North Carolina has gone via a bumpy nationwide title protection, most of its struggles coming throughout the ACC season.
The Tar Heels went 11-2 throughout the nonconference season however have opened league play 5-Four after dropping each of their video games final week. North Carolina dropped 9 locations to No. 19 within the AP Prime 25 on this week.
“We must be higher than 5-Four within the ACC,” North Carolina wing Cameron Johnson mentioned.
The Tar Heels (16-6) have an opportunity to get again on monitor this week.
First up is Tuesday towards No. 20 Clemson, a crew they beat 87-79 on Jan. 16. That is adopted by North Carolina’s first recreation towards Pittsburgh this season.
The important thing in these video games: Protection.
North Carolina gave up 95 factors and 15 Three-pointers in an additional time loss to North Carolina State final Saturday, and 80 factors and one other 12 Three-pointers in a loss to Virginia Tech.
The Tar Heels are 194th nationally in scoring protection at 72.7 factors per recreation, and are 316th guarding the arc, permitting groups to hit practically 38 p.c of their Three-point photographs.
“I imply we have simply been one of many worst defensive groups, if not the worst defensive crew I’ve ever coached,” North Carolina coach Roy Williams mentioned. “The children are nice children. They have to purchase into it 100 p.c, not 80 p.c. We have to get higher. I’ve acquired to do a greater job with it.”
The final assembly with Clemson resulted in an 87-79 Tar Heels victory, preserving them undefeated in 59 all-time video games on the Smith Middle.
This time, the Tigers (17-Four, 6-Three) shall be at residence, however enjoying with out ahead Donte Grantham, out for the season with a torn ACL. Clemson additionally has misplaced 10 straight to North Carolina and has to play with a brief turnaround after enjoying on Sunday.
“Clearly, it is a troublesome turnaround for us, a crew we have had a tough time enjoying towards recently, so we have got to determine some issues out,” Clemson coach Brad Brownell mentioned.
TEXAS TECH TWO STEP: Texas Tech moved again into the highest 10 this week after climbing 4 spots on this week’s AP Prime 25.
However the Large 12 not often has straightforward video games and this week presents a few challenges.
The Crimson Raiders (17-Four, 5-Three Large 12) first play Wednesday towards Texas. The Longhorns (14-7, Four-Four) have been enjoying properly just lately and beat Texas Tech 67-58 in Austin on Jan. 17.
The Crimson Raiders observe with a street recreation towards TCU (15-6, Three-5) on Saturday, going through a crew that was 12-1 and a top-10 crew earlier this season.
VILLANOVA ON TOP: Villanova could have misplaced some first-place votes to No. 2 Virginia on this week’s ballot, however the Wildcats have been nonetheless the clear No. 1.
Villanova (20-1, 7-1 Large East) acquired 47 of 65 first-place votes within the ballot and has not misplaced since a 101-93 street setback towards Butler on Dec. 30.
The Wildcats have a few doubtlessly troublesome video games this week, enjoying Creighton on Thursday and Seton Corridor on Sunday.
KANSAS’ CUSHION: No. 7 Kansas gave itself some cushion in its bid to win a 14th-straight Large 12 title Monday night time, beating rival Kansas State 70-56 on the street.
The Jayhawks (18-Four, 7-2 Large 12) play subsequent on Saturday towards Oklahoma State, which has struggled in convention play, dropping 5 of eight video games.
Texas Tech, No. 12 Oklahoma and No. 15 West Virginia are tied for second behind the Jayhawks at 5-Three in convention. The Sooners play Baylor and Texas this week. The Mountaineers have video games towards Iowa State and Kansas State.
Just a little over a month left within the season, the Jayhawks are nonetheless in management.