North Carolina looking for 200th non-conference victory against Tennessee Tech
The North Carolina Tar Heels have won each of their first three games by double-digits, but are yet to face a competitor that matches up with their size, skill and athleticism. That won’t change on Friday night when they host Tennessee Tech at the Dean Smith Center, looking for the program’s 200th non-conference victory at the famous basketball venue.
North Carolina has a lot to throw at the Golden Eagles, including its talented senior trio of Luke Maye, Cameron Johnson and Kenny Williams, along with a budding sophomore class and a promising group of freshmen.
Tennessee Tech lost the majority of its scoring from last season, and is just 3-19 all-time against ACC opponents, including just 1-14 on the road. The Golden Eagles will have to play nearly perfect basketball on Friday night to have a chance at upsetting the seventh-ranked Tar Heels.
Key to the game for UNC
North Carolina is facing a clearly outmatched Tennessee Tech squad that struggles to score, and take care of the basketball. Either one of those is a bad thing when going up against an efficient, high-scoring Tar Heels squad, but both make winning nearly impossible.
The Tar Heels haven’t scored less than 78 points on the season, and they’ve reached 90 or more twice, including a 116-point drubbing against Elon in their second game of the season.
Senior guard Cameron Johnson has been spectacular to start the season, averaging better than 18 points and six rebounds per game, while preseason All-American Luke Maye is averaging 16 points, eight rebounds and three assists a contest.
All of these things are problematic for a Tennessee Tech team that has scored over 78 points just once this season, and will have obvious matchup problems against a bigger, more athletic North Carolina squad.
Key to the game for Tennessee Tech
Tennessee Tech has lost its first three games of the 2018-19 season, and to much lesser opponents than the one they’ll face on Friday night. The Tar Heels pose a real threat to a Golden Eagles squad that has lost by double-digits to Memphis, Presbyterian and Savannah State over the first two weeks of the season.
Tennessee Tech lost its top five scorers from a year ago, and is struggling to score the basketball early on in the season. The Golden Eagles are shooting just over 41 percent from the floor on the season, and less than 30 percent from three-point range. Numbers like that will make it difficult for them to keep up with a North Carolina team that is hitting better than 50 percent of its shots, including 37.4 percent from long-range.
If the Golden Eagles are going to keep pace with the Tar Heels in the Smith Center, they’ll have to shoot the ball better than they have all season, and by a large margin. They’ll also have to take better care of the basketball than they have through their first three games (21.3 turnovers per game) to keep the Tar Heels from getting easy fast break buckets.
What you need to know:
What? Tennessee Tech (0-3) at UNC (3-0)
When? Friday, Nov. 16 – 7:00 p.m. EST
Where? Dean E Smith Center, Chapel Hill, North Carolina
TV? ACC Network, WatchESPN
Radio? Tar Heel Sports Network
All-Time series? UNC leads 1-0
Prediction? UNC 94, Tennessee Tech 62