I had the pleasure of watching Armando Bacot manhandle Ohio State’s smaller frontcourt at Madison Square Garden last Saturday. It was the first time I’ve seen him look close to 100% healthy, which in turn made him look like a preseason All-America.
Last night, Bacot continued his march to March condition, this time battling a familiar foe in Hunter Dickinson. Former teammates from the AAU program Team Loaded, Dickinson and Bacot looked to be a King Kong vs. Godzilla type match-up in the inaugural Jumpman Invitational, but only one monster showed up.
Armando Bacot made Dickinson ineffectual, holding him to 9 points on 3-9 shooting for the night. Dickinson came into the night as Michigan’s leading scorer and rebounder, but failed to carry the team when they needed him most. He was the only Wolverine with a positive +/- at +3 (Terrance Williams was 0, everyone else was negative +/-) but only played 27 minutes (least among Michigan’s starters) before fouling out.
Bacot on the other hand was eating like he was at Golden Corral (Pre-Covid.)
The senior center led Carolina in scoring with 26 points on 11-15 shooting. Bacot only missed four shots, and several of them looked like bunnies that he absolutely should be putting down. No matter. He was active at all times, giving Wolverine defenders no peace.
Bacot largely seems to have figured out the new, impossible-to-decipher charge rules, and was comfortable putting the ball on the floor. His hard dribbling and footwork got him right underneath the rim for easy buckets, and he looked Zeller-esque running to the rim on transition.
Bacot’s ankle injuries appear to be under control, as he is able to effectually double-team opposing ball handlers on the perimeter. He also handled some flagrant elbows from Dickinson with aplomb, not letting uncultured B1G basketball affect his focus.
If Bacot plays like this for the rest of the season, a lot of Carolina’s early season problems should sort themselves out. As long as Bacot is the fulcrum of the Tar Heel attack, UNC can definitely make a deep tournament run.