UNC Basketball Ready To Hit The Road Again For ACC Matchup with Boston College

The UNC Basketball program was able to enjoy home for two games after three road games to begin 2024. Now it's time to hit the road again in the ACC.

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It was nice to have back-to-back home games in the Dean E. Smith Center for the UNC Basketball program after only having one in the previous 40 days between December 3rd and January 12th. The Tar Heels treated the home crowd well in those two games, winning by score sof 103-67 and 86-70 over Syracuse and Louisville, respectively.

Now, it's time to hit the road again. The Tar Heels will put their perfect 6-0 conference record on the line again Saturday, this time in Conte Forum Arena at Boston College. The Eagles are 11-6 this season with a 2-4 conference record. Boston College likes playing at home though, with a 7-2 record through nine games this season.

14-3. 11-6. . 441. CW Network. Saturday, Jan 20. UNC BB vs BC. 431. 2:15 PM ET

Boston College is 2-3 in their last five games, with home wins over Notre Dame and Georgia Tech and road losses to Wake Forest, Syracuse, and Clemson. The Eagles are also coming off one of the longer breaks between games in college basketball, with their last game coming on Monday - giving them four days off to prepare for the Tar Heels.

The Eagles have four players that average in double-figures, led by senior seven-foot big man Quinten Post. Post averages 16.9 points per game and 7.4 rebounds per game. The battle in the paint between Bacot and Post has been one we have grown familiar with over the previous two seasons and one that will certainly be a factor on Saturday in Chestnut Hill.

Key to Victory for North Carolina

This one will be different than the previous keys to victory you have read for various games this year. Typically, we cover in-game strategy or shutting down an opponent's key player. This isn't going to be that. While all of those on-court things are important (like Post vs Bacot, winning the rebounding battle, and making shots), there is one key on Saturday we believe stands out.

Energy.

That's the key to victory for the UNC Basketball program on Saturday. Conte Forum Arena is a unique place to play. Traditionally, it is known as a very "sleepy environment." The crowd for a North Carolina at Boston College game is usually close to 50/50 despite being a road game for the Tar Heels. University of North Carolina Alumni have a good base in the Boston area and travel well for this game.

However, the energy on the road isn't like it in the Dean Smith Center. The Tar Heels have started hot in conference play, 6-0. They have also won their last six contests, all by double-digits. Three of those have been on the road, and the last two have been, quite frankly, blowouts (Yes, Louisville trailed by only five in the second half, but be honest, was the game ever really in doubt?).

This is a road game that is sandwiched between beating an inferior opponent at home and having an in-state rival near the top of the conference coming to Chapel Hill just over 48 hours later on Monday. The Tar Heels must have energy on Saturday and, based on past experiences, very likely will have to create their own energy given the environment.

Oh, and one more thing, in case you didn't know, this game is on the CW Network. If you have been paying attention since the ACC signed the new TV Deal with the CW, it just feels like weird things happen to games over there. Superstition? Probably. Does it have an outcome on the game? Probably not. But the No. 10-ranked UNC Football team got upset by 21-point underdog Virginia on the CW. No. 7 Duke basketball was upset in early December by Georgia Tech.

This is the first and only game of the season for the Tar Heels on the CW Network, but I, along with several other UNC Basketball fans, would prefer if North Carolina just came out of the tunnel playing with a lot of energy and not let this one get in the territory of anything crazy happening, on the CW or any other channel for that matter.

Something to Watch For

Cormac Ryan started the game against Louisville a blistering 4-4 from beyond the arc. He cooled off later in the game and finished 4-7, but if Ryan is able to find his three-point shooting touch, that very well could take this UNC Basketball team to the next level of being able to reach its full potential.

We still haven't seen the Tar Heels play their best basketball of the season, and on January 18th, that's not really a concern. As UNC Basketball fans, we'd love to see them put together a solid performance on both ends of the court and see things click on all cylinders, especially for Armando Bacot, RJ Davis, Harrison Ingram and Ryan to all get going offensively.

Is that a necessity in mid-January? Not really. We hear coaches say all the time, "Don't peak too early." You want to be playing your best basketball come Mid-late February heading into March. However, Ryan is a shooter and has struggled from beyond the arc this year. A majority of the time, a shooter just needs a confidence boost, and seeing the ball go in the basket just a few times can completely change the trajectory of the season.

Did Ryan get that confidence boost in the first half against the Cardinals? Will it carry over to Boston College and the rest of the season? If so, the ceiling for North Carolina gets just a little higher.

Last Meeting

The Tar Heels have won the last four games in this series, with the most recent victory an 85-61 win over the Eagles in Greensboro Coliseum in the second round of the ACC Tournament last season. The victory propelled the No. 7-Seed Tar Heels to the ACC Quarterfinal Round.

Caleb Love led all scorers with 22 points, while RJ Davis contributed 18 points on 7-12 shooting and 4-6 from three-point range. Pete Nance and Armando Bacot also added 10 points each. For the Eagles, they placed three players in double figures, including Quinten Post, who had 13. Current Eagle Jaeden Zackery also added 15 for Boston College in the loss.

The Tar Heels shot the ball well, ending the night 54.8% from the field and 41.7% from beyond the arc while limiting the Eagles to 45.3% from the field and just 33.3% from three-point range.

Projected Starters

No. 2 Elliot Cadeau (Fr. 6-1, 180) 6.9 ppg, 1.6 rpg, 3.5 apg

No. 3 Cormac Ryan (Sr. 6-5, 195) 10.9 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 1.3 apg

No. 4 R.J. Davis (Sr. 6-0, 180) 20.4 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 3.5 apg

No. 5 Armando Bacot (Gr. 6-11, 240) 14.8 ppg, 10.5 rpg, 1.5 apg

No. 55 Harrison Ingram (Jr. 6-7, 235) 12.5 ppg, 7.5 rpg, 2.6 apg