Liz Condo-USA TODAY Sports
In any game—especially against your greatest rival—you never want to have any regrets. You have no control over shooting slumps or the referees' whistles, but when you lace up those shoes and slip on those Carolina blue threads, you have a duty to give it everything you have and leave it all on the floor.
This North Carolina squad isn't stocked with shooters, truly dominant back-to-the-basket post players or 2014 NBA lottery picks. It is, however, stocked with very talented players of high character that understand what it means to be a team.
They're coming to understand what it means to be a Tar Heel too.
Since McAdoo tossed his razor in the trash, his play has been every bit as grizzly as the sides of his face. There is no loafing down the court or watching potential rebounds soar over his head. The junior has been going at it as hard as he possibly can on each and every play—and showing the emotion of a true leader.
McAdoo's transition has truly been something to behold.
I had been preaching all season long that just one person needed to step up, become the emotional leader on the floor and turn this season around in the absence of P.J. Hairston.
I never thought that player would be McAdoo, but the unleashing of this formerly tamed beast has been exactly the shot in the arm the rest of the Heels needed.
You can point to a lot of reasons the Tar Heels are riding a seven-game winning streak heading into the Thursday night matchup with their most heated rival, but nothing has been more instrumental than the shift in McAdoo's game.
Sure, there have been some times—especially over the last three games—where it has appeared that the Heels were turning back in the wrong direction. Somehow, they've continued to dig deep enough to punch their way to a win.
That effort has shown in the box score with the Tar Heels' rebound margin and their average of 12.4 forced turnovers over the last seven contests.
If that effort doesn't continue against Duke, none of the other four keys will even matter.
Tune in to WCHL 97.9 FM at 8:20 a.m. EST this Friday, as Rollin Yeatts joins Ran Northam for a recap of the UNC-Duke game.