It’s been an interesting first eight games of the season for the UNC Tar Heels, with its fair share of ups and downs. Here are my three main takeaways.
1. Big Men
For the most part, this has been their strongest asset. With Hicks and Meeks averaging 13+ points per game and Bradley close behind at 10, they have been our most reliable source of points.
The only issue with these guys is foul trouble. This was accentuated in the last game against Indiana. The only big man on the team that had under 4 fouls was Luke Maye, who was playing in his first game off of an injury. It is extremely important that we have Bradley coming off of the bench as our post depth, but we begin to look very weak if they’re all in foul trouble.
These three young guys have already shown a ton of potential, but they have a lot of work to do. Tony Bradley is the current outlier of the group, with averages of 10 points and 5 rebounds. He’s also shooting an astounding 68%, which is a testament to his fundamental style. Seventh Woods and Brandon Robinson are both averaging 2 and 3 points and 2 assists per game.
The tweet above says it perfectly, right now it’s all about inexperience for these young men. That being said, things will get better. They’re already proving that the jitters are shaking off a little more each game. Also, let’s not forget that I projected Bradley to be an All-American next year. I’m not backing down from that either, these guys are going to be good.
3. Maui Tournament
I can’t imagine a much better way to start off the season for this team than to win the Maui Invitational Tournament. The young guys got to get some experience and the older players got to show off their talents. Joel Berry was absolutely incredible, as way Kennedy Meeks who averaged over 10 rebounds per game.
Happy to be part of No. 999 & a few more before that. Here's to @UNC_Basketball's Roy Williams, who will coach his 1,000th game tonight. pic.twitter.com/qUjObq8qmS
— Maui Invitational (@MauiInv) November 30, 2016
The team’s early success gained a lot of praise from analysts across the country, but the team can’t just stop now. The loss to Indiana directly after winning the Maui was a little bit of a letdown, but young teams like this usually have a tendency to get a little too high on themselves after big wins. In fact, a pre-season tournament win + a loss to a ranked opponent will most likely charge these guys up even more to get on their A game.