Tuesday, January 31, 2012

No. 5 UNC at Wake Forest: 3 things to watch

CHAPEL HILL — No. 5 North Carolina travels tonight to play Wake Forest (9 p.m., ESPNU) in Winston-Salem. Three things to watch while the Tar Heels attempt to improve to 6-1 in the ACC:

North Carolina’s advantage on the inside, particularly when it comes to rebounding. No matter what metric you use, it’s clear that Wake Forest is a bad rebounding team. The Demon Deacons rank 11th in the ACC in average rebounds per game (33) and they’re also 11th in offensive rebounding percentage and defensive rebounding percentage.

So not only does Wake not give itself a lot of second-chance opportunities after misses, but the Deacs also give away plenty of second-chance opportunities to opponents. This is a bad matchup for Wake Forest in part because UNC has been such a good rebounding team. The Tar Heels lead the ACC in offensive rebounding percentage (41 percent) and are second in the league in defensive rebounding percentage.

So, yes, could be a big night, indeed, for UNC big men Tyler Zeller and John Henson, both of whom have averaged nearly 10 rebounds per game.

James Michael McAdoo’s continued progression. McAdoo arrived in college with as much hype, perhaps, as any incoming recruit in the nation. Part of that is because of his family background, but another part of that is because people thought he was just that good.

But the transition from high school star to college contributor has been a difficult one at times for McAdoo. Still, there have been signs lately that he is starting to emerge. For one, UNC coach Roy Williams said on Monday that McAdoo’s best practices have come during the past two weeks. Williams said he and McAdoo shared a conversation last weekend after McAdoo expressed some frustration.

McAdoo responded with perhaps his best overall game of the season on Sunday in the Tar Heels’ 93-81 victory against Georgia Tech. He finished with 9 points and six rebounds and was aggressive offensively as he has been this season. That’s a positive sign.

With the loss of Dexter Strickland and the promotion of Reggie Bullock into the starting lineup, the Heels need their bench to be more productive. If McAdoo can become a reliable contributor – especially on offense – that’d be a bonus for UNC down the stretch.


   Evolution of UNC’s rotation and experimentation at point guard. This isn’t likely to be a close game during the second half and if that’s the case, it should allow Williams an opportunity to continue to experiment with his rotation.

Two games after Strickland’s season-ending knee injury, some things are clearer than others. Obviously, Bullock has cemented his role as a starter. But Williams is still tinkering some with how he wants to bring guys off the bench, and how he wants to use Bullock defensively.

Williams said on Monday he hoped Bullock would develop into the kind of defensive player who’s capable of guarding an opposing team’s point guard. He’s not there yet. As for UNC’s point guard situation, freshman Stilman White has provided some valuable minutes here and there during the Heels’ past two victories.

We also saw Justin Watts, the senior guard, in at point guard for a bit near the end of the Georgia Tech game on Sunday. If the margin is wide enough in the second half, we could see that again – or, perhaps, a version of the offense without any kind of point guard.

Of course, UNC would need to be comfortably ahead to see such experimentation.

Final thought: This is a difficult matchup for Wake Forest, which doesn’t rebound effectively and doesn’t shoot at that well from the outside (Deacons’ 33.1 3-point field goal percentage ranks 11th in the ACC). Teams that have performed well against UNC this season have rebounded and shot well. The Tar Heels should win with ease.

-- Andrew Carter

20 comments:

Anonymous said...

UNC 88 WFU 65

Anonymous said...

You forgot to mention a fourth thing to watch...a blow-out.

Anonymous said...

Mcadoodle is a good representation of the heels' season.

big expectations and hasn't delivered

Anonymous said...

Heels win the ACC and the NCAA!

Anonymous said...

Mcadoddle is still better than anyone on Dook's, NC State's, or Wakes roster....period. Holla!

Anonymous said...

I guess there is nothing to watch from Wake Forest?

Anonymous said...

Yes.....there is actually something to watch for WFU....a good ol fashion BEATDOWN! Lol...

Anonymous said...

Now that is funny.....

Anonymous said...

With Stilman at the point, tallying assists and swishing 3 pointers, the heels are unstoppable.

Stilman is the best tar heel to ever come out of wilmington. recognize and holla!

this comment paid for by Stilman in 2012.

Anonymous said...

Stilman would be the 3rd best player on Wake's team....lol...Wake stinks....

Anonymous said...

McAdoo's uncle Bob was a great on offense but a no-show on D. Let's see if nephew can hold up the other end, too.

Anonymous said...

Wake 74 Tarholes 58

Anonymous said...

Tar Holes 88 Wake 69....Tar Holes win the ACC!!!!

Anonymous said...

UNC beatdown NCSU last week...WFU is getting beatdown tonight...Dook next week....good time to be a Tar Heel fan!

Anonymous said...

As a WFU Alum, I have to agree with the above comment...Wake has no offense....Duke no defense....UNC has both...

Anonymous said...

We Wake fans admit we are horrible but we are delighted that UNC is eagerly expecting the NCAA decision on the investigation of the clean program Butch was running.

Anonymous said...

What does Butch Davis have to do with anything? The NCAA will take 1 bowl game away and that's it....what a moron....Wake stinks!

Anonymous said...

Butch Davis was your crooked coach, employed by your crooked school that exposed tarheel atheltics for what they are. Other than that, nothing.

Anonymous said...

I'll give you 3 things to watch: Zeller, Henson, and Barnes.

Anonymous said...

Wow, UNCheat Walmarters back in droves after the 33-point national embarrassment from just a few days back. Another loss and they'll crawl back into their hole.