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Will North Carolina make March Marchess? UNC Tar Heels reeling after latest blowout loss under Hubert Davis

UNC fell apart against Miami on Tuesday night.

Down 27 points to the Hurricanes at halftime, tying their largest halftime deficit in the last 25 years, the Tar Heels were dominated in every way, falling 85-57. Miami improved to 14-4, (6-1 ACC) in the blowout victory. 

It marked North Carolina’s lowest-scoring effort of the season under first-year head coach Hubert Davis and resulted in their second-worst loss in the last 10 seasons. UNC lost by 29-points to No. 12 Kentucky earlier this season.

The Tarheels recorded 14 turnovers while the Hurricanes only recorded four. UNC also made only six of 30 three-point attempts while Miami made 14 of 22. Armando Bacot led the Tarheels with 15 points and 12 rebounds, but he went down with an injury after landing on his back with five minutes remaining. 

With the loss on Tuesday night, UNC falls to 12-5 and 4-2 in the ACC. 

When asked after the game about what it will take to shift the team’s mentality, Davis said, “That’s a great question. At this moment, I don’t know. At times this year, I feel there has been a change in mentality and in toughness, then you have a game like this. It’s just very disappointing. I’m very disappointed in our fight, competitiveness, our effort— just very disappointed.” 

UNC’s Worst Losses

  • 40 points vs. Maryland (96-56), February 22, 2003
  • 33 points vs. Florida State (90-57), January 14, 2012
  • 33 points vs. Maryland (112-79), January 9, 2002
  • 32 points vs. UCONN (86-54), January 19, 2002
  • 32 points vs. Duke (82-50), March 6, 2010
  • 29 points vs. Duke (87-58), January 31, 2002
  • 29 points vs. Kentucky (98-69), December 18, 2021
  • 28 points vs. Miami (85-57), January 18, 2022

Davis, who took over head coaching duties from Roy Williams, is dealing with some growing pains in his first season calling the shots. 

When asked about leadership within the locker room, the Tar Heels head coach is struggling to find a guy to step up. 

“In order to be a good team, you have to have leadership,” Davis said. “There has to be somebody outside of me, outside of the coaching staff that has a voice in the locker room— that is amongst the players, that binds us together. I’ve never seen a good team absent of that. At this moment, we don’t have any. That’s something that needs to change, that has to change and must change. My hope is that it will change.”

Remaining Schedule

The unranked Tar Heels have 14 games left before the ACC tournament. Ranked third in the conference, North Carolina still has both of their games against No. 6 Duke.

The Blue Devils are the only ranked team left on their schedule. (Note: Duke was upset by unranked Florida State in OT on Tuesday.)

MORE: Joe B. Hall’s decades as Kentucky basketball ambassador will be tough act to follow

Now What?

So, what needs to be fixed? Davis gave a blunt assessment.

“Before you can even talk about change in execution, there needs to be a change in effort,” he said. “There has to be a change in competitiveness and want to. I told them tonight, ‘The game will change, but you have got to change.’

“I told them, ‘There’s no way out of this. The only way that you have a chance to get out of this is you have to fight. You have to draw a line in the sand…’”

The Tar Heels will move on to face Wake Forest, who is currently undefeated at home. As March Madness looms, UNC needs to gain some momentum and find their identity and win against the Demon Deacons would be the first step forward.

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