Busting Brackets

3 keys for UNC Basketball to beat Kentucky in 2023 CBS Sports Classic

RJ Davis, UNC Basketball
RJ Davis, UNC Basketball / Rich Schultz/GettyImages
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Don't let rust be a factor

UNC hasn't played a game since December 5th, and they haven't won since beating Florida State two weeks ago. Will Hubert Davis have his team at its sharpest? He'll have to in order to win, as Kentucky is an up tempo team that throws a lot of bodies at you.

Eight Wildcats average over 21 minutes per game, and seven average 9.8 points per game or better. Carolina has shortened its rotation in recent games, which means the Tar Heels' starters will have to carry a heavy load.

That starts with RJ Davis, who has looked like a Wooden Award candidate in the season's first nine games. The senior has led Carolina in scoring in each of the last five games, and his worst effort was 23 points. In a game that figures to be a high-scoring affair, he'll need to stay hot to keep Carolina in it.

Transfer Harrison Ingram has emerged as a versatile offensive option, and he'll also need to be at his best on Saturday. Ingram creates matchup problems with his ability to post up, distribute the ball, and knock down threes, and when he's right, the Tar Heels are nearly unguardable.

One benefit of having such a long break since their last game is that the Tar Heels should be fully healthy and rested. Cormac Ryan didn't miss a game after suffering a gnarly-looking ankle sprain against Tennessee, but his three-point shot has been off all year, and it's only got worse since the injury, as he shot a combined 2-13 from deep against Florida State and UConn. Carolina fans hope that the long layoff gave him time to heal up and iron out the kinks in his shot.