Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
Marcus Paige's performance on Sunday could be the difference between a close game and a spanking by the Tar Heels.
He got his team off to a good start against Clemson, nailing two threes in the first few minutes of the game. Paige finished with 10 points, and is averaging 10.6 per game over the last five.
But it isn't just about points. Paige needs more games like the one against NC State, where he dished out eight dimes.
As previously stated, Clemson was doing a great job of clogging the lanes on Thursday. As a result, Paige was playing from the perimeter most of the game, and was only able to hand out four assists.
Paige can't just be a part of the offense; the offense needs to run through him in order to thrive. With him controlling the offense, he keeps the trigger-happy off-guards from jacking up unnecessary threes. When the ball just gets rotated around, eventually one of them is going to pull the trigger.
If there is anything we have learned about Paige over the last five games, it's that he is perfectly capable of running this offense—and scoring in it.
To go with his 10.6 points per game, he is also averaging 4.2 assists, 1.4 turnovers, 2.8 rebounds and 2.2 steals. He is also 18-of-19 from the free-throw line and 7-of-16 from downtown.
Paige simply needs to keep this run going.
If the Tar Heels can hone in on these five keys to the FSU game, they should come out with a dominant win over the 'Noles in front of their home crowd. And if Duke loses to Miami on Saturday night, the Carolina faithful will have even more to cheer about than just another win.
UNC would tie Duke for second place in the ACC.
But it has to get this one first.