On Monday, the North Carolina men's basketball team won its second matchup against Louisville this season. Now, the team must prepare to face another ACC opponent this week.
North Carolina will travel to Raleigh on Saturday for a matchup at N.C. State University, who the Tar Heels defeated 100-80 in the Dean E. Smith Center last month. The Wolfpack’s season has since been on a downward spiral, as the team has lost five out of its last six games since playing UNC. North Carolina is 4-2 during that stretch, with notable losses to Duke and Pittsburgh.
Here are several keys that could dictate which team emerges victorious in the rivalry matchup.
Armando Bacot taking advantage of his matchup
The Tar Heels have been anchored all season by junior forward Armando Bacot, who leads the team in scoring and rebounding. His expected matchup will be Ebenezer Dowuona, whose 6-foot-11 frame could pose some difficulties.
Dowuona — who averages two blocks per game — missed the Wolfpack’s matchup against Syracuse earlier this month with a lower leg injury that he obtained during the team's loss to UNC.
Saturday provides an opportunity for him to prove himself in another face-off against Bacot, but expect Bacot to stay aggressive in the marquee matchup and put himself in a position for North Carolina to get easy looks inside.
Guarding the 3-point shot
N.C. State has shown a tendency to let it fly from deep, as Wolfpack players have attempted 684 3-pointers thus far in the season. Notably, guard Terquavion Smith has shot from the 3-point range 222 times this season.