North Carolina opened the season with high expectations but has been bitten hard by the injury bug this year. As a result, the Tar Heels have dropped five of their last six ACC contests but they are fresh off their first win of 2020. Meanwhile, N.C. State has been trending up since the start of league play, winning four of its last six contests. Will the Tar Heels be able to keep their momentum going on the road in Raliegh against N.C State on Monday night?
Anthony not expected to return vs. NC StateNorth Carolina finally got back on the right track on Saturday afternoon with a 94-71 victory at home against Miami. Brandon Robinson scored a team-high 29 points while freshman Armando Bacot finished with 19 points, 12 rebounds, and seven assists for the Tar Heels, who had arguably their best offensive performance of the season. UNC shot 58.0 percent from the field and 10-for-23 from beyond the arc while averaging 1.27 points per possession in the win.
The Tar Heels are still awaiting the return of dynamic freshman guard Cole Anthony, who has missed the team’s last 10 games with a partially torn meniscus in his right knee. The Tar Heels are just 3-7 without Anthony in the lineup and he missed the team’s last game against Miami. After his surgery, Anthony was expected to miss four-to-six weeks. The six-week timetable would have him return for Monday’s game against NC State. However, according to 247Sports, the chances of Anthony suiting up against the Wolfpack are slim, at best.
Roy Williams’ squad comes into the weekend ranked No. 89 in the latest KenPom rankings after snapping their season-long five-game slide. The Tar Heels have scored 106.1 points per 100 possessions (104th in the NCAA) and 100.0 points per 100 possessions during league play (8th in the ACC). The Tar Heels haven’t been efficient from the floor but they’ve made up for it by crashing the offensive glass and getting to the free-throw at a high rate. They rank first in the ACC with an offensive rebounding rate of 34.0 percent and third in free-throw rate at 30.7 percent this season.
On defense, the Tar Heels have given up 98.0 points per 100 possessions (88th in the NCAA but that number has increased to 102.6 points per 100 possessions versus ACC opponents (11th in the ACC). North Carolina sends its opponents to the free-throw line at a 34.7 percent rate (13th in the ACC), which has hurt their ability to get stops on the defensive end of the floor.
Wolfpack snap ACC win streak at three gamesN.C State snapped a three-game conference win streak on Saturday with a disappointing 64-58 defeat on the road against Georgia Tech. Markell Johnson scored a team-high 21 points and handed out four assists while Devon Daniels chipped in 12 points for the Wolfpack, who shot 4-for-19 from long-range in the loss. N.C. State led by five points with just over 6 minutes remaining but the Yellow Jackets closed the game on a 14-4 run.
Kevin Keatts has guided the Wolfpack to a 14-6 overall record, including a 5-4 mark during ACC play, and they come in ranked No. 48 in the latest KenPom rankings. Led by Johnson (13.2 points, 6.5 assists per game), the Wolfpack have scored 112.8 points per 100 possessions (23rd in the NCAA) for the season but that number has plummeted to just 101.2 points per 100 possessions versus ACC opponents (6th in the ACC). Through nine league contests, N.C. State has turned the ball over just 15.6 percent of the time (2nd in the ACC) but efficiency has escaped them on offense. They own an effective field goal percentage of just 46.9 percent (11th in the NCAA) and have shot only 46.6 percent from inside the arc (12th in the ACC) and 31.6 percent from 3-point range (10th in the ACC).
On defense, the Wolfpack have surrendered 98.9 points per 100 possessions (97th in the NCAA) for the year and 100.0 points per 100 possessions during conference play (8th in the ACC). They have forced turnovers on 19.3 percent of their defensive possessions during league play (6th in the ACC) while holding opposing teams to just 31.7 percent shooting from 3-point range (5th in the ACC). However, the Wolfpack have sent ACC teams to the free-throw line at the highest rate in the conference (40.3 percent).