After struggling to space the floor consistently last year, finding more versatility at the post position was a top priority for North Carolina first-year head coach Hubert Davis during the offseason.
With junior Armando Bacot occupying space and attention down low, the Tar Heels needed a complement to their star center — and they sure found it this season in the form of graduate forward Brady Manek.
Once again, Manek came up big for North Carolina on Monday night, finding Bacot with a flashy dump-off assist leading to a dunk with 1:33 remaining, giving his team the late momentum it needed to secure a 70-63 victory over Louisville.
Bacot and Manek have looked good together all season, and on Monday, the pair was once again just what the Tar Heels needed.
“Me and Brady, we have good chemistry,” Bacot said. “We always find each other and I knew once (Malik) Williams went over there to try to block his shot, he would hit me for that.”
As two of North Carolina’s top scorers, Bacot and Manek have had to carry the weight for a team that has struggled to maintain depth down low. The two veterans were forced to step up and fill even bigger roles after losing sophomore forward Dawson Garcia for the year.
And the pair has not disappointed.
While the absence of depth down low may leave them gasping for air at times, it has also helped build their chemistry.
At Oklahoma, Manek had a special connection with former teammate and fellow big Kristian Doolittle — and he believes what he has found this year with Bacot rivals that connection.