UNC vs. Saint Peter’s: Three things to watch

In the interest of full transparency, I am writing this article immediately following UNC’s big win over UCLA in the Sweet Sixteen. I’m still pumped with adrenaline, and honestly, my blood pressure is probably way too high to even write right now. Caleb Love was an absolute stallion in the second half, showing just how dangerous he can be when locked up. We wouldn’t have reached the Elite Eight without him, which seems to be the theme of various players throughout this tournament. (Manek and RJ Davis against Baylor, Manek and Love against Marquette). In short: it’s another great day to be a Tar Heel.

However, I have to change gears quickly, because we have to talk about this game against Saint Peter’s. It’s kind of obvious to say that this team has been unstoppable in a knockout tournament, but they really are a Cinderella team that can’t be taken lightly. Despite this fact, heels are the eight-point favorite in this one according to Draftkings.com. I feel safe saying this could be one of UNC’s biggest fights of the season regardless, with the prize being a ticket to the Final Four. Let’s go ahead and discuss three ways to be successful.

Deal with the team without losing anything

Using the Purdue game as a frame of reference, the Peacocks are a team that will fight straight. Without any context, one would think that the team with the highest field goal percentage, the most rebounds, the most assists and the fewest fouls would be the team that would advance to the Elite Eight. . However, Saint Peter reached the free-throw line on 21 attempts, shot three better and handled the ball better than the Boilermakers. These were the keys to their victory, and it could happen against UNC.

Here’s the thing, though: I feel like UNC’s offensive firepower has been insane throughout this tournament. Last night wasn’t even their best performance, but Caleb Love showed a high level of second-half toughness. We’re conditioned to think the bottom is going to fall under this team at any time, but let’s be honest: this team is playing their best basketball, and they won the games they didn’t win in November/December. Saint Peter’s is going to force the Heels to play tough and lousy basketball, and so the Heels have to keep their boot straps tight, because that’s the only way to emerge victorious.

Flawless play

It’s no secret that the NCAA Tournament had a referee problem, and it got so obnoxious that literally everyone noticed. Anyway, one thing Saint Peter’s have done is hit the free throw line a million times in their first three games, and that’s really been a huge part of their game. They shot 21 free throws against Kentucky, 31 against Murray State and 21 against Purdue, with Kentucky being the only team to reach the line more than them. The Wildcat have learned the hard lesson that making free throws is important, and that’s why they’re sitting at home right now.

One of the Heels’ biggest jobs is to not get into a street fight with the Peacocks and stay out of trouble. Last night, the Heels only sent UCLA to the line for eight free throw attempts, which is a good sign for tomorrow. They’re no strangers to getting to the line themselves, so they’ll want to attack the Peacocks while keeping their cool. Quite the balancing act, but I have faith that they can pull it off.

Who’s next?

As I mentioned earlier, Caleb Love and Brady Manek have been standout players in this tournament, with RJ Davis also having great first two games. There were also some sneaky good performances from some of the other players – Armando Bacot had 14 points and 15 rebounds last night – but scoring aside, the question is still who is going to take control of the game. next game. That’s how they stayed afloat, and that’s how they’re going to make it to the Elite Eight.

At the moment, I have no idea who the next man will be. It could very well be that RJ Davis is up to it and drops 20+ on the Peacocks with help from Manek and Bacot, but that’s just a guess. All I know is someone has to be “the guy” tomorrow night, so hopefully someone feels inspired to have the match of their life…before which hopefully , will be the next game of his life.