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North Carolina Basketball: Why Can't Star-Studded Tar Heels Click?

AUSTIN, TX - DECEMBER 19:  Head coach Roy Williams of the University of North Carolina Tar Heels reacts to his team's play against the University of Texas Longhorns on December 19, 2012 at the Frank Erwin Center in Austin, Texas.  (Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images)
Cooper Neill/Getty Images
Doug BrodessCorrespondent IDecember 20, 2012

The North Carolina Tar Heels are struggling.

After allowing East Carolina (on Saturday) to score 61 second-half points, UNC stumbled and sputtered for 40 minutes, losing to a lackluster Texas Longhorn team 85-67.

North Carolina shot a chilly 31.3 percent (21-for-67) from the floor and a frigid 15.8 percent (3-for-19) from beyond the arc against UT.

With five McDonald's All-Americans (Dexter Strickland, Reggie Bullock, James Michael McAdoo, P.J. Hairston and Marcus Paige) on the current squad, the Tar Heels have more than enough talent to dispose of nearly every team on their schedule.

Roy Williams has to be one of the most frustrated coaches in all of college basketball.

If you look at some of the 'Heels basic stats, you would think that they were one of the top-ranked teams in the country. 

Before Wednesday's dismal showing in Austin, North Carolina was the nation's leaders in team assists (20.1 apg), the No. 4 scoring team (84.4 ppg) and the No. 6 rebounding team.

Both McAdoo and Bullock have increased their personal statistics significantly.

P.J. Hairston has doubled his output from his freshman season.

Leslie McDonald and Dexter Strickland appear to have both recovered fully from their season ending injuries from last year.

But all of this doesn't matter if a team settles for jump shots rather than taking the ball aggressively to the bucket.

These digits don't illustrate players who fail to keep defensive pressure on opponents for a full possession.

No statistics gauge the absence of good on-court leadership or consistent effort and hustle.

Williams and the players need to get all of this resolved soon.

While McNeese State shouldn't pose any immediate problems on Saturday, the Tar Heels will face No. 21 UNLV before they start their ACC slate of games.

No easy answers. No automatic solutions.

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