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NC State v North Carolina

by Sharon Thorsland

North Carolina takes on Syracuse tonight, riding a three game win streak into what was formerly known as the Carrier dome for a late-night matchup with the Orange. Tip-off is set for 9:00pm on WBT. The Tar Heels (13-6, 6-3 ACC) are coming off a win over rival NC State, while Syracuse is also 6-3 in the league after a win over Georgia Tech on Saturday. The Orange is 13-7 overall and after a slow start to the season have won 10 of their last 13 games.

Syracuse has long been known for their infamous 2-3 zone defense, and that’s not the kind of team UNC really wants to face right now. The Tar Heels still aren’t shooting particularly well even though they’re averaging 80 points per game, but they’re terrible from behind the arc managing just 31.6% from three. Meanwhile, Syracuse ranks third in the ACC allowing 40.9% from the field and just 70 points per game. Now would be a great time for Caleb Love to break out of his shooting slump and starting hitting some 3’s!

For the first time in what seems like forever there isn’t a Boeheim in the lineup. Coach Jim Boeheim’s sons Buddy and Jimmy have finally graduated and it’s senior guard Joseph Girard with the hot hand right now. He averages over 17 points per game, leading a Syracuse team that is making 47% from the field. Fellow guard Judah Mintz adds nearly 15 points a game, and freshman Maliq Brown has turned it up recently, picking up 18 points against Georgia Tech. The key matchup in this game will no doubt be center Jesse Edwards versus UNC big man Armando Bacot. Edwards chips in 14 points and nearly 11 rebounds a contest, but will have his hands full with Bacot, who is coming off a monster game against the Wolfpack that saw him break UNC’s all-time rebounding record and the record for career triple-doubles. He could have another big day on the glass as the Orange rank 315th in the country in defensive rebounds and 113th in offensive boards.

Syracuse is not an easy place to play, the Orange are 9-3 in home games. UNC is just 1-4 in true road games this season but their record in the Dome is an impressive 11-3 all-time. The Tar Heels beat the Orange in Chapel Hill last season in overtime, and it will likely take a similar effort tonight to do it again. Go Tar Heels!