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Friday January 22nd

At-large hopes down the drain? Three takeaways from UNC basketball's loss to Pitt

UNC's men's basketball coach Roy Williams discusses the game against Clemson at the Dean Smith Center on Saturday, Jan. 11, 2020. Clemson defeated UNC for the first time in Chapel Hill 79-76.
Buy Photos UNC's men's basketball coach Roy Williams discusses the game against Clemson at the Dean Smith Center on Saturday, Jan. 11, 2020. Clemson defeated UNC for the first time in Chapel Hill 79-76.

The North Carolina basketball team (8-9, 1-5 ACC) dropped its fourth game in a row this season and fell to Pittsburgh (12-6, 3-4 ACC) on Saturday, 66-52.

Here are three quick takeaways from UNC’s loss.

No chance for an at-large bid?

Things were already looking pretty grim for the Tar Heels, and they just got a whole lot worse. North Carolina has a losing record for the first time since starting out 0-1 in 2004-05, and now has virtually no shot at receiving an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament. 

Pittsburgh is ranked 79th in the NET rankings, which means this was UNC’s second quadrant two loss of the season. Adding that to the three losses to quadrant three teams that the Tar Heels already have equates to five losses so far that the selection committee would categorize as bad losses.

Combine that with North Carolina’s 119th NET ranking, and odds are slim for the team to make the NCAA Tournament unless it earns an automatic bid by winning the ACC Tournament.

Brooks can’t do it alone

Garrison Brooks secured a double-double for UNC on Saturday but it wasn’t enough to get a win.

Go ahead and copy and paste that sentence for the result of every North Carolina basketball game until Cole Anthony returns to the court. Brooks has recorded a double-double in five straight games, but isn’t getting much help.

That help needs to start coming from center Armando Bacot if UNC wants to get rolling once Anthony returns. Bacot showed flashes of his talent against Pittsburgh, recording a double-double of his own, but hasn't been as consistent in recent weeks.

The first-year may just need more experience, but he was performing much better early in the season when Anthony was on the floor, leaving UNC fans to wonder what happened.

UNC still can’t make 3-point shots

North Carolina is ranked 308th out of 353 Division 1 basketball teams in 3-point percentage. It can’t win like that.

The Tar Heels had another disappointing performance beyond the arc against Pittsburgh, going 4-18 in the game and 1-10 in the second half alone. Three of those four makes came from Brandon Robinson, meaning the rest of the team managed just one 3-pointer. 

Meanwhile, Pittsburgh knocked down six 3-pointers in the first half, building an insurmountable lead early in the game.

UNC needs to improve its 3-point percentage if it wants any shot at competing in the ACC Tournament and turning its season around.

@matt_chilson

@DTHSports | sports@dailytarheel.com

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