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Dec 4, 2013; East Lansing, MI, USA; North Carolina Tar Heels guard Marcus Paige (5) drives to the basket against Michigan State Spartans guard Denzel Valentine (45) and guard Travis Trice (20) during the 1st half a game at Jack Breslin Student Events Center. Mandatory Credit: Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

North Carolina v. Kentucky: Keys to victory for the Tar Heels

The No. 18 North Carolina Tar Heels welcome the No. 11 Kentucky Wildcats into Chapel Hill later this afternoon to take on each other in what has become an annual rivalry between the two schools. Kentucky has struggled with playing teams that have experience and are ranked while North Carolina seems to struggle with the smaller teams who aren’t ranked. The Tar Heels however are undefeated (2-0) against teams ranked in the AP Top 25 polls. So what will take for the Tar Heels to defeat the Wildcats later this afternoon?

Guard Julius Randle

Randle seems to be the one man show for Kentucky this year by coming through at critical times for Kentucky. The Tar Heel big men must guard him and keep him away from the post. It’s also important for the Tar Heels not to foul Randle and send him to the line because he’s shooting .736% from the free throw line this season. Averaging 17.8 points per game and 12 rebounds per game, guarding Randle is a very crucial part of today’s game plan.

Rebounds

Kentucky ranks 7th in the country in rebounds per game averaging 44.3 rebounds per game while the Tar Heels average 41.5. The Wildcat big men of Randle and Willie Cauley-Stein are big contributors to to the Wildcats in the post. Not only does North Carolina need to be prepared for them, but they need to out rebound the Wildcats.

Transition Offense

North Carolina has been known for their talent in transition offense, but today it’s very crucial they make no mistakes. The Tar Heels need to grab the rebound and be ready to send the ball right back to the other side of the court before Kentucky can get there to guard. Maybe this is the chance Kennedy Meeks needs to continue showing Coach Roy Williams why he deserves to start. Meeks has a strong arm and has sent the ball across the court before for an easy basket.

Tags: Basketball Julius Randle North Carolina Tar Heels

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