Carolina has played 9 straight home games and 1o out of their last 11 in the friendly confines of the Dean Dome. Their last road game was a 72-73 loss to Kentucky inside Rupp Arena, a difficult place for any team to put one in the coveted win column. The Tarheels are 3-2 when playing on the road this season. The other loss (80-90) came at the hands of UNLV in Las Vegas. It should be noted the loss to UNLV was on a neutral court ‘Orleans Arena’ but still a decidedly bias crowd of Running Rebel fans.
What does this say, if anything, about UNC as it goes forward with it’s schedule when having to play road games inside the conference? UNC was out-rebounded in the two losses on the road. The Heels seem to lose it’s composure in both those losses. At Orleans Arena the Tarheels looked like they were suprised and started rushing their shots. At Kentucky the Heels had the infamous blank stare as the clock wound down, 5 seconds remained on the clock after Anthony Davis blocked John Henson’s shot, leaving plenty of time for the Heels to foul and extend the game.
There’s no doubt that Carolina is one of the top 4 teams in the country, and the clear favorite in the ACC. The Tarheels next road test will be against Florida state 10-6 overall, 1-1 in the ACC. The Seminoles are 14th in the country in rebounds at 40.2 rpg, rebounds are exactly where the Heels had problems in their two losses.
The Heels have struggled in Tallahassee but are still 5-1 at the Leon County Civic Center under Roy Williams. No one should be surprised to see Carolina come away with a win in it’s first Conference road game. The Tarheels simply possess to much fire power for the Seminoles and barring a complete collapse by Carolina it should raise to ACC standing to 3-0.
Carolina, after the Florida State game will stay on the road traveling to Blacksburg to play Seth Greensberg’s perennial bubble team who is 11-5 overall and 0-2 in the ACC. We’ll leave that story for another day.
The two losses on the road for Carolina will most likely not be a trend for them as they move forward in league play. They are just to talented to let that happen, and while they may lose a couple of games in the Conference I look for them to be there as expected, in the end, to compete for the ACC Championship as well as the a final four contender.