Busting Brackets

UNC Basketball: 3 keys to victory over Duke in ACC regular season finale

The Tar Heels travel to Durham to take on the Blue Devils with the ACC regular season title on the line. What does UNC need to do to sweep the season series?

Carolina will be all smiles on Saturday if Elliot Cadeau and Harrison Ingram play their best
Carolina will be all smiles on Saturday if Elliot Cadeau and Harrison Ingram play their best / Grant Halverson/GettyImages
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3) Harrison Ingram and Elliot Cadeau need to be at their best

There are times when this Carolina team can feel like the RJ Davis and Armando Bacot show. The two seniors have certainly earned the attention they receive, with Davis in line for a spot on the All-America team and Bacot putting his ACC rebounding record further out of reach with each passing game.

Davis and Bacot raise the Tar Heels' floor considerably. Carolina has never been blown out this season, with its worst loss coming to defending champ UConn by 11 points back in early December. Even in their other losses, they've been in every game with a chance to win in the final minutes. To reach their ceiling and challenge for a national championship, though, the Tar Heels need Harrison Ingram and Elliot Cadeau to be major factors.

Ingram has been one of the best transfers in the country, a forward that shoots 38% from deep but can also create and make his own shots by backing his defender into the post. He's even overshadowed the prolific Bacot in the rebounding department, leading the team in boards in eight of the past 13 games.

Ingram was a monster in the first matchup against Duke, scoring 21 points to go with 13 rebounds and four steals. He and Bacot carried the Heels when Davis uncharacteristically struggled with his shot.

Though he's just a freshman on a senior-laden team, Cadeau has been instrumental in giving Carolina a familiar identity. The pass-first point guard has gotten better and more assertive as the season has progressed, looking more for his own shot without sacrificing any of the playmaking that gets his teammates easy buckets.

Cadeau is always looking to push the tempo, and he's become a great finisher in traffic as he's become more comfortable with using his quickness to blow by defenders and get into the paint.

The freshman was a non-factor the first time these two teams faced off, shooting just 1-9 from the field on his way to seven points and four assists. It's a testament to Carolina's depth that they won despite Cadeau and Davis not being at their best, but if they face similar adversity in Durham, it's unlikely that the Heels will enjoy the same result.

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Ingram and Cadeau are two of the biggest reasons that this year's version of the Heels has been so much more successful than last year's team, but they haven't faced anything like the pressure that comes with entering Cameron Indoor Stadium while wearing the wrong shade of blue. Not only will their performances go a long way in determining who wins this game, they'll give a glimpse into just how high the ceiling is for UNC in the tournament.