Here we go again… The Cardinals and the Tar Heels will play their second game against each other on Saturday afternoon. The Tar Heels beat our Cardinals by a point, 72-71, three weeks ago in Chapel Hill. Marcus Paige hit a layup with 8.5 seconds to go to give Carolina the lead, and Louisville missed a pair of shots in the final seconds. North Carolina leads this series 10-3. Saturday will be just the third time the Tar Heels have played in Louisville they are 0-2 in previous games. Carolina is 6-0 all-time against Hall of Fame coach Rick Pitino and Roy Williams is 4-1 against Louisville (3-0 at UNC). The game will be a White-Out for the home team. The Cardinals are 5-3 in White-Out games.
The Tar Heels have won six in a row and are shooting 50.8% as a team during their winning streak. Carolina has shot 50.0% or better from the floor as a team in seven of the last 11 halves and is shooting 42.0% as a team from three-point range during the six- game winning streak. They are shooting 46.8 from the field and averaging 80 points a game. Carolina is off to a 7-1 ACC start, tied as its second-best conference start under head coach Roy Williams. Defensively they are allowing 66.5 points and their opponents are shooting 37.4% from the field and 27.8% from the three. They are giving up 66.5 points a game. The Tar Heels have held 15 of their first 21 opponents to 40 percent or lower field goal shooting.
Marcus Paige leads the Tar Heels averaging 14.1 points per game. He is shooting 46.8 percent from three- point range (22 for 47) against ACC opponents this season. He has made 52 three-pointers overall this season. Kennedy Meeks is averaging 13 points 8.3 rebounds, and leads the team with 28 blocked shots. He is second on the ACC behind Montrezl in double-double outings this season. Brice Johnson is averaging 12.2 points, is averaging 9.1 rebounds in ACC games and 8.6 in Carolina wins but 4.5 boards in losses this season. He’s averaging a career-high 7.9 rebounds per game overall. Justin Jackson is averaging 10 points, and has reached double figures in three of the last four games. Carolina is 10-0 when Jackson scores in double figures.
UNC’s 2014-15 OVERALL Rankings Offense | Defense
-POINTS PER GAME
-REBOUNDS PER GAME
-ASSISTS PER GAME
-FIELD GOAL PCT
-REBOUNDS PER GAME
-BLOCKS PER GAME
-STEALS PER GAME
2014-15 Kenpom Rankings
Defense Adjustment Efficiency
-92.9 ranks 37th
Offense Adjustment Efficiency
-115.4 ranks 11th
-Per Kenpom’s game prediction he has Louisville losing the game 75-71 based on his indexes.
Our Cardinals have won three of their last four games since losing in Chapel Hill. They have been trending upward on offense averaging 73.4 points, shooting 44.3% from the floor, and 30.7% from the three. Defensively they are allowing 58.5 points and their opponents are shooting 37.3% from the field and 29.3 from the three. Terry Rozier leads the Cardinals averaging 18.1 points and 5.3 rebounds per game. Montrezl Harrell is averaging 14.9 points and 8.9 rebounds, Chris Jones is averaging 13.4 points, and Wayne Blackshear is averaging 11.8 points.
This North Carolina team presents a match-up problem with most teams they play due to their length and athletic ability. The Cardinals are going to have to play great in transition defense and limit the Tar Heels in their fast break points, and they must have a good day on the glass just to be able to stay in this game. Louisville’s big four have come up big all season and they will need to have a good game on Saturday. I’m concerned about the production in the paint and would like to see the Cardinals get more out of that 5 spot on Saturday. Mango and Onuaku need a solid effort.
I don’t think the Cardinals have to play a perfect game to beat North Carolina on Saturday but they will have to play one of their best games of the season. They will be very motivated trying not to lose back-to-back games to the Tar Heels. This one has me nervous but I just can’t pick against our guys and think they will answer the bell on the defensive end of the floor. Plus I really like the way Chris Jones and Terry Rozier have been playing and think they come up big. The guys will also get a boost from the home crowd who will be wearing white.
Louisville 76 North Carolina 73