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UNC 73 Miami 56

No complaints. No, it wasn’t perfect but there were not any red flags to take away from this game either.

I honestly cannot find much to really criticize in this win mainly because I am not going to bag on the shooting because bad shooting nights happen. Harrison Barnes was not good, his first such game since the back-to-back 9 point outings prior to the Texas game. Barnes simply could not hit a shot despite being aggressive and getting nice open looks. The end result was a 2-12 shooting night and only six points. Normally that would be bad news, as would John Henson 5-13 shooting for only 11 points. However the Heels got a huge night from the backcourt, possibly the best of the season out of Kendall Marshall and Dexter Strickland.

Heading into this game the thought was Miami’s Durand Scott and Malcolm Graham would be a huge issue for the UNC backcourt to check. Instead the opposite occurred. Scott and Grant were a combined 6-20 and 0-7 from three. Marshall had his first double figures scoring game of the season hitting 5-7 for 12 points while dishing out eight assists. The only hiccup on his stat line was four turnovers. Strickland was sensational on both ends playing stellar defense and dropping 14 points. The real shame with Henson and Barnes being off is I would love to see this team with all five players scoring points. Tyler Zeller led the scoring with 16 on 6-11 shooting and a perfect 4-4 from the line. I also thought Zeller showed some toughness dealing with the rather rotund Reggie Johnson.

Outside of the starters, the bench still did not have a good shooting night either. Reggie Bullock did have a solid game doing other things like grabbing six rebounds(three offensive) and at one point keeping Duran Scott out of the lane with some nice on-the-ball defense. Likewise P.J. Hairston was only 1-5 from three and James Michael McAdoo did play, was generally effective though he only took two shots. Besides not shooting well, when UNC rotated a mostly bench lineup onto the floor, play was a tad sloppy and it allowed Miami back into the game in the first half before one of those patented big runs effectively ending the game.

The overall team defense was very good. It was aggressive and focused for most of the game. Miami didn’t help itself with some of the shot selection but I would like to think UNC had something to do with that.  In short, UNC seized control of the game as the first half came to c alose and kept it basically on course through the seocond half. Some bad shooting from Barnes and Henson actually turned out to be a good thing since it afforded Marshalll and Strickland in particular to step up on the offensive end. If it that works to give them both confidence going forward, it will be well worth it.

Now the Heels head back out on the road for the first time since the Kentucky game with a tough matchup versus FSU followed by a trip to Blacksburg. UNC has never started 4-0 in ACC play under Roy Williams. With defense like they played vs Miami and Barnes/Henson shooting the ball better, they have a shot at it.

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36 comments to UNC 73 Miami 56

  • AZACCFan

    It seems that this year the frequent substitutions are leading to better defense generally. Maybe the guys are less fatigued.

    When Bullock and Hairston have come in that often also has meant lots of points. Not this time.

    But instead of whining about it I thought they played tougher defense and tried harder for offensive rebounds. It wasn’t as easy to score off the offensive rebound in this game though as between dodging some serious flying elbows (major whacks on Strickland and Zeller that went unpunished for example) and coping with extra beef, incidental contact sent plenty of players flying.

    I thought Barnes suffered from that, but he was really mixing it up under the basket even though he had a tough time getting his shots to fall. Away from the basket, he had quite a few opportunities that just did not fall.

  • faustus1500

    I wish I watched this game. I was actually at the Illinois vs. Ohio State. Despite not watching the game we can all agree that UNC has to be pretty special to be beating a team by 20 or more for most of the game despite the fact that their two top scorers had poor offensive games. What makes me the happiest is that both Strick and Marshall scored in double figures. I don’t even know if that has ever happened. Also, I am not worried about Barnes. He had an off night. We know he can take over games this was a game where the rest of the starting backcourt picked up the slack scoring.

  • Moustache

    Ecstatic about this game, relatively speaking.

    -Outstanding defensive/rebounding effort. Total 180 from the BC game.

    -If Marshall can score taking it aggressively to the rim like that even half of the time, other teams have no solution.

    -Strick was outstanding in every phase…did exactly what he’s supposed to do. It seems that he finally gets his role and is embracing it.

    -The Heels guarded the three! yay.

    -Barnes played like garbage and it didn’t matter. Him just missing shots isn’t nearly as worrisome as his frequent bouts of loafing…he wasn’t loafing tonight. The shots will fall.

    -The frontcourt — the strength of the team — played poorly and the Heels still crushed a decent team.

    -FT shooting was back where it should be, even with Watts being Watts.

    -Not to be overlooked is that the guys — especially Z and Strickland — kept their collective cool in the face of lots of hard fouls (and “fouls”), which has become the MO of the ACC teams from the Sunshine state. Not many guys could handle that all game long and not retaliate.

    -Speaking of FL teams and dirty play…remember when FSU was “Al Thornton and 4 football players”…then it was “Chris Singleton and 4 football players”? What is it now…5 football players?

    again: great win for all sorts of reasons. The shots will fall again and Barnes will wake up. Otherwise, lots of positives.

  • gso_tarheel

    4 random observations from a great UNC win…

    Defense: Is there a stat on # of shot clock violations? I cannot recall seeing a UNC team with this many shot clock violations at this point in the season.

    3 point shooting: In the last couple of years, last night’s low % from three would have been evidence of a systemic problem. Instead, this year it is merely an off-night.

    Maturity: I am trying not to swing too much from game to game, but do we seem to be maturing over the last few games? Player emotions seem to be less up and down with the game - they are playing each play in the moment.

    We might be a “great” team: We can play truly stifling defense, we have multiple threats from 3 and we are maturing emotionally. It is starting to feel like this can be a “great” team (i.e. champion) rather than just a very good team (i.e. Elite 8). Whoa, I better slow down…we are past midnight so I will quit enjoying this one and look to FSU…

  • Asheville Heel

    Come back Mama Barnes!

  • LarryS

    Agree with Moustache about outstanding rebounding and defense, particularly the first half D which was the best I think they’ve played to date. They were just moving quicker and much more decisively with their guarding schemes.

    The PPP given up may have been lower in a few games (actually only 3 of them), but not against this level of opponent. (Well, MSU is a much better team than Miami, and UNC’s defensive #’s against them were impressive, but I think they may have had more to do with MSU’s poor shot selections, and forcing shots, than a stifling D……hard to remember with it being the first game of the year)

    True, Miami hardly has a synchronized offense, but this was a big step in the direction of essential D that will be required for a strong, more emphatically: STRONG (which is what I really want to see), conference run.

    I was curious to see how their improved rebounding would hold up against a team who has a bit better quality of players, some of whom are pretty big themselves……no problem. Holding Miami to only 5 ORB’s and getting 85% of the DRB’s was excellent, as was the 16 RB margin, a bigger margin than last year’s two games combined. Good work.

  • Heel To The End

    faustus, its happened two other times that i can see.
    last year @ NCState, and vs Washington in the NCAA.
    out of…54 games total?

  • AZACCFan

    Asheville Heel

    I think that may have had something to do with the BC vs Miami Barnes game. He is NOT the Barnesbot.

  • scl11

    1) Dexter Strickland’s performance was outstanding, his defense was on point as usual (Strickland and Bullock made Grant a non-factor on the offensive end), and he seemed to have a hand in every play. I can’t recall a single play that Strickland made that was not the right decision, when he does that he can be very special like he was last night.

    2) Even though it won’t show up in the assist column (because his teammates couldn’t finish), Marshall was fabulous as well, and one of his better games. Instead of forcing assists, he just made the right play, which in this game was him finishing at the basket. Plus, his on the ball defense is still not great, but much improved vs. the UNLV debacle, and his quick hands have become a major asset as a weak side defender.

    3) Defensive Rebounding has improved vs. the UNLV debacle as well. One reason is the additional focus the backcourt and wings are doing on finishing a defensive possession with rebounds, instead of just trying to leak out and expect Henson and Zeller to clean up the glass. Henson did have one lazy block out in the first half that resulted in the Jones dunk, but overall the rebounding has improved.

