By Derek Brightwell–
Two of the most thrilling games for the Louisville men’s basketball team this year were the match-ups with the North Carolina Tar Heels, which the teams split 1-1 in the regular season. In the third round of the 2015 New York Life ACC Tournament, the series will be decided.
In the second round of this year’s ACC Tournament, North Carolina won running away from the Boston College Eagles to the tune of 81-63.
Juniors Brice Johnson and Marcus Paige led the Tar Heels in scoring, with 17 points each. Johnson also was tied for the team lead in rebounds with junior J.P. Tokoto with nine.
With the victory, the Tar Heels set up a rematch of two thrilling games with Louisville from the regular season. In the first game, at North Carolina, the Tar Heels came back from down 13 to beat the Cards on a layup by Paige in the last seconds. In the rematch, at the YUM! Center, Louisville rallied from an 18-point deficit to force overtime, and eventually win.
“They probably should have won the game at our place and we probably should have won the game at their place,” North Carolina head coach Roy Williams said of the season series. “It’s two teams that really, really fight like crazy.”
“When you lose the way we did at Louisville, and that was the last one, it resonates more.” Paige said, noting excitement for the rematch.
“We’re going to look to…come out with more energy than they can,” Tokoto added. “Two teams that love to compete, two great coaches that know how to coach, it’s going to come down to who wants it more and we’ve got to be that team.”
No matter the outcome, one thing is for sure, the rematch between two of the most up-tempo teams in the country will be exciting to watch. They are scheduled to square off at 2:00 p.m. Thursday, but could be later depending on the ending of the Virginia-Florida State game.