Three Things

Three Things: Carolina 79, Maryland 68

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The scuttlebutt going into this game was that Carolina would struggle with Maryland's size, that since the lineup change, the Terps would be the first team the Tar Heels would face with two true big men playing meaningful minutes. Well, the scoreboard tells the story. With 3:25 to play in the first half, Nick Faust gave the Terrapins a 27-26 lead. A 10-0 Tar Heel run before halftime gave Carolina a lead it would not relinquish. Here are three instant reactions to the 11-point Carolina win. 1. Reggie plays big P.J. Hairston's insertion into the starting lineup lately has given him the…

Three Things: Houston Dynamos

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Carolina baseball took on a big test with three games in Houston last weekend. They took down #12 Rice 2-1, California 11-5, and Texas A&M 14-2. Here are three more takeaways from the weekend: Options in the infieldPreseason chatter held that sophomore Michael Russell and freshman Landon Lassiter were the presumed starters in the middle infield. One would play shortstop, the other, second base. Indeed, the season began that way, but sophomore Mike Zolk has forced his way into the lineup with quality fielding and timely hitting. Zolk started the second game of a double header aga…

Three Things: Carolina 70, Georgia Tech 58

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It wasn't pretty, but it was a must-win for the Tar Heels. Here are three quick takeaways from Tuesday's game in Atlanta. McAdoo McAdid James Michael McAdoo had one of his finest games as a Tar Heel Tuesday, with 22 points and 11 rebounds. He had his mid-range jumper going and was able to slash to the basket seemingly at will. Before the game, it appeared that Carolina's new smaller lineup might struggle against Georgia Tech's bigger front line. While P.J. Hairston didn't score at the same clip as in recent outings, McAdoo simply outworked the Jackets. On the defensive end, he did a …

Three Things: Carolina 72, Virginia Tech 60

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1. Ever since the crippling injuries of the 2009-10 season, Roy Williams had made a habit of couching his preseason remarks on his upcoming team with one important phrase: “…if we stay healthy.” Unfortunately, that’s been a rarity over the last few seasons. Last year’s potential national title chase was derailed by Kendall Marshall’s injured wrist courtesy of the Creighton Blue Jays, and this year’s team has already lost nine games to injury, plus three more to a suspension for Leslie McDonald. In all, Carolina hasn’t played a game with …

Three Things: NC State 91, UNC 83

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1. Roy Williams said early in the preseason, and often during the season, that this Carolina team has the chance to be a very good defensive club. His reasoning is obvious: look at the pieces involved. Dexter Strickland has been a consistently good defender during his Tar Heel career. The Tar Heels have athleticism and versatility in the post (although it’s spread across a quartet of players, rather than in just one player). There is length and quickness on the wings. So, on paper, it makes sense. But to really become the kind of defensive team Williams thinks his squad can be, …

Three Things: Carolina 79, Georgia Tech 63

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Carolina improved to 13-5 and 3-2 in the ACC with a home win over Georgia Tech Wednesday night. Here now are three observations from that game to the tune of the catalog of Bruce Springsteen Growin' Up (1973) - The Tar Heel freshmen are finding themselves on the court. J.P. Tokoto (eight points, four rebounds, two assists and a steal) finally looks comfortable on the college court. "I've seen a lot of it from J.P. tonight," Reggie Bullock said of Tokoto's continued maturation. "He made some good shots. He made some good plays, got a couple of steals and playing great defense."  …

Three Things: Carolina 62, Maryland 52

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1. It will be masked by his 1-of-7 shooting performance, but Marcus Paige quietly had a very steady floor game for the Tar Heels against Maryland. Less than a month ago, Paige was essentially sharing the primary ball handling duties with Dexter Strickland. But in the closing minutes of Saturday's game, it was Paige with the ball in his hands. He had a pair of spectacular possessions, once flummoxing a pair of Terp defenders with two behind the back dribbles, and later finding James Michael McAdoo with a slick blind pass for a dunk. Paige finished with six assists and no turnovers. His …

Three Things: Virginia 61, UNC 52

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1. Carolina fans have probably never seen first-team preseason All-ACC pick James Michael McAdoo struggle like this...unless you're talking about early last season. McAdoo's numbers are fine, and he continues to be Carolina's leading scorer (14.5 points per game) and rebounder (8.2). But those numbers are a bit deceptive. In Sunday's second half, when the Tar Heels needed a basket in the second half, they turned to Reggie Bullock instead of McAdoo. And the sophomore was pretty clearly frustrated with his results after a 4-of-9, 10-point, 7-rebound performance against Virginia. "I feel …

Three Things: UNC Hoops Notebook

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1. Look, I know everyone is panicking about the end of the world today, but there's a much more serious issue at hand: Carolina's NCAA Tournament resume is startlingly weak at this point in the season. The Tar Heel RPI as of December 20 is 64th in the country. Well, OK, that's not necessarily a dire situation, because ACC games against highly ranked teams will bring that ranking up, win or lose. But here's the problem: UNC's best wins, as of right now, are on the road at Long Beach State (115th in the RPI) and at home against ECU (112th). Yes, a game that looked like a favor for Jeff L…

Three Things: UNC Hoops Notebook

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1. Dean Smith identified Jeff Lebo early as a potential standout head coach, and talked often of the respect he had for Lebo's knowledge of the game. The Carlisle, Penn., native has had some tough coaching assignments--who is the last coach to win without NCAA issues at Auburn?--but had his East Carolina team well-drilled and capable on Saturday. Lebo, who has multiple coaching influences, including his father, Dave (who was on some of his early coaching staffs), also showed some major Smith influences. With the game feeling well in hand for the Tar Heels, Lebo called a quick timeout …