In Sweet 16, what UNC players should concern the Alabama Crimson Tide

On Thursday night Alabama Basketball must have success against four North Carolina Tar Heels players.

James Snook-USA TODAY Sports
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The paint may favor the Tar Heels, but a bigger concern for Alabama is North Carolina's three-point shooting. Alabama only has two players (Sears and Wrightsell) shooting threes better than Carolina's fourth-best three-point shooter. Latrell Wrightsell leads the Crimson Tide at 44.3%, followed by Mark Sears at 43.5%.

For the Tar Heels, RJ Davis is at 41.1%. Bacot rarely shoots threes but his season average is 40%. Ingram is at 38.7% and Cormac Ryan is not far behind at 34.3%. Alabama fans remember Ryan from the Notre Dame game in the 2022 season when he made 7-of-9 three-point shots.

Overall, Alabama is the better shooting team, but Grant Nelson (26.5%), Aaron Estrada (30.8% and Jarin Stevenson (29.7%) are undependable three-point shooters. For Alabama to win against North Carolina, Sears and Wrightsell must stay in form and some combination of Rylan Griffen and Sam Walters will have to be effective outside the arc.

Alabama has the slightest of edges with Bama's opponents making 31.2% of threes this season, compared to the North Carolina opponent average of 31.7%.

Note: Player stats provided by Sports Reference

By far Alabama's biggest concern for Thursday's game is the status of Latrell Wrightsell. A definitive answer may not be available until warm-ups Thursday night. By all means, protecting his health comes first. That said, winning without him seems improbable.

A trip to the Elite Eight or another Alabama Crimson Tide Sweet Sixteen disappointment? Either result should come from a very close and exciting game.

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