The No. 24 UNC Tar Heels hardly prevented a loss to the BC Eagles on Dec. 19 and have actually had the ability to stay unbeaten and in the Top 3 in the web rankings. Five ACC groups are ranked ahead of them, however they are prowling as a possible competitor who might hang with any of those 5 groups.
When they got in the rankings on Dec. 13, the Tar Heels were making an area in the Top 25 for the very first time because Nov. 3, 2015. UNC is a happy program that won a championship game in 1994, however hasn’t been actually excellent because three-straight journeys to a minimum of the 2nd round from 2013 to 2015 and hasn’t been fantastic because four-straight journeys to a minimum of the Elite Eight from 2005 to 2008. Over the previous 6 seasons, the Heels have simply 2 journeys to the NCAA Tournament to their credit, consisting of in 2015, and they haven’t made it out of the preliminary.
A Top-10 hire from the Hoop Gurlz class of 2020, Deja Kelly has actually begun to reverse the fortunes of the program. She was the one who made the game-winning shot to finish the resurgence versus BC and leads the group with 16.8 points per video game. UNC generated another Top 10 hire in 2021 in Teonni Key, however she is out for the year with an ACL tear. Meanwhile, sophomore Alyssa Ustby has actually been simply as huge of a star as Kelly, balancing 14.6 points and 9.2 rebounds per video game. William & Mary transfer Eva Hodgson and Princeton transfer Carlie Littlefield have actually provided UNC a deadly backcourt surrounding Kelly, who is likewise a guard.
The Heels will now deal with Syracuse and will likely be evaluated eventually throughout the contest like they protested Boston College. The Orange remain in a unique circumstance as a program that saw almost its whole lineup move away and its coach resign after 2020-21. However, under acting head coach Vonn Reed, Syracuse got a Dec. First win over No. 25 Ohio State, the group ranked one area behind UNC today. That win is the reason that the Orange (8-4) are really quite high (No. 57) in the web rankings and on the bubble in ESPN’s bracketology. They’ve won 6 in a row, consisting of a blowout triumph over an ACC group in Clemson and will seek to set up an excellent battle versus UNC.
The Orange are led by 5 beginners balancing double-figure scoring. Former Texas Tech star Chrislyn Carr is at the leading with 15.6 points per video game, while redshirt sophomore Teisha Hyman packs the stat sheet with averages of 14.3 points, 6.2 boards, 5.3 helps and 2.7 takes.
Syracuse Orange (8-4, 1-1 ACC) vs. No. 24 UNC Tar Heels (11-0, 1-0 ACC)
When: Thursday, Dec. 30 at 4 p.m.
Where: Chapel Hill, NC
How to watch/listen: ACC Network/Radio: ESPN 97.7 or Cuse Television or GoHeels TELEVISION
Key to the match: Free tosses and rebounding. The 2 groups have actually taken pleasure in comparable offending success, however it’s the defense of Syracuse that is suspect. UNC likewise has big benefits when it concerns getting to the complimentary toss line and rebounding, so if the Orange are not able to protect without fouling or end Tar Heel ownerships with rebounds, UNC might develop a lead. The Tar Heels will need to make their complimentary tosses however. They are shooting 69.6 percent from the stripe compared to Syracuse’s 78.2 percent mark.