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November 17, 2013

Belmont-UNC Preview

Basketball Preview

UNC now has two games under their belt after a 64-52 win over Holy Cross on Friday night. The Tar Heels face a quick turnaround as they host Belmont Sunday afternoon just a short two days after their last outing.

The Tar Heels are still obviously going through some growing pains as they look to mix and match with different pieces and work through the process of dealing with P.J. Hairston's suspension.

UNC now has two games under their belt after a 64-52 win over Holy Cross on Friday night. The Tar Heels face a quick turnaround as they host Belmont Sunday afternoon just a short two days after their last outing.

The Tar Heels are still obviously going through some growing pains as they look to mix and match with different pieces and work through the process of dealing with P.J. Hairston's suspension.

Marcus Paige

Coming into last season, Marcus Paige was expected to backup Kendall Marshall, put on some weight and learn from an experienced veteran.

That didn't happen.

Instead, the skinny, inexperienced freshmen got thrown to the ACC wolves and had to learn on the fly and develop the thickest of skins. Paige's best asset is his mindset. He never gets rattled and always seems to improve with every game. He's fairly consistent for a player his age and has the ability to lead a team.

Paige might no longer be the point guard as Roy Williams continues to give those minutes to Nate Britt, but Paige's shooting (8 for 17 with three 3-pointers) in the Holy Cross is evidence that he'll be able to provide UNC strength in multiple roles.

"Marcus is a good scorer, but Marcus is a basketball player," Williams said. "He has tremendous savvy, he's good defensively. I've got to try to get him more breaks where he doesn't play 36 minutes in a game."

Williams has been high on Paige since the moment he stepped foot in Chapel Hill and his development could end up being the biggest story of the season as he could become their go-to go, even when Hairston comes back.

Brice Johnson

Brice Johnson is undersized at the four but not a good enough shooter to really be a three. But he sure can put the ball in the basket when he's on.

Johnson shot 6 for 12 Friday night and has never been shy about pulling the trigger on his shot, especially when he can get within eight feet of the basket. He hardly bats an eye when deciding whether he should throw up a short jump hook (he rarely doesn't throw it up) and he's hitting it with more consistency.

Johnson is shooting 58 percent for the year, slightly up from 51 percent shooting last season, and has scored double-digit points in both games.

He also looks physically stronger and doesn't get pushed around as much. If he can consistently rebound and stand his ground, that's his key to becoming a key cog in Williams' rotation, if he isn't already. He only averaged 10 minutes per game last season but is up to 17.5 thus far in the year.

James Michael McAdoo

The biggest issue UNC will face this season is whether they can develop a go-to guy in the absence of Hairston. While most everyone believes Hairston will eventually return, it could still take him some time to get mixed back in and if it isn't a smooth transition, that could have ill effects on UNC's ability to make waves in the postseason.

The guy that has the best chance of stepping up and being "The Man" is James Michael McAdoo. McAdoo is the guy with the best combination of talent and experience on this level and needs to be a guy that UNC can rely on for a basket when they need it.

After dropping 21 against Oakland, McAdoo only shot 30 percent and scored just 11 points. Grabbing four rebounds doesn't help either as UNC, a much bigger team than Holy Cross, only snagged one more rebound than the Crusaders.

That's a troubling sign for a team with a weak wing presence whose strength is supposed to reside down low. That responsibility of anchoring the paint begins with McAdoo. He's the tone setter and UNC will need a better effort out of him against Belmont.

400th Game In the Smith Center

Sunday's game will be the 400th game held at the Dean E. Smith Center. The building opened on January 16, 1986. The Tar Heels hold a 340-59 (.852) record on their home court.

Along with the game being the 400th in the Smith Center, UNC will also eclipse the 8 million-fan mark on Sunday if there are more than 12, 977 in attendance.

Belmont
(2-1, 0-0)
vs.
#11/12 North Carolina
(2-0, 0-0)

Game Day
Date:
Sunday, November 17, 2013
Time: 4:00 PM EST
Venue: Dean E. Smith Center (21,750)
TV: ESPNU

Radio: Tar Heel Sports Network & SiriusXM (Sirius 91/XM 91)

Belmont at a glance
Location: Nashville, Tenn.
Nickname: Bruins
Colors: Navy, Red & White
Conference: Ohio Valley
Arena: Curb Event Center (5,000)
2012-2013 Record: 26-7 (14-2)
Last Game: W 96-95 over Indiana State on November 14.
Last Game vs. UNC: First Meeting
Series vs. UNC:
First Meeting

More on the Bruins:
Schedule | Stats | Roster
Official Site

Last starting line-up
(against Indiana State)


F - Blake Jenkins
F - Drew Windler
G - Craig Bradshaw
G - Reece Chamberlain

G - JJ Mann

Statistical Leaders
Scoring: JJ Mann (16.0 PPG) Drew Windler (15.3 PPG)

Rebounding:Blake Jenkins (6.3) Drew Windler (6.0 RPG)

Assists: Reece Chamberlin (4.7 APG) Craig Bradshaw (2.0 APG)

Team Statistics
Points Per Game:
81.3
Rebounds Per Game: 31.3
Assist Per Game: 13.3
Field Goal Percentage: .497

North Carolina at a glance
Last starting line-up
(against Holy Cross)

F - Jame Michael McAdoo
F - J.P. Tokoto
F - Joel James
G - Marcus Paige

G - Nate Britt

Statistical Leaders
Scoring: Marcus Paige (18.5 PPG) James Michael McAdoo (16.0 PPG)

Rebounding: James Michael McAdoo (6.5 RPG) Kennedy Meeks (6.5 RPG)

Assists: J.P. Tokoto (5.0 APG) Nate Britt (4.0 APG)

Team Statistics
P
oints Per Game: 73.0
Rebounds Per Game: 40.0
Assist Per Game: 20.0
Field Goal Percentage: .487




 

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