Gameday Live Blog/Open Thread: Carolina vs. Alabama

Brant Wilkerson-New

Good afternoon from beautiful Durham, where I'll be posted up on the couch, enjoying the warmth of a few heavy blankets and enjoying the afternoon smorgasbord of basketball.

North Carolina (4-0) meets Alabama (2-2) to begin their runs at the Battle 4 Atlantis with both teams looking for significant improvement.

With Brandon Robinson back in the lineup for the Tar Heels, here's what to watch for as the Tar Heels look to take the next step. After two straight double-doubles, Armando Bacot would figure to be a major part of Carolina's evolution, and with three straight games against great competition, we'll truly know where he stands after this week.

Meanwhile, here's what you should know about the rest of the field in Nassau, which features four teams ranked among the nation's top 13 in the AP Top 25 and several All-American candidates.

With Michigan advancing in the first game, the Tar Heels would move on to meet the Wolverines with a victory, while a loss would have them face off with Iowa State. 

The full Battle 4 Atlantis bracket:

2019-b4a-bracket

Check out Twitter for live updates, with deeper analysis and observation posted here throughout the game, and feel free to drop a comment below.

Join the conversation — it's easy — go to the top of the site, click the follow button in the right-hand corner, then log in with either Facebook or Google to discuss the game below.

FIRST HALF

13:20 — The UNC offense is still a long way from figuring it out. Wild passes, over-dribbling are yet again the culprit.

One bright spot? Andrew Platek continues to impress as a passer. That's a part of his game that we never saw before this season.

4:00 — It's an encouraging sign for UNC that Armando Bacot has kept himself involved despite not finding an offensive rhythm.

Quite a few young players that are used to being scorers can check out of games when they're not getting shots, but Bacot has been all over the floor as a rebounder. 

With Garrison Brooks cooking at 12 points, no need to force it.

HALF: UNC 37, Alabama 31

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- Brandon Robinson's return couldn't come at a better time, instantly providing an upgrade over Christian Keeling as he figures things out. Robinson is just two off tying his career high of 11 points at halftime and has knocked down UNC's only two 3-pointers.

- Alabama isn't shooting a great percentage from 3-point range, but it's no fault of Carolina's. The Tar Heels have yet again allowed shooters to get wide open looks from beyond the arc. 

- Garrison Brooks is yet again showing off his expanded offensive game, and he's doing it by putting himself in great position to get buckets. He's the smartest guy on the floor almost every time out, using his understanding of the game to find open space that allows his teammates to find him for easy buckets.

- Too many turnovers, too many silly passes and too much dribbling. The Carolina offense is too reliant on contested shots right now, and Cole Anthony has been responsible for his share today. 

- Leaky Black has to be a bigger part of the offense for Carolina to be successful. Four rebounds is nice, but two field goal attempts and one assist isn't enough. He's got the talent to attack.

- Andrew Platek continues to excel in his role and only his role. He understands what he's out there to do and doesn't try to do any more. 

SECOND HALF

16:26 — Leaky Black knocks down a jumper and Armando Bacot shows what he can do in the open court, picking up a loose ball and finishing a layup with a eurostep. Gotta be encouraging to see the big man make athletic plays in the open floor, as he's only just started to get his conditioning in order. 

11:50 — Black with a quick six points and three rebounds here in the second half, and most importantly for Carolina, he's attacked the basket with no reservations. He'd have eight points if not for a questionable offensive foul call, but the fact that he again went hard to the bucket was more important than the result of the play.

FINAL: UNC 76, Alabama 76

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