UNC's keys vs. Providence: Running and rebounding
Junior point guard Luke Davis said that North Carolina has been focused on two things heading into Friday’s NCAA Tournament game against Providence – running and rebounding.
“We’ve gotten away from some things, and rebounding and running have been the point of emphasis, by far,” Davis said. “We’ve talked about those two things more than we have all year.”
Pushing the pace will help create easy baskets on offense while also affecting the short-handed Friars, who rely on five starters that each averaged more than 32 minutes in the Big East.
“We saw clips of our 12-game winning streak and we got out and ran, we got easy baskets,” sophomore guard Marcus Paige said. “They only play six guys… so we really want to get the tempo up and get into their legs a little bit. We’ll see how that goes. The tempo will be an interesting to follow. If we can get it higher, it will definitely be in our favor.”
That wasn’t the only film UNC watched – Williams also showed his team the tape from when the Tar Heels were dominated on the glass during their current two-game losing streak, when Duke and Pittsburgh outrebounded UNC by 22 and had a 41-16 edge in second-chance points.
“Coach has really emphasized it,” forward James Michael McAdoo said. “(We were) watching a lot of film of us getting our butts kicked on the boards to drill it into our heads. That's something that we know we can be good at.
“We know we're great at with our size on the front line and our athletic ability from guys like J.P. (Tokoto) and Brice (Johnson) and myself. You can go down the line. So I think that's the biggest thing is just our mindset. I think we really got away from that as far as hitting the boards and really making that something that we pride ourselves on.”