The Tar Heels are definitely on the rise, but they need to improve in some key areas. Here are my three key areas of improvements as we head into the second half of the season:
- Free-throw shooting: You could have guessed that one. Free-throw shooting is very important down the stretch in close ball-games. With better free-throw shooting they likely would have made the lead to great for Duke to overcome. They absolutely must get in the gym and improve. The two I would make shoot the most are John Henson and Dexter Strickland because they absolutely scare me when they go to the line
- Field-goal shooting: Yes, basketball requires that you shoot the ball well so, therefore, the Heels must become more consistent from the floor. Ever since Kendall Marshall entered the starting lineup, the Heels have shot much better. Still, the Heels struggled from the field in the second half against Duke. Consistency is key from their best shooters. They need Leslie McDonald, Reggie Bullock, and Harrison Barnes to knock down shots, particularly, three-pointers to be successful going forward. Kendall Marshall improvement on his shot, his floater for sure, will be a bonus. This year aside, I expect Marshall shot to really improve by next season due to practicing over the summer
- Perimeter defense: Guards tend to put up big numbers against the Heels. Take Iman Shumpert, Malcolm Delaney, and Nolan Smith, for example. They are the best players on their teams, but they should not be putting up out-of-this-world numbers up against the Heels. Losing Larry Drew will hurt in this aspect, but much of that can be overcome by determination on the guards part. Roy Williams philosophy is to help-side on drivers leaving shooters open much of the time. They must work harder to get back out on the three-point shooter to keep them from scoring 30+ points. UNC cannot afford to give up another 30+ point game if they want to go deep into the NCAA Tournament.
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