    4) HB should be highly focused for the game in Tallahassee Saturday, although the shooting % looked like HB 2010, the activity was more like HB 2011. Although HB missed a ton of shots he usually makes, at least he was active taking the ball to the basket and hitting the offensive glass. Nice to have an easy 17 point win, when your leading scorer can’t throw it in the ocean. And I like having a motivated HB on Carolina’s first road trip in over a month.

    5) Free Throw Shooting was also better if you take away Watts (who shouldn’t be on the court in the first place #deadhorse)

    6) Miami should be much better than what they currently are, they have two match up problems in the post with Tubby and the Florida transfer (who looks like a really good player), plus two of the better guards in the ACC, but they are just awful defensively, which happens when your former coach never required you to really play defense. This team talent wise should be one of the top 5 in the ACC (mainly bc the ACC is so awful), but it will be interesting to see if Larenaga can get them there. I guess we’ll find out when Carolina heads to South Beach in February.

    FSU matches up well with Carolina, so the shooting will have to be much better on Saturday night, but all in all a solid performance especially from the backcourt.

  • AZACCFan

    Another interesting thing about this game is how the team continues to evolve. This time it was the guard play. Marshall played 32 minutes and was very solid on defense. He scored 12 points! Strickland was solid overall and scored 14.

    Another evolution and an encouraging sign of how they can adapt to unexpected pressures.

  • Barnes just had an off night shooting. It happens. It happened to Wayne Ellington or Danny Green. I agree he will come to play on Saturday.

  • Heel To The End

    he was probably shooting in the Dean Dome til 1.

  • makeitWayne22

    That PF that Miami was very impressive. Barnes missed a lot of shots last night, but they were mostly good shots, and he was working on the offensive glass.

    No reason Dex and Kendall cant combine for 15-20 pts a night, both are too talented like to look for their shot.

  • AZACCFan

    I don’t think that Barnes is in a slump either. He just had an off night. There were several shots by him and others that were in the cylinder and spun out. He was not taking crazy shots, but he did put up a few more threes than ideal. Barnes was very physical inside and I thought there could have been several foul calls that were not made.

    It is one thing to allow a level of contact. However when you are looking at a scrum of huge dudes whacking each other it looks more like rugby than basketball. Zeller made the comment post game that he had learned that if he did not have early position that he was not going to get it through physical play.

  • LarryS

    “Defensive Rebounding has improved vs. the UNLV debacle as well.”

    Not to nitpick, but if this characteriztion of DRB ineffectiveness in the UNLV game has become conventional thinking, especially if it implies an outcome- altering effect, then I think it’s erroneous.

    The 66.7% DRB percentage in that game would have produced only 2 more DRB’s if they had achieved their current 72.3% rate ( Best since Roy got here). Now one could say that a couple of three-pointers made by UNLV, on second-chance opportunities, could have been prevented and made the game that much closer, but that would be picking and choosing specific plays (you can do that in any game to potentially alter outcomes), but it’s more appropriate to look at the effect of an entire category of play.

    In contrast, the offensive rebound discrepancy was much greater, compared to their avg. ORB% (24% for UNLV game vs. their avg 41% rate, or, in the case of this game, 7 more ORB’s), so if RB’s affected the game that much at all, I would argue it would be in this area rather than in DRB’g.

    Now if you want to talk about DRB’g in the Kentucky game, then I’m on board.

  • AZACCFan

    The UNLV game was lost on intensity level. The team started off thinking that they would win the game and did not play hard, got behind, chased after plays and had too much help defense and outside scoring. UNLV has gone on to beat other good teams, but they have not looked like a championship winning group.

    I believe that the UNLV game was a real learning experience and eye opening for UNC. Since that game, unless they are in the lead by blowout proportions, the team has been much more focused on what they need to do.

