For many a Tar Heel fan, including myself, the home game against Duke a week ago represented what would hopefully be the nadir of a season, with a renewed energy propelling the Heels to a few wins down the stretch to salvage some respectability. Heck, a few of us even harbored not-so-secret hopes of this team still rallying to make the NCAA tournament.
Then, the Heels march into Atlanta and lay an absolute turd.
The turnovers were bad, as usual (19 total, 15 in the first half, caused on multiple occasions by Larry Drew firing passes as hard as he could to people five feet away or fumbling something as basic as a handoff) but the shooting was even more nausea-inducing: 22% shooting in the first half, 32% for the game, 10-24 on FTs and a stretch during the middle 20 minutes of the game where the Heels made just FOUR field goals.
I can’t even explain to you how bad the shooting was in this game, and the final deficit doesn’t even begin to describe it. You could practically hear “Yakety Sax” being played in the background. Between watching a Roy Williams-led team struggle this mightily to put the ball in the basket and someone actually stumbling on our blog after searching for the term “Zoubekian Havoc Wreaking,” my world is unravelling more than I ever thought possible. Apparently Roy’s is too because he has regressed from looking despondently out onto the court to now often being caught by cameras staring down at the floor. As I mentioned last night on Twitter, perhaps he’s contemplating throwing a shoe at one of his players - I don’t think anyone would blame him at this point.
A few more notes, just until I stop weeping on the inside:
- John Henson: 11 pts, 10 reb, 4 blk. Woo. (I could also point to his shooting 1-7 from the line, but considering how bad everyone else was for the Heels tonight Henson was still the bright spot by far)
- Leslie McDonald, who has looked decent in stretches for the Heels, proved he’s not quite ready for prime time, going 1-7 from the field and notching 3 turnovers to go with his 3 points.
- A lot of fans are suggesting LD2 should ride the pine a bit more, to which I would ask: who do you propose to play instead?? I can’t say that anyone on this team is a good ball-handler, really.
- Iman Shumpert, who torched the Heels for 30 the last time these two teams played in Chapel Hill, had only one point. That didn’t matter.
- If you feel like getting punched in the gut just a little more, read the always-excellent Adam Lucas’ take after the game, with the conclusion “there’s nothing left to say.”
So basically, that was the most putrid performance of the season thus far, in a game that Carolina of course had to have, and we still have multiple matchups with top-25 teams remaining on the schedule… so I’m not claiming rock bottom yet. We have no idea what this team is capable of anymore, and I no longer mean that in an optimistic sense.