North Carolina Basketball has a small sample size to examine the implementation of their small lineup. A starting lineup consisting of Joel Berry, Kenny Williams, Theo Pinson, Cameron Johnson, and Luke Maye is an offensive powerhouse to be reckoned with. The Tar Heels must continue to show in each game the ability to consistently play defense and also rebound while being undersized if they wish to continue using this lineup.
Within four games of using this lineup, viewers have seen distinctly different pictures. The Tar Heels looked outstanding against Boston College due to running an efficient offense while boasting excellent rebounding numbers on both ends of the floor. When North Carolina traveled to Notre Dame though, they looked like a completely different team. There was a lack of effort and their small lineup got dominated on the boards throughout the game. However, the Tar Heels found a way, even after playing so poorly, to get a much-needed road win. This is a much different North Carolina team that fans are used to seeing. It is not a Tar Heel typical frontcourt offensive approach; this offense relies on the backcourt to penetrate to create openings in the post while stretching the opposing defense.
Roy Williams once again put his faith in the small lineup against a tremendous Clemson team this past Tuesday night. This game was a second chance for those involved in the lineup change to prove that Notre Dame was just a fluke and nothing more. The Tar Heels, from the opening tip, seemed to have a sense of intensity and fire under them. The team knows better than anyone that they have been struggling lately and also knows what they are truly capable of on a nightly-basis. Against a ranked Clemson opponent, North Carolina rebounded consistently while also having some outstanding defensive stints which led to extending their historical home record against Clemson to 59-0.
I thoroughly believe that Roy Williams has orchestrated the best possible starting lineup. A lineup consisting of Joel Berry, Kenny Williams, Theo Pinson, Cameron Johnson, and Luke Maye is an offensive unit that pushes each and every opponent to their defensive limit. The key issue that the viewers have seen from this small sample size of four games is lack of focus and intensity. Anyone surely can notice the tale of two stories from the game against Notre Dame to Clemson. When this North Carolina team is focused and plays with intensity and grit, they are without a doubt a top team in not only the ACC, but also the country. So far, it has been a long season filled with ups and downs. Fans and alumni should look forward to this Tar Heel team progress throughout the remainder of the season in hopes of attending their third straight Final Four.