Radford, a Division I school from the Big South Conference, will open its season on Monday night with a tough road test against No. 19 North Carolina. The Highlanders are coming off a 12-16 season, but they return their leading scorer from last year in guard DaQuan Smith. Smith averaged 13.9 points per game in 2022-23, and he will be counted on to lead the Highlanders’ offense this season.
Game Date: Nov. 6, 2023
Game Time: 7 p.m. ET
TV: ACC Network
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Radford will also need to get production from big man Justin Archer, who averaged 7.7 points and 7.0 rebounds per game last year. Archer will be up against a tough challenge in the Tar Heels’ frontcourt, which is led by returning All-American Armando Bacot.
North Carolina is coming off a disappointing season in which the Tar Heels missed the NCAA Tournament for the first time in nine years. However, North Carolina has a lot of talent returning this year, including Bacot, RJ Davis, and Caleb Love. The Tar Heels also added a number of talented newcomers in the offseason, including transfer Cormac Ryan from Notre Dame and freshman Elliot Cadeau.
The Tar Heels are the clear favorites in this game, but Radford will be looking to play the role of spoiler and start its season off with a bang.
Here are some key things to watch for in the game:
- Can Radford slow down Armando Bacot? Bacot is one of the best big men in college basketball, and he will be a tough matchup for Radford. The Highlanders will need to find a way to keep Bacot off the boards and out of the paint.
- Can DaQuan Smith lead Radford’s offense? Smith is Radford’s best offensive player, and he will need to have a big game for the Highlanders to have a chance. Smith will need to be aggressive and score the ball efficiently.
- Can Radford make shots from the outside? Radford will need to make some shots from the perimeter to keep North Carolina honest. The Highlanders have some good shooters on their team, but they will need to be consistent in order to have a chance to win.
Prediction: North Carolina 85, Radford 65