How long have we been waiting to see this UNC team?

UNC defeated UCLA in a heated battle in Las Vegas. UNC showed grit, persistence, and hustle in a dramatic comeback fashion during the second half out scoring UCLA 53-32. The usual suspects, Coby White and Nassir Little, continued to show why UNC’s freshmen run the court. With the senior experience on this team, you would think they’re leadership would be consistent, but this Freshmen class has taken the reigns of this team and lead them every night.

Here are four things that lead UNC to victory:

  1. Kenny Williams
    1. I know he seems quiet and at times, his presence can fade to the background if you’re not paying attention but despite not shooting much the last few games, Williams has made sure that defensively and through assists (Monday night against St. Francis he had a career-high of 9) he helped his team to victory. But tonight, Williams showed up and hit big helping UNC to its first lead in the second half. Williams ended up finishing the night with 15pts, 6ast, and 4rbds, a tremendous difference from the previous night against Texas with only 2pts.
  2. Coach Williams played small
    1. I think its time we give up the thought that is a “UNC Big”. Fans have been spoiled the last few years with the likes of Kennedy Meeks, Brice Johnson, Tyler Hansbrough, and Isaiah Hicks, grabbing down rebounds and showing a sense of dominant pressure in the paint, but this year, Coach might be in for a little more work and it likes like he’s adjusting. Throughout the Vegas tournament, UNC bigs, Sterling Manley and Garrison Brooks, had a combined 13pts and 15rds… in two games. In the final minutes against UCLA, decided to go small with Little, Maye, White, Williams, and Johnson, allowing Little the ability to breathe and use his agility to create space and points. White, was well… White.
  3. Turnovers and Defense
    1. Yesterday, UNC had 17 turnovers, tonight? 6. Think that pretty much summed that up
  4. 5 UNC players finished in double figures
    1. Coby White 19, Luke Maye 16, Kenny Williams 15, Cam Johnson and Nassir Little 14. With the ball moving around, each player was able to dominate. Besides White, most of the team found their swag in the second half around the 18min mark.

UNC has the ability to compete but it’s going to take 110% every single time. This was UNC’s first test aganist a ranked team and proved that they can hang with the big dogs… with a little work. This team is only going to get better as the season progresses and I don’t think its just the players adjuting to each other and their lineup but also Coach Williams. He’s without his usual suspects and now relying on new people to step up in old shoes; and while no one player can replace the likes of Berry, Pinson, Paige, Meeks and Johnson, these new kids on the block can add their own swag and claim a new identity of UNC basketball. They can win; the question is, do they have the will to.

Also, can we get KJ more minutes?

UNC has a bit of rest for the week. They return to the court Wednesday, Nov. 28 aganist Michigan at 9pm.

Again, Nassir, Nassir, Nassir.

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