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December 6, 2013

UNCG-UNC Preview

Basketball Preview

UNC looks to make it 2-2 over the course of a seven day period against the Spartans. After knocking off the No. 1 ranked Spartans from Michigan State, the Tar Heels will look to turn back the Greensboro variety as they take on UNC Greensboro Saturday night.

This Tar Heels team can best be described as bipolar. They've lost a home game against Belmont and a road contest against UAB but have knocked off the defending national champs and the best team in the nation this year to that point.

They'll see a familiar face on the UNCG bench as former Tar Heel player Wes Miller is now the head coach over there. This will be the second time in three games that UNC head coach Roy Williams has to take on a former player turned coach as he just went head-to-head with Jerod Haas of the UAB Blazers.

Will recent history against understudies rear its head again or can Williams' squad keep the momentum rolling.

Here are some storylines to pay attention to.

Trap Game

Let's go ahead and get this one out of the way.

UNC has a big game against talent-filled Kentucky in the very next game. It will take a tremendous act of discipline to keep everyone focused on the task at hand and not looking ahead to the home matchup with the other dark blue juggernauts of college basketball.

This will be UNCG's first game this season against a team from a power conference. They will be hungry, energized and rearing to go in Chapel Hill, no doubt fueled by their ex-Tar Heel head coach. It's imperative that UNC matches that effort level if they don't want to get upset for the third time.

Nobody Knows

Nobody really knows when college basketball's most notorious bench riders will return. Of course we're talking about P.J. Hairston and Leslie McDonald, two players that either look indispensable or incredibly dispensable depending on which UNC team shows up.

Lose a game to Belmont or UAB and the whole world thinks everything would be different with those two playing. Knock off Louisville and Michigan State and everyone believes it might be better to have a decision rendered and be done with the distractions once and for all.

The happy medium to all this is that if the Tar Heels regain the services of those talented shooters, they will be receiving them after UNC has found it's footing with other players who have developed new skills.

By that hypothetical point, Marcus Paige will be the unquestioned leader of the team, Kennedy Meeks might be the most skilled big man in the ACC and Williams might have more depth than he can handle (always a good problem to have).

Certainly some people thought both these guys could have been back by now but Williams and the team have been preparing as if they'll never play for UNC again. That should allow them to be a stronger team regardless of the eventual outcome.

J.P. Tokoto

J.P. Tokoto is a guy that has been up and down this season and throughout his UNC career thus far.

Coach Williams envisions him as a Jackie Manuel type athlete that can shut down the opposing team's best player. He's definitely athletic enough for the role and his athleticism is on-par with anybody in the nation but his basketball prowess has hit the consistency level it needs to be at yet.

Tokoto had a solid game against Michigan State when he racked up 12 points and 10 rebounds. He shot 6-of-10 from the floor, a nice night for an often inconsistent shooter, but had four turnovers. Tokoto allows himself to get in his own way sometimes.

He can find himself in a paralysis by analysis moment throughout games but when he unleashes himself he's a valuable asset to the team.

Look for Tokoto to get better as the season moves along or get replaced by a more offensive threat and natural scorer like Brice Johnson later on.

Complete game Notes: UNCG | UNC

(4-4, 0-0)
#25/NR North Carolina
(5-2, 0-0)

Game Day
Saturday, December 7, 2013
Time: 7:00 PM EST
Venue: Dean E. Smith Center (21,750)

Radio: Tar Heel Sports Network & SiriusXM (Sirius 138/XM 196)

UNC Greensboro at a glance
Location: Greensboro, N.C.
Nickname: Spartans
Colors: Navy, Gold & White
Conference: Southern
Arena: Greensboro Coliseum (7,617)
2012-2013 Record: 9-22 (6-12)
Last Game: L 87-66 to Presbyterian on December 3.
More on the Spartans:
Schedule | Stats | Roster
Official Site | Rivals Site

Last starting line-up
(against Presbyterian)

F - Kyle Cain
F - Kayel Locke
G - Nicholas Paulos
G - Drew Parker

G - Tevon Saddler

Statistical Leaders
Scoring: Kyle Cain (16.9 PPG) Tevon Saddler (14.1 PPG)

Rebounding: Kyle Caine (8.0) Kayel Locke (5.0 RPG)

Assists: Tevon Saddler (3.8 APG) Jordan Potts (2.8 APG)

Team Statistics
Points Per Game:
Rebounds Per Game: 38.4
Assist Per Game: 14.9
Field Goal Percentage: .476
3-pt Field Goal Percentage: .394

North Carolina at a glance
Last starting line-up
(against Michigan State)

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

G - Nate Britt

Statistical Leaders
Scoring: Marcus Paige (19.7 PPG) Brice Johnson (13.6 PPG)

Rebounding: Brice Johnson (7.0 RPG) Kennedy Meeks (6.4 RPG)

Assists: Marcus Paige (4.0 APG) J.P. Tokoto (2.4 APG)

Team Statistics
oints Per Game: 77.0
Rebounds Per Game: 40.9
Assist Per Game: 15.1
Field Goal Percentage: .477
3-pt Field Goal Percentage: .310



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