Coming off three consecutive losses over the course of just six days, No. 18 North Carolina will travel to Blacksburg, Va., on Sunday to play Virginia Tech for its first conference game of the season.
After Wednesday night’s loss at No. 10 Indiana, UNC became just the fourth preseason No. 1 team to drop three consecutive games. Now, the Tar Heels look to end their losing streak as they take on a well-coached and hungry Virginia Tech team.
Handle the physicality
UNC head coach Hubert Davis said many of his team’s struggles can be attributed to the sheer physicality brought by opposing teams. In a press conference on Friday, he said the team was physicality bothered in terms of its movement and spacing.
“Other teams are blitzing us a lot,” Davis said. “Our guards aren’t able to penetrate and get downhill.”
Without being able to advance the ball inside, UNC’s guards have been forced into many ill-advised jumpshots. If the Tar Heels want to get better shot opportunities on offense and more stops on defense, it all starts with matching energy and becoming zealously physical on both ends of the floor.
On Friday, Davis praised the Hokies, saying they are “always very physical and tough on the defensive end.” For this reason, it is imperative that the Tar Heels are able to handle the Hokies' physicality if they want to come away with their first notable road win of the season.
Moving the ball
One of UNC’s biggest struggles offensively this season has been sharing the ball. The Tar Heels average just 11.4 assists per game, which ranks 301st in the nation. In the loss to Indiana, UNC notched only five assists, its lowest mark in a game since dishing out just four in the season opener against UNCW.