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Heel Tough Blog: ACC Tournament Second Round - Boston College Preview

Sporting News

The 2023 ACC Tournament officially got underway yesterday, as Georgia Tech, Boston College, and Virginia Tech all advanced to the second round, which starts today at high noon. Boston College took down Louisville, as Early Grant improved to 3-1 in the ACC Tournament, as the Eagles head coach. His reward? Advancing to take on a UNC team that is going to be playing for their NCAA Tournament lives, needing to at least make the final, to hear their names called on Selection Sunday.

The last time we saw the Tar Heels, they lost at home to Duke, 62-57, as they failed to earn a much-needed Quad 1 win if they hope to make the NCAA Tournament. With that defeat, their attention now turns to the ACC Tournament, needing a deep run if they want to solidify themselves as a tournament team Last year, Carolina went one-and-done in Brooklyn, and they will seek a much longer stay this time around in Greensboro.

The job Earl Grant has done in Chestnut Hill can’t be understated, as he’s made an underfunded, and overmatched program, competitive in the league. Evidence of that is they have three wins against ranked opponents this season and have already won a game in this year’s ACC Tournament. They are going to be without their leading scorer Quinten Post, who earned the honor of the ACC’s Most Improved Player. Without him, the burden falls on Makai Ashton-Langford and his 12.1 points per game. The only other BC player to average double figures is Jaeden Zackery, at 10.5 points per contest.

These two teams met back in January, as Carolina walked away with an ugly 72-64 win, as they only shot 43% in the game. They were able to win the game, in large part because they knocked down 10 three-pointers, and won the rebounding margin, by double digits. Post, who was available in that game, did score 17 points and grabbed 5 rebounds, but only played 20 minutes before fouling out. Without Post, the Eagles frontcourt is a shell of itself, something UNC needs to exploit early, and often.

Even though Hubert Davis didn’t want to admit it after the second loss to Duke, Carolina’s postseason hopes hang in the balance this week, needing a strong showing in Greensboro to convince the NCAA Tournament committee, they are worthy of being selected to compete in this year’s Big Dance. Still, Carolina will need to approach this one game at a time, starting against a scrappy, and confident BC squad:

  1. Fast Start: One of the benefits of Carolina playing so close to home is that there are going to be plenty of Tar Heel fans in attendance for this game, giving them a little home-court advantage. In the three games Carolina won before losing to Duke, they won because of the way they started the game, setting the tone for the remainder of the first half, and on into the second half. Carolina needs to feed off the energy that will be in the building for the night session and make it an uphill battle for Boston College right from the start. If Carolina allows BC to settle into the game, their confidence will grow, and this is a team, that has plenty of experience playing spoiler.

  2. Play Inside-Out: In the first matchup, even though Post fouled out of the game, Boston College outscored UNC in the paint. That shouldn’t happen this time around given the absence of Post, BC lacks size and depth up front. Hubert Davis has still deployed a four-around-one playing model, but in this game, it might be best for Carolina to attack the same way they did at Notre Dame, using a high-low game with Pete Nance, and Armando Bacot. There should be no reason that Carolina shoots more perimeter shots, than shots near the rim, as not only should they feed Bacot, but Caleb Love and R.J. Davis should live at the rim, or at the foul line.

  3. Manage Minutes: Even though Hubert Davis has to coach to win this game, he needs to be conscious of the minutes that his starters play, and try to steal as much rest time as possible. D’Marco Dunn, Dontrez Styles, Tyler Nickel, Seth Trimble, and Jalen Washington all saw action against Duke on Saturday, and that needs to continue in this game because if Carolina is going to have a long run in Greensboro, they are going to need as much production from the bench, as they’ve gotten all season long.

ACC Tournament History: Carolina boasts a 150-50 record all-time in the historic event, having won it all 18 times, with the last time coming in 2016. UNC ranks first in the ACC in championship game appearances (35), No. 1 seeds (26), top-two seeds (40), and top-three seeds (50), second in titles (18), wins (105), and winning percentage (.677). As a seven seed, UNC is 1-2, having beaten Maryland in 2002.

Greensboro History: The Tar Heels are 127-39 in Greensboro, including 119-35 in the Greensboro Coliseum. Carolina is 42-20 in Greensboro in the ACC Tournament as they’ve won the ACC Tournament titles in Greensboro, in 1967, 1972, 1975, 1977, 1979, 1982, 1997, and 1998.

Series History: Carolina is 21-6 all-time against Boston College, and they are 19-5 since they joined the league in the early 2000s. In the ACC Tournament, UNC is 2-1. With wins in 2007, and 2015.


North Carolina - 47th overall. Adjusted Offensive Efficiency: 112.1 (67th) Adjusted Defensive Efficiency: 97.7 (43rd)

Boston College - 165th overall. Adjusted Offensive Efficiency: 103.1 (233rd) Adjusted Defensive Efficiency: 102.8 (111th)


North Carolina - 49th overall.

Boston College - 162nd

TV Info: Tonight’s game will start at 7 PM on ESPN2.

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