In what has to be a rarity in this, the year of our lord 2021, the Tar Heels don’t have much time to celebrate their hard-fought win over Florida State. Instead they’ll take those feelings and head up north to take on Jim Boeheim and the Syracuse Orange.
The biggest thing to watch here is going to be whether or not the Tar Heels handle success better than they have at any point this season. All you have to do is look to last week and see how they followed up their blowout win against Louisville with the dud against Marquette, but more than that is the fact that they have not won more than three games in a row all season, and they have had a tendency to play down to an opponent.
Will the relatively easy 81-75 win in Chapel Hill in January stick in their head and make them think this is a team they should handle, or will they finally have learned that they have to bring it every time on the court? Their opponent is coming of two straight losses and is solidly outside of the NCAA Tournament field right now, and Syracuse needs a win tonight to have any sort of chance of even getting into the field. History has shown if they can get in, they’ll cause damage because of how unfamiliar most teams are with playing against the infamous 2-3 zone.
While the NCAA Tournament looks more like a lock for UNC after their win Saturday, a loss tonight would cast more doubt to the point where Saturday’s regular season finale (maybe?) against Duke would take on added weight. A win would make that game meaningless for the Tournament, but does have implications for next week’s (wow) ACC Tournament. Carolina enters today with the sixth seed and a single bye, but they are in a tie with Clemson for that spot and only trail Louisville by three percentage points for fourth. Any positioning they can gain there would be gigantic.
Will this be the last game before Duke or will UNC/or the ACC slide one game in before Saturday to try and even up some records and get the Tar Heels into that March game grind? All are up in the air, but in the meantime, let's worry about not having a letdown shall we?
Here’s what you need to know to watch:
- Time: 7:00 PM ET
- Location: Carrier Dome - Syracuse, NY
- TV: ESPN with Sean McDonough and Corey Alexander on the call. If for some reason, and I don’t know what that could be, that makes you upset, see the next line.
- Radio: Tar Heel Sports Network (list of affiliates) with Jones Angell on play-by-play and Eric Montross on analysis. If Sirius XM is your method of listening, the THSN will be on channel 381 in your car, and 971 on other ways to listen.
- Streaming: The ESPN TV broadcast can be streamed on Watch ESPN on your various devices, while the THSN is available on GoHeels.com and Tune In.
- Line: UNC -1.5