Bad news out of Chapel Hill: North Carolina starting shooting guard, back-up point guard, and designated defensive stopper Dexter Strickland tore his ACL in last night’s game against Virginia Tech. Things looked pretty bad when Strickland landed funny and fell to the ground, grabbing his knee and yelling in pain. Confirmation came late today that he had torn the ligament and will be out for the season.
Fortunately for Roy Williams, the Tar Heels are stocked with skilled shooting guards and Reggie Bullock and P.J. Hairston are more than capable of effectively filling Strickland’s shoes. The trickier questions are how badly the Tar Heels will miss Strickland on defense and who will spell Marshall as back-up lead guard? In terms of defense, the Tar Heels might actually be pleasantly surprised: Bullock, as well as being offensively capable, has been a skilled and stalwart defender. The defensive box scores compiled by Adrian Atkinson at Tobacco Road Blues demonstrate that Bullock has been really great on that end. This development, coupled with what appears to be genuinely improved defense by Marshall bodes well for North Carolina’s perimeter protection.