    I think both BC and Miami came to play and are probably quite a bit better than they look on paper. Partially because of new coaching, but also new players and recovering from injury and other factors, these two teams will improve a lot this year. I did not care for the unpunished elbows by Miami front line players at all. This is dangerous.

  • BuonRotto

    Asheville Heel: had the same thought. Barnes for whatever reason does seem to respond in games where she’s attending. I’m thinking face cards a la Operation Scheyerface, but for good luck instead of being used as a distraction? ;-) anyway, if there is something there, it’s something he just needs to work through. Needs more experience in that respect I guess.

    I’m impressed with the opposing coaching so far. It’s like they know what needs to be done, but it’s not happening yet. Good in-game adjustments the last two games, but they just were overrun. Hopefully the ACC will be a better conference in a few years if Donahue’s and Larranaga’s recruiting go well. Same for Gottfried at State.

    Can’t remember the last time I said “wow” aloud in response to a defensive play. Bullock on Grant that one time where Grant tried twice to drive past him, and Bullock kept him in front… wow. Truly excellent work.

    Strickland played an almost perfect game. I do think he can average about 10-12 points per game and 3-4 assists per game, and make a huge difference.

    Good to see Hubert get serious time. I know he was frustrated because he wasn’t able to hold onto passes, but he’ll get it. Then he and Macadoo will get pushed around inside and they’ll figure that out too. I thought despite some fan stress about the score not running up, it was a good idea, and left him in a good amount of time to start getting into the groove of things later. For all the flack Williams gets about his in-game coaching, he used Hubert’s time wisely.

  • textual heeling

    “Wow” is right. I honestly think that was the best 40 minutes of defense I’ve seen a Roy Williams team play. There was never a moment where I felt the intensity let up. First game this season where we got up by 20, but didn’t go into “cruise control” mode for the rest of the game. If we were simply bad from the 3-point line, instead of gawd-awful, we win by 30. If the bigs make lay-ups, we win by 40.

    Looking forward to the next two games. For Virginia Tech, the UNC game is shaping up almost as a must-win if they are to have any hopes of making the NCAA’s.

  • scl11

    “Not to nitpick, but if this characteriztion of DRB ineffectiveness in the UNLV game has become conventional thinking, especially if it implies an outcome- altering effect, then I think it’s erroneous.”

    You are correct that defensive rebounding was not the only factor for the loss, but it was a major one. Carolina didn’t compete and that was reflected in the defensive rebounding, and yes you could ‘nitpick’ that a possession or two might not have had a material impact on the final score, but basketball games are not just so black and white. An extra defensive rebound or two could have stopped a UNLV run and or started a UNC run, which in the real time game of basketball effects momentum. And momentum is a major factor in college basketball outcomes and there isn’t a stat for it, so another reason why watching a game is > looking at a box score or stats.

  • If you look at the 2nd half of the UNLV game there are at least nine points scored off UNLV offensive rebounds. One comes with UNC down four at 62-58. They also hit a three of an offensive board when it was 69-60.

    What also doesn’t show up in the stat sheet is the frustration players will feel in giving up points like that. If UNC gets the defensive rebound at 62-58 and draws to 60-62 or 61-62 how does that change the game? How does UNLV respond? UNC has been there before have they?

    UNC got bit it that game by the rebounding but also by falling apart on offense and failing to play cohesively on that end of the floor. I think there has been significant improvements in both regards since then.

  • CarMichael

    “but they are just awful defensively”

    Miami was awful defensively when I saw them early this season, but I thought they defended very well in the half court last night and should get some credit for our poor offense. Our guards rarely got into the paint, and deep post feeds rarely happened, so there were few easy shots except in transition. (Miami did fail to get back in transition a few times.)

    This is a casual impression based on one viewing. I’d like to hear what others saw.

  • I thought Kendall Marshall got into the paint and all the way to the rim a lot which is why he scored 12. Miami flat quit on some plays. They did not make an effort to get back on defense at times making me think Larranaga has a real effort problem with this crew. Also, I didn’t think the offense itself was poorly executed. I thought UNC got a lot of good shots that simply didn’t go down, especially from Barnes and Bullock.

