***Listen to the story***
But Switzer says he thinks Carolina’s overall team success may hinge on the defense.
“If we can get better, go man more often, and those guys can do what they do and that’s play some doggone good defense, we’re going to be tough to handle,” Switzer says.
The freshman sensation burst onto the national landscape last season by leading the ACC in punt return yardage and return touchdowns with four. Switzer was named first-team All-ACC for his incredible performances on Saturdays.
Switzer says he’s still building his relationship with new offensive coordinator Seth Littrell, but he expects there to be plenty of intensity involved.
“He’s kind of learning the schemes and learning his place a little bit. But we’ve talked and I understand that as soon as he gets comfortable where he’s at, he’s going to be able to start coaching how he wants to coach. From what I’ve heard, it’s pretty intense,” Switzer says.
Carolina will hold two practices away from Chapel Hill this spring. Switzer says he thinks bringing the Tar Heels to Charlotte and Greensboro will help the program’s broad-range support and aid in recruiting battles.
“Any time you can expand your range, it’s good for recruiting and for people that can’t come down and see us practice. Any time you can get the people in the state behind your program, it’s really big. That’s what Coach Fedora and the coaching staff is trying to do,” Switzer says.
Switzer says he’s looking forward to honing his skills as not only a specialist, but also a wide receiver this coming season for the Tar Heels.
“My goal is just to continue to get better as a wide out. With a full year of experience, the difference between last year and this upcoming season is going to be phenomenal. I’m looking forward to showing what I’ve worked on in the offseason,” Switzer says.
And as for his concerns over teams kicking away from him in 2014? Switzer says he’s not worried.
“I love it. […] When teams have to prepare for me individually, it means something. It means you’re worth something. Cincinnati had a whole month to prepare for us, and they still ended up having to kick me the ball. I’m going to get some punts, man,” Switzer says.
Fans will be able to see Switzer and the rest of the Tar Heels in action at the annual Blue & White Spring Game April 12 at 3 p.m.http://chapelboro.com/sports/unc-sports/sensational-switzer-confident-second-college-football-act/
The Tar Heels are coming off a 2-1 series win to open up their ACC campaign, but Head Coach Mike Fox says it’s still disappointing not to close out the series sweep.
“We’re happy to get the series win, certainly. But disappointing to go into Sunday and have a chance to win all three and not get it done. All in all, after you process the day, you got to look back and say, ‘not great, but not bad,’” Coach Fox says.
Coach Fox says in the tight encounters, the little mistakes will come back to bite you, and the young Tar Heels are still committing some costly errors.
“You got to finish games in this league. There’s such a fine line between winning and losing every game. In the close games, you can’t make mistakes,” Coach Fox says.
One of the bright spots in the Tar Heel lineup has been sophomore Korey Dunbar. Coach Fox says he’s seen a lot of improvement out of the catcher from Charleston, West Virginia.
“He’s confident now. He’s getting better. He’s got to cut down on his strikeouts, but he hit a couple balls hard. Even the fly ball he hit to right field, you didn’t see Korey Dunbar doing that last year. He was kind of an all pull-guy. You got to learn to use all the field. He’s got better – a big part of our team this year for sure,” Coach Fox says.
George Mason comes into the contest off a 2-1 series loss to Fairfield. Carolina will be hoping to build some midweek momentum as a weekend series against Maryland in College Park looms this Friday.http://chapelboro.com/sports/unc-sports/carolina-baseball-faces-george-mason-tuesday-test/
Carolina sophomore point guard Marcus Paige was named to the First Team All-ACC Basketball Team Monday. He joins Duke’s Jabari Parker, N.C. State’s T.J. Warren, Syracuse’s C.J. Fair and Clemson forward K.J. McDaniels.
Paige is the only ACC player to rank among the conference’s top six in scoring and assists. Paige has also scored at least 20 points in ten games this season. Carolina’s James Michael McAdoo was named to the All-ACC second team.
UNC women’s basketball star Diamond DeShields was named to the First Team All-ACC Basketball Team Monday as well. DeShields was the only freshman player to make the All-ACC squad.
As for this week’s rankings, the Tar Heels dropped one spot to No. 15 in both national polls following a win against Notre Dame and a loss at Duke Saturday night.
Florida remains the top team in the nation in both polls, collecting 50 out of the 65 first-place votes in the AP rankings. Undefeated and No. 2-ranked Wichita State received the other 15 votes for the top spot. Other notable ACC schools in the rankings are No.6/7 Duke and No. 11 Syracuse.
