North Carolina basketball vs. Pitt: Score prediction for ACC matchup
North Carolina basketball has won 10 of 12 games, including four in a row, as one of the hottest teams in the Atlantic Coast Conference.
Following a week-long break, the Tar Heels (15-6, 7-3 ACC) face Pitt (15-7, 8-3) on Wednesday (7 p.m., ACC Network) at the Smith Center.
Here are some things to know and a score prediction ahead of the game against the Panthers.
RJ Davis, Puff Johnson injuries
RJ Davis is expected to play against Pitt, but Puff Johnson is unlikely to see action, UNC coach Hubert Davis said Monday.
RJ Davis was hit in the face in the closing seconds of UNC’s win against Syracuse and Johnson has missed several games with right knee soreness.
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“(RJ Davis will) probably still have a black eye on Wednesday night,” Hubert Davis said. “… If things continue to improve, I anticipate him playing.”
Hubert Davis added that he would be “surprised” if Johnson was available Wednesday.
“He is getting better and progressing, but it’s been slower than anticipated,” Davis said.
Tar Heels taking advantage of free throws
Free throws have been at the center of conversations about Carolina’s most recent wins against NC State and Syracuse.
In that two-game stretch, the Tar Heels shot 47 more free throws than the Wolfpack and Orange. UNC knocked down 50-of-62 shots from the charity stripe, compared to a 14-for-15 mark for NC State and Syracuse.
UNC, which has attempted at least 20 free throws in 18 of 21 games, is sixth in the nation among Division I teams and tops in the ACC with 521 free throw attempts.
Overall, UNC is making 74% of its free throws. Getting in the lane and to the line has been a clear emphasis for a team shooting 31.8% from beyond the arc.
UNC’s improving defense
The Tar Heels have limited opponents to less than 70 points in six straight games with a 5-1 record during that stretch. UNC will need a similar effort against Pitt, which had a 31-14 run in the final 12 minutes of the first meeting to complete a comeback victory. Jamarius Burton (31 points) and Blake Hinson (16 points) powered the Panthers in that game.
UNC vs. Pitt score prediction
UNC 76, Pitt 69: The Tar Heels are undefeated at home this season and have shown steady improvement on both ends of the floor since the calendar flipped to 2023. It’ll be a grind-it-out game, but UNC has shown an ability to win those of late.
Staff writer Rodd Baxley can be reached at email@example.com or @RoddBaxley on Twitter.
This article originally appeared on The Fayetteville Observer: UNC basketball score prediction vs. Pitt: Can Tar Heels get revenge?