UNC fell apart against Miami on Tuesday night.
Down 27 points from the Hurricanes at halftime, tying their largest halftime deficit in the last 25 years, the Tar Heels dominated all the way, falling 85-57. Miami improved to 14-4, (6-1 ACC) in the blowout win.
It marked North Carolina’s lowest scoring effort of the season under first-year head coach Hubert Davis and resulted in their second-worst loss in the last 10 seasons. UNC lost by 29 points to No. 12 Kentucky earlier this season.
The Tarheels recorded 14 turnovers while the Hurricanes only recorded four. UNC also made just 6 of 30 3-point attempts, while Miami went 14 of 22. Armando Bacot led the Tarheels with 15 points and 12 rebounds, but was injured after landing on his back with five minutes remaining.
With Tuesday night’s loss, UNC falls to 12-5 and 4-2 in the ACC.
Asked after the game what it takes to change the mindset of the team, Davis said, “That’s a great question. Right now, I don’t know. At times this year, I feel like there’s been a change in mindset and in toughness, then you have a game like this. It’s very disappointing. I’m very disappointed with our fight, competitiveness, our effort, just very disappointed.”
UNC’s worst losses
- 40 points vs. Maryland (96-56), February 22, 2003
- 33 points vs. Florida State (90-57), January 14, 2012
- 33 points vs. Maryland (112-79), January 9, 2002
- 32 points vs. UCONN (86-54), January 19, 2002
- 32 points vs. Duke (82-50), March 6, 2010
- 29 points vs. Duke (87-58), January 31, 2002
- 29 points vs. Kentucky (98-69), December 18, 2021
- 28 points vs. Miami (85-57), January 18, 2022
Davis, who took over the head coaching duties from Roy Williams, is dealing with some growing pains in his first season at the helm.
When asked about leadership inside the locker room, the Tar Heels head coach is struggling to find a guy to step up.
“To be a good team, you have to have leadership,” Davis said. “There has to be someone outside of me, outside of the coaching staff who has a voice in the locker room, who is among the players, who brings us together. I’ve never seen a good team without that. Right now, we don’t have any. That’s it. something that needs to change, that has to change and must change. My hope is that it will change.”
The unranked Tar Heels have 14 games left before the ACC tournament. Ranked third in the conference, North Carolina still has its two games against No. 6 Duke.
The Blue Devils are the only ranked team left on his schedule. (Note: Duke was upset about Florida being unranked in OT on Tuesday.)
So what needs to be fixed? Davis gave a forceful assessment.
“Before you can talk about a change in execution, there needs to be a change in effort,” he said. “There has to be a change in competitiveness and I want to do it. I told them tonight: ‘The game will change, but you have to change.’
“I told them, ‘There is no way out of this. The only way you have a chance of getting out of this is you have to fight. You have to draw a line in the sand…'”
The Tar Heels will move on to face Wake Forest, who are currently undefeated at home. As March Madness looms, UNC needs to gain some momentum and finding their identity and winning against the Demon Deacons would be the first step forward.