The Heels (10-5, 5-3) are 6-0 at home, but the road has yet to be conquered as they travel to Pennsylvania and face North Carolina native Jeff Capel and the Pittsburgh Panthers (8-3, 4-2).
North Carolina seems to be on the upward trend after two statement wins against Wake Forest and N.C.State. Those wins were the first this season in which UNC scored 80-plus points in consecutive games.
The last time these two teams met, Pitt swept UNC for the season. The teams played twice in 10 days and, for the only time in series history. Carolina is 14-5 against Pittsburgh, including 7-4 since the Panthers joined the ACC before the 2013-14 season.
Despite the small win streak, Roy Williams is looking for more shooters to control the game despite being a team known for playing inside out. Having four dominant inside players isn't lost on Williams, but shooters have to shoot for the team to be a complete threat, especially from the three. The word Williams used was "balanced" and decisive players pulling the trigger,
"I like a balance; I'm not against a guy shooting. I have to get on Kerwin Walton more than anybody because he's never ready to shoot. I'd like him to get more shots up, and I am biased. There's no question, whoever makes more threes, I want them to shoot more," Williams stated. "I love balance."
Tuesday night will feature four of the top five offensive rebounders in the ACC. Carolina freshman Day'Ron Sharpe and Pitt's Justin Champagnie are tied for first (3.3 per game), Armando Bacot is third (3.1), and Pitt's Au'Diese Toney is fifth (2.8).
Champagnie has been phenomenal for Pitt. The sophomore is averaging a double-double, 19.9 points, and 12.4 rebounds. Champagnie is the first ACC player to notch Player of the Week honors in consecutive weeks since Carolina's Joel Berry on Jan. 9th and 16th, 2017. Champagnie now has claimed Player of the Week honors three times this season.
But let's not discount the rise of freshman Caleb Love who received his first Freshman of the Week honors. Love averaged 17.5 points and 4.0 assists throughout two games and scored a season-high of 20 points over Wake Forest. The Missouri native is the third Tar Heel this season, RJ Davis and Day'Ron Sharpe, to receive ACC Honors.
After the Pitt matchup, Carolina's schedule for the rest of the week is to be determined at this point. Williams stated that he was unsure if the Heels would get the full week off. UNC was initially scheduled to host Notre Dame on January 30, but that game shifted to January 2 due to Syracuse pausing its season. If a game is not added on the 30th, the Tar Heels will be playing their next three games on the road.
Game Day Details:
- Opponent: Pittsburgh Panthers
- Place: Pittsburgh, Pa.
- Time: 7 pm
- Watch: ACCN (Dave O'Brien, Cory Alexander)
- Radio: Tar Heel Sports Properties
- Satellite Radio: Sirius/XM 387