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UNC vs. Tennessee: Three things to watch

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Post-exam rustiness, Rick Barnes, and Jalek Felton.

NCAA Basketball: Lipscomb at Tennessee Crystal LoGiudice-USA TODAY Sports

No. 7 North Carolina will face no. 20 Tennessee on Sunday afternoon. Here are three things to watch out for during the game.

Will the Heels have any rust to shake off? The first five minutes of the game will be key in seeing how rusty the Tar Heels will be after having last played a game eleven days ago. Shortly after that break started, we took a look at how UNC teams have historically fared in their games immediately following the exam break. The Heels’ margin of victory drops ten points from the game before exams to the game after exams. If the Heels start slow, it may be hard for them to finish strong.

What will Rick Barnes have up his sleeve? Just as with the games after exams, THB has also taken a deeper dive into Roy Williams’ record against Rick Barnes, current coach of Tennessee. This will be the first time the two meet since Barnes moved over to Tennessee from Texas, but while Barnes was with the Longhorns he had some uncanny success against Roy. If the Vols win the rebound battle early, look for it to be a long game.

Will Jalek Felton’s role continue to expand? Since the announcement that Seventh Woods is now out indefinitely, instead of just for a few games, Felton knows that the ball will be in his hands far more often. In his extended time since Woods went down, Felton has performed admirably. Tennessee will be his hardest test yet, though, as UNC tries to prove that the MSU game was an aberration.