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Quick Hitters - North Carolina at Miami

Isaac Schade presents Quick Hitters from North Carolina’s 85-57 road loss to Miami on Tuesday night.

Quick Hitters from North Carolina’s 85-57 road loss to Miami on Tuesday night.

Highlights:

Condensed Game:

  • This game began in the exact same manner as Saturday’s game against Georgia Tech: Carolina won the jump ball and hit a three. Following that initial action though, the games took dramatically different turns. Saturday, the Heels reeled off an 11-2 run. Tonight they were the victim of a 16-2 run. And that is the conundrum of the 2021-22 Tar Heels.
  • Despite the embarrassment of the loss, the biggest question coming out of the game is the health of Armando Bacot. The good news is that his fall did not appear to result in a major injury. In the postgame press conference, Coach Davis said: “I think Armando could have come back in. When he went to block Charlie Moore’s shot, he came down on a combination of his elbow and hip bone. As far as I know now, he’ll be sore tomorrow, but it’s nothing like an injury.” Thank goodness.
  • Now that we know Bacot is okay, let’s ask the question: Why was Armando Bacot still playing in a game down 26 with just 5:00 to go, particularly when he had already appeared to tweak an ankle on two different occasions. I know there’s the drive to continue competing, but at some point you have to live to fight another day.
  • Anthony Harris was once again “unavailable” tonight.
  • Carolina wasn’t able to take advantage of a rather sterile road environment with no students in attendance.
  • Tonight marks just the second game this season with no 20-point scorer for the Heels. In fact, Bacot was the only player in double-figures.
  • It’s tough to boil down losses to just one stat (especially obvious ones), but here’s a common thread: UNC has more turnovers than assists in six games this season. I'll bet that you could easily guess five of the six. The answer? All five losses and Elon. Purdue (13/14), Tennessee (9/13), Elon (11/16), Kentucky (9/12), Notre Dame (10/14), and Miami (13/14).
  • Caleb Love and RJ Davis were a combined 5-22 from the field, 1-8 from three, and had just three assists versus six turnovers. This was another game that felt like “freshman Caleb Love”, similar to the Notre Dame game. He often forced action rather than performing the role of a point guard and working to get the offense moving efficiently.
  • It was clear from the outset that Miami intended to sag off of Leaky Black and work at blanketing Bacot. The Heels did a nice job of trying to get the ball into the big man, but everyone was trying to force the matter rather than finding ways to take advantage of what Miami was freeing up. Consequently, it took 12:26 before Bacot scored his first bucket.
  • Not that individual accolades matter much in a situation like this, but Bacot did notch his eighth straight double-double. He is now tied with Sean May and Mitch Kupchak for the fifth-longest double-double streak in Carolina history. By the nature of the way the game unfolded and that it took so long for Bacot to score, this felt like the most quiet 15 points and 12 rebounds a 6’10” giant could muster.
  • Carolina was able to tie their season high with 15 offensive rebounds. Why so? They also missed more field goal attempts than in any single game this season – 43 (previous high was 38).
  • Outside of Armando Bacot, only the freshman duo of Dontrez Styles and D’Marco Dunn shot better than 50% for the game. In fact, if you take away Bacot’s 6-9 performance, the Tar Heels’ shooting goes from an already paltry 33.8% down to an outright anemic 28.6%.
  • Miami’s defense, which was ranked 195th in KenPom defensive efficiency coming in, was everywhere. They sure didn’t look like the 195th most efficient defensive unit in the country. Carolina surrendered 10 steals to the Hurricanes while grabbing just one of their own. Miami obliterated Carolina in points off turnovers 30-5.
  • Not that the second half was a beautiful display of basketball, but Carolina played at least incrementally better after halftime. The second half score was 36-35 Miami and the Heels had a better field goal percentage than did the Canes. Of course, none of that matters when you exit the halftime locker room down 27 points.
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  • For those frustrated with Coach Davis, please keep in mind that Carolina is a combined 32-30 (16-20) over the past two years. He’s not stepping into a scenario where his team has found overwhelming national success. This is an entirely different situation than Coach Smith handing off to Coach Guthridge. Sure, Coach Guthridge’s first team went 34-4 (13-3) and made a Final Four. But they were coming off another Final Four and were a combined 49-18 (21-11) in the previous two years. Oh, and they also had some guys named Antawn Jamison, Vince Carter, and Brendan Haywood. Roy Williams was 19-11 (8-8) his first year back in Chapel Hill. I’m not suggesting that Coach Davis will be Coach Williams, but I am saying that he deserves the opportunity to prove what he will be. Give him a chance.
  • Curiously, Miami’s scoring barrage was piloted by just four Hurricanes. Literally, no one outside of Sam Waardenburg, Isaiah Wong, Charlie Moore, or Kameron McGusty scored until the 12:03 mark of the second half. That quartet was responsible for Miami’s first 65 points and 73 of their 85 total.
  • D’Marco Dunn and Dontrez Styles each had the opportunity to put in good amounts of playing time (the most of Styles’ career thus far). They combined for 11 points on 5-8 shooting, had one assist, and perhaps most importantly, didn’t commit a turnover.
  • The kind of what-if you really hate to hear: with Duke’s loss to FSU later on Tuesday evening, a Carolina win would have given the Heels sole possession of first place in the ACC (the only one-loss team). Opportunity missed. 

Box Score

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Hubert Davis postgame press conference

RJ Davis postgame press conference

Remember to check in for Quick Hitters after every North Carolina basketball game. Next up is a road game against Wake Forest on Saturday evening. Tip is at 8:00pm ET on Saturday, January 22.

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