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Michigan Opponent Preview: North Carolina

How They Are Doing So Far:

North Carolina started the 2018-2019 campaign with a couple nearby road trips to Wofford and Elon. The Terriers gave the Tar Heels a bit of trouble, but the Tar Heels came away with a 78-67 victory. Against Elon, UNC was on a roll and dropped 116 points on the Phoenix. North Carolina scored 90 points in a home win over Stanford and then scored over 100 points against both Tennessee Tech and St. Francis. But then North Carolina went out West for the Las Vegas Invitational and faced their toughest games of the young season. And in the first game the Tar Heels lost a tight game with Texas by a score of 92-89. They followed it up with a nice win over UCLA so UNC is heading back in the right direction.

 

Last Time Out:

North Carolina had a very balanced scoring attack against the Bruins. Freshman Coby White led the way with 19 points, but Luke Maye, Cameron Johnson, Kenny Williams and Nassir Little all scored between 14 and 16 points. It is games like this that just prove how much depth and talent that Coach Roy Williams has to work with. Michigan will have a very tough time defending everybody when the Tar Heels can do damage from so many different places. The Tar Heels do need to play better defense though. Against UCLA, the Bruins hit 10-of-22 shots from beyond the arc and shot over 44 percent from the floor. With the shooters Michigan has, UNC will have to do better than that.

 

Who To Watch:

North Carolina has a bevy of talent, but Luke Maye is still the leader of this team. The 6-8 forward is averaging 14.4 points and 8.6 rebounds and can dominate on both ends of the floor. He can shoot the ball relatively well from long range, but Maye certainly does most of his damage inside the arc. Maye is also a superb rebounder and that could prove very problematic for the Wolverines. With a big roster that boasts 6-9 guard Cameron Johnson and a frontcourt that has tough rebounders Nassir Little and Garrison Brooks, UNC will dominate most teams on the glass.

 

Who Else To Watch:

For now the seniors are leading this team. Along with Maye, UNC has Cameron Johnson and Kenny Williams. Johnson is a big 6-9 guard who is a menace on both ends of the floor. On top of his team high 16.4 points per game, he is averaging 5.9 rebounds, 1.4 assists and 1.6 steals. Johnson is also shooting 48.5 percent from beyond the arc through seven games. He can beat you in so many ways and he usually will.

 

Prediction:

There is a very good reason why the North Carolina at Michigan game concludes the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. It could be the best game of them all and it could decide which conference wins this year’s challenge. Like most games involving the Wolverines, it could come down to how efficiently Coach John Beilein’s team is shooting the basketball. With the length UNC has all over the floor though, it will not be easy to get open looks and that benefits North Carolina. The Tar Heels have traveled away from home more than most teams have this season, but going to Ann Arbor is an entirely different thing than going to Wofford or Elon or a neutral site. That home court advantage could make all the difference.

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