The UNC basketball team returns to the court on Sunday for another non-conference game as they are 3-0 to start the year. UNC is heading to Portland to play in the PK80 Invitational next week, but before that they need to take care of business against JMU.
The Dukes enter this game at 4-0 and are averaging 105 points per game this season. But UNC isn’t like the opponents they have faced so far this year and will obviously be a bigger challenge to put 105 on.
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For North Carolina, their three wins have come all in the Dean Dome and for all three games, UNC has started off slow before turning it on and getting the win. UNC can’t afford a slow start in this one as the Dukes can score and will make it tougher to come back from.
More importantly, fans just want to see UNC put together a complete game and dominate from start to finish. That could be key ahead of next week’s slate of games and the tough rest of non-conference schedule.
Let’s get into our game preview for Sunday’s matinee.
Avoid the slow start. As we mentioned before, the Dukes are averaging 105 points per game. And while it’s unlikely they get there against a team like North Carolina, they can still score and put up points in bunches.
We’ve seen UNC get off to a slow start in all three games so far but have managed to close the gap and eventually wins for them. At some point, that won’t be sustainable.
The three-point shooting. The Dukes are shooting 54.1 percent from the three-point line so far this season, and things could get murky if UNC’s defense on the perimeter doesn’t tighten up. UNC has to be crisp and on time with their rotations otherwise giving them open looks could be the difference in this game.
The Tar Heels are one of the worst three-point shooting teams in the country early on, shooting just 27.3% from the three-point line. That ranks 309th through the first two weeks of the season.
Not only will UNC need to be good with three-point defense but they are going to have to make threes of their own.
WHAT? James Madison (4-0) AT No. 1 North Carolina (3-0)
WHEN? sunday, NOON AND
WHERE? Dean E. Smith Center in Chapel Hill, North Carolina
TV? ACC Network (Watch and stream the game live on ESPN+)
RADIO? Tar Heels Sports Network
LINE? N / A
LAST MEETING? 1989. UNC 80, James Madison 79
ALL-TIME SERIES? UNC leads 3-0
PREDICTION? UNC 86, James Madison 79