It was a bit of an up-and-down week in Las Vegas for the Tar Heels. First, they lost to an unranked Texas team last Thursday in the third straight matchup between the two decided by a single possession, only to follow that up with a rather decisive sixteen-point win over then-seventeenth-ranked UCLA.

Over the course of those two games, Carolina appeared to play a different brand of basketball in each of the four halves, playing to the strengths of whoever was on the floor. The question is whether such a fluid identity will work as the season progresses.

So now that Carolina has moved past the “beat the snot out of the little guy” slate of their November schedule into the “holy shit, three of our next four games are against first-ranked Gonzaga, seventh-ranked Michigan, and tenth-ranked Kentucky,” we can start to put together the pieces of who exactly this Carolina team is.

Or can we?

Are they the guard-heavy, run-and-gun perimeter team that suits shooters like Kenny Williams, Coby White, and Cam Johnson? Or will the become a team more focused on the muscle and size of their front court, like Luke Maye, Sterling Manley, and Garrison Brooks?

Perhaps they’ll evolve to be something of both. That tweener who can pound like a forward and handle like a guard. In other words, Nassir Little.

Despite the impending murderer’s row on the schedule, which starts Wednesday night at Michigan, Carolina still has some time to settle into their identity. Hell, the minutes alone tell us that Roy is still tinkering with lineups, seeing what works and what doesn’t. No one wants to kick off ACC play with four losses, which is a very real possibility given the talent Carolina is about to face, but better these adjustments are made in November than in March.

And though the Heels currently lack a coherent and obvious identity, all of the major players are contributing. Against UCLA, White, Maye, Williams, Johnson, and Little (who once again provided us with a highlight-worthy dunk) scored in double figures, while the team only committed six turnovers and snatched thirty-seven rebounds.

They have talent in droves. Whether Carolina can find the right formula, the right combination of attributes, to claw its way back into the top ten is the question on the horizon. Also on that horizon?

The best, seventh- and tenth-ranked teams in the country.