I would never be so brazen as to guarantee a win, but there are certainly some trends that point to a very positive outcome for the Heels on Thursday...
Personally, I am very interested to see what the Pack bring on Thursday. On paper, their 15-5 (4-1) record looks nice. But upon closer examination, one will see that they are 1-4 against teams in KenPom's Top-75 and the ranks of their first 5 ACC opponents were: 159, 139, 188, 263, and 76, almost certainly (by rank, at least) the easiest opening schedule to ACC play, ever. So it is entirely possible that their record is more a reflection of schedule than it is of actual performance. But beyond even judging the Pack's threat/worthiness as an opponent, here are some of the previously referred to trends that point to, perhaps, an even bigger edge for the Heels:
- Since Roy has been back in Chapel Hill, the Tar Heels are 22-2 in games that are preceded by at least 6 days off. (And they are 22-0 against teams not named, "Texas.")
- UNC, as we all know, is currently riding a 28-game winning streak inside the Dean E. Smith Center.
- The Tar Heels have also won 10 consecutive games against the Wolfpack, and are 16-1 against their rivals under Roy Williams.
- In what is probably nothing more than a statistical oddity, the Tar Heels are 8-0 under Roy in their 5th game of the ACC schedule.
Of course, for those who are more pessimistic by nature, you could certainly look at the trends listed above and come to the conclusion that all streaks must end, so Carolina is "due" to lose. (This is false because it assumes the teams are and have been of equal talent and coaching ability, which would thereby make the outcome something more akin to the toss of a coin; and even then, prior events should have no impact on the next "toss.") However, if the FSU game last Saturday represented a "Perfect Storm of Crap," maybe it is possible that this coming game on Thursday will represent a "Perfect Storm of Awesomeness."
As the adage goes: that's why they play the games...