Dropping two of their three games in the Phil Knight Invitational has North Carolina on the verge of a three-game losing streak. As they look to get back on track, they head into Bloomington as the No. 18 team in the country, dropping 17 spots from a week ago.
The Indiana Hoosiers enter Wednesday's matchup in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge at 6-0 and inside the top ten.
At the forefront of the production is preseason All-American Trayce Jackson-Davis. The senior forward leads the Hoosiers in scoring and rebounding, averaging 18.8 points and 8.0 boards per game.
Perhaps his most impressive statistic is his efficiency, as he has connected on 76 percent of his shots from the field.
Senior guard Xavier Thompson and freshman guard Malik Reneau are the other two Indiana scorers that average in double figures with 11.0 and 10.7 points, respectively.
As a whole, the Hoosiers are efficient from beyond the arc, hitting 38.3 percent of their attempts from three. For a North Carolina team that has struggled to guard the perimeter and allowed 10.5 made threes per game.
Playing in Assembly Hall isn't exactly the recipe for snapping a two-game skid. A raucous environment awaits in Bloomington and the Tar Heels will need to turn in a better performance than they did in matchups against Iowa State and Alabama.
The good news is that Armando Bacot and Leaky Black are expected to play. After sustaining injuries in Sunday's loss to the Crimson Tide, their availability was in question.
Distributing shots among starters such as Bacot and Black are important to leaving Indiana with a win. In North Carolina's loss to Alabama, guards Caleb Love and R.J. Davis combined for 60 of their 91 shot attempts.
The remaining three starters recorded a combined 24 shot attempts, converting 50 percent of their looks.
Getting involved is also important for the bench of the Tar Heels. Although Puff Johnson played a career-high 48 minutes on Sunday, the remaining five reserves who recorded action combined for 26 minutes.
Over the course of a season, it is not sustainable to rely on a six man rotation, particularly one that will have zero room for error in the foul department.
The biggest matchup in this game and perhaps in all of Wednesday's college basketball slate is Armando Bacot versus Trayce Jackson-Davis. Two members of the AP Preseason First Team All-American squad are the two best players on their respective teams.
Whether it is in the score column or in the rebounding department, whichever player has the advantage after 40 minutes will go a long way in determining the winner of the top-25 matchup.
A victory over Indiana would not only instill confidence in a reeling North Carolina team, but it would also provide a quality win and momentum heading into their game at Virginia Tech on Sunday.
If the Tar Heels want to improve to 6-2 on the season, they will need to share the ball on offense and force Indiana to take tough shots on the perimeter.