3 UNC Tar Heels on Thin Ice Before Showdown vs. Duke

These Tar Heels need to step up on Saturday against the Blue Devils
Elliot Cadeau shot just 1-of-9 from the field in the first game against Duke
Elliot Cadeau shot just 1-of-9 from the field in the first game against Duke / Scott Kinser-USA TODAY Sports
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The No. 7 North Carolina Tar Heels (24-6) hope to complete a season sweep of the No. 9 Duke Blue Devils (24-6) and claim sole ownership of the ACC title and perhaps a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament.

North Carolina has five straight wins and knocked off the Blue Devils at home 93-84 already this year. With RJ Davis and Armando Bacot placing some of their best basketball of the season, the Tar Heels are riding high despite being a likely underdog at Cameron Indoor Stadium on Saturday.

All that said, they're just 3-5 against the spread in their last eight games, so certain things need to be improved to go on a true run. Here's a look at three Tar Heels on thin ice going into the big game:

3 Tar Heels on Thin Ice Before Matchup vs. Duke

1. Harrison Ingram

Ingram is the third-leading scorer on this team at 12.5 points per game and has double-digit rebounds in five of his last six games. He put up a sparkling line of 21 points, 13 rebounds and four steals in the first matchup with Duke, so how can he be on thin ice?

Well, he's suffering from a shooting slump. Ingram was 5-of-16 from the field (1-of-8 from three) for just 11 points against Notre Dame, and he'd scored eight or fewer points in two of his previous three games prior to that.

He's made just four of his last 23 three-point shots, an alarming streak for a player shooting 38% on the year. RJ Davis has been superb, though defenses will lock down on him moving forward if Ingram can't make them pay from outside. That'll clog up the paint for Armando Bacot as well, which could pose a problem if Davis' superhero cape fades at all.

He's a bonafide threat in transition and excellent on the glass, so Ingram is still useful when he's not scoring. However, North Carolina ranks just 149th in effective field goal percentage (51.3%), so the team can't afford to have one of its top scorers become a non-threat offensively.

If Ingram can recreate his strong performance that propelled the Tar Heels to a victory the first time, fans can breathe a sigh of relief before the ACC Tournament.

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