I bet if Garrison Brooks and Armando Bacot decided to steal Ash Ketchum’s Pikachu, they could do it. The tandem of Tar Heel tall guys took control of Tuesday’s tussle with the talented team from Syracuse, tossing two digits in two columns of the total tally. The Orange had trouble with a couple of double-doubles as the frontcourt tore the Dean Dome down, leaving nothing but rubble.
Linguistic goofery aside, this was an impressive performance from the pair of Carolina bigs, as described in more detail in Matt’s great Player(s) of the Game post. Two discrete double-doubles in the same night doesn’t happen often. I don’t have the stats on that, it just feels rare. (Editor’s note: it’s happened 4 times in the month of January in P5 play, so it’s maybe not quite as rare as it feels — but still quite impressive)
As the Tar Heels continue to cast around for consistent perimeter threats (keep it up, Kerwin), it’s hard to overstate the luxury that is having a solid frontcourt. Not only Bacot and Brooks—though those older guys are the focus of this piece for their performance on Tuesday, the Tar Heel frontcourt is deep and talented, with a group of guys whose skillsets are varied but complementary. The Heels have a lot of bigs who can beat you in a lot of different ways; on Tuesday it just happened to be a board meeting of the firm called Brooks & Bacot.
Jessie and James wish they worked together as well as Brooks and Bacot do. Fifty percent of the assists handed out by the double-double duo in Tuesday’s game were to each other (2 of 4, sure, but the evidence of selfless play is still impressive). Between them, Bacot and Brooks pulled down 22 rebounds in total (nine of them offensive rebounds, and Bacot with seven of those nine). This kind of down-low dominance is the kind of thing that Team Rocket was never quite able to build, as well as the envy of nearly every other team in the country: North Carolina currently sits at #2 in the country in rebounding margin.
On Saturday (assuming the game happens, as always), the Heels face a formidable foe in Florida State. Florida State, true to the form established by their last few years, are big; the Seminoles started one player under 6’5” in Wednesday night’s dismantling of the NC State Wolfpack. The Heels will likely need another night like Tuesday night from the frontcourt.
Coming as they are off of three straight ACC wins, I look forward to seeing if the Tar Heel bigs will be blasting off again.