NCAAW: Phil Knight Invitational opens with North Carolina vs. Oregon

The No. 8 North Carolina Tar Heels (4-0) will handle the No. 18 Oregon Ducks (4-0) Thursday in the Phil Knight Invitational, putting their unbeaten records on the line in a nationally-televised, non-conference conference. The video game will be relayed on ESPN, with tip-off arranged for 5 p.m. ET.

Neither the Tar Heels nor the Ducks have actually come across much resistance so far in the 2022-23 NCAA season. If their particular areas in the Associated Press Top 25 aren’t indicator enough, North Carolina and Oregon have both outscored their challengers by over 45 points per 100 belongings (Her Hoop Stats), with Oregon’s offense (120.6 offending ranking) and North Carolina’s defense (64.2 protective ranking) ranking amongst the very best in Division I.

It’s safe to state, then, that Thanksgiving’s match will be the very first time this season either North Carolina or Oregon has actually genuinely been checked. Ducks head coach Kelly Graves stated ahead of the video game that his group is “going to have to play a lot better” than it performed in its latest video game versus Southern Utah (a 66-54 Ducks win) in order to beat the Tar Heels; Oregon got a combined 41 points from guards Te-Hina Paopao and Chance Gray and forward Grace VanSlooten, however was outrebounded 41-33, which Graves indicated as a prospective location of enhancement.

Junior guard Te-Hina Paopao (12.8 points per video game) is among 5 gamers presently balancing double-figure scoring for the Oregon Ducks.
Photo by Donald Page/NCAA Photos by means of Getty Images

North Carolina, on the other hand, has actually been exceptional on the glass, ranking No. 28 in the nation in both offending (41.3 percent) and protective (77.8 percent) rebounding rate. Three of their forwards — Anya Poole, Alyssa Ustby and Destiny Adams — are balancing a minimum of 6 rebounds per video game, and they’ve been effective with their scoring, too, each gamer shooting 66 percent or much better from the field.

While the Tar Heels will likely have the benefit in the frontcourt based upon size alone, they can even more assist their own bring on by turning Oregon over. It will be simpler stated than done; North Carolina has actually held challengers to an eye-popping assist/turnover ratio of 0.36, however the Ducks have actually been exceptional at looking after the basketball, ranking No. 3 in Division I in assist/turnover ratio (1.81) and No. 2 in challengers take rate (3.9 percent).

Will the Ducks’ gifted offense keep humming along, or will the Tar Heels’ physical benefits in the frontcourt bring them to triumph? The winner will proceed in the invitational to deal with the winner of Michigan State vs. No. 5 Iowa State, which will tip-off on Thursday at 7:30 p.m. ET.

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