Armstrong: UNC has what it takes to beat Syracuse again

North Carolina's Theo Pinson dunks during a practice session for the NCAA Final Four college basketball tournament Friday, April 1, 2016, in Houston. (Eric Gay)

I appreciated Roy Williams' response yesterday when asked about the old axiom that 'beating a good team three times in one season is super tough.'

Roy: 'I'm not so sure it is. If you're better than me you can probably beat me 20 times.'

Roy wasn't suggesting that the Heels will waltz past Syracuse, far from it. I do, however, agree with the fact that there's nothing inherently tougher about beating a team a third time. UNC is the better team. UNC won the first two meetings because they're the better team.

Asked directly, Jim Boeheim would almost certainly agree. He knows it'll take every bit of talent and effort and execution his roster can muster to get past the Heels. That 2nd half performance vs Virginia shows the Orange is capable of some serious magic, a fact that is not escaping Carolina.

Still, there's no escaping the fact that UNC is currently playing the best offensive basketball in the country. Gutting that Orange zone for a third time this year is eminently doable. The Heels outshot and outrebounded Syracuse in each of the first two meetings and there's zero reason to believe that'll change tonight.

It's worth noting that Roy's boys shot 9-16 from 3 in the game at the Carrier Dome. I'm not saying they'll replicate that today at NRG, an even bigger facility, but the outside shooting will undoubtedly be a factor in this expanse. The good news for UNC - they only get 20 percent of their points from outside the arc, while Syracuse is almost doubly dependent. If the Orange aren't hitting, it could get ugly.

The preseason #1 team in the nation, Carolina certainly took a circuitous route this season, but they are undoubtedly looking the part right now. Brice Johnson is too good, Marcus Paige is too savvy and the supporting cast is far too powerful to be denied on this evening. Enjoy the final two games of the Brice/Marcus era. They will be playing Monday night. 76-63 UNC.

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