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NC Central (0-0) at (6) North Carolina (1-0)
Wednesday, November 11th, 9:00 p.m. (et)
The Sports Network
By Gregg Xenakes, Associate College Basketball Editor
FACTS & STATS: Site: Smith Center (21,750) -- Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Television: ESPNU. Home Record: NCCU 0-0, UNC 1-0. Away Record: NCCU 0-0, UNC 0-0. Neutral Record: NCCU 0-0, UNC 0-0. Conference Record: NCCU 0-0, UNC 0-0. Series Record: First-ever meeting.
GAME NOTES: The defending national champion North Carolina Tar Heels hit the hardwood for the second time in three nights as they entertain the NC Central Eagles as part of the 2K Sports Classic benefiting Coaches vs. Cancer at the Smith Center in Chapel Hill.
On Monday night, the Tar Heels kicked off the new campaign by posting an 88-72 win against Florida International and head coach Isiah Thomas who was making his college coaching debut. The victory was the seventh in a row for a UNC program that fell in the second round of the ACC Tournament versus Florida State, before making its run through the NCAA Tournament.
As for the Eagles, they are kicking off their first season under new head coach and former NCCU player LeVelle Moton, the 17th head coach in program history. Now in its third year of NCAA Division I competition, NCCU won a total of just four games all of last season in 31 attempts and was winless in all 17 road bouts. On a positive note, the Eagles did manage to win two of their final three games with victories over Longwood and Winston-Salem State.
Oddly enough, even though these two teams hail from the same state, this matchup marks the first ever between the schools on the hardwood. Two years ago NCCU also played a defending national champion in Florida and was crushed by the Gators in a 105-51 final in Gainesville.
Of the returning players from a year ago, the Eagles will have to lean heavily on junior guard Vincent Davis in order to remain relatively competitive. Davis was responsible for 11.2 ppg last season and also cleared four rebounds per contest. However, as far as the projected starting five for NCCU is concerned, the only other players with previous experience for the Eagles are Michael Glasker and Joshua Worthy who averaged a mere 2.8 and 1.7 ppg, respectively, a season ago. The scary part for this unit is that there's a total of nine players on the roster who, when they finally hit the floor either in the opener or at some point this season, it will be their very first action as a member of the program. Last season, this team was outscored by almost 20 ppg on the average and was beaten on the glass by more than 10 rebounds per outing as well. The team shot just 37.3 percent from the field and 30.1 percent behind the three-point line, all while allowing the competition to convert a sizzling 50.4 percent from the floor.
With a cast of several new faces, at least ones that were not seen all that much last year, the Tar Heels began yet another season on a positive note two nights ago with a double-digit win against FIU. Three starters scored in double figures for the Heels, beginning with Deon Thompson who dropped in 20 points and also cleared 10 rebounds, while Ed Davis also logged a double- double with his 13 points and team-best 11 boards. Marcus Ginyard and Tyler Zeller both tallied 12 points, but not all was perfect for UNC and head coach Roy Williams. The team shot just 4-of-13 behind the three-point line and turned the ball over 26 times and while that might be ok against an opponent like the Golden Panthers, ACC foes will jump all over the Heels with numbers like that. This year's roster lists as many as five freshmen, which means Davis, Ginyard and Thompson will have a lot of teaching to do. Last season, this team was second in the nation in scoring with 89.8 ppg and had the best scoring margin in the land as well at 17.8 ppg, but not one of the top four scorers is back, which means there is a lot of work ahead for UNC.
More than blowing out an opponent, the Tar Heels need to use these live games to get as many young players used to the action so that they are ready to contribute when the ACC schedule kicks in and the stakes are much higher.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: North Carolina 102, NC Central 65
11/11 10:34:40 ET
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