UNC vs Western Carolina: Preview, broadcast information and prediction


The North Carolina Tar Heels will welcome the Western Carolina Catamounts to the Dean E. Smith Center on Wednesday.

The University of North Carolina Tar Heels are coming off of their best week of the season so far.

They won all three games they played by double digits, including a twenty-four point beat down of Tulane on Sunday.

But now, they turn their attention to Western Carolina, who they will welcome to the Dean Dome on Wednesday.

The Catamounts have struggled mightily this season but Wednesday will give them a chance to upset a top program. But easier said than done.

Western Carolina comes into this game with a 3-6 record, and three losses of 25 points or more.

However, only two of their wins were against division one opponents. They beat Alabama A&M, and most recently beat Appalachian State on Monday night.

Western Carolina’s losses have not been pretty either. They lost to Clemson and Minnesota by 28, Cincinnati by 51, and UT Arlington by 24. No offense to Western Carolina, but the Tar Heels should be able to impose their will in this game.

But that does not mean that North Carolina cannot make this a meaningful game.

The Tar Heels could use this as a tune-up for a big game they have coming up at Tennessee. This could also be a big game for the Tar Heel freshman to continue to get their feet wet. Conference play is just around the corner, and all the minutes are valuable in getting ready for that.

This game will conclude a four-game in a seven day stretch for the Tar Heels. After this, they will get some well-deserved rest before facing off against Tennessee on December 17th.

Let’s learn a little bit more about the Western Carolina Catamounts.

One Western Carolina player to watch…

Matt Halvorsen is the only player for Western Carolina that is averaging double figures. Halvorsen, a 6-foot-1 guard, is a pretty good three-point shooter.

He is shooting 42% on the season to date.

His ability to knock down the deep ball on Wednesday night will be crucial for Western Carolina’s hopes of an upset.

Halvorsen is the starting shooting guard for Western Carolina, so Kenny Williams will draw the assignment on him. Williams first task will be running Halvorsen off of the three-point line.

Halvorsen is mainly a three-point shooter. He has attempted only thirteen two-pointers, and 53 threes. So running him off of the three-point line should pretty much render him useless.

Holding Halvorsen in single-digits should be a victory for the Tar Heels.

One UNC player to watch…

Luke Maye has been a pleasant surprise for even the biggest Luke Maye fans in the world. A lot of Tar Heel fans believed he would be good, but nobody saw this coming.

He will be very crucial for the Tar Heels in this game against Western Carolina. In games against lesser opponents, it can be easy to just start launching threes from the start.

But the Tar Heels need to establish an early post presence, in hopes of putting Western Carolina away early.

The longer you let your opponents stay around, the tougher it can get. The Tar Heels did a great job of dominating early on Sunday against Tulane, but they need to make sure they do that again on Wednesday.

Look for Maye to take advantage of the size advantage he will have over the Catamounts. Maye will be bigger than every Western Carolina player in the starting lineup, which means we could see a lot of isolations in the post early on.

If the Tar Heels can establish the post presence early, there is no reason the Heels should lose this game.

Difference maker…

The difference maker for the Tar Heels will be taking advantage of the mismatches in the paint.

Garrison Brooks and Luke Maye will have a massive advantage in the paint to begin with, so look for the Heels to take advantage of that early.

As the game wears on, North Carolina will be able to roll out several big bodies. The Catamounts do not have the depth to hang with the Tar Heels.

From the very start, the Tar Heels need to make it priority one to attack in the paint. The more that the Tar Heels attack in the paint, the more opportunities it will give for open outside shots.

The Tar Heel big men have had no issues against teams they have had size advantages on.

Michigan State was the only team to give them issues, but the Spartans have given several other teams issues as well.

The Tar Heels will beat the Catamounts if they can dominate them in the paint. Dominating in the paint will lead to the Tar Heels having more open shots, which will mean another North Carolina victory.

Related Story: Luke Maye earns ACC honors

What you need to know

WHAT? Western Carolina 3-6 (0-0 Southern) at North Carolina Tar Heels 8-1 (0-0 ACC)
WHEN? Wednesday, December 6, 2017 at 7:00 p.m. ET
WHERE? Dean E. Smith Center in Chapel Hill, North Carolina
RADIO? Tar Heel Sports Network
SERIES HISTORY: First ever matchup between the two teams.
PREDICTION? UNC 97, Western Carolina 69