There are no two ways about it: the Tar Heels need a win. They have dropped consecutive games to Virginia Tech, NC State, and Clemson in their toughest stretch of the season. All but one of the games was incredibly close right to the end, and both of those losses featured Theo Pinson missing for long stretches of time due to foul trouble or injury.
Pittsburgh has been the kind of team so far this season who teams that have been struggling may be happy to see on their schedule. The Panthers have struggled mightily in ACC play. Cameron Johnson, particularly, may have extra motivation for his team to pick up a win tonight. He stuck it to the Heels the last time these two teams met in the Dean Dome in a different uniform. Hopefully he can return the favor to his old school tonight.
Defensive woes have been a big culprit in Carolina’s recent losses. Both NC State and Clemson torched the Heels from downtown. Couple that with scoring only coming from two sources and that’s how you end up with three straight losses. Hopefully that trend doesn’t continue into this game.
UNC should be getting some reinforcements back. Theo Pinson is likely to play after his injury at Clemson that cost him the rest of the game. Seventh Woods could also be back from his injury that has sidelined him for weeks now. That, in particular, is important for spelling Joel Berry II with Jalek Felton suspended. Giving UNC a real backup point guard is certainly welcome.
As always, we’ll be back after the game with a complete roundup of the events. Until then...