UNC Basketball vs. Iowa State: Game preview, info, prediction and more

The North Carolina Tar Heels’ men’s basketball program returns to action on Friday in the winner’s bracket of the Phil Knight Invitational. And after surviving a scare against Portland, the test gets a little tougher.

Up next for the Tar Heels is Iowa State, fresh off a win over Villanova in overtime.

The Cyclones improved to 4-0 with the win over the Wildcats, holding the lead for most of the second half before it went to overtime. They got the job done in the extra session and will now face its toughest test yet in No. 1 North Carolina.

UNC used a late run in the second half to avoid being upset by Portland as the Pilots gave the Tar Heels all they could handle. It was a back-and-forth game until UNC was able to pull away late thanks to the play of Pete Nance and Caleb Love.

Iowa State is led by guard Jaren Holmes who is averaging 16.8 points per game this season. He will be someone that can give UNC fits in the backcourt if they aren’t careful. Where the Cyclones can have the advantage is on the boards. They enter this game averaging 40 rebounds per game, two more than UNC this season. Let’s see if Armando Bacot and Pete Nance can limit the rebounding in this one.

Key to Victory

CHAPEL HILL, NORTH CAROLINA – OCTOBER 28: Armando Bacot #5 of the North Carolina Tar Heels battles Nilous Hodge #21 of the Johnson C. Smith Golden Bulls for a rebound during the second half of their game at the Dean E. Smith Center on October 28, 2022 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)

Rebounding. I mentioned it above but the Tar Heels are going to need to win the rebounding battle in this one. So far this season, UNC hasn’t been the team we are used to seeing in terms of rebounding but it hasn’t cost them a game yet.

This is by far the best team UNC has faced all season long so far and if they lose the rebounding battle, it could lead to a loss.

Something to watch

Nov 24, 2022; Portland, Oregon, USA; North Carolina Tar Heels forward Pete Nance (32) shoots a basket during the second half against Portland Pilots guard Juan Sebastian Gorosito (4) at Moda Center. The Tar Heels won the game 89-81. Mandatory Credit: Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports

Can UNC avoid the slow start again? This has been a common theme for the Tar Heels so far this year. They have started out slow in every game this year including on Thursday when they let Portland back in the game with an early run.

You can’t mess around and fall behind by a lot early on in this one. Iowa State will keep the pressure on and can score, making it tougher for them to come back.

 

What you need to know

WHAT? No. 1 North Carolina (5-0) vs. Iowa State (4-0)
WHEN? Friday,  Nov. 25th, 5:30 PM ET
WHERE? Veterans Memorial Coliseum Portland, Oregon
TV? ESPN (Watch and stream the game live on ESPN+)
RADIO? Tar Heels Sports Network
LINE? UNC -5
LAST MEETING? 2014. Iowa State 85, UNC 83 (NCAA TOURNAMENT)
ALL-TIME SERIES? UNC leads 3-1
PREDICTION? UNC 77, Iowa State 75

Story originally appeared on Tarheels Wire