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Louisville vs. North Carolina preview: Top-ranked Tar Heels come to the Yum Center

Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports


Game Time: 7:01 p.m.

Location: KFC Yum Center: Louisville, Ky.

Television: ESPN

Announcers: Sean McDonough (play-by-play), Doris Burke (analyst), and Kaylee Hartung (reporter)

Officials: Bryan Kersey, Mike Eades, Bill Covington, Jr.

Favorite: Louisville by 1

All-Time Series: North Carolina leads 11-4

Last Meeting: North Carolina won 70-60 in the quarterfinals of the 2015 ACC Tournament

Series History:

Probable Starting Lineups:


Relevant Videos:

About North Carolina:

No. 1/No. 2 North Carolina is riding a 12-game winning streak and is off to its best start in ACC play in 15 years. The Heels are 8-0 in conference play and have won those eight games by an average of 13.2 ppg.

North Carolina is second nationally in assists-to-turnovers ratio (1.79), fifth in assists (18.8), ninth in scoring margin (+15.6), 14th in rebound margin (+9.4) and 20th in field goal percentage (.485). Senior forward Brice Johnson, a three-time ACC Player of the Week this season, leads the Tar Heels in scoring (16.8 ppg, 10th in the ACC), rebounding (10.2, 2nd in ACC) and field goal percentage (.623, leads ACC). Marcus Paige, the preseason ACC Co-Player of the Year, is averaging 12.7 points and 3.9 assists.

Paige scored in double figures in all three games against Louisville last season, while Johnson dropped 22 and 7 in the ACC Tournament win.


--Louisville trails the all-time series with North Carolina 11-4, but the Cards are 3-0 all-time against the Tar Heels at home.

--Louisville leads the nation in scoring margin (+19.1), is fifth in scoring defense (60.2), second in field goal percentage defense (.369), eighth in rebound margin (+10.4) and 10th in offensive rebounds (14.6).

--North Carolina, winners of 12 in a row, last started a conference slate with at least nine straight wins on an 11-game run in 2000-01, and it hasn't won 13 in a row overall since winning its first 13 in 2008-09.

--This game will be North Carolina's first ACC tilt against a ranked opponent.

--Louisville is 22nd in the nation in field goal percentage (.485). UofL has shot above 50 percent in 11 of its 21 games. The Cards shot 50 percent or above on eight occasions all last season.

--UNC is averaging 10.5 turnovers per game, the lowest figure of any Carolina team since turnovers were first recorded in 1981-82. Last year, the Tar Heels averaged nearly 13 turnovers per contest.

--North Carolina's three-point percentage of 30.8 would be the lowest in school history if the season were to end today. The current low is 32.8 percent, set in 2010-11.

--Louisville's 140 victories over the last five years are the second-most wins in the nation in that stretch.

--North Carolina is 2-8 all-time in games played in the city of Louisville. Those two wins both came against Kentucky.

--Louisville is 16-2 in its last 18 games with one day to prepare.

--Marcus Paige has averaged 17.5 points in four career games against Louisville.

--North Carolina is 2-0 against ranked opponents this season.

--Louisville is 17-4 through 21 games for the fifth time in the last six seasons.

--North Carolina has had seven different players lead the team in scoring this season.

--Louisville has a 47-13 record in February over the last eight years (since 2007-08), winning 13 of its last 16 in the month.

Ken Pomeroy Prediction: Louisville 77, North Carolina 74