Busting Brackets

UNC Basketball: 3 keys to beating Oklahoma in the Jumpman Invitational

Jimmy V Classic - Connecticut v North Carolina
Jimmy V Classic - Connecticut v North Carolina / Rich Schultz/GettyImages
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3) Find a reliable bench option or two

Carolina has gotten little production from its bench in recent games, and that needs to change. One player that the Tar Heels need on the court is Seth Trimble. The sophomore guard is dealing with a hip injury, but he is a lockdown defender that could make life hell for the Sooners backcourt.

Otega Oweh and Javian McCollum lead the Sooners in scoring with over 14 points each, and Oweh's size makes him a problem for R.J. Davis or Elliot Cadeau to defend alone. Trimble has shown that he can match up with anyone, and he gave Kentucky guard Reed Sheppard all he could handle last game.

If Trimble is healthy enough to withstand it, he needs to be getting solid minutes in this one. Who else could step up for the Heels, though? Jae'Lyn Withers led the Carolina reserves in minutes against Kentucky, but his play has been too erratic to justify playing him that much against a team as solid as Oklahoma.

Three candidates to step up are Jalen Washington, Paxson Wojcik, and Zayden High. Washington has skill in the post and a soft touch on his jumper, but Hubert Davis has been reluctant to play him alongside Bacot. I'd like to see what they could do together.

Wojcik averaged nearly 15 points a game for Brown last season, and he's shown the potential to be at least an energy guy off the bench for the Heels. He shot 38% from three last year, but has attempted only nine on the season for the Heels. High has barely played, but the springy freshman has the athleticism to be an impact player if he gets the chance.

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Carolina fans have been able to talk themselves into moral victories the past two games, but that won't work here. There are only two outcomes in play. Either the Tar Heels win and get back on track as they head into conference play, or they keep the losing skid going and visions of last season's troubles crystallize in their heads. We'll see which one it is against a very good Oklahoma team.