2) Hubert Davis' rotation is beginning to take shape
Carolina began the season by spreading its minutes out amongst its deep roster of reserves. As the season has gone on, though, Hubert Davis has concentrated his minutes more heavily toward the starting five.
This UNC team is deeper than in recent years, and it was great to see Davis experiment with different lineups against the Sooners. Seth Trimble is one player that fans have been banging the drum for all year. He's Carolina's best on-the-ball defender, and his offensive game has taken a step forward from last year.
Davis rewarded Trimble with 22 minutes in this game, and the sophomore guard rewarded his coach by being a huge positive. His defense helped force Oklahoma into 18 turnovers, and he knocked down a big corner three. Trimble is the thunder to Elliot Cadeau's lightning (RJ Davis is a Category 5 hurricane in this analogy), and depending on the matchup, Coach Davis can mix and match his backcourt to meet any demand.
Trimble wasn't the only reserve that made an impact. It was hugely encouraging to see freshman Zayden High get so much court time, and the springy freshman's 12 minutes against Oklahoma were more than he's gotten in the past month. He didn't score, but his energy and hustle stood out even in an up-tempo game. I think we're about to see more of the young big man, and I'm here for it.
On the other end of the spectrum is Jae'Lyn Withers, who may have played himself out of the rotation entirely. The Louisville transfer celebrated his 23rd birthday on Wednesday, but in just four minutes on the court, he displayed a lack of court awareness that is alarming for a player his age. He picked up three fouls in that short time, two of which came on three-point shooters. One of those is tough to forgive, two is a death sentence to your playing time. At a time when Oklahoma was struggling to make shots, Withers' defensive blunders kept them in the game.