UNC Basketball prepares for quick turnaround following road win at Virginia

Following an important road victory in Charlottesville, the UNC Basketball program will return home just over 48 hours later in a rematch from 16 days ago.
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Sometimes, you look at the scheduling across college basketball right now and laugh.

The UNC Basketball program didn't match up with Miami for almost 15 months - from December 2022 until February 2024. And now, here we are with the Tar Heels and Hurricanes facing off for the second time in the past 16 days.

834. Monday, Feb 26. 21-6. 441. . 15-13. ESPN. UNC BB vs Miami. 7:00 PM

North Carolina will conclude their final two-day turnaround of the 2023-2024 regular season when the Hurricanes come to town on Monday night. The first time the Tar Heels had this scheduling occurrence was in mid-January when they traveled to Boston College on Saturday afternoon and returned home on Monday night to play Wake Forest.

Following a grind-it-out road victory at Virginia, North Carolina will look to build off that as they enter the final four-game stretch of the ACC Regular season, holding a one-game lead on first place. The Hurricanes will be looking to stop their six-game losing streak, the most recent loss coming on Saturday versus Georgia Tech.

Key to Victory for North Carolina

The UNC Basketball team beat Miami 75-72 in the first matchup. Despite the Tar Heels attempting 11 more free throws and making 5 more three-pointers than Miami, it was still a game that went down to the final buzzer.

One key area that North Carolina got beat in that needs to improve in the rematch is points in the paint. The Hurricanes won that battle 38-24. The Tar Heels led 68-56 with 7:33 remaining in the game and then were outscored 16-7 throughout the remainder of the game, holding on for the three-point victory.

Not only do the Tar Heels need to win the battle in the paint, they need to be able to build a lead and put the Hurricanes away when they do so, not allowing them to claw back into the game. Several times against Virginia, North Carolina built a double-digit lead to see the Cavaliers claw back into the game. Putting teams away is crucial, especially as we inch closer to March.

One last aspect that will be key in this game will be limiting turnovers. One large reason the Hurricanes were able to claw their way back in the first matchup was North Carolina turnovers. The Tar Heels had 16 turnovers, leading to 22 Miami points. Taking care of the basketball and keeping the Hurricanes from getting easy baskets in the paint will go a long way on Monday night.

Something to Watch For

The injury status of Miami guard Nigel Pack. In the first matchup between these two, Pack was one of two Hurricanes with 20 points on 8-17 shooting. However, the guard suffered a lower-body injury versus Boston College and has since missed the last two games. Will he be able to play Monday night against the Tar Heels?

If Pack is available, then he will be one player to watch. However, the good news for the Tar Heels is that lockdown defender Seth Trimble didn't play in the first matchup and is healthy again. Could he be the answer to slowing down Pack?

Norchad Omier was the other Miami player with 20 points. He has been limited to 9 and 7 points in the last two games, respectively. Against Georgia Tech, he took just six shots in 29 minutes. Armando Bacot and the UNC Basketball big men need to implement that blueprint Monday night.

Last Meeting

The two programs met on Saturday, February 10th, in Coral Gables, with the Tar Heels coming out victorious 75-72. Four Tar Heels scored in double-figures, led by ACC Player of the Year frontrunner RJ Davis, who had 25 points. Armando Bacot provided another double-double with 10 points and 15 rebounds, while freshman point guard Elliot Cadeau had a career-high with 19 points.

Miami had three players provide 53 of their 72 points: Nigel Pack and Norchad Omier with 20 each, while Wooga Poplar added 13. The Tar Heels outrebounded the Hurricanes 43-38 and made 11 of 31 three-point attempts.

The rematch in Chapel Hill will be the first time the two programs have met twice in one season since the 2018-2019 season when the Tar Heels won both games that season against the Hurricanes.

Projected Starters

No. 2 Elliot Cadeau (Fr. 6-1, 180) 7.7 ppg, 1.9 rpg, 4.0 apg
No. 3 Cormac Ryan (Sr. 6-5, 195) 11.1 ppg, 2.9 rpg, 1.4 apg
No. 4 R.J. Davis (Sr. 6-0, 180) 21.0 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 3.5 apg
No. 5 Armando Bacot (Gr. 6-11, 240) 14.4 ppg, 10.4 rpg, 1.6 apg
No. 55 Harrison Ingram (Jr. 6-7, 235) 12.3 ppg, 9.1 rpg, 2.2 apg