When the ACC basketball schedule was rolled out, UNC was scheduled to play Syracuse in Chapel Hill on January 2, 2021. Due to contact with players who tested positive for COVID-19, the Orange had to postpone travel to Carolina while the team quarantined, and Carolina’s second ACC conference game was cancelled.
Instead of getting ready to party all night, the ACC was busy playing schedule Jenga and eventually found an opponent for the Tar Heels on that open date.
This is not the first time that Carolina has had to adjust their schedule due to COVID. Positive cases at Elon cancelled Carolina’s game against the Phoenix and led to a hastily scheduled home game against North Carolina Central University, a short bus ride away in Durham.
Further shenanigans awaited in Cleveland as UNC’s CBS Sports Classic match-up against Ohio State transformed into a game against Kentucky.
There are reasons for excitement and trepidation for this latest schedule update. Notre Dame is currently 3-5 (0-2 in ACC play) but have played a rough schedule, catching losses to Michigan State, Ohio State, Duke, Purdue, and Virginia. They beat Kentucky, but after racing to a 48-26 first half lead, had to hold on for dear life to win 64-63. That’s encouraging.
The Irish love shooting the 3 more than just about anything, and they do so with alarming success. They have four rotation players shooting over 40% from distance, led by junior stretch-4 (and former Carolina target) Nate Laszewski, who is shooting 57.1%. Laszewski just scored a career-high 28 points on 8-11 shooting (4-7 from 3) against Virginia. How well UNC’s bigs can chase the 6’10” forward out on the perimeter will go a long way in determining victory on Orange Bowl day.
Here’s how you can catch the action, before switching to ESPN to see the Tar Heels take on Texas A&M:
Tipoff: 4:00 PM Eastern
Location: Dean E. Smith Center, Chapel Hill, NC
TV: ACC Network
Betting: UNC is currently -10 with an over/under of 146.5. Hmm... I’m not gonna touch that with a 39-and-a-half-foot pole.
It’ll be a crazy busy day on Tar Heel Blog with this game followed by a Bojangles break, and then the Orange Bowl. Make sure you join our game threads and check out all of the post game coverage. 2021 is gonna hit us like a ton of bricks!