North Carolina is set to take on Syracuse in their first ACC match up between the two schools and for North Carolina…the odds are against them. Syracuse is ranked 2nd, they’re undefeated, and they’re playing at home in the Carrier Dome.
North Carolina is entering this match-up with a lot of pressure on them after starting conference play 0-2 – dropping games to two of the ACC’s worst: Miami and Wake Forest.
The one good thing for the Tar Heels heading into this game is they are undefeated against ranked top-25 teams this season. They defeated No. 1 Michigan State on the road, No. 3 Louisville at a neutral location, and No. 11 Kentucky at home. They have the best non-conference wins of any team in the country this season. Unfortunately that is overlooked by the worst losses of any team in the country.
Despite being out rebounded often, the Tar Heels do find themselves ranked 11th in the country in rebounds per game with 42.1. Another good note is, North Carolina out ranks the Orange in points per game, rebounds per game, and assists per game. However, Syracuse has the edge in field goal percentage.
The Tar Heels must play physical, which is something they’ve not done often this season. Just playing a little bit more physical then they have in their past two games will go a long way for this team. They need to penetrate the ball in the post and get the layup. Settling for deep jumpers and three points and being out rebounded has hurt the Tar Heels, especially against Miami.
Syracuse has been dominate this season and had a real scare from the Miami Hurricanes who they edged in a 49-44 victory in the Carrier Dome.
Syracuse plays a mean and tough zone defense which has given North Carolina fits all season long.
Syracuse has defeated No. 18 Baylor and No. 8 Villanova earlier in the season. They’re currently the first place team in the ACC and are playing some of the best basketball in the country. North Carolina has a lot of preparations to make, but if this season says anything about this team. They have a pretty good chance of upsetting Syracuse handing them their first loss on the season, or this could be one ugly blow out in favor of Syracuse!