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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Defend the three-point line

Offensively, Kentucky is one of the scariest teams in the country. They rank in the top four of the nation in both turnover rate and three-point shooting percentage, a deadly combination against anyone, but especially against the Heels, who have been strafed by Eric Dixon of Villanova, Tramon Mark of Arkansas, and Dalton Knecht of Tennessee.

The Wildcats' stats from behind the arc almost defy belief. Their three highest-volume three-point shooters (Reed Sheppard, Antonio Reeves, and Rob Dillingham), are 67/134 on the season, which is exactly 50%.

RJ Davis and Elliot Cadeau are special players, but they're nearly always undersized compared to their opponents, and that's certainly the case in this matchup. They'll need to harass the Wildcats and run them off the line, but if Kentucky wants to shoot it over them, there likely isn't much else Davis and Cadeau can do.

How do the Tar Heels counter? Hubert Davis has used the full court press to great effect this season, but Kentucky's extreme care with the ball makes it unlikely that the Wildcats will be rattled by that tactic. The Tar Heels rarely utilize a zone, but Davis may have to consider one to slow Kentucky's outside attack.

Kentucky also shoots the ball very well from inside the arc, but Carolina would do well to funnel the ball into the paint and live with the results. John Calipari's group has one of the lowest offensive rebounding rates in the country, and they don't get to the line, so expect Armando Bacot to gobble up most misses and get 15+ rebounds.

Kentucky shot under 32% from deep in its two losses. That's the key to slowing them down, so if the Tar Heels can find a way to limit the damage from outside, they have a great shot to come out on top.