Busting Brackets

3 takeaways from UNC Basketball's much-needed victory over Oklahoma Sooners

Jumpman Classic: North Carolina v Oklahoma
Jumpman Classic: North Carolina v Oklahoma / Grant Halverson/GettyImages
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Oklahoma has never beaten UNC Basketball in hoops, and despite entering the game undefeated, the Sooners weren't able to change that Wednesday night. Carolina led for nearly the entire game, and it kept Oklahoma at bay every time it seemed the game was about to get close, prevailing 81-69.

I was in the building the last time the Tar Heels and the Sooners met, way back in 2009 in the Elite Eight at Memphis' FedEx Forum. That game featured a battle between two of the best forwards in college basketball, Tyler Hansbrough and Blake Griffin, and like Wednesday's game, it was a neutral site in name only, as the crowd was heavily pro-Heels.

UNC moved to 8-3 with the win, with only a home date against Charleston Southern left before the calendar turns to 2024. Fans weren't quite hitting the panic button after losses to UConn and Kentucky, but the Heels didn't play their best in either game, and last season is still fresh in everyone's minds, which lent this contest extra weight.

Tar Heel Nation can take a breath now though, and a step back to look at the bigger picture reveals a team that has put itself into prime position as conference play is set to begin. Carolina not only survived its recent gauntlet that saw it play five ranked teams in six games for the first time in its storied history, it built its resume by going 4-2, while gaining invaluable experience that should pay off in March.

Whether they were playing with extra desperation due to losing two straight, or the Carolina-heavy crowd gave them an extra gear, the Heels had more pep in their step than we've seen since the win against Tennessee. What did we learn about this team now that it's secured its second top-10 win of the year?