UNC Basketball: Defensive Lapses Will Destroy Tar Heels' ACC Title Hopes
It is easy to look at the North Carolina Tar Heels' offense and be enamored with what you see. The problem with the team this year—and this has been the case for the last few seasons—is on the defensive side of the ball.
While the Tar Heels are not awful on defense, they have lapses in concentration and effort that lead to a lot of bad, crippling losses.
They did have a nice comeback victory against Miami earlier this week, and the defense played a pivotal role in that win. But the effort we saw there has been few and far between for the Tar Heels.
In the four games they have lost, they have allowed 84.5 points. UNLV did drop 90 on them back in November, but the Rebels boast one of the top offensive teams in the country, so it's forgivable.
However, the 90 points they gave up to Florida State was a telling sign. The Seminoles have a mediocre offense, at best. They are built on controlling the time of possession and playing hard-nosed defense.
In their loss against Duke on February 8, they gave up 45 points in the second half and 15 in the final three minutes.
What Is North Carolina's Biggest Problem?
Those kinds of things do not happen to championship teams, or at least they don't happen more than once. Tyler Zeller, Harrison Barnes and everyone else can make all the shots they want, but if they aren't staying focused on defense for 40 minutes, they are doomed.
The Tar Heels are tied with Duke and Florida State atop the ACC with a 9-2 record, but because they already lost to those teams, they lose based on tiebreakers.
Of course, those three teams won't win out--Duke and North Carolina play another game against each other on March 4.
Before the Tar Heels can worry about that game, they have to take on a tough Virginia team next Saturday. Who is to say that they won't give up on defense and let their natural scoring prowess take over the game?
Roy Williams has to keep his team focused on both sides of the ball, or else the Tar Heels' season will end a lot sooner than they want it to.
In fact, it is going to end up costing them an ACC title. It's too bad, because it's such an easy thing to correct. They just have to be willing to do it.
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