3 UNC Tar Heels On Thin Ice Ahead of NCAA Tournament

The Tar Heels might be in trouble if these players don't step up
Cormac Ryan is 3-of-16 from the field in his last two games
Cormac Ryan is 3-of-16 from the field in his last two games / Amber Searls-USA TODAY Sports
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2. Elliot Cadeau

The freshman spark plug is an underrated crucial player for the Tar Heels in the NCAA Tournament. He was fantastic in the opening round of the ACC Tournament and likely North Carolina's best player in the first half though fell back to earth against NC State with just four points and four turnovers.

He still made an impact with eight assists, though shooting 2-of-8 from the field won't cut it against great teams in March Madness. Cadeau has at least one steal in seven straight games (12 total) and his defensive chops are a big reason why the Tar Heels rank 16th in opponent effective field goal percentage (46.4%).

This will be Cadeau's first time playing in the NCAA Tournament and he'll need to maintain a steady head to avoid being a negative offensively. While North Carolina's defense excels with him on the floor, their offense ranks 142nd in effective field goal percentage (51.3%).

If the Tar Heels wind up in a shootout, they'll need Cadeau to hit shots. He was 4-of-17 in his last two contests, shooting just 42.7% from the field on the season.

RJ Davis can't be the only scorer on the floor. Otherwise, defenses will clamp down on Davis and North Carolina's offense will stagnate. The path to an early exit for the Tar Heels likely revolves around defensive struggles, so Cadeau needs to shoot better and cut down his turnovers to stay on the court.