UNC Basketball: Keys for Tar Heels against Boston College on the road

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DURHAM, NORTH CAROLINA – FEBRUARY 05: Ky Bowman #0 of the Boston College Eagles moves the ball against the Duke Blue Devils during their game at Cameron Indoor Stadium on February 05, 2019 in Durham, North Carolina. Duke won 80-55. (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)

1. Make Boston College a jump-shooting team

UNC Basketball consistently finds itself the victim of three-point barrages from opposing teams due to a defensive scheme that sells out to prevent looks from the paint, resulting in open looks from deep. Recent games against Florida State (10 made threes), Syracuse (14 threes) and Clemson (eight threes) are just the latest examples of this.

Although allowing opponents to get looks from deep can be a risky proposition, it is perhaps one that the Heels should take up again — and enforce stronger than usual — against an Eagles team that is in the midst of a three-game shooting slump. On the season, the Eagles are converting on a subpar 32.5 percent of their three-point attempts; over their last three games, that number has dipped to a measly 25.4 percent. During Sunday night’s overtime affair with Georgia Tech, the Eagles hit only 3-of-17 shots from downtown. The closing minutes of the game saw a trailing Boston College squad refuse to take shots from beyond the arc, instead settling for tough mid-range jumpers and contested drives, ultimately losing the game.

Junior point guard Ky Bowman‘s nightly averages (19.2 points, 7.6 rebounds, 4.0 assists) are undoubtedly impressive and inherently crucial to the success of his team, but they are often not enough to carry an average offensive squad to victory, especially not in a stacked conference such as the ACC. And, if his shots from outside aren’t falling, then whose are?

If the Heels apply their usual swarming pressure by creating junk traffic inside the arc and doubling the post, then Boston College will theoretically be forced outside and into inopportune positions. Three-point attempts from opponents are often maligned by Tar Heel fans on social media, but in this matchup, it may be just what they need in order to win.

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