The #18 North Carolina Tar Heels (3-1) are just moments away from taking on #17 Tennessee (2-1) in the consolation game of the Hall of Fame Tip-Off. The Heels are coming off of a 93-84 defeat to Purdue in what was an impressive, yet disappointing matchup. The Heels made 44.9% of their shots from the floor and 41.4% of their threes, topped Purdue in rebounds, and even shot better than them from the free throw line. However, turnovers and defensive lapses ultimately kept this game out of reach, even when the Heels took the lead for a brief moment. It was quite a learning experience for a young team and a first-year head coach, but a learning experience that also came with a lot of positives to take with them as well.
For Tennessee, their learning experience against Villanova was a bit more brutal. The Volunteers finished the game making 33.3% of their shots from the floor and 17.9% from deep. They were barely out-rebounded, but they too suffered turnover issues that ultimately proved to be very costly. Santiago Vescovi was the only player that kept the Vols in the game, finishing with 23 points and six rebounds. The next highest scorer? Sakai Ziegler, who finished the game with seven points. They have had other players go off for 20-point performances in previous games, so while it may be tempting for the Heels to lock in on Vescovi, they’ll have to do everything they can to make sure that the Vols don’t gain too much confidence back after the beating they suffered yesterday.
Considering how the Heels performed against Purdue, I think this should be another great game that has the potential of working out in their favor. Check back in with us after the game to see if we are singing the same tune, or if we are painting sad trees with Bob Ross.