The North Carolina basketball team mixed in a little basketball with its Bahamas vacation, scoring two easy victories over the weekend as several players moved into new roles for the Tar Heels.
Although there was no way to watch the games, stats revealed a few key points about this Carolina team:
1. Get buckets
There’s no shortage of offensive talent on the roster, with at least five players scoring in double-figures in both games.
Granted, StarSports was completely overmatched in the second game, but the Tar Heels managed to shoot 56 percent from the field in the win over Bahamas All-Stars, including 40 of 63 on 2-point attempts.
The big men were particularly impressive, with Garrison Brooks making 14-of-16 attempts while Sterling Manley was 8 of 12 from the field and Brandon Huffman converted 12 of 18.
That’s encouraging for the Tar Heels, given the trio of post players couldn’t find much offensive consistency last season.
2. Guard depth steps up
It’s tough to draw many conclusions given Coach Roy Williams substituted frequently, but with a small sample size, the Tar Heels should be pleased with what they got from junior guards Seventh Woods and Brandon Robinson on the trip.
Woods, a YouTube phenom in high school, put a defender on a poster with a ridiculous dunk, and otherwise played well with 11 points, three rebounds and three assists against the All-Stars.
Meanwhile, Robinson gave Carolina five points and five rebounds against StarSports and handed out three assists in the opener.
The Tar Heels don’t need either player to be stars; they just need a couple of guys that can come in and contribute a few good minutes off the bench. Given Woods’ high-energy play, that could be the perfect role for him on this team.
3. A passing storm
It wasn’t enough to ruin the Caribbean vacation, but Williams couldn’t have been pleased with how relaxed his team was with the ball, turning it over 41 times, including 27 in the opener against the Bahamas All-Stars.
Three freshmen, all playing their first game in Carolina Blue, were responsible for 10 of those turnovers, but almost everyone got in on the action, including four apiece from Manley and Woods.
Carolina was more protective of the ball in the second game, turning it over just 14 times, but it will certainly be worth monitoring early in the season as players adjust to new roles and three freshmen play major minutes.
No matter how talented they are, freshmen don’t have a feel for just how physical and aggressive defenses can be at this level.
4. More like it
Any disappointment with the turnovers was quickly countered by just how dominant the Tar Heels were on the boards, outrebounding the competition 141-72, including 49 on the offensive end.
Despite the fact it ranked third nationally in offensive rebounding rate last season, Carolina posted its third-worst mark of the Williams era in that category, grabbing 37 percent of its missed field goal attempts.
If the Bahamas trip is any indication, expect plenty of second-chance points for the Tar Heels this season, given they rebounded 59 percent of their misses over the two games.
Obviously, that number would be impossible to maintain in ACC play, but Williams has to be pleased with the attention his big men are putting on the boards.