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Pitt vs North Carolina Tar Heels Preview

Pitt faces last year’s national runner-up in its ACC home opener

NCAA Basketball: Pittsburgh at Syracuse Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

Game Time: 12:00 pm

Opponent: North Carolina

Head Coach: Hubert Davis (2nd season)

Conference: ACC

Current Record: 9-4 (1-1) #25 in AP Poll

Last Game: W 80-76 vs Michigan (Jumpman Invitational)

2021 Season: 29-10 (15-5, 2nd in ACC)

Top Players: F Armando Bacot (18.2 ppg, 11.1 rpg), G Caleb Love (18.3 ppg, 4.2 rpg, 3.7 apg), G RJ Davis (15.9 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 3.2 apg), F Pete Nance (11.8 ppg, 6.6 rpg)

Last meeting: Pitt 76 UNC 67 on 2/16/22

North Carolina and Pitt go into this game with identical 9-4 records but make no mistake, the Tar Heels are still every bit a dominant force. Bacot and Love are 1 and 2 in the conference in scoring. Their four losses were all to decent teams. Iowa State is 9-2, Alabama is 10-2 and ranked in the top 10, Indiana is 10-3 and ranked 16th, and Virginia Tech is 11-2 and was recently ranked until a loss to BC last week. UNC returned four starters from last year’s championship game participant team and they added Northwestern’s leading scorer Pete Nance to replace Brady Manek.

Keys to the Game:

  1. Stay out of foul trouble - UNC gets to the line a lot. They have made the most free throws in the country and their per game average is third.
  2. Three pointer - UNC is not a good three point shooting team, but in losses to Iowa State and Virginia Tech they were particularly bad (3-18 and 3-17). This is where Pitt needs to take advantage. Pitt is completely overmatched in the front court, but if they hit close to 50% of their attempts and UNC is around 25%, that might be enough to overcome the difference in free throws.

Prediction: I believe in this Panthers team, but UNC has too much firepower. The crowd at the Pete will help, but UNC prevails

Pitt 65 UNC 77