The No. 12 North Carolina Tar Heels (22-9, 11-7 ACC) and the Syracuse Orange (20-12, 9-10 ACC) square off in the Atlantic Coast Conference Tourney at Barclays Center. Tip-off is scheduled for 9 p.m. ET on Wednesday, March 7, 2018, and it can be seen on ESPN2.
Syracuse Orange vs. North Carolina Tar Heels Free Preview
The Orange defeated the Wake Forest Demon Deacons in their last matchup, 73-64. With 14 points and nine rebounds, Paschal Chukwu had a solid game for Syracuse. The Orange knocked down 23 of their 29 free throws (79.3 percent) and had an effective field goal percentage of 0.595 (above their season average of 0.472).
In the Tar Heels’ last matchup, they were defeated by the No. 5 Duke Blue Devils, 74-64. With 13 points and eight rebounds, Kenny Williams had a good outing for North Carolina. Duke had a better free throw rate (0.145 vs. 0.057). North Carolina, on the other hand, had a better turnover percentage (16.2 vs. 16.5).
This showdown pits one of the nation’s top offenses against one of its elite defenses. North Carolina ranks 22nd in offensive efficiency and Syracuse is 39th in defensive efficiency. Additionally, the Orange are among the nation’s elite on the offensive backboards, ranking 20th in offensive rebounding percentage (35.0 percent). The Tar Heels, meanwhile, rank 50th in defensive rebounding percentage (74.6 percent).
Theo Pinson has taken his game to another level over the last five games for North Carolina, averaging 16.2 points, 7.0 assists, 5.6 rebounds and 1.6 steals per game.
These teams have already met once this season. The Tar Heels won 78-74. The Tar Heels dominated nearly every stat category in the game. They had a turnover percentage of 10.1 and a ridiculous offensive rebounding percentage of 39.5. For those same stats, the Orange were 13.2 and 32.4, respectively. Pinson was a top performer in the victory, with 23 points, seven assists and six rebounds.
Free Prediction: SU Winner – North Carolina, ATS Winner – North Carolina, O/U – Over
- The Orange rank 49th in steals per game (7.3) while the Tar Heels rank 183rd (5.5).
- North Carolina ranks first in rebounds per game (42.7) while Syracuse ranks 74th (37.4).
- North Carolina ranks fifth in assists per game (18.1) while Syracuse ranks 263rd (11.1).
- The Orange average 5.6 blocks per game, which ranks seventh in the NCAA. The Tar Heels rank 206th in blocks allowed per game (4.7).
- North Carolina ranks 127th in three pointers attempted per game (22.7) while Syracuse ranks 274th (18.0).
- The Tar Heels’ average margin of victory in their last five games has been 5.0, down from 8.9 for the season.
- During their last five games, the Orange have scored an average of 63.2 points per game (4.6 below their season average) and allowed an average of 67.8 points per game (3.7 above their season average).