Richmond (3-1) vs. (24) North Carolina (2-1)
Saturday, November 23, 12 p.m. (et)
The Sports Network
By Scott Haynes, Senior College Basketball Editor
FACTS & STATS: Site: Mohegan Sun Arena (10,000) -- Uncasville, Connecticut. Television: ESPN3.com. Home Record: Richmond 3-1, UNC 2-1. Away Record: Richmond 0-0, UNC 0-0. Neutral Record: Richmond 0-0, UNC 0-0. Conference Record: Richmond 0-0, UNC 0-0. Series Record: North Carolina leads, 14-2.
GAME NOTES: The 24th-ranked North Carolina Tar Heels will attempt to bounce back from a stunning loss last weekend, as they take on the Richmond Spiders on Saturday as part of the Hall Of Fame Tip Off from the Mohegan Sun Arena.
The winner of this game will take on either Fairfield or defending national champion Louisville in Sunday's championship game.
Roy Williams has had to move the pieces around in Chapel Hill early on, as he is still dealing with the indefinite suspensions of star P.J. Hairston and Leslie McDonald. Unfortunately, after back-to-back wins to start the season, UNC suffered a rare home loss out of conference, falling to Belmont last Sunday, 83-80. It ended a streak of 82 straight home wins against unranked non-ACC squads for UNC.
Chris Mooney's Spiders also have one loss on the season, that came at home to Minnesota last weekend, 74-59. The team has put some distance between itself and that loss however, with Tuesday's 74-63 overtime win against Hofstra as part of regional action of this event.
North Carolina has dominated the series with Richmond, winning 14 of the 16 matchups. UNC has won six straight in a series that has been idle for 16 years. The Spiders' last victory over the Tar Heels came in 1953 (87-82 2 OT).
Offensive swagger is not something Richmond has a lot of this season. The team does possess a prolific scorer in senior guard Cedrick Lindsay (19.0 ppg), but there isn't a whole lot of scoring depth on a squad that is averaging a modest 68.2 ppg. Lindsay does get some help offensively from junior sharp-shooter Kendall Anthony, who adds 12.0 ppg off the bench. Sophomore Terry Allen isn't a huge threat offensively (9.3 ppg), but does present problems for foes on the boards (8.8 rpg).
Richmond started slow against Hofstra and actually trailed the Pride at halftime by nine points, before rallying after the break to force the extra session and then run by Hofstra in overtime to post the win. Lindsay was once again the driving force offensively, finishing with a team-high 26 points. Anthony added 18 points off the bench, as Richmond's reserves outscored Hofstra's bench 29-11 in the game.
North Carolina let one slip away against Belmont, as the Bruins overcame an eight-point deficit with just three minutes to play to earn an improbable win. UNC trailed by eight points at the half (41-34), but went on a 14-0 run in the second stanza to re-establish control before the late letdown. James Michael McAdoo had a strong outing in defeat, finishing with 27 points and 13 rebounds. Marcus Paige added 17 points and five assists, while Brice Johnson just missed a double-double with 14 points and nine rebounds.
McAdoo, who failed to live up to all the hype thrust on him a year ago, has started his junior season strong, shooting .500 from the field and leading the Tar Heels in both scoring (19.7 ppg) and rebounding (8.7 rpg). Paige gives the team great balance at the point, as both a scoring threat (18.0 ppg) and deft distributor (4.3 apg). Johnson (12.0 ppg, 6.3 rpg) has been a spark off the bench.
The Tar Heels will be a far better and obviously deeper team if and when they get Hairston and McDonald back. Until then, expect Williams to have to move the pieces around at times. It shouldn't hurt UNC against the Spiders.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: North Carolina 76, Richmond 72
11/23 10:36:43 ET