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RECAP: Tar Heels Too Much For Hogs

Arkansas will face the loser of UConn/Michigan St next.

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-Second Round-Arkansas vs North Carolina Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

At some point, Arkansas will avoid losing to North Carolina in the second round of a tournament. Today was not that day. The Tar Heels showed their class and cruised to a 87-68 victory over the Hogs.

With Daniel Gafford in foul trouble, Carolina’s Luke Maye had his way inside finishing with 28 points on 11/16 shooting, and 15 rebounds. He had a double double at halftime with 14 points and 10 boards and didn’t slow much in the second half. For the Hogs, they were led by Jaylen Barford who had 21 points on 9/21 shooting. It was a very tough shooting game for Daryl Macon who was just 2/11 from the field.

The Hogs did jump out to an early lead. North Carolina missed their first eight shots and the Hogs had a 10-4 lead seven minutes into the game. After that it was all Tar Heels, who went on a 13-0 run and never looked back. The Hogs did claw things back to a one point defecit but another 10-0 run squashed any hopes at the end of the first half.

The second half had fewer droughts offensively from the Hogs, who shot 41.5% in the second half after a 32% half in the first. In the preview we talked about how Arkansas needed a good showing from outside the arc, that didn’t happen. Arkansas was 9/27 from deep which was headlined by Macon going 1/5 from deep before having to head back to the locker room with a leg injury.

The Hogs had one final run in them in the second half. After falling behind 74-58, back-to-back threes from CJ Jones and an old fashioned three point play were part of a 10-0 run to bring them within six with 3:32 to go. For Arkansas it was too big of a mountain to climb though, and the Tar Heels answered with a 11-0 run to finish off the Hogs.

This tournament was intended to be a measuring stick of where the Hogs are so far, and with a game still to go we have a pretty good idea of where they stand. The Hogs have put up a good game against a good opponent and were beaten by an elite team and program. There is still a ways for them to go but this loss shows there is a lot of fight and room for growth. Unless Michigan State is upset, Arkansas will have a game against UConn that should be a lot like the Oklahoma game, competitive and could pay dividends at the end of the year.