It wounds Roy Williams that North Carolina has lost five of its seven men's basketball games in 2010 and started 2-4 in the ACC.
Almost as bad as the losing is how the Tar Heels have arrived at their 13-8 record heading into tonight's game at Virginia Tech. In three of their ACC losses, the Heels have scored in the 60s, 20 points below their season average and about 40 points south of where Williams would prefer the tempo to be played.
"I do love to run the ball," Williams said. "One of the reasons I want to play so fast is because in coaching you have all these negative thoughts."
In 21 games, UNC has scored in the 60s four times, that's twice as many as last year's national title team posted in 38 games and the same number as the 2007-08 Final Four team.
The Heels still rank second in the ACC in scoring, at 80.9 points per game, and among the national leaders in tempo, according to statistics compiled by Ken Pomeroy, but those numbers have been padded with nonconference outbursts against Presbyterian (103 points), Marshall (98) and N.C. Central (89).
In the ACC, points have been tougher to come by, with the Heels scoring 64 in a loss to Clemson, 69 vs. Wake Forest and 60 in Sunday's home loss to Virginia.
"We're not getting as many easy ones," Williams said, referring to points in transition.
Williams said UNC had three transition opportunities against Virginia which came up empty, despite out-numbering UVa's defense.
For every 20 minutes like UNC had in the second half against N.C. State on Jan. 26, where everything was clicking and the Heels were creating offense with their defense, Carolina has struggled through segments of over-thinking and a lack of execution.
"I think guys are focusing too much on running the offense and trying to do everything so perfectly," sophomore guard Larry Drew II said. "You can't go out there thinking the game. You've just got to let it come more naturally."
Carolina's scoring average is only off by nine points from last season but the balance is gone. Forwards Ed Davis (14.0 points per game) and Deon Thompson (14.7) are the only players in double figures.
Drew II has been more aggressive in the past two games, averaging 16.5 points per game - seven above his season average - but the production on the wings has been inconsistent.
Senior Marcus Ginyard hasn't hit his scoring average (8.1 ppg) since returning from a sprained right ankle six games ago. Ginyard, scored double digits in five of the first seven games but not since.
Williams believes Ginyard, who missed the majority of the 2008-09 season with a foot injury, is still dealing with injury issues but clearly confidence is a problem.
Ginyard is shooting just 6-of-28 since returning from the injury. Williams called Ginyard a "marvelous kid" but also said he's tired of worrying about his psyche.
"It's put up or shut up kinda time," Williams said. "I get tired of worrying about somebody's psyche. I mean, my God, play the dadgum game."