The North Carolina Tar Heels are just moments away from taking on the #21 Kentucky Wildcats in the CBS Sports Classic for the second year in a row. As you all know, the game was originally meant to be UNC vs. UCLA, but COVID issues within the Bruins’ program forced them to drop out in the 11th hour. Now that the Heels are facing the Wildcats, this game doesn’t have quite as high of stakes as it would’ve been taking on the fourth-best team in the country, but it appears that this is just how the cookie crumbles.
Make no mistake: this game is still very important for the Tar Heels. They need another Q1 win under their belt, and it also helps that Kentucky is a ranked team. The AP polls have been frustrating this season to say the least, but if the Heels pull off a win I can see them finally sliding back into the poll. The question, however, is whether or not they can pull it off, and the answer is probably(?). The Wildcats faced a bunch of mid-majors following their loss to Duke, only to finally get beaten by Notre Dame in their most recent game. If I’m a Kentucky fan, I don’t trust this team, especially since UNC is one of the better shooting teams in the country, and the Wildcats are…well…not even close.
What I appreciate quite a bit about this game regardless of the result is that this game usually delivers. Kentucky really needs this win to prove that they aren’t as much of a mess as they were last year, and UNC needs the win to prove that they are one of the better teams in the country now that they have figured out their defensive woes. It should be a fun game, but still, it’s hard not to wonder what would’ve happened if the Heels got to play the Bruins. I guess we’ll never know.
As always, we will be back after the game is over with some post-game analysis and takes.