Found December 28, 2012 on Fox Sports Carolinas:
January isnt here yet, but North Carolina may already be in resume-watching mode. Tar Heels supporters have generally viewed the RPI (Ratings Percentage Index) with respect to North Carolina's worthiness for a No. 1, 2 or 3 seed in the NCAA Tournament. Forget the stress of being on the NCAA fence. But with just one nonconference game remaining before UNC dives into a new 18-game ACC format, Roy Williams team has done little to build its resume. And if the unranked Heels cant beat No. 20 UNLV on Saturday at the Dean Dome, it must use conference play to make its case for inclusion come March. Asked Friday if its too early to worry about tournament resumes, Williams told the media, Its not for you guys, but it is for us. Honestly, has Williams ever been asked about the tournament so early in a season before? Only two of his teams have failed to qualify. His first Kansas squad was on probation and the 2010 Tar Heels were decimated by injuries and barely missed out. Otherwise, the Hall of Fame coach's other 22 teams have made the field and won at least one game. The Tar Heels (9-3) can all but shelve this topic by taking care of the Rebels, who upset Tyler Zeller, Harrison Barnes and company a year ago. But that game was in Las Vegas and the Heels may have been caught off guard. This game is a big deal, and one UNC cant afford to lose. Its defeats have been by a combined 53 points, but North Carolina trailed by 29 and 31, respectively, to Butler and Indiana, and by 21 at Texas. A lack of a true post game is one issue, but more than that a lack of consistency on defense and struggles at point guard were grossly exposed during those routs. Butler, Indiana and Texas combined to convert 26 of 62 3-pointers (42 percent) because the Heels struggled staying on shooters. Problems getting over screens, communicating, and a lack of intensity were components triggering the struggles. All were a point of emphasis coming off the loss to the Longhorns before last Saturdays 34-point drubbing of McNeese State. Picking up the intensity on defense was the main thing, said sophomore wing P.J. Hairston. We werent playing with a sense of urgency at Texas, and Texas basically converted on all of our mistakes... We wanted to pick up intensity on defense and I think we did that. North Carolina may be the top assist team in the nation, averaging 20.1 per contest, but thats because many have come on general swing passes for 3-pointers, the team has been rather unselfish and because of open-court scoring opportunities. The half-court offense has been littered with problems because freshman point guard Marcus Paige has not performed as expected. The fourth-rated point guard in the class of 2012, Paiges desire for perfection has hampered his overall game. I like to get things right, and when I first learned the system I started to get the system down then I tried to run it exactly the right way every time, but I started to stop being a basketball player, Paige said. At the same time, you have to make basketball plays, you cant come down to the same spot every time and try to run the same play every time. (Coach Williams) wants me to run the system but be Marcus Paige and be who (I am) as a player. Paige had 39 assists and 28 turnovers on the season prior to the McNeese game. But against the Cowboys, he handed out nine assists with no giveaways. Instead of running the offense through all of the options, and if nothing opened finding himself standing in the corner almost playing spectator, Paige was a different player, one his teammates knew would surface at some point. Marcus is going to be good for us, said junior Reggie Bulock, the teams second-leading scorer at 13.1 points per game. I just knew the main thing with him is settling down. Hes a freshman and still has a lot more time. In UNCs losses, the Tar Heels have amassed 32 assists against 45 turnovers. In their wins the numbers are 209 and 129. So the importance of Paige and senior Dexter Strickland - who leads the team with 57 assists but wont before long if things go as Williams plans coupled with more intensity and communication on defense could make March life as usual for UNC fans. That process begins Saturday against UNLV. Rarely has North Carolina played such a big game in December.
THE BACKYARD
BEST OF MAXIM
RELATED ARTICLES

UNC's Bullock to miss UNLV game with concussion

North Carolina says forward Reggie Bullock will miss the Tar Heels' game against No. 20 UNLV with a mild concussion. The team announced Bullock's injury about 2 1/2 hours before tipoff Saturday against the Runnin' Rebels. Bullock was hurt Thursday night when he collided with a teammate during a drill in practice, the team's first since its Dec. 22 win over McNeese...

No. 16 North Carolina 85, ETSU 44

Tierra Ruffin-Pratt had 18 points and nine assists to lead No. 16 North Carolina to an 85-44 win over East Tennessee State on Friday. Xylina McDaniel added 11 points for the Tar Heels (12-1) in their fifth straight win after nine days off. Serena Clark and Brianna McQueen each scored nine points for East Tennessee State (2-5), which trailed 41-25 at halftime. North Carolina finished...

Hairston Excels in First Start

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – On Friday, P.J. Hairston found out that he would get his first career start due to Reggie Bullock being sidelined with a mild concussion. On Saturday, the sophomore guard delivered arguably his best performance of the season in North Carolina’s 79-73 win over No. 20 UNLV.

Thad: Big-Time Basketball

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. --- The fifth day of Christmas featured five hustling Tar Heels, four first half baskets from Brice Johnson, three solid performances from reserve swing players in place of the injured Reggie Bullock, two stellar outings from the backcourt of Dexter Strickland and Marcus Paige, and one fired up Smith Center crowd.

Previewing UNLV

The Tar Heels have one last chance to secure a quality non-conference win on their 2012-13 resume and that's on Saturday against No. 20 UNLV. Tip-off at the Smith Center is set for 2 p.m. and will be televised by ESPN2.

UNC gets first win over ranked team

P.J. Hairston scored 15 points in his first career start to help North Carolina beat No. 20 UNLV 79-73 on Saturday.

CFB Rumors: North Carolina Tar Heels Still Preventing Butch Davis From Accepting Another Coaching Job?

Call it payback. Call it sour grapes. Call it karma. Call it whatever you want. The North Carolina Tar Heels are doing everything possible to prevent Butch Davis from accepting another coaching job with any other team. It happened last season with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. It is now happening with the Florida International Golden Panthers. According to Alex Marvez of Fox Sports,...
Tar Heels News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.