Skip to content

Opponent preview: What to know about No. 5 North Carolina

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on February 26, 2019 at 2:03 am Contact Charlie: csdistur@syr.edu | @charliedisturco Commentscenter_img In one of its biggest road matchups of the season, Syracuse travels to No. 5 North Carolina on Tuesday. The Orange enter fresh off a 10-point loss against a Zion Williamson-less Duke but picked up a resume-boosting win over then-No. 18 Louisville earlier in the week. The Tar Heels, meanwhile, are winners in 10 of their last 11, most recently beating Florida State by 18 inside the Dean E. Smith Center.Here’s what you need to know about North Carolina.All-time series: North Carolina leads, 11-4Last time they played: After a late comeback went awry earlier in the regular season, Syracuse had an opportunity for revenge against North Carolina in the second round of the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament at the Barclays Center.Despite Syracuse shooting 53.8 percent from 3 in the first half, North Carolina forced nine turnovers and took a 10-point lead into the break. The Orange would end up struggling in the second half as the Tar Heels took control, leading by as much as 21 en route to a 78-59 win over SU.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textOshae Brissett led all SU players with 20 points on 5-of-7 shooting from the 3. Tyus Battle and Frank Howard would combine for 27 on 8-of-39 shooting, while four UNC players found double digits.The North Carolina report: The hottest team in the ACC, winners in 10 of its last 11, North Carolina boasts a balanced attack. Three players score 15-plus points per game, led by Cameron Johnson’s 16.7 average. The fifth-year forward is as efficient as it gets, shooting 52.2 percent from the field and an astounding 47.3-percent clip from beyond the arc.The Tar Heels rank inside the top 10 in both offensive and defensive efficiency per Kenpom.com. There’s not much UNC struggles with. The team shoots the ball at a 37.6-percent clip from the 3, ranks 25th in offensive rebounding percentage and 13th in assist percentage.Freshman Coby White has facilitating the offense, leading the team with 4.2 assists per game. Senior Luke Maye averages a near-double-double and freshman Nassir Little, who plays 18.3 minutes per game, has been a force when on the court.“We’re going to play probably the hottest team in the league on Tuesday,” SU head coach Jim Boeheim said. “We just have to get this behind us as quickly as we can and get ready to play. It’ll be a very difficult game against a great team.”How Syracuse beats North Carolina: In North Carolina’s only two ACC losses, it struggled from beyond the arc. Normally, it has not been an issue, but against Louisville and Virginia, the Tar Heels combined to shoot 23.1 percent from the 3.Syracuse’s zone allows for its opposition to shoot 3s, but it has left some of the best ACC teams befuddled. Duke shot 25 percent from the 3 in its two matchups with SU, and Louisville made 6-of-28 from beyond the arc in a 20-point Orange win.The focus, at least defensively for Syracuse, will likely be on Cameron Johnson and White, North Carolina’s two main shooters. If those two struggle, the Orange should be able to keep the game within striking distance.Stat to know: 7 — North Carolina ranks seventh in the country in adjusted offensive efficiency, per KenPom.com.KenPom.com odds: Syracuse has a 12 percent chance to upset the Tar Heels, projected to lose by a score of 80-67.Player to watch: Luke Maye, Forward, No. 32The leader of this team, Luke Maye has been a force as of late. The senior recently scored 30 points in a 16-point win over a Zion Williamson-less Duke and averages 15.1 points and 9.9 rebounds per game. The 6-foot-8 Maye ranks second in the ACC in defensive rebounding percentage and will be key inside the paint for the Tar Heels on Tuesday.last_img

Comments are closed.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *