TarHeelIllustrated - Getting To Know Carolina's Hoops Opponents -Part I
basketball Edit

Getting To Know Carolina's Hoops Opponents -Part I

THI takes a look at UNC's first three opponents as we begin previewing the Tar Heels' schedule.
THI takes a look at UNC's first three opponents as we begin previewing the Tar Heels' schedule. (Loyolagreyhounds.com)

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With North Carolina’s basketball season almost here, THI begins a series taking a healthy look at each of the Tar Heels’ nonconference opponents for the 2021-22 campaign.

UNC has 11 non-ACC games, but we will focus on 12 teams in this series, since the Heels will play one of two clubs in their second game at the Mohegan Sun in November. The series is broken into four parts, with three opponents featured in each segment. We will go in chronological order.

Here is our first installment:

Loyola (Maryland) Greyhounds

Date: Nov. 9, Chapel Hill, NC

Head Coach: Tavaras Hardy (Entering year four with the program)

2020-21 Record: 6-11 overall, 4-10 Patriot League

2021 Postseason: Lost in the championship game of the Patriot League Tournament to Colgate.

Returning Starters: Jaylin Andrews, 6-4, Sr. G (11.6 PPG, 4.9 RPG, 1.3 SPG); Kenneth Jones, 6-0, Sr. PG (5.2 PPG, 1.9 APG, 1.6 RPG); Golden Dike, 6-10, Jr. F (7.1 PPG, 6.2 RPG, 2.2 APG) Cameron Spencer, 6-4, Jr. G (10.2 PPG, 4.4 RPG, 3 APG, 46.7% from 3)

Other key returners: Alonso Faure, 6-10, So. F (5.2 ppg, 3.6 RPG)

Transfers: No transfers

Key stats: Last season, Loyola shot 46.5% FG; 30.6% from three; plus 3.9 rebounding margin, averaged 13 assists per game, with a -0.6 turnover margin.

Recently noteworthy: After only winning four games in the regular season, the Greyhounds upset two of the league's top four teams to advance to the conference championship game.

Most recent meeting: This will be the first meeting between the programs.

All-time series: This will be the first meeting between the programs.

Preseason projections: Patriot League coaches have voted the Greyhounds to finish eighth in a ten-team league.

Loyola's primary strengths: "The biggest strength of the team is probably the upperclassmen leadership. Kenneth Jones (senior), Jaylin Andrews (senior), Cam Spencer (junior), and Golden Dike (junior) have all bought into the vision. I saw when I was at practice they lead by example, pulling the young guys aside and having a teaching moment at times. I was also told by the staff this year the team has players who love to be in the gym practicing and getting up shots which hasn't always been the case in years past. Loyola has eight players who have never played a non-conference game because they are either freshman or sophomores (Loyola played a league-only schedule because of covid). Therefore, the guys who have been there before are key when going on the road in hostile environments such as UNC. Expect the guards to not make a lot of careless mistakes. Cam Spencer has almost a 3:1 assist to turnover ratio, and Kenneth is a smart player who has the ability to get open. He has made 40 3 pointers each of the past two seasons."- Ethan Hennessy, Happening Hoops.

Loyola's primary weaknesses: "An obvious weakness is figuring out where to get the production that came with an NBA first-round guy on a mid-major. However, a less obvious answer is probably free throw shooting. Loyola finished last out of all ten teams in the Patriot League in shooting at 60.4% from the line. While games did not necessarily have the final possession end at the charity stripe, it no doubt played an impact in results as the Greyhounds lost 7 of their 11 games by four points or fewer, including two triple-overtime defeats. Free Throw shooting is also something that is difficult to drastically change quickly, so expect them to still struggle, especially early in the season. Additionally, these shooting numbers came in empty gyms without fans in away arenas." – Ethan Hennessy, Happening Hoops.

Brown Bears

Date: Nov. 12, Chapel Hill

Head Coach: Mike Martin (Entering year ten as head coach)

2020-21 Record: Season canceled due to COVID 19 (2019-20 Record): 15-12

2021 Postseason: Season canceled due to COVID 19 (2019-20 Postseason): No postseason

Returning starters: Tamenang Choh 6-5, GR. F (13 PPG, 8.1 RPG, 3.3 APG) Jaylan Gainey, 6-9, Sr. F (5.9 PPG, 5.1 RPG, 2.2 BPG) David Mitchell, 6-6, Sr. G (3.4 PPG, 5.2 RPG) – 2019-20 stats.

Other key returners: Perry Cowan, 6-4, Jr. G (3.4 PPG, one RPG) Dan Friday, 6-4, So. G (4.5 PPG, 1.7 RPG, 1 APG)

Transfers: Paxson Wojcik, 6-5, Jr. G, (2.5 PPG, 0.9 RPG at Loyola Chicago).

Key stats: Two seasons ago, the Brown Bears ranked 25th in offensive rebounding pulling in 12.3 per game. Brown shot 73% FT and averaged 4.4 BPG, ranking second in the Ivy League.

Recently noteworthy: The Brown Bears had their entire 2020-21 season canceled due to COVID 19. This fall semester was the first time the Bears have worked together as a team since.

Most recent meeting: UNC 115, Brown 63, Dec. 28, 1985.

All-time series: UNC leads 1-0

Preseason projections: The media voted Brown to finish seventh in the Ivy League

Brown's primary strength: "We've got a team full of guys who can guard all over the court. We should be a great rebounding team. If we can take care of the ball and shoot it well, I think we can be really good"- Brown Head Coach Mike Martin.

Brown's primary weakness: Brown has a lot of experience returning, including three seniors and a graduate student. However, the bench depth is unproven "aside from Wojcik, who among Brown's guards will step up? The Bears are a bit green in the backcourt" – Bill Koch, Providence Journal.

Note: Wojcik’s father, Doug, was an assistant at UNC under former coach Matt Doherty.

College of Charleston Cougars

Date: Nov. 16, Charleston, SC

Head Coach: Pat Kelsey (Entering year one as head coach of the program)

2020-21 Record: 9-10 overall, 6-4 CAA

2021 postseason: Lost in the first round of CAA tournament to Drexel

Returning starters: Osinachi Smart,6-8, Gs. C (4.9 ppg, 6.3 RPG) Brenden Tucker, 6-3, Jr. G (9.4 PPG, 1.9 RPG, 1.3 APG)

Other key returners: Keegan Harvey,6-11, So. C (3.1 PPG, 1.8 RPG)

Transfers: Fah'Mir Ali, 5-10, So. G (10.6 PPG, 3.8 APG, 1.6 SPG at Radford) Dalton Bolon, 6-4, GR. G (21.9 PPG, 8.3 RPG at Div. II West Liberty) Nick Farrar, 6-6, So. (0.7 PPG, 0.1 RPG at NC State) Charles Lampten, 6-11, Jr. F (10.1 PPG, 8.7 RPG at Dawson community College) Jordan Sechan, 6-1, Gs. G (Did not play last season due to injury at Bucknell) Dimitrius Underwood,6-4 Gs. G (19.3 PPG, 8.5 RPG, 6.8 APG at Div. III Texas-Dallas)

Key stats: Last season, the Cougars shot 37.4% from three, 71.1% FT, while committing 10.4 turnovers per game.

Recently noteworthy: The College of Charleston welcomes first-year head coach Pat Kelsey. Kelsey previously coached at Winthrop, earning a 23-2 record in his final season with the Eagles.

Most recent meeting: UNC 79, C of C 60, Nov. 11, 2020

All-time series: UNC leads 5-3

Preseason projections: The cougars finished 3rd in the CAA last season. The media will vote on Oct. 28 on season predictions at CAA media day.

Charleston’s primary strength: "We play fast offensively; we are tough and gritty on defense." – Head Coach Pat Kelsey

Charleston’s primary weakness: The biggest weakness for the cougars is trying to mesh in time for the season. "When we took the job, we only had three players returning. We had to get out and sign ten players in 10 or eleven weeks." – Head Coach Pat Kelsey