed to begin. They were also not flashing anyone when a big man would have the ball at the top of the key attempting to hand off to a guard – a set that Duke easily defended. The lack of a player flashing made it easier for Duke to defend and made the Heels look pretty awful in their intent and execution. As a result, Duke registered an amazing 18 steals.
Adam Boone - Boone had a very rough day as his limitations were fully exposed. He turned the ball over eight times and could have had four more had deflections, etc., not gone out of bounds. He went back to dribbling with his head down, east-west instead of north/south, and didn't appear to have much of a plan other than escaping Duke's defenders. He had made progress in recent weeks but struggled running the offense and seeing his mates.
Kris Lang – Lang had perhaps his worst game as a Heel scoring just six points and grabbing only three rebounds in 31 minutes. He wasn't effective getting solid position on the blocks, which is why he received entry passes out of position too often to make much happen. He also had very little rise when leaving his feet.
Matt Doherty – It appears that Jackie Manuel, Melvin Scott and Boone can take ill-advised shots and get out of control and get a pass from their coach when Brian Morrison doesn't. When Morrison makes one questionable play he gets yanked. With about two minutes left he penetrated and made a nice bounce pass to Jawad Williams who let the ball go through his legs. The pass was a bit low but should have been received by Williams. Doherty yanked Morrison from the game. One must wonder why Morrison, who has demonstrated for the last month his willingness to play within the team while reducing his effectiveness and game, is on such a short leash. At this point it appears that he plays looking over his shoulder and thus, the real Morrison hasn't been on display for some time.
19th loss – The Tar Heels are just one loss shy of their 20th of the season, something many folks never thought they'd ever see.
The Tar Heels travel to Charlotte where they will face Duke for the first time ever in the Quarterfinals of the ACC Tournament on Friday at 7:30 p.m. The game will be televised regionally by JP Sports and nationally by ESPN.
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.