Preview: Louisville hosts reeling North Carolina


If this isn’t the same North Carolina, Louisville men’s basketball won’t take note of it. The Cardinals (22-5 overall, 13-3 in the ACC) host North Carolina at the KFC Yum! Center Feb. 21.

The Tar Heels (10-16 overall, 3-12 in the ACC) have lost their last six games, with four losses coming by two points or less.

“They’re still North Carolina,” freshman David Johnson said. “We still see them as North Carolina and we know they are really good regardless of what their record is.”

After ending a two-game losing streak with a victory over Syracuse on Wednesday, Louisville turns its attention to a team that its 3-6 against since joining the ACC. The Cardinals won in Chapel Hill last year before losing at home against North Carolina.

“I know our guys will be up for it,” Louisville coach Chris Mack said. “They have a program that everybody in the country can identify with.”

Cole Anthony leads North Carolina in scoring with 19.5 points per game. The 6-foot-3 guard finds driving lanes and gets to the foul line. The freshman shoots 75.2 percent from the free throw line, averaging 6.7 free throws per game.

Louisville wants to prevent Anthony from playing downhill as he works into the paint on drives.

“I know that he is a really good scorer, very aggressive and he is going to have the ball in his hands a lot,” Johnson said. “Knowing that he is going to try to make a play every time he has the ball, we have to be really locked into our gaps.”

Forwards Garrison Brooks (15.2 points, 8.5 rebounds) and Armando Bacot (10.1 points, 8.4 rebounds) have started every game in the front court for North Carolina. Brandon Robinson is North Carolina’s third-leading scorer with 12.9 points per game.

“They’re going to run the ball down your throat, or attempt to,” Mack said. “They’re going to post every chance they get.”

The game tips off at 4:05 p.m. televised by ESPN.