The Tar Heels did good conference work with wins at home over NC State, Florida State, and Syracuse with an additional win on the road at Wake Forest. Now they head to Chestnut Hill for a matchup with the scrappier-than-expected Eagles of Boston College. Here are three things to keep an eye on.
The Road Grind
It has been well-documented that the road has not been kind to ACC teams this season. Some of that has to do with a more balanced conference than in recent memory, where even the Boston Colleges and Georgia Techs can catch a team snoozing and pull off a win, especially when they are at home.
UNC fell victim to that in their first ACC game down in Atlanta, but took care of business in Clemson and in Winston-Salem for big road victories. They’ll need to do that again Saturday against the Eagles. I mean, they did beat NC State after all.
Return of Bradley
Tony Bradley is expected to play against Boston College without any unforeseen setbacks occurring between now and then. Bradley missed two games with a concussion that he suffered against Wake Forest. It is definitely good news that Bradley is healthy enough to return, but concussions can linger something awful. Hopefully he won’t feel too many side effects of the injury going forward.
Having Bradley back makes things a bit easier for the other post players. The foul trouble was a real concern for Isaiah Hicks and Kennedy Meeks in the games against Florida State and Syracuse. Having another big man in the rotation takes the pressure off a bit.
Importance of Isaiah
Hicks has been understandably ragged on at times for not being more of a force down in the post. He collects fouls at an alarming rate sometimes and doesn’t always go as strong as he could to the basket. The last couple games, however, Hicks has looked everything like the player all Tar Heel fans want him to be.
He put up consecutive 20+ point games for the first time in his career and made a living at the free throw line against Florida State. Hicks elevating his game can take the Tar Heels from a very good team to a great one. It looks like he could be on the verge of making that a reality.