Playing its second game in three days, the Tar Heels cap off a very full weekend of UNC athletics.
#11 North Carolina(1-0) vs Florida Atlantic(0-0), 2:30 PM ESPNU
After a somewhat inconsistent performance in the season opener on Friday, the Heels get the opportunity to quickly return to the court today against Florida Atlantic. Much like the game versus Gardner-Webb, this is a game the Heels should win which makes it more about players adjusting to new roles and the team coming together. Obviously these processes take longer than two games but having two home games like this in close proximity to each will get the team ready for a string of tougher games over the next three weeks.
Having seen the team once, the same questions that existed prior to the season still hang in the air as does a few new ones. The starting lineup is the foremost on that list with everyone wondering whether Desmond Hubert will start again at center. Hubert did on Friday night and except for one block, did not play well. He was outclassed by freshmen Joel James and Brice Johnson, in fact James started the second half at the five. They could have been a planned move by Roy Williams since he said he was unsure who would start there. Now, with one game in the books, does Williams move James to the starter's role or keep Hubert there. Neither would be surprising given how Williams likes to handle his lineups, though this seems to be more clear cut than even Kendall Marshall vs Larry Drew or Ed Davis vs Deon Thompson.
Some other things to look for in this game will be the play of the upperclassman wing players, especially P.J. Hairston and Leslie McDonald who were both non-factors on Friday. Reggie Bullock did a lot of good things but needs to be more offensive minded, something Williams pointed out after the game. Marcus Paige managed the game well but did not hand out an assist on Friday. Seeing how he(and all the freshmen) handle the game having moved past the first game jitters will be quite interesting.
A few notes on Florida Atlantic. They Owls are coached by former George Washington and St. John's coach Mike Jarvis who, at one point, was considered one of the better mid-major coaches in the game. FAU returns its leading scorer from 2011-12 in Greg Gantt who averaged 14.0 ppg a year ago. Gantt was also a 38% three point shooter. Outside of Gantt, the Owls return three players, Jordan McCoy, Pablo Bertone and Kelvin Penn who averaged all 19 mpg last season. FAU is mostly undersized with three players at 6-8 and a seven footer, Dragen Sekelja, who did not play last season.
In short, UNC should dominate the interior but seeing some semblance of life on the part of the perimeter offense would be a step in the right direction.
UNC 84 FAU 61