Is Brady Manek emerging as North Carolina's x-factor?
North Carolina senior Brady Manek has become one of the Tar Heels’ most important players this season.
Manek, who transferred to Chapel Hill after a successful career at Oklahoma, has stepped up in recent weeks after Dawson Garcia left the team to deal with a family matter.
He’s scored in double figures in 13 of his last 16 contests, averaging 14.6 points over that span. He’s also shooting over 40 percent from 3-point range during those games, which helped the Tar Heels reach an 11-5 record.
As college basketball insider Jon Rothstein noted this week, North Carolina is 15-4 this season when Manek scores in double figures. That record drops to 4-4 when he does not.
North Carolina is 15-4 this season in games where Oklahoma transfer Brady Manek scores in double figures and 4-4 when he does not.
Can you say X-Factor?
— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) February 20, 2022
Manek is proving to be a perfect fit in the starting lineup alongside ACC Player of the Year candidate Armando Bacot. While Manek can space the floor and make effective entry passes, Bacot is one of the best low-post scorers in the country. He’s also a dominant rebounder.
That combination has proven to be effective as North Carolina works to secure an NCAA Tournament berth. The Tar Heels are still on the bubble, but their win over Virginia Tech on Saturday puts them in a great spot for the rest of the season.
UNC still has three must-win games on its schedule — Louisville, NC State and Syracuse — before facing Duke in Durham on March 5. A 3-1 record to finish the season should be enough to get the Tar Heels over the line — especially if Manek continues to play like he has in recent weeks.
North Carolina hosts Louisville on Monday.