The Auburn Tigers and the North Carolina Tar Heels are in for a huge Sweet 16 match-up on Friday night.
The Tigers and Tar Heels are two of the best offensive teams in the country. Both teams are effective at scoring in the paint and at knocking down threes. According to KenPom.com, North Carolina is 8th in adjusted offensive efficiency and Auburn is 6th in the nation in that same statistic.
The Tar Heels are putting up a whopping 86 points per game, while the Tigers are scoring almost 80 points per game. Auburn has been deadly from beyond the arc all season. They have hit more threes than anyone in the country and have shot 37.8% percent from deep this season.
UNC is shooting at a 36.5% clip from three. They are also one of the best passing teams in the country with 18.9 assists per game.
— Carolina Basketball (@UNC_Basketball) March 28, 2019
Both UNC and Auburn have plenty game-changers on their rosters. The Tar Heels are led by Coby White, Cameron Johnson, Luke Maye, and Nassir Little. Johnson, the fifth-year senior, is leading the team in scoring with 16.9 points per game.
At 6-8, his size and shooting ability have been crucial to Carolina’s success. Coby White has proven to be one of the most talented guards in college basketball. The 6-5 freshman is averaging 16.1 points and 4.1 assists.
Maye, who is putting up almost 15 points and over 10 rebounds per game, is the team’s primary inside presence. Little, the athletic freshman, is averaging 10 points per game. However, he is questionable for Friday’s game due to illness.
North Carolina freshman Naasir Little (illness) did not practice today and is questionable for Friday's Sweet 16 game against Auburn, per release.
— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) March 28, 2019
The Tigers have one of the most talented and exciting backcourts in college basketball with Bryce Brown and Jared Harper. Brown is averaging 15.9 points per game and is shooting almost 41% percent from three.
Harper is putting up 15.3 points per game and has also been one of the best playmakers in the nation with his 5.7 assists per game. Brown and Harper have been deadly down the stretch this season, and the Tigers are one of the hottest teams in the tournament right now.
With Oregon's loss, Auburn now owns the longest active winning streak in all of college basketball outright. It will put it on the line against North Carolina tomorrow.
— Josh Vitale (@JoshVitale) March 29, 2019
Defense is Key
The Tar Heels have the 11th best defense in the country according to KenPom.com, and they will certainly be locked in on trying to stop Auburn’s perimeter threat. Auburn’s defense isn’t too far behind, however. They are 45th in adjusted defensive efficiency but have made a living this season by forcing turnovers.
The Tigers are 6th in the country in forced turnovers and are 3rd in turnover margin. The turnover battle will be crucial for both teams. The UNC defense has been very good all season, but they usually force teams into tough shots instead of turnovers.
If Auburn can make some tough shots, take care of the ball, and force the Tar Heels into turnovers, then they will have a decent shot of upsetting the #1 seed in the Midwest region.
Will Auburn be able to hang on the glass with North Carolina tonight? Tar Heels have out rebounded their first two opponents in the NCAA Tournament 100-50.
— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) March 29, 2019
Auburn and UNC will battle it out on Friday night at 7:29 p.m. EST.
(28-9) Auburn #5
(29-6) North Carolina #1
Friday, 6:29 pm c, TBS
•AU has won 10 straight including SEC Tourney
•UNC won share of ACC reg szn title
•Last met in 1985 Sweet 16 in Birmingham: UNC 62 AU 56 pic.twitter.com/EDS7XgJy1C
— Power of Dixieland (@PwrofDixieland) March 25, 2019