As for the women, the Tar Heels slid up one spot to No. 12 in the latest AP poll following an ACC Tournament semifinal showing.
Connecticut remains undefeated and ranked number one while ACC powerhouse Notre Dame sits at No. 2 following an ACC Tournament championship win Sunday.
Duke checks in at No. 9 following a runner-up finish to Notre Dame in the ACC Tournament. 24-6 Maryland lands at No. 11 in the latest AP poll.
Click here for the complete men’s rankings.
Click here for the complete women’s rankings.http://chapelboro.com/sports/unc-sports/paige-mcadoo-get-acc-honors-tar-heel-men-ranked-15-women-land-12-latest-polls/
The No. 15 North Carolina baseball team pulled out a 2-1 series win over ACC newcomer Pittsburgh last weekend at Boshamer Stadium to improve to 10-4 on the season.
Benton Moss and Trent Thornton produced two solid starts on the mound for the Tar Heels in the double-header on Saturday. Foul weather on Friday prompted a postponement of Friday’s game.
Freshman Zac Gallen allowed four earned runs in his Sunday start that saw Pitt claim a 6-4 win to avoid the sweep.
Next up for the Tar Heels is a busy midweek schedule. UNC hosts George Mason Tuesday and Gardner Webb Wednesday. Both games start at 4 p.m.
***Listen to the story***
With the victory, Duke improved to 24-7 overall and 13-5 in conference action. The Blue Devils also finished off a perfect season at home.
Freshman sensation Jabari Parker scored 30 points, the most by any Duke freshman against Carolina.
“I thought it was a tough night for us. I think listening to Mike’s (Coach K) comments after the last game, they didn’t have “it”. I agree with him. It’s hard to say what “it” is, but whatever the hell it is, Jabari found it,” UNC Head Coach Roy Williams says.
***Listen to Roy Williams’ postgame remarks***
Carolina’s Marcus Paige led the way for the Tar Heels with 24 points while Brice Johnson posted 15 of his own.
James Michael McAdoo got into severe foul trouble, picking up his fourth foul just one minute into the second half. His loss hampered the Tar Heels, but they managed to shoot 59.6 percent from the floor, the best all season.
The game was tight at the half, 40-37 in favor of Duke, thanks to some gritty play by the Tar Heels and poor shooting from behind the arc by the Blue Devils, going 2-13.
The second half, though, was a different story. Duke knocked down 6-10 three-pointers to pull away from Carolina and then hold on down the stretch with impressive foul shooting. Duke converted on 87.1 percent of its free throws.
After the game, Duke Coach Mike Krzyzewski credited his team’s rebounding advantage as a key to the victory. The Blue Devils outrebounded the Tar Heels 34-20.
***Listen to Coach K’s postgame remarks***
Duke drew first blood with a score by Rodney Hood and Andrew Dawkins was next to score for the Blue Devils to give the home team the 4-0 lead.
McAdoo put the first points on the board for Carolina with a physical play inside. But Duke answered immediately to take the 7-2 lead with 17:30 to play in the half.
Tokoto knocked down a smooth jumper to close the gap down to three points. Dawkins sunk one on the other end and drew the foul, making the point after to give Duke the 10-4 lead.
With 15:43 to play in the half, the Blue Devils held the 10-4 advantage. Turnovers were traded back and forth, until Duke broke the run with an inside score to take the 12-4 lead.
Brice Johnson cleaned up a rebound and tossed it in for a score to end a long drought for the Tar Heels. The defensive intensity by Duke was making life difficult for Carolina. Head Coach Roy Williams called a timeout.
A Johnson dunk briefly silenced the crowd. With 11:12 to play in the half, Duke had a 19-10 lead against UNC.
McAdoo knocked down a couple important free throws, but Carolina was finding it tough to stop the Blue Devil offensive attach. McAdoo nailed down a jumper as the shot clock was running out to close UNC within four.
McAdoo worked his way to the free throw line by pressing the issue in the paint. He knocked down both foul shots. Carolina trailed Duke 29-25 with 5:13 to go before halftime.
Carolina got some help from Paige and Johnson down the stretch as the halftime scoreboard read 40-37 in favor of the Blue Devils.
Duke only managed to shoot at a 15.4 percent clip from behind the arc while UNC shot 61.9 percent from the floor.
James Michael McAdoo recorded 11 points, but collected three fouls in the first half. Duke’s Jabari Parker tallied a team-leading 16 points.
