The two schools met in December in an instant classic in Sin City. Both teams shot better than 50% from the floor with the Wildcats coming away with a 3-point win, 103-100. UNC is coming off a 54% shooting night in their 12-point win over Butler while Kentucky shot 49% in an 11-point victory over UCLA Friday night.
There’s a few things that must happen for the Tar Heels if they hope to reverse December’s outcome. For starters, Theo Pinson will be in the lineup. Although inconsistent throughout the tournament, Pinson gives the Heels another perimeter presence which will be much needed to counter the Wildcats duo of Malik Monk and De’Aaron Fox who have accounted for 42% of Kentucky’s total offense. In Saturday’s press conference, Joel Berry II stated that Pinson’s lengthy defensive presence will help to slow Monk down; he dropped 47 in December.
UNC holds the advantage in the paint, especially if Luke Maye can duplicate his performance against Butler where he recorded his first career double double. If they can stay out of foul trouble, UNC’s big men could make the difference.
We should be in for a barn burner tomorrow afternoon in Memphis. Tipoff is at 5:05pm EST.