After years of watching UNC basketball and being displeased with the effort on the defensive end by the Tar Heels on too many occasions, Mike Laws recently decided to speak up about it on this platform.
Even though Virginia didn’t look like a Division-I team offensively against North Carolina in a 65-41 home win by the Tar Heels on February 18, Laws isn’t giving the boys in the sky blue jerseys all the credit.
Here is Mike’s reaction to the article titled UNC finds defensive intensity in 65-41 win over Virginia.
North Carolina coach Roy Williams did not credit his defense for holding Virginia to its second lowest offensive output versus UNC in the two teams history and rightfully so.
“We were playing pretty well defensively sometimes, and sometimes they got wide-open shots and they just didn’t go in,” Williams said. “That happens sometimes in the game of basketball.”
I saw the game and I actually agree with Williams. On several possessions, the Cavaliers would force the entry pass down low and Joel Berry would come off of his man and create a double team. Also a Virginia player would be trapped but wasn’t strong enough to pass it out to the open man. Berry, Nate Britt and Theo Pinson did a good job trapping, sagging off their man and creating deflections.
When the Cavaliers’ big men had success passing the ball out, their teammates just missed and missed and missed plenty of open looks as the 2-for-20 outcome from 3-point range indicated.
UNC’s defense played a part just not a huge part that the media was trying to create. I’m not really excited about winning in the Dean Dome but if Carolina would even have close games versus the upper echelon teams on the road in the ACC then the credit would be due to its defense.
The best case scenario this season for North Carolina is reaching the national championship game for the second straight season and the Tar Heels worst case scenario is losing in the second round of the NCAA tournament.
I think it really boils down to the players’ ability to stay in front of their man, not playing Britt AND Berry at the same time since teams tend to exploit this small backcourt. (Britt is listed at 6-1 and Berry stands at 6-0.) Therefore, opponents with a decent two guard have had career games versus UNC.
But Carolina can cover up this deficiency by doing the following:
1. Give Seventh Woods more playing time. If there was a plus/minus ratio (like the NBA has), then he would be toward the positive end of this statistic.
2. Start Pinson, who is 6-6, with 6-5 Brandon Robinson playing heavy minutes at the 2.
3. The players need to keep their hands ups when passes are made. There were at least five times they could have had even more deflections if their arms were extended in the correct position.
I am worried about games against Pittsburgh (February 25) and Virginia (Feb. 27) since I can easily see UNC losing both of those road games unless assistant coaches Hubert Davis and Steve Robinson begin forcing Berry and Britt to improve their lateral quickness on defense.