Game of the Week: No. 9 North Carolina vs. No. 15 Louisville
Just a few weeks ago, No. 15 Louisville took down No. 9 North Carolina, 83-62, in Chapel Hill to hand Tar Heels head coach Roy Williams his worst loss ever at North Carolina. Now, the two teams will meet again on Saturday in the KFC Yum Center as the top of the ACC starts to take shape.
The Louisville Cardinals come into the game with a 16-5 record, a 7-1 conference record and sit tied for first in the ACC with No. 2 Duke and No. 3 Virginia. This is coach Chris Mack’s first season at Louisville, after an extremely successful nine-year run at Xavier. The Cardinals come into the game with a six-game winning streak, having beaten two ranked teams in the process. Averaging just under 80 points per game, Louisville scores a large portion of their points from the free throw line. Their led by 6-foot-8 sophomore forward Jordan Nwora, who’s averaging 18 points per game with 7.8 assists this season.
Besides Nwora, Louisville has a pretty balanced scoring attack. Look for junior big men Dwayne Sutton and Steven Enoch to provide scoring, along with senior guard Christian Cunningham. As for the Tar Heels, they enter the matchup with a 16-4 record, and a 6-1 conference record, which is good for fourth in the ACC. Roy Williams is in his 16th season as North Carolina’s head coach, and his team enters this game on a four-game win streak of their own.
The Tar Heels are one of the most well-rounded teams in the country. Not only do they have one of the best offenses in college basketball, averaging 87.6 points per game and have shot 38 percent from 3, but North Carolina is also one of the best rebounding teams in the country, and have totaled the second most assists in the nation. The Tar Heels might have one of the best backcourts in the country, led by senior Cameron Johnson and freshman Coby White.
Meanwhile, senior forward Luke Maye is one of the most consistent double-double threats in college basketball. Pair him with athletic freshman wing Nassir Little and Roy Williams has one of the most complete lineups in the ACC. This game will come down to an interesting clash in philosophies. Look for Louisville to use its size to work the ball into the paint.
They’ll constantly penetrate the UNC defense and get easy points at the free throw line. For North Carolina, it’s all about ball movement and offensive rebounding. Roy Williams’ squad will continue to pass up good shots for great shots, and their offensive rebounding will keep their possessions alive. This game will go along way in deciding the pecking order in the ACC, and should be an interesting one to watch.
Prediction: North Carolina 82, Louisville 70
Jack Flanagan is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Junior / Broadcast Journalism