Looking to get back on the right track, UNC Basketball heads to Miami

After losing two of their last three games, the UNC Basketball program will be looking to right the ship and get back on track Saturday versus the Miami Hurricanes.

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The UNC basketball program has lost two of its last three contests after a ten-game winning streak and beginning ACC play 9-0. Most recently, the Tar Heels came out flat versus Clemson in front of a home crowd that witnessed a victory over Duke 72 hours earlier. The Tigers jumped out to a 15-2 lead in the first four minutes of the game, and it was too big of a deficit for North Carolina to climb out of.

Back-to-back road games are on the horizon for the UNC basketball team as they look to right the ship and return to their winning ways, first up at Miami on Saturday afternoon.

4:00 PM. ESPN. 15-8. 834. Saturday, Feb 10th. UNC BB vs Miami. . 18-5. 441

The Hurricanes are 15-8 on the season and 6-6 in conference play, but that is no reason to overlook this squad that went to the 2023 Final Four. Miami is coming off its worst offensive performance in school history after they scored only 38 points against Virginia on Monday evening in a 60-38 loss to the red-hot Cavaliers.

Key to Victory for North Carolina

Focus on what you do well. Sometimes, worrying about the opponent is necessary for game strategy. However, in this one, given the struggles of late, it is necessary to get back to the basics and focus on UNC Basketball. Recently, defenses have defended RJ Davis at an incredibly high level, forcing the offense to run through other contributors.

That isn't a problem because the Tar Heels have other reliable options, including Harrison Ingram and Armando Bacot, both of which have been key contributors against Duke and in the loss to Clemson. It is important that North Carolina not rely to heavily on one player and instead play team basketball.

North Carolina did a great job of getting in transition in their victory over the Blue Devils, and this season, when the Tar Heels push the tempo, good things tend to happen. However, in the most recent loss against Clemson, the Tigers held the Tar Heels in check. The key versus the Hurricanes will be getting back to the roots of transition offense and lockdown defense.

Something to Watch For

Energy, effort, and the status of Seth Trimble. After the loss to Clemson, Armando Bacot and Harrison Ingram mentioned that the practice and shoot-around prior to the game were lackluster, and members of the UNC Basketball team had shown up "late" to pregame.

That combination led to a low level of energy and effort and contributed to a poor start that ultimately dug a hole too big to climb out of against the Tigers. That can't happen on the road at Miami on Saturday.

Combine those two things with the injury status of Seth Trimble, who has developed into the sixth man for this UNC Basketball squad, and it was a bad recipe on Tuesday evening. Trimble has developed into a "do-everything" type of role off the bench for this year's Tar Heels, including being one of the best on-ball defenders.

Not only does he do things well in the X's and O's department on the basketball floor, but he also brings a tremendous amount of energy and effort off the bench. In situations like Clemson, it would have been nice to have that do-it-all guy provide a spark to get the rest of the team going. If he isn't available against Miami (currently a game-time decision), it could be important to see who steps up in his place.

Last Meeting

After winning five consecutive matchups in the series, the Tar Heels have lost the last two versus the Hurricanes. The most recent matchup came a season ago in Chapel Hill with an 80-72 Hurricanes victory. Miami's Jordan Miller and Nigel Pack scored 24 and 23 points, respectively.

The Tar Heels were led by 23 points from RJ Davis and 20 from Caleb Love. North Carolina only received two points from its bench in that matchup, as those came from Puff Johnson. It was a rough shooting night for North Carolina, who shot 43.9% from the field but just 5-31 from beyond the arc, good for 16.1%.

The Hurricanes also took advantage at the charity stripe, making 22 of 26 free throw attempts while North Carolina was just 9 of 15.

The last time these two met in Coral Gables was in January of 2022; it wasn't pretty either, as the Hurricanes dominated in an 85-57 victory. That game also featured poor shooting from beyond the arc when North Carolina was 6-30, while Miami countered with a 13-28 performance.

Projected Starters

No. 2 Elliot Cadeau (Fr. 6-1, 180) 7.5 ppg, 1.8 rpg, 3.6 apg

No. 3 Cormac Ryan (Sr. 6-5, 195) 10.4 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 1.4 apg

No. 4 R.J. Davis (Sr. 6-0, 180) 21.3 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 3.5 apg

No. 5 Armando Bacot (Gr. 6-11, 240) 14.3 ppg, 10.0 rpg, 1.6 apg

No. 55 Harrison Ingram (Jr. 6-7, 235) 12.5 ppg, 8.9 rpg, 2.3 apg