From here on out, every game should be played with the intensity of a single-elimination tournament.
Too often, the Tar Heels have been caught napping on loose balls. Jogging to the ball and swiping at it isn't enough. Sometimes players have to get dirty, and that means diving on the floor like it's their last chance at getting a possession.
That shouldn't just happen at the beginning, middle or the end of the game. Those plays should be seen throughout the game, whether UNC is down by 20, up by 20, winded, weak or sore.
There is never an excuse to give less than 100 percent every second a player is on the floor.
It doesn't stop with loose balls, though. The fire must continue to burn in every facet of the game.
If a player is anywhere near a potential rebound, he has to leave his feet. No more standing there and watching it go overhead. He needs to get off the floor and try to at least get a hand on it.
What could have been an easy rebound for the opponent becomes a 50-50 ball.
The Tar Heels also need to hustle in transition defense at every opportunity. P.J. Hairston and Marcus Paige were the best examples of that against FSU.
When it looked like a Seminole had an easy transition bucket, Paige poked the ball out, and Hairston had a tremendous block on another play.
Finally, the team's intensity must carry over to physicality. The Tar Heels have been extremely soft at times, and that's something that has to change to match the physical nature of the ACC.
With a wealth of athletes and superior leapers, there is no reason for these guys not to dunk in traffic—or even in open space, for that matter.
The Tar Heels should be slamming it home with every opportunity. P.J. Hairston, James Michael McAdoo, J.P. Tokoto and Brice Johnson should be dunking on people. Reggie Bullock and Leslie McDonald should be dunking in the open floor instead of just laying it in.
When a player has the ability to dunk, that's exactly what he should do.
At home, it sparks the crowd. Away from home, it shuts them up.
Never underestimate the power of intensity.