Busting Brackets

UNC Basketball: 3 takeaways from an impressive high-scoring win over Duke

North Carolina scored a huge victory over Duke in Chapel Hill Saturday night, putting more distance between themselves and the Blue Devils in the ACC standings. What did we learn about UNC?

Armando Bacot punctuated the Tar Heels' win in style
Armando Bacot punctuated the Tar Heels' win in style / Grant Halverson/GettyImages
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2) Armando Bacot can still be a dominant player

In his final season in Chapel Hill, Armando Bacot has been a true team player. Both his scoring and rebounding are down from a year ago, but the big man has done all the little things that win basketball games. His post defense has been outstanding, and he's managed to raise his free throw shooting by 12 percentage points.

It feels like nitpicking to say that a player is being too selfless, but Bacot has become such a perfect complementary player that fans were beginning to wonder if he still had it in him to take over when the Heels needed him to. Wonder no more, because Bacot seemed to take his matchup with Kyle Filipowski personally, and he clearly outplayed the seven-foot sophomore.

Bacot was aggressive in the post, and his 13 shot attempts were the most he's had since UNC's season-opening win against Radford way back on November 6th. He did it all against Duke, using an array of post moves and finishing with either hand. He went 5-7 from the line, and he tied Davis for the team lead with five assists. He even knocked down an 18-footer.

Filipowski couldn't handle Bacot down low, and he ended the game with four fouls. When Duke sent a double-team, Bacot made the right decision every time, either turning away from it and finishing with his off hand, or pulling the ball out and finding an open shooter with a perfect cross-court pass. Carolina only had five turnovers all night, and Bacot's role in that can't be understated.

Bacot's willingness to take a backseat to his teammates is a big reason why this team's chemistry seems to be off the charts. If Carolina wants to have a chance to win a national championship, though, they need their big man to assert himself like he did Saturday night. It was great to see that he still has it in him.