At 9-1 in conference play, the Tar Heels are off to their best ACC start during the Roy Williams era, but no one in the college basketball world is talking about it. With all eyes on #2 Duke and reigning league champions #3 UVA, UNC has flown under the radar.
Carolina Blitz asked Coby White, Luke Maye and Kenny Williams after Saturday’s overtime win against Miami if they felt their team is getting the respect they deserve. The guys might not have come out and said it, but the smirk they each gave when asked the question tells me they’ve at least thought about it.
“We gonna let them talk,” Coby White said. “We’re just going to prove everybody wrong.”
“We’re going to focus on us,” Luke Maye answered. “And everybody else can talk about whoever they want.”
“I think that every time North Carolina comes into somebody’s gym or somebody comes into North Carolina’s gym, you’re going to want to give us your best shot,” Kenny Williams said. “We might not be getting as much national attention, but I guarantee you the coaches for a lot of the teams that we play are letting their teams know how good we are.”
The Tar Heels are 9-1 in the ACC (their best start under Roy Williams), but most of the talk has been about Duke and UVA. I asked UNC players after their OT win over Miami if they feel like they’re getting the attention and/or respect they deserve. Here’s what they told me: pic.twitter.com/3OMFILZjAB
— Carolina Blitz (@KeepBlitzin) February 9, 2019
The Heels have the opportunity to change all this Monday night when the Cavaliers come to town. Even a close win would force people to pay attention. The question is, would the noise be a good thing.
- Carolina leads the nation in rebounds per game (42.9), is second in scoring (88.3) and is fourth in assists (19.7) and rebound margin (+9.7).
- This is the 10th time Carolina and Virginia have played when both teams are ranked in the top 10 in the Associated Press poll (full listing on page 2). The Tar Heels won the last top-10 matchup in the 2016 ACC Tournament championship game and are 6-3 against the Cavaliers in top-10 games.
- Virginia has won the last three and six of the last 10 games against the Tar Heels. Four of those six wins came in Charlottesville, one was
in Chapel Hill (2015) and one in Brooklyn in the 2018 ACC Tournament final.
- Carolina comes into Monday’s game fifth in the nation in possessions per game and averages the third-shortest possessions. Virginia is 351st in average length of possession and 353rd in number of possessions per game.
- Neither team has scored in the 80s in the last nine games. UNC is 3-6 in those games.