North Carolina has not used small ball lineups in the past, choosing instead to rely on an inside-out philosophy led by capable forwards and centers.
Early this season, though, the Tar Heels have excelled with a lineup comprised essentially of four guards.
“I hope that we don’t have to go small by necessity like it was against Butler,” Roy Williams said, referencing the Tar Heels’ second-half comeback earlier this season against the Bulldogs, who held on to win after UNC’s small lineup cut a 29-point second-half lead to six. “But [against UAB] we went small because I thought it would help us. But we’ll play that lineup. It’s hard to guard. But we’ve got to do a better job on the defensive end, too, and protect the goal.”
The Tar Heels' four-guard lineup has at times been a liability on defense.
“I felt like we [weren’t] talking enough on the defensive end of the floor,” Reggie Bullock said of the defensive breakdowns on Sunday against UAB. “We were letting their shooters just come off and just drill us without talking, saying, ‘Switch.’ Because we were small, we could really switch with anyone.”