Pittsburgh – The Pitt Panthers are starting the new year a day early. They host North Carolina — a perennial powerhouse that has fallen slightly from its typically strong position as America’s preseason No. 1 team.
The Panthers have recently won 3 of their 4 games against the Tar Heels and are increasing that number. These two teams have faced each other on equal footing for the first time in a long time and could start a brutal turn of events. Next, he won three of his four contests against teams currently in the top 25 with his right foot.
Tip-off time: 12:00 pm
venue: Petersen Event Center
broadcast: ACC Network and 93.7 The Fan
According to Action Network, North Carolina can score anywhere from a 5-5.5 point favorite, with two total point lines for the ACC’s top four offenses set at 149.5. The book expects a lot of points.
Both teams will enter as 9v4 squads, with 4 of the final 5 being the winners. Pitt is still undefeated in conference play. It’s a scratch.
3 stories to watch
Pit aiming for a hot start in ACC Play
They became the first Panthers team to start 2-0 in ACC play since 2015-16 when Pitt scored an away victory over Syracuse before breaking into the Christmas break. That year, the Panthers finished in the top 25 thanks to his 14-1 start overall and his 3-0 opening to the ACC season.
By defeating the Tar Heels, these Panthers can match that mark set by the last pit team finishing the season with a winning record and earning an NCAA Tournament bid.
Baco Federico I
Fede Federico has been a capable starter for Pitt as he waits for former All-ACC forward John Hagley to return to form. He rebounds, blocks 2, and has a 66.7% field goal percentage. However, those three games were against Sacred Heart,
It’s safe to assume that the Panthers are willing to double-team the North Carolina shooter who produced the 310th best 3-point field goal percentage in the nation, but there’s not much they can do. Federico will also have to use his quickness and athleticism against his players, as he weighs 15 pounds and has three years’ worth of creative post.
scroll to continue
D’Marco Dunn Health
As I mentioned earlier, North Carolina is a pretty poor 3-point shooting team, 30.7% of the season and the 53rd worst in college basketball. It wasn’t much of an issue for the Tar Heels this season. KenPom’s adjusted offensive efficiency rankings still hold him eleventh, largely thanks to his speed, execution in transition and his dominance on the inside, led by Baccott and Pete Nonce.
The return of sophomore guard D’Marco Dunn, who has been dealing with a hand injury and missed the last game, could be a big lift in that division for North Carolina. He is second on the team in percentage and one of only two tar heels to shoot over 33.3% from 3-point distance. He hasn’t attempted many triples, but that has more to do with opportunity than with his ability.
Bookmark Inside the Panthers for the latest news, exclusive interviews, hiring coverage and more.
Pitt DE Habakkuk Baldonado Injured days
Pitt F John Hugley’s UNC Gaming status still in question
Pit gives UNC games a bad track record against ranked opponents
Jeff Capel on Dior Johnson’s return to pit basketball
Pitt G. Dior Johnson returns to practice, will redshirt
Position breakdown of pit recruitment class: running back