The Tar Heels are back in action once again today, as they will finish up their three-game homestand, with NC State. UNC won on Wednesday night, in ugly fashion over Boston College, 58-47, to improve to 14-6 on the season, and 6-3 in league play. Today will mark the halfway point of ACC play for Carolina, and they currently sit 1 game out of first place.
NC State brings with them a 10-11 record and is 3-7 in conference play. They got off to a rough start after losing Manny Bates for the season, and they’ve struggled all season long to replace him. In his absence though, Dereon Seabron has emerged, as he leads the Wolfpack in scoring, rebounds, assists, and steals. Outside of Seabron, Jericho Hellems and Terquavion Smith are the only players that average double figures scoring. 7 of their 11 losses have come by single digits, meaning they haven’t had a problem staying in games, they’ve had more of a problem finishing games the right way.
Carolina is hoping to use this homestand as a springboard for the rest of the season, and to do so they’ll need to cap it off with a clean sweep today. They won the games against Virginia Tech and Boston College with their defense, as their offense has stalled out. There are silver linings when you when games are ugly, but Carolina needs to find its confidence again, before traveling to Louisville on Tuesday, a venue that hasn’t been too kind to them, since they joined the ACC.
Feed off the Emotion: It’s going to be a special day in the Smith Center today, as Roy Williams will be honored during today’s game. Williams has been in the Dean Dome for most of the home games this season, but this will be the first time he’ll be honored since retiring. It makes sense that today is the day they honor him, as he was 33-5 against State as a head coach. Not only will Ol’ Roy be in attendance, so will members of the 1982 national championship team, as they will celebrate their 40th anniversary of Dean Smith’s first national championship, meaning Michael Jordan will be in the building as well. There’s always an extra buzz when MJ is present, which means Carolina needs to use that to their advantage. This is their first rivalry game in a packed environment, they need to use that to their advantage, and not let State settle into the game.
Finish at the Rim: Had Carolina made layups against both Virginia Tech and Boston College, perhaps those games wouldn’t have been as close. Bacot is getting good looks, he’s just not finishing. Caleb Love and R.J. Davis are getting to the rim, just not finishing. At some point missing all those easy looks will come back to cost them a game, let’s hope that isn’t today.
Contain Seabron: It’s going to be hard to limit the impact Seabron will have on today’s game, as he leads State in four major categories, but they can’t let him take over the game, which he is capable of doing. You could make the argument that if State had a better record, he’d be the clear front runner for ACC Player of the Year, that’s how good he has been, Expect Hubert Davis to throw multiple defenders his way today, with Leaky Black drawing most of the assignment.
Series History: Carolina is 161-79 all-time against the Pack and has won 33 of the last 38 matchups, and 50 of the last 62. The Tar Heels are 79-23 in Chapel Hill and 28-7 in the Smith Center.
UNC - 37th overall. Adjusted Offensive Efficiency: 112.4 (28th) Adjusted Defensive Efficiency: 97.1 (62nd)
NC State - 102nd overall. Adjusted Defensive Efficiency: 111.5 (39th) Adjusted Defensive Efficiency: 104.9 (220th)
UNC - 42nd.
NC State - 115th.
TV Info: Today’s game will start at 2 PM, on the ACC Network.
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