UNC Basketball ready for important ACC showdown

Jan 21, 2023; Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA; North Carolina Tar Heels guard Caleb Love (2) leads the fast break in the second half at Dean E. Smith Center. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 21, 2023; Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA; North Carolina Tar Heels guard Caleb Love (2) leads the fast break in the second half at Dean E. Smith Center. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports /

Hubert Davis and the UNC basketball program have an important game on Tuesday night, as they’ll travel to Syracuse for an ACC showdown.

If you’ve looked at the ACC men’s basketball standings as of late, you’d notice that Clemson and Virginia currently hold the top two spots while six teams are currently tied for third in the conference.

Two of those teams are scheduled to compete against each other on Tuesday night.

441. 9:00 PM EST. 14-6. 13-7. 445. . ESPN. Tuesday, January 24, 2023

The UNC basketball program will look to win its fourth straight game as they’ll travel to Syracuse for another ACC matchup. Needless to say, it’s an important game for both squads, as neither wants to fall behind in the league standings.

North Carolina is coming off a rather emotional victory over NC State, history was made by star big man Armando Bacot. Syracuse has won three of its last four games, most recently defeating Georgia Tech in convincing fashion on Saturday afternoon.

Related Story. Armando Bacot claims UNC basketball rebounding record. light

In case you haven’t seen the Orange play this year, the only Boeheim you’ll see on the court is Jim, the long-time head coach of the program. However, even with Jim’s two sons out of the equation, this is still a very solid Syracuse team, one that can give the Tar Heels a major challenge, especially on their home court.

Key to Victory for North Carolina

The Tar Heels currently lead the ACC in points per game, as they average just under 80 points per contest.

Syracuse is not far behind, as they are fifth in the conference at 75.6 points per game.

This has the makings of being a high-scoring contest, and the Tar Heels must stick to their strengths in order to put the ball in the basket.

Even if he’s not scoring, a possession where Armando Bacot doesn’t touch the ball in the post is essentially a wasted possession. North Carolina needs to feed the ball down low, as it will continue to create open opportunities for others.

To add to that, this offense is tough to contain when Bacot is on and RJ Davis is playing at the All-American type level we’ve seen over the last few weeks. With both players firing on all cylinders, this should help Caleb Love find some open opportunities to work with, as eventually, his shots will start to fall.

Something to Watch For

Just when we thought North Carolina would be essentially at full strength, another injury occurred…

Prior to Saturday afternoon’s game, it was announced that Puff Johnson would be sidelined. There haven’t been many updates regarding the junior forward, but it was concerning to see him not suited up, especially with his past injury history.

Will we finally see the Tar Heels’ full rotation together at once, or will Johnson (or someone else, who knows at this point!) be forced to miss Tuesday night’s game?

Last Meeting

Toward the end of the 2021-2022 regular season, these two programs squared off in an overtime thriller at the Dean Smith Center. On its ‘Senior Night,’ the Tar Heels rode a 15-6 run in overtime to secure a 88-79 victory over the Orange.

Four players for North Carolina combined for 77 of its 88 total points. Brady Manek led the way with 22, while Caleb Love contributed 21 points of his own. Both Armando Bacot (who also had 18 rebounds) and RJ Davis finished with 17 points apiece.

Projected Starters

No. 4 R.J. Davis (Jr., 6-0, 175) – 16.8 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 3.2 apg
No. 2 Caleb Love (Jr., 6-4, 200) – 16.3 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 3.0 apg
No. 1 Leaky Black (Gr., 6-9 205) – 7.2 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 1.5 apg
No. 32 Pete Nance (Gr. 6-11, 230) – 10.3 ppg, 6.1 rpg, 1.6 apg
No. 5 Armando Bacot (Sr., 6-11, 235) – 17.8 ppg, 11.6 rpg, 1.1 bpg