Combining for Massive 48 Points, Syracuse Duo Lead Upset Win Over North Carolina

Published 02/14/2024, 12:43 PM EST

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USA Today via Reuters

March Madness is on the rise, and with that, the top teams should be in their season prime, one might think. However, this hasn’t been the case for the North Carolina Tar Heels recently. Notably, the #7/5 North Carolina lost the reigns in an upset by the underdog team, Syracuse Orange, with a score of 86-79. It was like the tables were turned on to the Tar Heels, with the Oranges going ballistic in shooting baskets.

Moreover, the Tar Heels felt less energy in comparison to the Oranges, who moved like a firebolt on the court, making back-to-back shots. Without further ado, let’s dig into the details.

Judah Mintz & JJ Starling’s night to shine in North Carolina

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This game was not a usual home game for the Oranges, but an opportunity for the team to avenge their previous 36-point defeat at the Dean E. Smith Center, the North Carolina Tar Heels’ home court.

In the matchup, Syracuse guards Judah Mintz and JJ Starling ran an effective offense on the court, with swift moves and energetic productivity. On the other hand, the Tar Heels appeared to be looking in from the outside as the two were playing the game on a whole new level.

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Surprisingly, none of the players on the Tar Heels’ roster could score more than 18 points, except RJ Davis, who scored 19 points and created three assists. Meanwhile, Armando Bacot hooped 14 points, 10 rebounds, and three assists, and Cormac Ryan added 18 points, two rebounds, and three assists.

USA Today via Reuters

Judah Mintz scored 25 points, 5 rebounds, and 4 assists, while JJ Starling contributed 23 points and 3 rebounds. The duo led their team to a collective score of 86 points, with Maliq Brown and Chris Bell producing 14 and 13 points, respectively.

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What makes this win a more significant one is the fact that it is the first time Syracuse has defeated a top-10 opponent in over five years. However, it surely says something else about the North Carolina Tar Heels!

Performance analysis

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In this game, the Tar Heels displayed their worst defensive performance of the season. They played as if they weren’t interested in blocking Syracuse’s shots, simply allowing them to shoot better than 60% throughout. It is the third time the Tar Heels have tasted defeat as a part of their recent five games, which clearly shows them being out of form.

Before the game, they were ranked at #7. However, this upset poses a potential effect on that, as they might lose their top 10 status. More than anything, this defeat can impact the team on a psychological level, as they won the last matchup against Syracuse like a cakewalk. Also, it showed that they were donning the cloak of overconfidence, which gave them a shorthand for the game.

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Tricky as it gets, this defeat can be a reality check for the Tar Heels if they really wish to see the National Championship.

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Written by:

Dimple Gupta

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“Learn to thrive in thorns in order to become the rose of your life”. I like this very idea of resilience and how it defines six and seven footers of the NBA. They fall down, but they never stay down.
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Edited by:

Jacob Gijy