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Miami v North Carolina

by Sharon Thorsland

Just when you think North Carolina has turned things around and will go on a run, they revert back to form and once again have you wondering what’s wrong with the Tar Heels. After an impressive win over Clemson, the Heels melted down in a 80-72 loss to Miami on Monday night. It was poor outside shooting that doomed them once again, the Heels were just 5 of 31 from deep. Now they head down I-40 to Raleigh to take on rival NC State in a Sunday afternoon tilt. Tip-off is set for 1:00 on WBT. UNC won the first match-up this season, an 11-point victory in Chapel Hill. But now the Tar Heels (16-10, 8-7 ACC) find themselves back on the NCAA tournament bubble, while the #23 Wolfpack is enjoying one of their best seasons in recent memory. They’re coming off a close loss to Syracuse and are 20-7 on the year, 10-6 in the ACC.

The star of this State team is Terquavion Smith. The sophomore is averaging over 18 points per game, and also leads the Wolfpack in assists and steals. Smith was injured in the second half of the game in Chapel Hill and will no doubt be looking to have a huge game against the Heels this time out. Fellow guard Jarkel Joiner adds 16 points a contest, and Casey Morsell is a threat from deep, shooting 43% from behind the arc. The Wolfpack averages over 8 steals a game so taking care of the basketball will be key.

The big man in the middle for the Wolfpack is DJ Burns, and he is big! Burns is 6’9 and weighs 275 pounds, he put up 18 points against the Heels in the first matchup. The senior is averaging over 12 points and five rebounds a game and will once again face UNC center Armando Bacot, who continues lead the ACC in rebounding. The Heels have a definite size advantage down low, so look for them to try to run the offense through Bacot.