When we last saw the Heels, Harrison Barnes was still buried under a deluge of emotional Tom Rinaldi puff pieces and hypothetical in-game graphics. What if he made one more basket every game? What if he were a racquetball player instead? What if he got hit by a bolt of lightning that gave him all of Superman's powers? How many baskets then?
NC State was kind enough to step in at that point, end the madness, and provide Barnes the confidence he needed to start realizing his potential. Carolina's offense, which had struggled for most of the season, was lights out in the two games following the State game. Lately, though, their shooting has been failing them. So here we are again, just in the nick of time.
The difference in the first matchup was rebounding and two-point shooting. Carolina killed State on the glass, grabbed 44% of their own misses while grabbing over 70% of the Pack's missed shots. Their offensive rebounding afforded them some easy second chance opportunities in close, which helped them shoot almost 54% inside the arc. The Heels are a terrible outside shooting team, have been all year. In league play they've made 27% of their threes, which places them dead last. If the Pack can make it a tad more difficult on the Heels in the paint (I'm looking at you, Vandenberg) then I think they can keep the game relatively close. If we see a repeat of the Dean Dome effort, forget about it. We really needed Richard Howell tonight.