Parker opened the second half with a make to ignite the Cameron crowd. And a sloppy turnover by UNC’s Johnson followed.
McAdoo picked up his fourth foul just one minute into the second half and promptly took a seat on the bench. Hood darted to the basket, making the shot and converting on the point after for a three-point play. The Blue Devils held a 47-39 lead with 17:08 to play.
Kennedy Meeks went up soft inside and failed to get the basket to go, handing the ball back to Duke. With 16:26 to play, the Blue Devils held a 50-39 lead before McDonald popped a jumper through the nets to reduce the deficit back down to single digits.
Nate Britt hit a mid-range shot to keep UNC within shouting distance at 55-44 with 14:51 to play in the contest.
Cook’s run-out score pushed the Blue Devil lead out to 59-44 with 14:22 to play.
McDonald knocked down a three-pointer to close the Duke lead down to 13 points with 13:07 remaining. And Paige followed that score up with a determined make and Duke called a timeout up 62-51 with 12:44 to play.
Rodney Hood hit a wide-open three-pointer for Duke as the Carolina defense failed to contest the shot.
Joel James threw the ball away for an easy Duke score in transition. The game was quickly getting away from the Tar Heels.
Parker hit a jumper that slid through the nets off the rim to give Duke the 71-53 lead with 9:36 left to play.
Parker sniped another shot from behind the arc to push the Blue Devil lead out to 74-55 with 8 minutes remaining.
With 5:55 remaining in the game, Carolina trailed Duke 77-61. McAdoo responded with a quick score off the backboard.
Tokoto found an open lane and scored driving to the basket to cut the deficit down to 12 points with 3:55 on the clock.
Carolina cut the Duke lead down to ten points off a Johnson make inside. Britt committed a costly foul after the shot clock was drained all the way down. Duke’s Cook made both of them.
Paige converted on a three-point play to cut the Duke lead down to 81-73 with 2:41 to play.
The Carolina defense stiffened, causing a Duke turnover, but Paige’s shot fell short for the Tar Heels. Cook was fouled on the other end and knocked down both free throws to extend the lead back out to ten.
Parker battled his way to line, converting on both foul shots to give the Blue Devils full command of the contest yet again at 86-73 with 1:51 to play.
Paige fought admirably down the stretch, but the deficit was too much for the Tar Heels to overcome.
Next up for the Tar Heels is the ACC Tournament quarterfinals in Greensboro Friday. Carolina will be the fourth seed.
The No. 13 North Carolina women’s basketball team exacted some revenge on No. 8 Maryland Friday night in Greensboro, defeating the Terrapins 73-70 to improve to 24-8 on the season and advance to the ACC Tournament semifinals, where the Tar Heels will face No. 10 Duke.
With the loss, the Terrapins dropped to 24-6 on the season and finished their final ACC Tournament in disappointing fashion. Next year, Maryland will join the Big Ten.
The game featured two of the conference’s premier players in UNC’s Diamond DeShields and Maryland’s Alyssa Thomas. The pair lived up to their billings.
Freshman sensation DeShields put up 22 points while three-time ACC player of the year Thomas scored 24 points of her own to set the career scoring record for the Terps.
“Outstanding job by Carolina on the defensive end. Offensively we did some more things today. Again, you see the talent of Diamond DeShields going in the post and taking advantage of her outstanding skills also in the post. She’s not showed a lot of that this year, but she showed a variety of moves tonight,” Associate Head Coach Andrew Calder says.
Carolina used impressive defensive intensity to stymie the Maryland offensive attack early on and claim an 11-point advantage at halftime.
But Maryland came roaring back in the second half thanks to some inspiring play by Thomas that trimmed UNC’s lead down to a mere one point with under a minute remaining in the contest.
Crucially, Carolina’s Brittany Rountree hit two free throws with 16 seconds left to push the margin back out to three. And when Thomas missed a wide open three-pointer for the tie in the final seconds, the Tar Heels escaped with the win.
Allisha Gray provided a 17-point contribution while Xylina McDaniel posted 10 points for Carolina.
Next up for the Tar Heels is an opportunity to record a third win over their bitter rivals, the Duke Blue Devils. That semifinal is slated to tip off at 7:30 p.m. from the Greensboro Coliseum.
N.C. State and undefeated Notre Dame meet in the afternoon semifinal matchup. The winners will meet in Sunday night’s championship game.
