GLENDALE, ARIZ. — It seems counterintuitive to go right at Oregon's Jordan Bell — who has more blocks this season than Isaiah Hicks has in his entire career — but that's exactly what the North Carolina men's basketball team is planning to do tomorrow in the Final Four.
Like Hicks, Bell stands at just 6-foot-9. But his ability to sky high above the crowd has made him a paramount piece of a Duck defense that blocks 17 percent of its opponents' two-point attempts this season, good for first in the country.
Against Kansas in the Elite Eight, Bell put on a masterclass in shot blocking, swatting eight Jayhawk attempts while also tallying 11 points, 13 rebounds and four assists.
"That dude is a freak," said junior wing Theo Pinson. "I mean, he's really athletic. I remember him in high school. He affected shots then. But he's going to be another challenge."
The Tar Heels' best strategy against Bell might be similar to how they attacked Kentucky's Bam Adebayo on Sunday, when North Carolina's forwards drew him out of the paint and opened things up inside for the team's guards.