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Cole Anthony is Saving the Tar Heels But Something Has to Change

CHAPEL HILL, NORTH CAROLINA - NOVEMBER 15: Cole Anthony #2 of the North Carolina Tar Heels waits to inbound the ball during the first half of their game against the Gardner-Webb Runnin Bulldogs at the Dean Smith Center on November 15, 2019 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
Gardner-Webb v North Carolina | Grant Halverson/Getty Images

North Carolina Tar Heels 5-star freshman Cole Anthony is -- through just three games -- nearly doubling the offensive output of any other starter on the UNC roster.

While a great story, and enough to keep the Heels undefeated through the easier portion of their slate (despite a heroic effort against Notre Dame), it is not sustainable. North Carolina must find scoring from elsewhere, and it's an issue Roy Williams is paid a lot of money to solve.

Carolina has yet to notch that breakout win. Even in victories over Notre Dame, UNC Wilmington and now Gardner-Webb, the Heels looked extraordinarily beatable. So much so that some notable Heels fans are feeling...less than sure about this team moving forward.

As my fellow editor notes shortly thereafter, Anthony's been a godsend for this team because without him, they look utterly unprepared for ACC play. The best. period. conference. period. in NCAA basketball awaits Anthony and this group of ragtag, unprepared amateur athletes in a mere weeks.

UNC has one more warm-up against Elon before facing Alabama, No. 16 Ohio State and No. 9 Virginia in a three-game stretch. If they continue playing at this level, they'll likely come out of that slate with a losing record, and a blemish on a resume many assumed before the season would rank near where it typically does for Roy Williams-coached team at the end of the year.

Anthony is an incredible talent, scoring 27 points-per-game. Garrison Brooks is next with 14, with Justin Pierce ranking just after him with 11.5. That's not nearly enough parity and consistency.

It's early, but the Heels issues are very clearly identified. On the plus side, that's more than most so-called contenders can say at this point in the college basketball season.