The No. 14 North Carolina men’s basketball team, 23-7 on the season and 13-4 in ACC play, will take on No. 4 Duke, 23-7 overall and 12-5 in conference, Saturday night at 9 p.m. at Cameron Indoor Stadium, and as usual in this Tobacco Road Rivalry, there’s a lot on the line.
***Listen to the story***
Ahead of the Duke showdown, Head Coach Roy Williams says he’s seen some mental and emotional fatigue out of his team lately, but the coaching staff is encouraging the players to get excited for postseason play.
“I think mentally you just, ‘Gosh, you have to take a deep breath.’ You realize now is when we really get to start having some fun. So we try to talk about that a little bit, but they’ve got to handle it,” Coach Williams says.
Coach Williams says more than any other team they face, the Tar Heels have to make guarding the three-point shot a priority against Duke, an historically elite perimeter shooting program.
“They shoot so many and have been so successful – just look at their percentages. We pay more attention to that and try to emphasize it. You hope that when they miss that you can get something going on the offensive end and capitalize on that,” Coach Williams says.
When asked the best way to go about defending Duke’s Jabari Parker, a hot favorite for national rookie of the year, Coach Williams implied it was a nearly impossible task.
“You hope he sprains his ankle going up the steps. That’s the best way. I don’t mean that in any derogatory way, but that’s one way to guard him if he’s sitting over on the bench. He’s got the complete game,” Coach Williams says.
All jokes aside, it was Carolina’s defensive intensity that made the difference in the second half against Duke in the Tar Heels’ 74-66 home win on Feb. 20.
Sophomore point guard Marcus Paige says Carolina will need to reach their maximum potential Saturday night and play a complete 40 minutes of high-level basketball.
“We might have a little bit more of a margin of error than maybe earlier in the season. But at this time of the year against a team like Duke in Cameron, the margin of error is not very big. We understand if we play the way we have the past couple games, that’s not going to get it done,” Paige says.
This year’s Tar Heel squad seemingly relishes the big-time games against elite national programs. Carolina’s game has shown brightest in the crucible of the national spotlight.
Senior Leslie McDonald says the toughness and cohesiveness of the team is put on display in the biggest games.
“We just have a mindset. If it’s a big-time team, we just come together closer. We have a mindset that we’re not going to back down. We’re going to give it our best shot and see if we can come out with the victory,” McDonald says.
With a victory Saturday, Carolina would assure itself of a three seed in next week’s ACC Tournament. A win coupled with a Syracuse loss in Tallahassee would mean UNC would snag the No. 2 seed next week. Few would have thought these scenarios possible just a few short weeks ago.
Carolina leads the all-time series with Duke 133-104 and is looking to complete a season sweep of the Blue Devils. That will be no easy task. Duke hasn’t lost back-to-back regular season games since Feb. 2009 and is a perfect 16-0 at home this season.http://chapelboro.com/sports/unc-sports/carolina-duke-round-two-cameron-indoor/
The No. 13 UNC women’s basketball team snuck into the third round with a 69-65 defeat of Wake Forest Wednesday night in Greensboro.
The Demon Deacons opened the contest with a 7-0 run shooting 3-3 from the field, including 1-1 from behind the arc. The Tar Heels answered with a 5-2 run, but then with the help of Dearica Hamby’s 19 first-half points shooting 9-11 from the field, the Deacs pulled away again and jumped out to a double-digit lead.
At halftime, Carolina was down 12 shooting 32 percent from the field in the first half, while Wake Forest connected on 59 percent of its attempts.
The Tar Heels hit the final basket of the first half and scored the next 14 points unanswered to take the lead at 41-39. In the middle of that run, though, there was a nearly 25-minute break in the action as all the lights went out in the Greensboro Coliseum.
Wake Forest stormed back to take the lead again, but finally play settled with Carolina in the lead. UNC was 3-4 in free throws in the final 30 seconds to fend off Wake and hold on for the four-point win.
Hamby only had ten points in the second half finishing with 29, but she still led all players. Wake’s Chelsea Douglas also tallied 20 points in her final contest as a Deac.
Diamond Deshields led the Heels with 17 points She also pulled down eight rebounds. No other Tar Heels hit double-figure scoring.
Each team turned the ball over more times than the number of field goals it hit. Carolina turned the ball over 22 times; Wake Forest had 26 TOs.
With the win, the Tar Heels improved to 23-8; the Demon Deacons finished their season 15-16.
