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January 7, 2014

Miami-UNC Preview

Basketball Preview

The New Year wasn't kind to the Tar Heels basketball program as they dropped their first ACC game against Wake Forest 73-67 Sunday night.

UNC will attempt to get its first ACC victory of the year against Miami Wednesday night as they take on the Hurricanes at Chapel Hill. They'll attempt to put their stumble out of the starting blocks behind them as they look to make up ground in the marathon race that is the ACC conference schedule.

Questions about overlooking opponents are sure to surface for this game as UNC has a big game against Syracuse looming this weekend. But if they're not careful, they'll be in for a rough night and the possibility of starting 0-2 as they run up against a physical Miami squad looking to prove they can still have an impact this year after losing much of their talent from last year's squad.

Let's take a look at some of the storylines heading into Wednesday's game.


The Heels looked flat against Wake Forest. There is really no other way to say it.

They put themselves in a good position to win the game but just couldn't get that last little bit that could have made the difference. Whether it was leaving points on the rim from missed put backs to unfortunate technical foul calls late in the game, none of the cookie crumbles fell UNC's way and all the breaks broke in favor of the Demon Deacons.

Roy Williams talked about having to do a better job, personally, of getting his team motivated to play. That aspect of his job is something he doesn't like admitting he has to do but he fully admitted Monday night during his radio show that it's something he needs to concern himself with now.

"Some way, somehow, Roy Williams has got to do a better job of getting the kids more fired up, more enthused. I've always said I shouldn't have to coach effort," said Williams. "I shouldn't have to coach interest. I shouldn't' have to coach desire. I should coach the execution of what we're trying to do but I've done a poor job of getting these kids fired up to play and it better change. That's the bottom line."

Williams also spoke about needing to get a better effort down low and become a more physical bunch, something that will surely be a plotline to watch against a big Miami team. Williams had his players on the court Monday on a day that was originally scheduled as a day off. Instead, UNC had got after one another for about an hour.

"Most physical practice we've had for an hour all year long," said Williams. "They were beating each other up and it didn't bother me in the least bit. We've got to be more forceful around the basket and finish plays. Hopefully it helped today and we're going to try the same thing tomorrow."

Slow Down Game

Last year's Miami team could run with the best of them. Shane Larkin was able to pull the strings and get his team out in the open floor but without him this season, the Hurricanes have been much more of a half court playing squad.

That slower pace was on full display in their last outing against Syracuse, a team that is also notorious for slowing it down, losing that game 49-44. The Hurricanes are going to force UNC to make plays on offense with their set plays.

That means the shot have to fall, the Tar Heels have to finish around the basket and they have to force turnovers on defense to get the easy baskets that will likely make the victory easier to come by.

Essentially, if they can do all the things they weren't able to do against Wake Forest, they should come out on top.

Joel James

Joel James was ready to go against Wake Forest but was held out for one more game so the coaching staff could give him a little more time to get fully healthy.

Despite being a limited player on offense, James' mass was missed while he nursed knee injury and UNC will happily take him back to box out down low and seal off defenders for his perimeter players driving to the basket.

He'll officially make his return against Miami and if indications from a couple weeks ago are correct, he should start.

"He was full-go today at practice (Monday)," said Williams. "No limitations. Unless he gets some pain or swelling or something he will be able to play."

(8-6, 0-2)
North Carolina
(10-4, 0-1)

Game Day
Wednesday, January 8, 2014
Time: 9:00 PM EST
Venue: Dean E. Smith Center (21,750)

Radio: Tar Heel Sports Network & SiriusXM (Sirius 93/XM 191)
Series: Carolina leads 18-5
Last Meeting: Carolina lost 87-77 to Miami in the finals of last year's ACC Tournament on March 17.

Miami at a glance
Location: Coral Gables, Fla.
Nickname: Hurricanes
Colors: Orange, Green & White
Conference: ACC
Arena: BankUnited Center (7,900)
2012-2013 Record: 29-7 (15-3)
Last Game: Lost 49-44 at #2 Syracuse on Saturday.
More on the Hurricanes:
Schedule | Stats | Roster
Official Site | Rivals Site

Last starting line-up
(against Syracuse)

F - Donnavan Kirk
F - Garrius Adams
C - James Kelly
G - Davon Reed

G - Rion Brown

Statistical Leaders
Scoring: Rion Brown (13.4 PPG) Garrius Adams (10.5 PPG)

Rebounding: Donnavan Kirk (7.1) Rion Brown (6.3 RPG)

Assists: Rion Brown (3.1 APG) Garrius Adams (2.6 APG)

Team Statistics
Points Per Game:
Rebounds Per Game: 36.5
Assist Per Game: 11.7
Field Goal Percentage: .424
3-pt Field Goal Percentage: .326

North Carolina at a glance
Last starting line-up
(against Wake Forest)

F - Jame Michael McAdoo
F - J.P. Tokoto
F - Kennedy Meeks
G - Marcus Paige

G - Nate Britt

Statistical Leaders
Scoring: Marcus Paige (17.6 PPG) James Michael McAdoo (14.6 PPG)

Rebounding: Brice Johnson (6.9 RPG) Kennedy Meeks (6.2 RPG)

Assists: Marcus Paige (4.1 APG) Nate Britt (2.9 APG)

Team Statistics
oints Per Game: 79.1
Rebounds Per Game: 42.1
Assist Per Game: 15.4
Field Goal Percentage: .467
3-pt Field Goal Percentage: .348

Game Notes: Miami | UNC


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