North Carolina finally has something positive to grow from, and the Tar Heels want to take advantage of it with a four-game losing streak now behind them.
Next up is a visit from The Citadel on Tuesday at Chapel Hill, N.C.
“It is something we can build on,” North Carolina forward Armando Bacot said of a 75-59 victory over Georgia Tech on Saturday.
The Tar Heels (6-4) have quickly tumbled from the No. 1 spot in the rankings all the way out of the poll. They enter their second consecutive week as an unranked team.
“So now it is about not getting complacent (but) remaining positive moving forward,” guard RJ Davis said.
The Tar Heels now hope unity plays a role in their recovery and are encouraged that what they have been through could make them better.
“Our main motto is to stay together and not worry about what is being said about us,” Davis said. “There is always going to be something said about us, win or lose. Our motto is to stay together and try not to worry about what is said about us negatively or positively.”
Coach Hubert Davis said it’s clear that North Carolina’s 2022 postseason success isn’t going to matter at this point.
“You have to focus on what is real and what is real is this team and this team’s preparation and how good this team can be,” the second-year coach said. “You have to put previous years in its proper place.”
The Citadel (5-4) most recently split two games against neighboring rivals, topping Charleston Southern 76-73 on Nov. 30 before falling to the College of Charleston 79-57 on Dec. 3. The Bulldogs have been idle ever since.
This will be Citadel’s third game against a power-conference team after November road losses to Clemson and Butler.
Ed Conroy is in the first year of his second go-around as coach of Citadel. He told the Charleston Post and Courier he has been “proud of our guys and how we fought.” He has been encouraged by the team’s ability to stick to game plans.
Citadel freshman guard Madison Durr posted a season-high 20 points in the team’s most recent game. Durr said the Bulldogs at times have done “everything we were supposed to do outside of rebounding the basketball.”
That could be an issue against a North Carolina team that stresses rebounding and has grabbed 39.0 boards per game against top competition.
Still, Bacot remains at less than full strength. He sat out the Dec. 4 loss at Virginia Tech with a shoulder ailment.
“I can’t really fully extend my arm out all the way,” Bacot said. “It is something that I got to deal with and get used to.”
–Field Level Media