Carolina faces No. 3 seed Maryland in the quarterfinals Friday with a scheduled tip time of 8:00 p.m. Maryland got first- and second-round byes with its 24-5, 12-4 regular season finish. The Tar Heels lost to the Terrapins 79-70 in Chapel Hill on January 9.http://chapelboro.com/sports/unc-sports/unc-womens-basketball-survives-advances-def-wfu-69-65/
The No. 14 Carolina men’s basketball team takes on No. 4 Duke Saturday night at Cameron Indoor Stadium. The Tar Heels defended their home court against the Blue Devils earlier this season, but a season sweep would be even sweeter.
***Listen to the story***
Carolina point guard Marcus Paige speaks on the need for the Tar Heels to regain Coach Williams’ famous “sense of urgency” as the Duke game and postseason play draws near.
“It meant more to them [Notre Dame] for the majority of the game. That can’t happen, especially because we’re a team close to the top of the ACC fighting for a third seed and a high seed in the Tournament. We can’t have that kind of effort,” Paige says.
Paige says Carolina’s level of play has dropped off a bit in the last couple games despite the victories. He says if the Tar Heels want to accomplish their big goals, they need to ratchet back up the intensity.
“That’s three or four in a row against teams we are capable of beating by a better margin than we have. That’s no knock on them, but we’ve been playing really well lately. If we have big goals and dreams, we can’t have all these sluggish games,” Paige says.
Despite Duke’s shocking loss to lowly WakeForest in Joel Coliseum Wednesday night, Carolina can expect the Blue Devils’ best to come out at Cameron Indoor Saturday night in primetime. After all, Duke is a perfect 16-0 at home this season.
With that being said, junior James Michael McAdoo says he doesn’t feel like he needs to go out there and “be Superman”. He says Carolina’s 12-game winning streak has given all the Tar Heels more confidence, loosening his scoring burden.
“I feel like all these last games have been important to us, especially starting the way we did in conference play. We realize the importance every time we step out there […I think the biggest thing for me personally is going out there, playing in my game and not trying to be Superman,” McAdoo says.
Senior Leslie McDonald says this lull in game activity after the Notre Dame win Monday comes at just the right time for the Tar Heels. He says it helps some banged up players recover and be primed for the Duke showdown.
“We’re going to be able to rest our bodies a little bit, go back to practice, evaluate ourselves and have hard practices to prepare us for Duke. I think it’s a wonderful time,” McDonald says.
With a win on Saturday, Carolina would claim not only a season sweep of their bitter rivals, but also claim a top three seeding in the ACC Tournament next week.http://chapelboro.com/sports/unc-sports/carolinas-paige-mcadoo-paige-reloading-duke-finale-postseson/
Carolina football is back in action. The team is busy with their preparations for the 2014 season with high expectations surrounding them.
Head Coach Larry Fedora says it feels great to get back to the grind of the football field accompanied by old and new faces.
“It’s fun to be back out there on the football field doing something football-related. It was a lot of fun. I think it was fun for all the players and all the old and new coaches, everybody together,” Coach Fedora says.
And how are those fresh faces handling it? Coach Fedora says the new coaches, like offensive coordinator Seth Littrell, are still learning some things on the fly.
“I think the transition has gone really well. I think the guys have done a nice job. They understand what’s going on. Two of them today were a little wide-eyed, moving and getting from drill to drill. But their players know what’s going on,” Coach Fedora says.
There were some positives to senior signal caller Bryn Renner going down with an injury last season. Coach Fedora says the extra in-game snaps for Marquise Williams were beneficial heading into 2014 spring ball.
“Marquise got a lot of reps. He started some games. He’s got some live action under his belt, which made him a lot more comfortable today. You could see that when you’re looking at all the quarterbacks as they’re competing. He’s just a lot more comfortable than the other two,” Coach Fedora says.
Williams says he is taking on even more of a leadership role now. He says he’s trying to build his teammates’ belief in him and encouraging them to strive to be the best they can be each and every practice.
“To be a leader – that’s the main key. Don’t sit in the back. I’m taking the keys to the Porsche this time. It’s about business and making these guys believe in me. That’s one thing I do – keep pushing these guys to be great. I preach every day to be great,” Williams says.
The annual Blue & White Spring Game is scheduled for April 12 at Kenan Stadium.http://chapelboro.com/sports/unc-sports/spring-ball-coach-fedora-managing-transition-qb-williams-embracing-leadership-role/