Arkansas gave North Carolina quite a scare early in the Tar Heels’ run to the national championship last season. The Razorbacks hope to hand the Tar Heels the first loss of their title defense Friday in the semifinals of the PK80 Invitational Victory Bracket.
The Tar Heels held off the Razorbacks for a 72-65 win in the second round of the NCAA Tournament in March. Both teams remained undefeated with wins Thursday to set up the rematch. Daryl Macon poured in 27 points, making 6-of-8 from 3-point range, to lead Arkansas to a 92-83 win over Oklahoma, while North Carolina routed Portland 102-78. The Tar Heels have hit at least 50 percent from the field in three of their first four games.
TV: 3:30 p.m. ET, ESPN
ABOUT NORTH CAROLINA (4-0): The Tar Heels have no shortage of scoring options with four players averaging double digits and two more scoring at least 7.5 per game. Big man Luke Maye (19.5 points, 9.5 rebounds) continued his dominant start to the season with 20 points and 10 rebounds against Portland, while Joel Berry II (18.3 points) added 18 points and Theo Pinson (10.5 points, 5.5 rebounds, five assists) flirted with a triple-double with 11 points, nine rebounds and seven assists. Kenny Williams (14.3 points) had another big game with 17 points against the Pilots, scoring in double figures for the fourth straight game to open the season, and totaled 37 points over the past two contests.
ABOUT ARKANSAS (4-0): The Razorbacks’ quartet of double-digit scorers combined for 73 points against Oklahoma. Jaylen Barford (20 points, 4.5 rebounds) leads the team in scoring with Macon (18.8 points) closing the gap after Thursday’s big game, and freshman big man Daniel Gafford (15.8 points, 5.8 rebounds) continues to give Arkansas a big boost off the bench. The Razorbacks forced the Sooners into 19 turnovers and force an average of 18 per game.
1. North Carolina is 7-0 all-time in Oregon.
2. Arkansas has outscored its first four opponents by 69 points in the first half.
3. Macon is 15-of-15 from the foul line this season and has made 22 straight free throws dating to last year’s NCAA Tournament.
PREDICTION: North Carolina 91, Arkansas 85