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UNC 100 Elon 62

When the starters sit before the third TV timeout of the second half, you know its been a good day.

The standard disclaimers apply obviously given the weakness of the opponent but I will say UNC looked far less rusty than I thought they would be coming into this game. The shooting was a little off, especially early in the first half. The Heels shook that off and rolled out to a 53-19 halftime lead which included a 23-0 run to open the game up. UNC’s defense in this game was top notch. I know the opponent matters but the Heels played with intensity and did a great job getting out on three point shooters. Elon was 2-15 from three in the first half, 20% overall from the floor and had a offensive efficiency of 40.0. That is simply putrid in every sense of the word. Yes, they are an inferior team going against UNC but with UNC playing great defense, Elon looks even worse. The Heels were 17-25(68%) from the free throw line but that stat was skewed a tad lower by Blue Steel. Prior to the final three minutes UNC was at 15-21(71%) with the starters going 12-14(85%).

Among the individual highlights, all five starters played extremely well. Harrison Barnes, who was sick last night, showed no ill effect nor any intention of backing off what he showed versus Texas. Barnes had 18 points, five assists and five rebounds. The assist total is a career high and that is an aspect of his game that might prove huge in conference play. Barnes being assertive is a good thing both for his own scoring but also for opening up other players on the court. On one play, Barnes drove to the basket, went into the air with control and then dropped off to Henson for the dunk and a foul. Barnes also scored in a variety of ways from drives to jumpshots. Overall Barnes has clearly taken his game up a level on both ends.

John Henson and Tyler Zeller continue to be the twin towers of doom. Zeller led the team with 19 points and 13 rebounds, nine of those offensive. Henson had a regular dunk fest on his way to 16 points and 11 rebounds. The backcourt also played well. Dexter Strickland had 10 points and Kendall Marshall dropped eight points(including two made threes), eight assists, three steals and only one turnover. In addition to nice stat lines, the starters played 25 minutes or less. Lower minutes in these games will only benefit the team in March.

While the starters were very good, the bench was less productive outside of Reggie Bullock who had a couple of nice plays. P.J. Hairston committed two offensive fouls and was 2-11 from the floor. James Michael McAdoo continues to miss shots near the rim I and most likely everyone watching thinks he should make. It appears he still needs to settle down a bit since he often times looks like he is rushing his shot and therefore misses ones he should probably make most of the time. UNC needs both Hairston and McAdoo to contribute. Hairston has shown he can but with McAdoo the jury is still out.

Next up for UNC is a New Year’s Day game versus a Monmouth team coached by former Heel King Rice of the early 1990s era of UNC basketball. After that ACC play starts and things get real.

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22 comments to UNC 100 Elon 62

  • tonyboi08

    I wonder if McAdoo still a lottery pick.

  • caymanheel

    Thank you, Hubert, for starting off the broadcast with a comparison (not a contrast — see Jay Bilas) to the 2009 team who did not in fact develop much of a killer instinct but generally played to the level of the respective competition. I’m going all in on this claim.

    Good effort tonight boys.

  • I worry about the negative effects of these give-me games; particularly, misleading shot confidence. If one becomes too accustom to driving penny nails, then driving spikes seems arduous. GO HEELS!

  • gso_tarheel

    We have these cupcake games every year. At this point I don’t think we will know much about this team until the first game of the NCAA tourney. Like in 2005, we did not look like a real solid championship team, but we destroyed our first and second round opponents. The rest is history. Of course, every team needs a little luck too (in 2005 it was a foul call that went our way during the sweet 16 game against Villanova).

  • makeitWayne22

    ^ what about the “luck” nova got on that 5th foul called on Raymond….

  • AZACCFan

    Regarding assists, I think that the other players on the team are learning from Marshall that an assist is not a bad thing. Whether they are being credited with an assist or not, lots of players seem to be passing the ball rather than taking shots that will not work. There may be fewer fouls as a result, but that will be OK.

    Barnes will have plenty of assist opportunities if he keeps moving around as he has been doing of late.

  • faustus1500

    I am looking at Kenpom.com and there are times which I do not like the stats which he uses. I think UNC’s offensive and defensive metrics will never be in the top of the country because Roy doesn’t play his starters as much as other schools. Kentucky’s starters play between 28.5 and 31 minutes per game. Ohio State is the same way except for the rotating fifth starter they have. UNCs starters vary between 25 to 31 minutes per game. Kendall Marshall leads all starters by averaging 30.7 minutes per game. Harrison Barnes and Tyler Zeller average around 26 minutes per game.

  • faustus1500

    It was a walk call that went UNCs way in the Sweet 16 game against Villanova. Technically, it was the right call because Allan Ray dragged his feet on the play.

  • LarryS

    “Regarding assists, I think that the other players on the team are learning from Marshall that an assist is not a bad thing.”

    Basketball is best played when the ball is worked to the open man for the easy shot.

