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Florida State 77, UNC 67: The Dirty Dozen

So it has come to this: Carolina is 2-10 in its last twelve games, with the only wins coming against the hapless Wolfpack (yeah! how you like that State fans! come on and…. oh, whatever, who cares) and the exact same problems seem to plague them over and over again: terrible shooting, bad performance at the charity stripe, some turnovers here and there (not actually as bad against the Noles as it has been) and, most of all, digging themselves into a deep hole early on that they can’t dig out of.

I’m not so sure if opposing teams are actively focusing on pouring in points early on or if the Heels’ defense is just that tentative and bad early in games, but clearly teams realize at this point that getting Carolina down by double digits early will make them completely wither. This team, sadly, appears not to have much of a heart. And Roy Williams, God bless him, is helping that particular situation exactly none - it’s so obvious that he’s at his wits end with this team but look at that picture above: Roy looks like he’s fighting back an oncoming fit of projectile vomiting and Coach Haase is reacting like an 80-year-old woman who just heard about a murder on the local news. Either of those make for apt metaphors for the season but it’s not the type of behavior you want to see from your coaching staff. I really was trying to imagine what Roy says to these players during halftime or after games but I can’t actually fathom it because after this awful stretch of games he must be completely out of any motivational tricks. I’m sure he was more than frustrated by the lack of fan support in this game, as well, as the threat of snow combined with this team’s awful state made for a Dean Dome crowd that was as sparse as it’s ever been in the Williams era.

As far as the actual players themselves, Will Graves notched 21 points but inspires no confidence in me every time he takes a shot, Ginyard tallied 10 rebounds but really looks to mike like he’s checked out and needs to be replaced with someone who can be learning from those minutes (like Leslie McDonald), and Larry Drew and John Henson showed their standard mix of equal parts inspiring play and boneheaded mistakes. It feels like no one on this team actually wants to shoot the ball, and understandably so: no one on this team seems like they’re a very good shooter.

Before this continues to spiral downwards, let’s go positive: I did like the results UNC got out of their press defense in the last 5+ minutes of the game, and while they gave up a couple of dunks they also forced multiple turnovers and bad shots by FSU, which begs the question: why isn’t this team pressing more? I know you get burned in the press on occasion but the way Carolina is playing such awful defense right now with a glaring lack of perimeter pressure (see FSU’s best game of the year from 3) or weakside help, the results from pressing can’t be that much worse, right? If nothing else it’ll be a conditioning exercise. Maybe that’ll put a smile on Roy’s face, something I think we’d all like to see at this point.