North Carolina Basketball: UNC’s 5 Most Important Games Left

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Feb 20, 2014; Chapel Hill, NC, USA; North Carolina Tar Heels head coach Roy Williams reacts in the first half at Dean E. Smith Center. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Feb. 14 at Pittsburgh (15-8, 4-5 ACC)

These days Pittsburgh probably isn’t on the NCAA Tournament bubble, and when the Tar Heels meet up with the Panthers they will do so against a Pitt squad searching for a resume-building win that could at least give it bubble status.

The Panthers currently sit tied for ninth in the ACC standings, but they have proved to be a formidable foe at the Peterson Events Center. Pitt sports a 10-2 home mark highlighted by a victory over 10th-ranked Notre Dame last weekend, but an offense that ranks 11th in the conference in scoring (67.7 points a game) could play into the hands of a North Carolina defense that ranks 15th nationally in field goal percentage defense with opponents shooting just 37.9 percent.

Also providing the Tar Heels an edge might be a struggling Panthers perimeter defense. Overshadowed by North Carolina’s perplexing second-half performances its last two outings is an offense that has started to find some rhythm from long distance.

North Carolina is shooting a shade under 40 percent from 3-point range over its last five games and will look to take advantage of a Pitt defense that is tied for 200th nationally allowing opponents to connect on 34.4 percent of their tries beyond the arc.