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Tuesday September 21st

Analysis: How UNC men's basketball's All-ACC selections earned their stripes

<p>UNC first-year guard Caleb Love (2) passes the ball at the game against Louisville on Saturday, Feb. 20 2021 at the Smith Center in Chapel Hill. UNC won 99-54.</p>
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UNC first-year guard Caleb Love (2) passes the ball at the game against Louisville on Saturday, Feb. 20 2021 at the Smith Center in Chapel Hill. UNC won 99-54.

For their efforts this year, the ACC awarded UNC sophomore center Armando Bacot third-team All-ACC honors and voted first-year guard Caleb Love and first-year center Day’Ron Sharpe onto the All-Freshman team. Here’s a look at how each player earned their honors:

Armando Bacot 

A substantial uptick in field goal percentage played a significant role in Bacot earning All-ACC honors. Bacot brought his field-goal percentage up from 46 percent last season to 63 percent this season, all while being the Tar Heels' most consistent scorer by averaging 12.3 points per game. 

Bacot’s improved scoring this season is also attributable to better free throw shooting, particularly late in games. In crucial ACC road wins against Pittsburgh, Miami and Duke, Bacot went 5-6, 5-5 and 4-7 from the free-throw line, respectively. 

Bacot also played well on defense this season, recording three blocks against Pittsburgh and two blocks in a win against Kentucky. His 26 total blocks tied him for 10th-most blocked shots in the ACC this season. Bacot has also become significantly more disciplined on defense, giving opponents fewer opportunities to score at the stripe.   

Bacot’s paint presence also extends to rebounding. His 223 total rebounds led the ACC and helped keep opponents’ second-chance opportunities to a minimum, all while maximizing the Tar Heels’ fast-break opportunities. 

Bacot’s improvement as a scorer, complemented by his defensive ability, helped solidify his case for All-ACC honors. 

Caleb Love

Love made the ACC All-Freshman team in large part because of his scoring ability. Love’s 10.5 points per game is the third-highest average of any first-year in the ACC. Love showcased that scoring ability by scoring 15 or more points in seven games this season and 20 or more points in two.  

Although Love shot just 31.6 percent from the field, he also generated offense by taking contact and drawing free throws, which he converted 81 percent of the time this season. In a home win against Florida State, Love went a perfect 6-6 from the free-throw line, while also going 5-5 in a loss to N.C. State. 

Love is also among the ACC’s leaders in steals, with his 34 total steals tying him for eighth-most in the conference. Love’s defensive efforts often generate offense for the Tar Heels, as UNC scored 15.3 points per game off turnovers throughout the season. 

Love’s potential and performance as both a scorer and a perimeter defender propelled him onto the ACC All-Freshman team. 

Day’Ron Sharpe 

Sharpe showcased his ability to be one of the ACC’s best big men in his first season. His strong presence in the paint and scoring ability provided a spark off the bench for the Tar Heels. 

Sharpe’s 7.8 rebounds per game ranked seventh in the ACC. While he played sparingly at times early in the season, Sharpe displayed his ability to overpower and physically dominate opponents in the paint when given more minutes. Sharpe posted 25 points and nine rebounds against Notre Dame, while also posting 12 points, 16 rebounds, two steals and one block against Miami. 

Sharpe’s scoring ability also gave the Tar Heels an added scoring punch off the bench. His 9.7 points per game make him UNC’s fourth-leading scorer. Sharpe supplements his shooting by scoring on put-backs, tip-ins and by securing his own rebounds for second-chance points. 

Sharpe’s dominant play in limited minutes and showcasing of his potential helped him earn a spot on the ACC’s All-Freshman team.

@dthsports |

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