One thing felt totally different Tuesday night time.
Possibly it was as a result of it was the third straight ACC win. Possibly it was as a result of it was the sixth win within the final seven video games. Or perhaps it was as a result of they tied their convention win document from final season by January — however one thing felt totally different concerning the UNC males’s basketball group on Tuesday night time.
This massive 75-65 win over Pittsburgh begs the query: Is North Carolina basketball again?
Maybe it’s too early to inform, however it’s not an unfair query. The Tar Heels’ victory was a signature win, lastly beating a top quality convention opponent and placing collectively two halves of constant basketball.
Merely put, it was a stable win for UNC. And it did really feel totally different — however right here’s a take a look at what was truly totally different and what may have followers questioning if UNC basketball is actually again:
Taking pictures with ‘balls’
Tuesday night time was a clinic in capturing.
Positive, first-year guard Kerwin Walton as soon as once more impressed by sinking 3-pointers, and bigs Day’Ron Sharpe and Garrison Brooks confirmed off with two flashy dunks, however this time, the numbers would possibly simply outshine the flashy performs that can make tomorrow’s spotlight reels.
Briefly, UNC was scoring like loopy, and the numbers show it. The Tar Heels shot over 60 p.c from the sphere within the second half. However, it’s not simply that luck was of their favor. They had been capturing with confidence, with talent and, effectively, with balls, per first-year guard Caleb Love.
The beginning guard chalked up his daring resolution to go for a 3-pointer with three minutes left within the sport and Pittsburgh inside 5 to a well-liked Joel Berry II quote:
“If you will shoot it, have the balls to make it.”
‘Love’-ing the ball motion
22 assists and 13 turnovers.
Tuesday night time was the fifth consecutive sport the Tar Heels recorded extra assists than turnovers. Whether or not this was chemistry or the first-year guards making higher in-game selections, UNC made intensive strides with its ball motion, notching 9 assists on 15 made baskets in simply the primary half.
The Tar Heels completed with 22 assists on 32 made photographs — and Love had 5 of these dimes.
It’s definitely not a stretch to say that the first-year guard has struggled to begin the season. However further time within the fitness center, hours watching movie to suit into the UNC system and a rising confidence stemming from mindfulness have all helped with Love’s enchancment operating the offense.
“I’m simply staying true to my work, staying within the fitness center, perfecting my craft,” Love mentioned. “It’s exhibiting.”
Use your mind and get the ball to the bigs
Tuesday night time, the Tar Heels as soon as once more utilized their massive males for the victory. There could also be no clear-cut “greatest” participant of the group, however an argument may very well be made for Armando Bacot to take that title. Whereas that debate stays up within the air, one factor is for positive: good issues occur when he has the ball.
And that’s a truth the UNC males’s basketball group acknowledged in opposition to Pittsburgh, because the Tar Heels gave their bigs an opportunity to shine. Head coach Roy Williams has even been drilling it into his guards to prioritize getting the ball to Brooks and Bacot.
“I look down right here, and Armando is 8-10 and Garrison 8-11,” Williams mentioned. “We obtained to make use of our mind. These guys have to get extra photographs.”
They usually did.
Bacot notched his fifteenth profession double-double and his fourth of the season. A season-high 21 factors, 10 rebounds, two dunks and one other spectacular outing that reveals he’s a sport changer. Brooks, too, had himself a sport with 16 factors and 6 rebounds.
“Final yr, we simply felt outmatched,” Bacot mentioned. “Groups had been truly higher than us. This yr, from a expertise standpoint, we are able to compete with anyone. It’s nearly placing all of it collectively.”
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