My goodness,Tar Heel fans sure were in a tizzy after watching their men's team play Texas the other night. It was bad enough losing to a squad coached by Rick Barnes, the now-repentant burr under Dean Smith's saddle during the waning days of the great man's tenure at Chapel Hill.
But it was the way the Heels lost…
Now, the Longhorns aren't exactly foul line marksmen themselves. They came into the game hitting 61.4 percent of their free throw attempts. That ranked 328th out of 345 Division I teams. Against North Carolina they proceeded to outdo themselves, making 60.6 percent of their foul shots. That included mind-boggling 30.8 percent inaccuracy (4 of 13) while trying to nurse a lead in the second half.
Fortunately for UT, FTM was not part of UNC's vocabulary.
In fact the Heels barely made more than half their free throws as a team, missing 23 of 47 tries. They weren't as feckless as their guests in the second period, but close, making 10 of 25 -- 40 percent.
This, after entering the game converting 61.1 percent at the line.
Not to point fingers, but forward James Michael McAdoo is the chief culprit in what promises to be one of North Carolina's worst team foul shooting performances in the ACC era. (The low was 62.9 percent in 1954).
The junior's struggles are nothing new. McAdoo made 59.9 percent of his free throws during his first two seasons in college; last year it was 57.8 on 173 attempts.
McAdoo is not even living up to those lofty standards in 2013-14. To date the McDonald's high school All-American has hit 54.4 percent at the line, highlighted by 5 of 15 against Texas. The good news/bad news is that McAdoo easily leads the Heels with 90 attempts, of which he's made 49.
The Tar Heels have now dipped below 60 percent collective free throw accuracy on the year (.596). In their seven wins they've made 65.9 percent at the line; in their three losses the conversion rate is 47.2 percent.
Surely Roy Williams' club will improve its accuracy as the season unfolds. Surely. The recent track record isn't too encouraging, however - since hitting 75.2 percent of its foul shots in 2009 en route to the NCAA title, UNC has mounted cumulative 67.1 percent accuracy.
At least that's better than the current rate.
"I'm tired of talking about free throws," Williams declared after UNC fell to Texas, 86-83. "We've got to be tough enough to step up and make the daggum thing, or go play soccer."