  • scl11

    ^beat me to it

    Carolina missing shots and not capitalizing on offensive rebounds does not correlate to good Miami defense.

  • CarMichael

    Gee, I thought we took several off-balance jumpers and a whole lot of heavily contested inside shots.

    When Kendall got in the paint, Miami was defending so as to prevent any dishing or kickouts, so he got to the rim most times he was able to penetrate-but what was that, maybe four times in the halfcourt game? He did finish very effectively, maybe the best he has ever done in that department. I don’t remember any draw-and-dish plays by our perimeter guys in the half court. Again, I’m not confident in these impressions.

  • AZACCFan

    Lots of UNC shots simply did not go down that could have. I am not talking about Hairston’s air balls. Several were in and then out; at least 3 3 pointers. Distribting the ball and not continuing to go to someone who is having an off night is often not easy. Especially in college bball.

    Marshall is no Ty Lawson, but it took Lawson a while to figure out how to drive into the lane as well. And Marshall is significantly taller and has longer arms than Lawson.

    More options are harder to defend.

  • Agree on the last 2 posts of yours SCL11. Box scores are akin to economics to me. They can give you a numerical picture of what took place, but they do not reflect the emotional/psychological aspect of a game. But in the defense of a statatician, there is no real way to guage/quantify that part of the game outside of visuality.

    Its like economics, you are taught there is a pie, and that there is only that amount that can be distributed, earned, or traded. But its not that simple, as money/capital can be created, and destoyed. The pie can increase or decrease in size. But if you apply a statistical analysis to it, the pie always stays the same.

    ^^My best effort at layman’s terms.

  • It appeared to me as if Marshall was in fact driving in with a set defense. OK, it might not have been with 15 seconds on the shot clock, but it wasn’t open layups either. He assesed the defense, and saw an opening & took it. Something he was hesitant to do before. I still think Marshall will be who he is, a pass first poing guard, and what a great thing for our team. But if there is a zone, or a crease in the defense, why not drive in and get a bucket or a foul, all the while hawkeyeing the teammates for a decent look? I absolutely loved the way Marshall played last night!! It just shows how much confidence he has, and how much he has improved. This version of Marshall gets us the win against Duke in last year’s ACC tournament.

  • Heel To The End

    Marshall made some tough shots.
    i think i said “square up” at least twice on the game thread.
    Hairston and Barnes were chucking up things with no balance.
    Zeller and Henson were T-rexing point blank shots for some reason.
    to me, regardless of the defense, we didnt take good shots or didnt execute easy ones very well. in many cases.

  • Heels Perspective

    I second anyone who “loved” the way Marshall played last night. Not necessarily because it affected last night’s outcome, but now that SCOUTING REPORT will change a little. Defenses will be helpless on nights Barnes, etc are shooting at normal percentage if they have to cover Marshall & Strickland for that matter.

    Speaking of defense, I think this team is starting to “get it”

  • LarryS

    I’m not trying to beat a dead horse on the UNLV rebounding situation, and yes, UNC could, I say, could have gotten some timely DRB’s that might have altered the momentum, but I just feel that since they operated so close to their norm in DRB’s, and since RB’s off a lot of threes (45% of UNLV’s FGA’s were from 3) can be a hit or miss thing in relation to running them down, then I think it’s a stretch to point to this area as a major reason for the loss.

    Why not ORB’s? Since they were 7 ORB’s short of their norm, why couldn’t they had capitalized on them and got second chance points themselves. Getting 5 or 6 more offensive RB’s could have easily produced 6 or more points itself, especially if it led to a 3.

    I don’t know…I hear all the arguments but I still remain unconvinced they were slack on DRB’g. (And yes I watched the game a couple of times myself)

  • Heel To The End

    ^dont give up 32 3-pt attempts, where the ball can go anywhere and inside position becomes meaningless.
    and UNLV’s top 2 rebounders that night were(are) 6’8″, not
    6’11″ and 7′.

