Pregame Breakdown: Louisville Hosts UNC

The North Carolina Tar Heels comes to town for an afternoon matchup on Saturday at the KFC Yum! Center. Louisville ended its 2-game losing streak on Wednesday with a 24-point win over Syracuse at home. The Cards come into the day with a 22-5 record and are back in first place in the ACC at 13-3. North Carolina is in the midst of its worst season since Roy Williams took over the program in 2003. The Heels are 10-16 overall and 3-12 in the ACC.

UNC leads the all time series 15-6. Louisville is 4-2 at home, though. Those two losses have come in each of the past two seasons. This year’s North Carolina is not what we are typically used to seeing. UNC has lost six straight overall and 11 of its last 13. The Tar Heels have won twice since the start of 2020. They have been competitive recently since the return of Cole Anthony to the lineup. Five of those past six losses have come by 6 points or fewer and four have come by 2 or fewer points.

Carolina has been one of the worst power conference teams all season. The Heels are among the overall worst shooting teams in the nation. They’ve shot the worst percentage on three pointers in ACC play and take the fewest as well. They get a higher percentage of their points from inside the arc than any other ACC team while only shooting 48 percent from 2-point range. Offensively, about the only things they do well are rebounding and getting to the free throw line.  Defensively, they’re a bit better, but do not force turnovers at all and give up plenty of good looks from three.

Louisville seemingly turned around its poor form on Wednesday night and hopes to take the momentum into the stretch run. With Duke’s loss to NC State, they are back into a three-way tie in the ACC. The Cards have a game in hand but the loss column looks the same for Louisville, FSU, and Duke.

North Carolina has been the laughing stock of the conference for the past two months now. They have played some good teams extremely close of late, though, and seem to be on the brink of finally breaking through. Cole Anthony averages nearly 20 points a game when he’s on the floor.  The frontcourt duo of Armando Bacot and Garrison Brooks rebound like crazy and will try to out-physical the opponent. Make no mistake. This is a team that can absolutely give Louisville trouble on the right day.

On Wednesday night, we saw an inspired, intense, and downright impressive response from the Louisville Men’s Basketball team. On Saturday, a similar performance may be required against a team desperate for a win. The Cards have a chance to prove that they are indeed back with a convincing win over the Tar Heels at home.

The game tips at 4:00 p.m. ET and will be televised live on ESPN.

Prediction:

Louisville 84  North Carolina 72

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