    That’s not to say players should never take a difficult shot, and sometimes they can be too unselfish, with too many passes. (I can’t stand those dump-off passes that look like the ball is being moved around but they’re actually put in a terrible position to do anything with it)

    But when players like Zeller and Henson, who both have better assist percentages from last year, start finding the open man when the D is drawn to them….well this team just gets a lot better. (One of my favorite plays of the year was Henson hitting Marshall for that back door layup against Texas)

    Add Barnes to the mix, and right at the time when attention is being drawn to the escalation in his offense, the Heels can become an outstanding passing and assist team beyond KM.

    No small part of the effectiveness in this area is just playing together more and recognizing where everyone is, that and making good decisions with the ball. These are type things that will get them where they want to go.

  • PRGuy

    Good to see the Black Falcon throw down some nasty dunks last night. Better than the pullup jumpers he occasionally settles for. That sort of aggressiveness can also lead to more fouls called against the opponents and more free throws for the Heels. Now they need to improve their FT shooting.

  • MCHeelFan

    It is nice to see this team start to fire on all cylinders. And I swear KM has eyes in the back of his head…amazing! Yes there’s room for improvement, but at least we’re starting to see that improvement from game to game. Barnes is starting to find the open man when teams collapse on him, instead of forcing up a horrid shot. The bigs are hustling and pounding the boards. And the team is playing a solid defensive game from beginning to end. I really couldn’t be happier from this performance…maybe if Hairston had a better shooting night(nitpicking).

    Caymanheel - Nice pick-up on Hubert. I don’t know what problem Bilas was having that night…other than he graduated from Dook.

  • tht23

    i keep expecting mcadoo to settle in, since it does take some players longer to acclimate to the college level than others, but it’s not looking good

  • gregrustin

    Force Mcadoo to DUNK everything. if it aint available, pass it out;otherwise he is MANDATED to dunk everything.(Zeller too lol).

    ps it is very obvious that this is Kendall MArshalls team that will go as far as he takes it. when he leaves the court, the drop in efficiency and production is dramatic. put Butter on EVERYTHING.

  • makeitWayne22

    Mcadoo would thrive if given the same opportunity John had hes freshman year, and get some burn at the 3. He will never be a dominate big back to the basic player. He will make hes millions playing the three in the NBA.

  • “I think UNC’s offensive and defensive metrics will never be in the top of the country because Roy doesn’t play his starters as much as other schools.”

    Only at the beginning of the season. As UNC starts to consistently play tougher competition, their ranks should improve because Ken weighs more recent games more heavily than he does early season games, which is why UNC ended 2005, 2008, and 2009 as the #1 in adjOE.

  • gregrustin

    “Mcadoo would thrive if given the same opportunity John had hes freshman year, and get some burn at the 3. He will never be a dominate big back to the basic player. He will make hes millions playing the three in the NBA.”

    he would be airballin 3′s like henson did freshman year.

  • mrn10sdave

    “I think UNC’s offensive and defensive metrics will never be in the top of the country because Roy doesn’t play his starters as much as other schools.”

    I would also add that to the extent our starters play less, Roy feels it is advantageous to the ultimate outcome of the game (because we play so fast, and they need rest). If that is the case in competitive games, it would tend to help our statistics.

  • faustus1500

    I am not questioning Roy in this instance. I am just questioning the validity of KenPoms metrics.

    C. Michael,

    I didn’t realize kenpom placed higher value on more recent games. This would explain how UCONN was able to sneak into the Top 20 of AdjO and AdjD after winning the Title last season.

  • LarryS

    “This would explain how UCONN was able to sneak into the Top 20 of AdjO and AdjD after winning the Title last season.”

    UCONN had the lowest ranked composite adjusted OE and DE of any national champion since Syracuse in 2003.

    I guess this shows that those numbers aren’t always predictors for winning it all, but they usually are.

  • mrn10sdave


    I wasn’t intending to bring Roy’s decision-making into the discussion. I was just saying that to the extent our starters play less, I would expect that to help our offensive and defensive rankings. If it didn’t help to play them less, they would play more.

  • faustus1500

    I think the efficiency ratings will definitely increase after New Years because the rotation will be tightened. Like I said before my issue is with the metrics themselves. UNC is lower because of the myriad of lineups Roy uses. This makes UNC currently appear more inefficient than they really are. Believe me, I know this is not beauty contest.

  • LarryS

    ^Why wouldn’t every other team, once they get past their starters, be affected by this assumed drop in efficiency thus making the numbers sort of even out? And are you sure UNC’s efficiency drops off that much when the non-starters mix into the lineup? I mean Bulloch and Hairston have Offensive Ratings of 132 and 121, respectively, and Bulloch is one of the top on-ball defenders we have.

    In other words I don’t know that Roy’s lineup variations are all that different from the rotation experiments, and seeing how everyone fits together, that other teams are going through in the early part of the season.

    Actually, it seems to me that Roy’s top 8 are pretty well defined, and at likely an earlier point than usual. And the times he does go 9 or 10 deep, or more - mostly against teams when there’s a comfortable lead - is basically the same thing everyone else does.

    And it’s not like UNC is lagging in an adjusted OE ranking…..they are #5 after all.