UNC basketball’s Armando Bacot aims for record vs NC State

North Carolina’s Armando Bacot (5) battles with James Madison’s Noah Freidel (1) for a defensive rebound in the first half on Sunday, November 20, 2022 at the Smith Center in Chapel Hill, N.C. Bacot had 23 rebounds in the Tar Heels’ victory.

North Carolina’s Armando Bacot (5) battles with James Madison’s Noah Freidel (1) for a defensive rebound in the first half on Sunday, November 20, 2022 at the Smith Center in Chapel Hill, N.C. Bacot had 23 rebounds in the Tar Heels’ victory.


North Carolina’s Armando Bacot admitted he’ll be glancing at his numbers Saturday against N.C. State. He may even be counting in his head as the game progresses.

The senior forward needs just 17 rebounds to pass Tyler Hansbrough on the school’s all-time list. And should he notch his 61st career double-double, he’ll break a tie with Billy Cunningham for the school’s all-time record.

With the Tar Heels’ (13-6, 5-3 ACC) next game on the road at Syracuse on Tuesday, he’s pressed to get it done before the home crowd in the Dean E. Smith Center. Bacot has 1,203 rebounds, Hansbrough is at 1,219, and they are the only two players in Carolina’s history to have more than 1,200 boards.

“I’ll be looking the whole time, I mean, it’s the human thing to do,” Bacot said. “…And it’s not like I’m out there chasing points. I mean rebounds, that’s an effort thing so I think that’s something that you should want to chase.”

In order to break the record, Bacot will have to record a season-high for an individual opponent against the Wolfpack (15-4, 5-3) this season. The most rebounds a single player has had was 15 by Clemson’s Hunter Tyson.

Bacot, who is averaging 11.2 rebounds per game, has only recorded 17 rebounds or more once this season when he logged 23 in their win over James Madison. (He’s had 16 in each of the past two games against Louisville and Boston College.)

Still, his task would have been a lot easier had he not suffered a sprained ankle in the first two minutes in their loss at Virginia. He didn’t play the rest of that game.

“It (stinks) that I went out the UVA game because I probably could have coasted into it, but I got to really push it (Saturday),” Bacot said. “That’s definitely what I’m going for — obviously the win first — but I want to get the rebounding record and the double-double record on that day versus doing it in Syracuse when nobody would be paying attention.”

The crowd will be well-engaged on Saturday as UNC recognizes its 1993 national championship team at halftime. Bacot cementing himself in the record books makes him poised to place his name among the program greats who are celebrated years after they leave school.

“The things that he’s accomplished, normally in the past, that’s somebody that would have already left to go on to the NBA,” UNC coach Hubert Davis said. “And because of his love for this team, this program and this university and this community, he’s wanted to stay here. So a lot of these records are because of the talent of the individual, but it’s also because of the longevity of the individual. I think it speaks to both how powerful of a career that Armando has had.”

Bacot reeled off names of former UNC bigs like (current assistant coach) Sean May, Antawn Jamison, Sam Perkins and Hansbrough that come to his mind when thinking of the best in program history. He said Isaiah Hicks was one of his favorite players to watch.

That’s exactly what Davis has in mind as he continually makes efforts to bridge the current team with the program’s past.

“I don’t think there’s a connection to the records,” Davis said. “I think it’s a connection to the people. That’s what this place is about.”

Tipoff time + TV channel for Saturday’s game

The game will start at 5 p.m. on Saturday and will air on ACCN.

How to stream UNC vs N.C. State game online

Are you a cord-cutter?

If your preferred method of watching games involves streaming, there are options for that, too.

ACC Network is available on fuboTV, Hulu + Live TV and YouTubeTV. Or click here to view on the ESPN app.

Game day details: UNC vs N.C. State

Teams: UNC Tar Heels vs. N.C. State Wolfpack

Where: Dean E. Smith Center, Chapel Hill.

Date: Saturday, Jan. 21

Time: 5 p.m.


Series history: The Tar Heels lead the overall series 163-79. Carolina won both meetings last season, including an 100-80 win in Chapel Hill on Jan. 29, 2022.

C.L. Brown covers the University of North Carolina for The News & Observer. Brown brings more than two decades of reporting experience including stints as the beat writer on Indiana University and the University of Louisville. After a long stay at the Louisville Courier-Journal, where he earned an APSE award, he’s had stops at ESPN.com, The Athletic and even tried his hand at running his own website, clbrownhoops.com.

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