  • AZACCFan


    It was overall and not a special statistic.

    Statistics attempt to summarize and unfortunately discount degree of mental and physical effort.

    You only get offensive rebounds when you miss a shot. This discounts fouls and turnovers.

    If you can get intensity to show up so much of this other stuff simply will follow when you have a team of this obvious potential (note: see stats on player rankings).

  • LarryS

    ^^ Well, that’s a whole different topic, and I agree.

    My argument was the proportional effect on the game of DRB’g , which I have maintained was not major, related to what it actually was, not what it could have been. But, in the spirit of fairness, I will remain open to have my impressions of the game (since deleted on my DVR) revisited with this proposal:

    For anyone who still has the UNLV game saved, would you mind looking at all the second-chance points that were scored by UNLV (particularly in the 2nd half), where the rebound either came right to them, was pretty easy for them to get, or was simply a matter of a superior play on their part (I mean, even with UNC, this can happen) , versus whether a UNC player just didn’t box out properly, did not hustle to the ball, or otherwise should have gotten it. And try to be objective.

    Three-point D is another discussion, and one which I feel was the main area that contributed to the loss. UNLV is a good rebounding team, has one of the nation’s best rebounders, and they’re pretty quick to the ball, so when you give up a lot of long-range attempts you’re playing right into their hands. Giving up over 40% on those 32 long-range attempts (highest of the year against a good team) and the highest EFG% of the year was what really hurt.

    Now for those who might be tempted to say that UNC never defends the 3 well, that’s just not true, that or they’ve dodged bullets. I don’t think they’ve dodged bullets.

    The 6 best teams UNC has played in non-conf. this year (MSU, UNLV, Wisc., Ky., LBSU, Tex) and the two conf. teams (BC and Miami) have a combined 35.5% 3Point % for the year. In the games they played UNC the combined 3 pt. avg. was 29.5%, and only 2 (UNLV and Texas) matched or exceeded their avg.

    If the Heels guard the perimeter like they’re capable of, and like they did against Miami last night, they should be able to do quite well in 3-pt. defense.

  • Heel To The End

    pasted from my rehash of a rehash in the LBS BTB thread:

    for example, and i dont know where the ball bounced without watching the game again, but the UNLV game…
    where we went from ahead to losing in the 2nd half…
    UNLV missed 9 2nd half 3s.
    they rebounded 6 of those 9 misses. 6 extra possessions.
    7 more points. 6 possessions we didnt get.

  • CarMichael

    OK, I rewatched the first half, and we did take a lot of shots with a high DOD. Zeller took 3 deep (12′) hook shots and made one. Henson missed a couple of contested 12-15′ turnaround jumpers and an 18′ J. Hairston missed a turnaround 3PA. Somebody missed a 25-footer. Strickland took a midrange with a high-speed jump-stop and fadeaway. The close shots and putback attempts that UNC missed were heavily contested. Remember Miami’s bigs have a size advantage over our 4-5.

    As far as open/lightly contested shots that were missed, it wasn’t a lot. Bullock missed two of three 3PA, Zeller missed an open 18-footer, Barnes missed a 10′ pullup with a clean look. Barnes missed a 3 while dribbling hard across the top of the key, medium difficulty I’d say.

    There were only two clean deep post feeds, the alley to Henson and a feed to TZ, who was fouled.

    Of Marshall’s deep penetrations, two were in transition: one KM layup and one good dish. Then he had that flurry against Larkin where he drove and scored on consecutive half-court possessions.

    So on reflection, I think it’s true that Miami played good half-court defense, at least in the first half.

  • partsman5521

    What beat UNC in the UNLV game was the #1 ranking. They found out afterwords that the ranking didn’t show up and neither did the effort so it meant a lost.
    What I was impressed with in the miami game was the actual set play calls. It looked like they ran a set play after every dead ball. I know they do that every game, but last night, they looked crisp and sharp. And the plays worked. Past games this year to me looked as though they were playing street ball some.
    No doubt Roy puts all effort into ACC games and it showed last night……

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