We will learn a lot about this UNC basketball team this weekend as they face a tough challenge in the Basketball Hall of Fame Tip-Off Tournament. The Tar Heels will play a pair of games against nationally-ranked opponents – possibly two top-10 opponents – at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn.
UNC will play sixth-ranked and 3-0 Purdue on Saturday, November 20. Gametime is 4 p.m. (ESPN News). At 1 p.m. Saturday, No. 5 Villanova plays No. 17 Tennessee. Saturday’s winners play in the championship contest Sunday at 1 p.m. (ABC) with the third-place game to follow at 3:30 p.m. (ESPN).
UNC is coming off a 94-83 win at the College of Charleston on Tuesday. Armando Bacot went 10 for 12 from the floor and scored a career-high 24 points, added 12 rebounds and tied his career best with six blocks. Caleb Love made a career-high 10 free throws en route for 22 points, and Kerwin Walton made four threes.
The Tar Heels committed a season-high 17 turnovers at Charleston, but shot 64.3 percent from the floor in the second half. Charleston led by 11 in the first half, but UNC made a 22-point swing to win by 11.
Leaky Black and Kerwin Walton led Carolina’s defensive stand as the Tar Heels held the Cougars to 36 percent shooting in each half. Charleston made seven threes in the first half
in building a 42-36 lead, but only 4 of 14 in the second half. The Tar Heels never led in the opening half, but gained the advantage on a Brady Manek three just 3:07 into the second and took the lead for good on a Bacot bucket with 15:52 remaining.
Purdue has scored 90 or more points in its first three games of the season for the first time in school history. It has also scored at least 50 points in the first half of all three games and shot over 50.0 percent from the field in the three games. The Boiler Makers have had 14 runs of 7-0 or longer already this season, including 10 runs of 10-0 or longer. Opponents have one run of 10 points.
Purdue ranks No. 2 nationally in offensive efficiency and No. 18 in defensive efficiency being one of eight teams nationally to rank in the top 20 of both categories (Purdue, Michigan, Houston, Kansas, Duke, Baylor, Gonzaga, UCLA). Purdue is looking for its first tournament title since winning the Cancun Challenge in Nov. 2016, placing second in its last three events.
Zach Edey ranks third in the early KenPom Player of the Year standings behind Ohio State’s E.J. Liddell and Iowa’s Keegan Murray. Per 40 minutes this season, Edey is averaging 38.4 points and 21.2 rebounds.
UNC vs Purdue
Carolina is 8-2 against the Boilermakers with wins in each of the last eight contests. This is UNC’s first game against Purdue since the teams played in three straight seasons in November in neutral-site events in 1997-98 (Great Alaska Shootout), 1998-99 (Preseason
NIT) and 1999-2000 (Maui Invitational). The teams have played eight of the 10 previous games at neutral sites. The teams have only played one time apiece in Chapel Hill and West