After suffering back-breaking defeats in three of its last four games, the North Carolina basketball team spared its fans of any more heartbreak in Louisville on Saturday afternoon. The Tar Heels were outmatched in a 72-55 loss to the Cardinals, losing the rebounding, turnover and assist battle.
This loss marks UNC's seventh straight loss, a new program record in conference play. In the absence of Garrison Brooks, who did not play due to an illness, the Tar Heels were led by their guards and had almost no offensive post-game.
Here are three takeaways from the North Carolina loss:
Historic losing streak
Seven straight losses in ACC play is a new program record for the Tar Heels. They matched the previous record earlier this season with six consecutive losses and bested that against Lousiville.
This new record puts this historically bad season for UNC into context. This team is doing things that no other North Carolina team has done before, and not in a good way. It also shows just how quickly this season slipped away.
After the Tar Heels defeated N.C. State in Raleigh on Jan. 27, things were actually looking up. UNC was back to a .500 record and had it's most talented player returning from injury the next game with an outside shot to get an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. Then it just didn't work.
North Carolina failed to gell with Cole Anthony's return and hasn't won a game since. The losing streak has featured games where the Tar Heels actually played well, like against Duke and Virginia, but losing teams always find a way to lose.
But that parity that UNC has seen over this last stretch of games didn't appear in its blowout loss to Louisville. The Tar Heels just outmanned, outworked and outscored.
No post game
UNC basketball announced prior to the game that Brooks would not be able to play, which was bad news for the Tar Heels. Louisville has one of the best frontcourts in the country between Jordan Nwora and Malik Williams, and those two had their way on both sides of the court against the undermanned North Carolina frontcourt.
The two combined for 35 points with Nwora scoring 18 and Williams getting 17 of his own. Both of Louisville's forwards also had an impressive day on the glass, grabbing 20 total rebounds.
The opposite was the case for UNC's frontcourt, which pretty much only consisted of Armando Bacot. The first-year struggled to score against the Cardinals, accumulating just seven points.
The Tar Heels also struggled to grab rebounds in Brooks' absence, getting outrebounded 38-29 total and 14-9 on the offensive glass.
Shooting woes continue to plague UNC
North Carolina was still in the game at halftime, trailing just 36-23. It could've made a run out of the break and been within single digits, but the opposite happened.
The Tar Heels didn't score for the first 5:37 of the second half. Lousiville extended its lead to 47-23 during that stretch which put the game out of reach.
But it wasn't this stretch that saw the trend of poor UNC shooting play out. The team needed the deep ball to fall with Brooks out and went just 6-22 from 3-point range. With a nonexistent post game, this was not ideal.
The combination of poor shooting and no production from the UNC frontcourt was what led to a historic loss for the Tar Heels. North Carolina will have a chance to end its losing streak against the team it last beat on Tuesday.
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