Barnes, UNC Starting to Heat Up

by February 02, 2011

by David Cassilo / @dcassilo

Unlike last season, North Carolina appears as though it is going to be able to survive its early struggles. With Tuesday night’s 106-74 win over Boston College, the Tar Heels have now won nine of their last 10 games and are tied for first in the ACC with a 6-1 conference record.

Coming to life during that resurgence has been freshman Harrison Barnes. The preseason All-American struggled mightily out of the gates, but he has finally started to get into a groove. Barnes has scored at least 25 points in his last two games after not scoring more than 19 in any other game this season.

After all the early bust talk for him and his team, Barnes is quietly navigating the Tar Heels through conference play.

From The News and Observer:

“Coming into the season, after the Puerto Rico tournament, I thought there were a lot of question marks just about our team, and how well we were going to do in the ACC,’’ said Barnes, who also had six rebounds and an assist. “I think we quieted all of that extra talk, we went out there, we played basketball – it hasn’t always been pretty, but we grinded it out.”

North Carolina was quickly labeled a disappointment earlier the season, but a quick look at their losses suggest their record is nothing to be ashamed of. Of the Tar Heels five losses (Minnesota, Vanderbilt, Illinois, Texas and Georgia Tech) only the 20-point loss to the Yellow Jackets is a real head-scratcher. With the team’s next three games against Florida State, Duke and Clemson, the Tar Heels will have a chance to show whether its non-conference issues are really behind them.