The Tar Heels return to action tonight back in the Smith Center, as they host Boston College. Over the weekend, Carolina secured their first road win of the season, as they took down Louisville 80-59, behind another double-double from Armando Bacot, and a career performance from D’Marco Dunn. Tonight’s game comes before Saturday’s rivalry game against NC State, in a game that will have as much juice in recent memory, but Carolina can’t afford to look ahead, or they’ll suffer a loss they can’t afford to have.
Boston College brings with them an 8-10 record, but they are 2-5 in league play, so they are better on paper than the Louisville team that UNC routed over the weekend. Just a few weeks ago, BC took Duke down to the wire, but that was in Conte Forum, the same place they’ve lost to Maine, New Hampshire, and Tarleton too. They have three players that are currently averaging double figures scoring, led by Makai Ashton-Langford and his 12.2 points per game. The other players on the roster that are currently averaging double figures are Quitnen Post (10.8) and Jaeden Zackery (10.5). As a team, they only average 65.0 points per game, which is 332nd in the country. They make on average 4.8 three-pointers per game (354th), and they shoot 28% from behind the arc (356th).
Saturday was the first time this season that Carolina was able to impose its will against an inferior opponent. They won the game as much on the defensive end, as they did on the offensive end. The challenge is for that effort to carry over into tonight’s game and start making the claim that you belong atop the ACC’s standings.
It’s unknown if Pete Nance will be available to play tonight, but if not, Hubert Davis should feel comfortable knowing he has a couple of different lineups he can run out there tonight. On Saturday he started a long lineup of Love, Davis, Black, Johnson, and Bacot. Given tonight’s opponent, Carolina should have little trouble taking down an overmatched Boston College squad, and here’s how they can do just that:
Force Perimeter Shots: It’s not every game that you want to see Carolina force the opponent to take perimeter shots, but given the Eagles struggles shooting from the outside, it would be wise to force them to settle for outside shots. The best way to do that is to take away the driving lanes, something Carolina struggled to do on Saturday, as Louisville scored 38 points in the paint. Of course, even though you want them to shoot perimeter shots, Carolina will still need to close out on their shooters, to impact their ability to make shots.
Play Inside-Out: There aren’t many teams that don’t have a player that can’t at least match up with Armando Bacot, but Boston College just happens to be a team that doesn’t have an answer for Carolina’s big man. Quinten Post might be 7-0 tall, and average over 10 points per game, but he isn’t as explosive as Bacot, or as nimble on his feet, which means Carolina needs to play through him, as Bacot seeks to tie the school record for double-doubles in a Tar Heel uniform. This mindset all starts with the guards, who have to make sure to get Bacot involved early and often, and also attack the rim, as opposed to settling for outside shots. If they do that, it’ll be hard to see Boston College being able to keep up with them.
Put Them Away Early: Like the first key, there aren’t many games in the ACC where you should see the game over by the half, but this is a game that if Carolina is the team we think they are, this should be over by the intermission. Boston College has yet to win a game away from home this season, with their closest road defeat coming by 14 points at Syracuse. Also, Carolina welcomes in a very good NC State team on Saturday, in what might be a game in which Hubert Davis has to play his starters extended minutes, so it would behoove that they put this game away early, and continue to develop the depth off the bench.
Series History: Carolina is 20-6 all-time against Boston College, and they are 18-5 since they joined the ACC. In Chapel Hill, they are 7-3, with the last loss coming back in the disastrous 2019-20 season. Carolina swept both games last season.
North Carolina - 23rd overall. Adjusted Offensive Efficiency: 115.4 (18th) Adjusted Defensive Efficiency: 97.2 (58th)
Boston College - 201st overall. Adjusted Offensive Efficiency: 98.9 (280th) Adjusted Defensive Efficiency: 101.1 (110th)
North Carolina - 33rd.
Boston College - 226th.
TV Info: Tonight’s game will tip at 7 PM on ACC Network Extra, for those local, it will be televised on Bally Sports South.
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