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January 16, 2014

BC - UNC Preview

Basketball Preview

The Tar Heels basketball program is in a world of hurt right now.

With another set of off the court issues swirling around the university and UNC's hoops squad currently toiling in a three-game losing streak, it's safe to say the fans in Chapel Hill and around the state have seen better days.

UNC will have had a whole week off after their deflating loss to the No. 2 ranked Syracuse Orange on national television last weekend. They'll take on the Boston College Golden Eagles on their home court this Saturday afternoon.

If any team has needed a win it's this squad. A win moves them off the snide as the only team without an ACC victory. A win moves them one step closer to competing for a conference title, something that is still attainable but not for much longer. A win reminds the team what it's like to, well, win a game.

With that, let's take a look at some of the storylines heading into this weekend.

Moving On

This is just a theory.

Before the announcement was made that P.J. Hairston wasn't coming back, this team played like a team that had something to prove. It almost looked like they were trying to hold it together long enough to get their best scorer back because if they could knock off teams like Louisville, Michigan State and Kentucky without Hairston, imagine what they could do with him.

Then he was gone for good.

Who knows exactly what kind of effect this had on the team. At this point, it doesn't really matter. He's gone, he's not coming back and this team has to win without him.

This team won't be a good shooting team, although they can improve the shots they get by being smarter with their offensive possessions. They don't have great free throw shooters, although they can certainly do better than they have. They are not a veteran squad, although they do have some guys with a lot of in-game experience.

This isn't the best UNC team in the history of the program, but it isn't the worst either. Not by a long shot.

Roy Williams keeps preaching that he doesn't feel like he should have to coach effort but that he knows he needs to do a better job getting his kids motivated. A home game against the team sitting just above them at the bottom of the conference standings might be just the thing that gets this team a win and pushes them back into the right frame of mind to get things turned around.

Marcus Paige

Marcus Paige is the unquestioned best scorer on this UNC team. Except, since Leslie McDonald has been back, Paige has spent more time playing his natural position of point guard, which, as it turns out, isn't the best spot for him and what this team needs this year.

They need him to score and bringing the ball up more and being asked to distribute instead of going after his own shot has completely changed the way this team performs. The results don't lie.

Putting Paige in more situations where he's off the ball and looking to score would be ideal although UNC is in a tough spot where they have to get as many shooters on the court as possible.

Having Nate Britt, Paige and McDonald on the court at the same time isn't going to light the world on fire defensively, so it shall be interesting to see how Williams mixes up the minutes and line-up rotations to get the most out of his wing players going forward.

Letting Go

UNC has to move on from the issues that plagued them during the offseason. Once they do that, they have to remain focused on the games on the court and let the drama play itself out off of it.

During his weekly radio show, Williams discussed how he thinks his team is handling the entire ordeal of playing at UNC and handling the expectations placed at their feet.

"I think I would probably speak to there is more stress. You know the kids feel the pressure of North Carolina basketball, they've got to win regardless of who their playing, they've got to do this and they've got to do that. We have good kids. You have a choice," said Williams. "You can take guys that are not really good kids, you know, who don't give a blanket-blank about what everybody else says, during the course of the game I'd like to have that kind. But the other 21 and a half hours of the day I'd rather have the kids that are really good kids and care about what people think. If you play at North Carolina, you care about what people say about you."

Going forward, Williams expects his team to take it one game at a time and remember that they were in a similar position last year where they had to dig themselves out of a hole at the beginning of ACC play.

Boston College
(5-12, 1-3)
North Carolina
(10-6, 0-3)

Game Day
Saturday, January 18, 2014
Time: 12:00 PM EST
Venue: Dean E. Smith Center (21,750)

Radio: Tar Heel Sports Network & SiriusXM (Sirius 119/XM 190)
Series: UNC leads 10-5
Last Meeting: UNC beat BC, 82-70, in Chestnut Hill January 29, 2012.

Boston College at a glance
Location: Chestnut Hill, Mass.
Nickname: Eagles
Colors: Maroon & Gold
Conference: ACC
Arena: Silvio O. Conte Forum (8,606)
2012-2013 Record: 16-17 (7-11)
Last Game: BC battled #2 Syracuse before falling 69-59 on Monday night.
More on the Eagles:
Schedule | Stats | Roster
Official Site | Rivals Site

Last starting line-up
(against Syracuse)

F - Eddie Odio
F - Ryan Anderson
G - Lonnie Jackson
G - Olivier Hanlan

G - Joe Rahon

Statistical Leaders
Scoring: Olivier Hanlan (19.1 PPG) Ryan Anderson (15. PPG)

Rebounding: Ryan Anderson (7.1) Dennis Clifford (4.5 RPG)

Assists: Olivier Hanlan (3.1 APG) Joe Rahon (3.0 APG)

Team Statistics
Points Per Game:
Rebounds Per Game: 31.1
Assist Per Game: 12.7
Field Goal Percentage: .447
3-pt Field Goal Percentage: .332

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

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

G - Nate Britt

Statistical Leaders
Scoring: Marcus Paige (17.0 PPG) James Michael McAdoo (14.4 PPG)

Rebounding: Brice Johnson (6.8 RPG) James Michael McAdoo (6.5 RPG)

Assists: Marcus Paige (4.4 APG) Nate Britt (2.8 APG)

Team Statistics
oints Per Game: 75.6
Rebounds Per Game: 41.6
Assist Per Game: 15.3
Field Goal Percentage: .452
3-pt Field Goal Percentage: .306

Game Notes: BC | UNC

"We've got to talk to the kids about letting that stuff go, any pressure that we put on we put it on ourselves. You know, the stress that we feel because we want it desperately, I hate to use that word but I'll use it, desperately want to be successful. So we try to focus on those good things and try to understand that we are going to get better. We have no chance to get better if we get stressed and worry all the time," said Williams. "Put that junk behind you and go "next play, next play and next game,' whatever it is. You've got to learn from your mistakes. I love when kids hurt when they lose because it means it does mean something to them. It means they do care and so we've got to take it from that stage and learn things from our mistakes and keep trying, keep trying. You know me, if I get down ten times I'm going to get up 11 and we've got to get that attitude over to the kids."


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