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Are the Tar Heels a True Contender?

Are the Tar Heels a True Contender?

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Ben Sudderth III, Irving Texas @b3sports

With four games left in the regular season, the biggest question for the North Carolina Tar Heels is are they true title contenders? Starting off the year as the number one ranked team in the country, it’s hard to see this team struggle. They have lost five games this season with three of them against unranked teams (Northern Iowa, Texas, and Notre Dame). The saving grace for the Tarheels has been every team in the Top 25 has more than three losses. To compete in the Conference Championship and NCAA Tournaments, the Tar Heels will need to improve on their three point shooting and depth.

To be a true title contender, the Tar Heels will definitely need to improve their shooting. Their field goal percentage is top 20 in the nation, but the three point shooting is among the worst in the country. At 31%, there are various schools that should not be ahead of UNC such as CSU Bakersfield, North Carolina Central, and North Texas. Nothing against these teams but North Carolina should have a better percentage based on the roster alone. This team has been in a dismal slump from downtown and the main reason is because of Senior Guard Marcus Paige. Paige has been in a slump off and on this year since returning from a broken hand. Last year he shot 40% from three point land and this year he’s shooting 34%. As we go into tournament time, it is going to be crucial for the Tar Heels to improve their shooting.

Another issue for the Tar Heels is their roster depth. When their main guys are out of the game this team seems to struggle. Two guys that must help this team off the bench are Nate Britt and Theo Pinson. When they are in the game they have to make the best of their opportunities. Bench players are going to be key going in to tournament time; it can make or break a team. It would be also wise for Roy Williams to let Freshman Luke Maye and Kenny Williams off the leash because they will be needed in the coming weeks. The final four games of the regular season will tell a lot about this team.

The final test for this Tar Heel team to prove they are true contenders is the Conference Tournament. Five of the 15 ACC teams are ranked and each team is gritty, which means this is going to be a tough tournament to win. If the Tar Heels can win the Conference Tournament, that will give them momentum going into the NCAA Tournament. If they lose, it will be tough for them to win it all. The Tar Heels will need to regain their confidence and strength from earlier in the year when they went on a 12 game winning streak. Anything can happen in the NCAA Tournament and it will be exciting to see how far the UNC Tar Heels will go.

Ben Sudderth III

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