UNC Basketball ready for rematch with Pittsburgh in ACC Tournament Semifinals

Hubert Davis and the UNC basketball program will take on Pittsburgh in the semifinal round of the ACC Tournament on Friday night.
Mar 14, 2024; Washington, D.C., USA; North Carolina guard Seth Trimble (7) shoots the ball as
Mar 14, 2024; Washington, D.C., USA; North Carolina guard Seth Trimble (7) shoots the ball as / Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

After a dominant victory over Florida State in the ACC Tournament quarterfinal round, the UNC basketball program will take on Pittsburgh on Friday night in the semifinals.

ESPN. UNCPITT. 7:00 PM EST. 866. Friday, March 15, 2024. 26-6. 441. . 22-10

Pittsburgh, the No. 4 seed in the 2024 ACC Tournament, is coming off a win over No. 5 seeded Wake Forest. The Panthers were able to hold off the Demon Deacons, who made a late second half push, to advance to the semifinals.

It's been a while since these two have matched up, January 2 to be exact, and it's safe to say that these squads have developed into two completely different teams since that meeting.

Let's remember: Pittsburgh started conference play with a 1-5 record. Jeff Capel and his crew deserve a lot of credit for turning things around to finish fourth in the conference standings.

The stakes will be high on Friday night, as both have plenty to prove as they aim to earn a spot in the ACC Tournament finals on Saturday night. North Carolina looks to prove that they deserve a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament, while Pittsburgh, who is considered to be one of the bubble teams at this point, look to add a Quad 1 victory to boost its resume.

Key to Victory for North Carolina

This might be repetitive, but it remains true. Control the pace of the game.

Pittsburgh has been relying on essentially a seven man rotation, as it is crucially important for North Carolina to get out and running early and often.

The UNC basketball program didn't have to overwork its starters on Thursday. Pittsburgh did.

Blake Hinson and Jaland Lowe played 39 minutes each. Carlton Carrington was on the floor for 35 minutes, while Ishmael Leggett played 35 minutes off the bench.

In this type of tournament format, that's not exactly the easiest thing to do.

If North Carolina can get out and run, along with getting the Panthers in foul trouble, the Tar Heels will have a huge advantage in this one.

Something to Watch For

In the first meeting, Blake Hinson was held to just 11 points on 4-16 shooting, including 2-11 from beyond-the-arc.

Hinson's matchup with Harrison Ingram will be one to watch, as the Tar Heels definitely want to keep Hinson from getting hot.

North Carolina will probably throw different looks at Hinson, including some matchups with Jae'Lyn Withers and potentially Cormac Ryan, but the focus should be on the Panthers' senior forward, as he's been the go-to-guy for Pittsburgh all season long.

Last Meeting

To kick off the 2024 calendar year, the UNC basketball program defeated Pittsburgh by a score of 70-57.

The Tar Heels had four players in double-figures, including Armando Bacot, who recorded his 2,000th career point with his 16-point, 10-rebound performance. North Carolina put together a strong defensive effort, as Pittsburgh shot just 30.9% from the floor, including 17.2% from three-point range.

Projected Starters

No. 2 Elliot Cadeau (Fr. 6-1, 180) 7.7 ppg, 2.0 rpg, 4.1 apg
No. 3 Cormac Ryan (Sr. 6-5, 195) 10.8 ppg, 2.9 rpg, 1.3 apg
No. 4 R.J. Davis (Sr. 6-0, 180) 21.5 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 3.5 apg
No. 5 Armando Bacot (Gr. 6-11, 240) 14.0 ppg, 10.2 rpg, 1.5 apg
No. 55 Harrison Ingram (Jr. 6-7, 235) 12.5 ppg, 9.2 rpg, 2.2 apg

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